MARC GODFREY left Vancouver, Canada, for London looking for a bigger audience for his music, but the England adventure only left him broke and frustrated. A friend told him to try Los Angeles — the sun is always shining, after all — so, by 2000, the singer was living in the old Regency Apartments on Hollywood Boulevard. The place was drenched in celebrity history: Stars such as Stevie Wonder and Johnny Depp had lived there, and back when the Regency was still a hotel, Divine died under its roof.
Godfrey was a bit overwhelmed by the outsized life of L.A. "Everything was so much. The people here have everything. And at the apartments, there were all these Hollywood people, actors and everything, and pool parties. I never went in the swimming pool. I was too skinny."
A party was underway downstairs when the pale and moping Godfrey closed his door and began writing a song about the madness of the city. "It was pretty simple musically, it's three chords, like 'Louie, Louie.' Well, really, it is 'Louie, Louie.' " The result was "(More Bounce in) California."
Now everybody's by the pool all peaking out on Ecstasy Just bumpin' to a playlist that's all down on MP3 Here comes another group of ladies, just parked the mama's SUV Well I've seen that blond before in a Vivid DVD
The song became part of Godfrey's "Americanized" concept album, which he modeled on David Bowie's "Young Americans" and its outsider's vantage point. "I was totally alien to this place, but I wanted to do a style of music that was part of it. But I had my limits. I can't hide my Canadian accent. There was no way I could sing the 'All y'all' chorus for instance, I had to get some American girls for that."
If you're stuck in rush-hour traffic out on the 101 Just blaze up and roll the top down 'neath the California sun Oh let those police helicopters shine their spotlights down on me And I thank my lucky stars there's no place I'd rather be We got more bounce in California than all y'all combined We got more bounce in California we like to party all the time
The song has become something of a local sensation. It's been blared over the P.A. system at Dodgers and Chargers games and used on "The O.C." It's also been downloaded more than 100,000 times. The irony of the lyrics is usually missed. "Yeah, I feel a bit like Bruce Springsteen when his 'Born in the U.S.A.' was heard as a patriotic song. Isn't anybody listening?"
The flurry of licensing has helped pay the bills, and Godfrey is now running his own label. It's still surreal when he hears his snarky outsider song played as an insider party anthem, like the time it was used on "Laguna Beach." The success doesn't mean Godfrey is ready to join the pool party. "I'm trying to think of something nice to say about that show."
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