The Fossils, from front to back, are Randy Gould, Jim O’Neil, Greg Goulette and Dan Casavant. Photo by Sherri Gould

Those of you who follow my columns know that I’m a fan of classic rock, close vocal harmonies and just good music. Well, the band known as The Fossils are coming back and going to be performing at The Elm in Waterville on the 18th of this month; and seeing they check off the criteria I listed earlier, I just had to chat with them one more time, the first being back in October of 2016. This time ‘round, I set up an interview with bassist Greg Goulette, whom I contacted at his home in Oakland.

Q: Now when we were talking back a while ago setting up this phone interview, you mentioned about getting together with the band and rehearsing. That must have been a nice thing to have happen especially after 16 months of isolation.
Goulette:
Oh, you have no idea (chuckle). We formed basically back in 2016, and 2017 and 2018 were very busy years for us. In fact, 2018 was a little too busy so we decided we were going to take 2019 off and get back together in 2020. We had a full schedule lined up for 2020 which, of course, was completely cancelled. So now that 2021 is here and it’s safe to reconnect, we’re just chomping at the bit to get back together, our practices have just really rekindled that connection that we have and made us even more enthusiastic about getting back out in front of the people that like to see us.

Q: Let’s discuss the material you put together for your shows. Have you been working on some new stuff?
Goulette: Well, we kind of consider ourselves more of like a Woodstock tribute band almost. I mean, three of us have some original music but that’s not really what our demographic wants to hear. They’re all old like we are so they like to come out and hear songs that they are familiar with, so we just figured after taking a break that not only did we need to have some fresh songs but that our audience would probably like to hear some new things, as well.

Q: How did that turn out?
Goulette: As we do, we collaborated on song selection and came up with a handful of new songs that we’re excited about. We’re excited to play anyway (chuckle) but to have some new music to offer makes it even better.

Q: Okay, so how do you go about choosing which songs to cover?
Goulette: Well, a lot of it starts with the fact that we’re all around the same age and we all grew up listening to the same type of music; so we kind of look for songs that can feature some of our vocal skills. We’re a little different than your typical cover band because all four of us sing and we really enjoy harmonies — Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Eagles songs — those are the songs that really let people hear how our voices work together, so that’s one of our focuses. And then, of course, the other one is just: Is it a fun song, is it something people want to hear?

Q: Well, with you doing covers exclusively, I guess CDs and other recordings are probably not an issue, right?
Goulette: Well, as The Fossils, probably not. I wouldn’t rule anything out, though. Randy Gould {guitarist} has written a bunch of good music, he’s published some of it online, and Dan Casavant {guitarist} has always been a great composer and songwriter, and he’s got some nice songs; but music for us, as much as it’s wonderful, at this time in our lives everything is coming together. Most of the guys are retired now, I’m still working a little bit, but it’s just a great moment for us to be able to enjoy music together, we’re not looking to be famous, we’re just having a wonderful time and making the most of it.

Q: Now, The Fossils began with only three members, correct?
Goulette: Yes, it was Dan, Randy and I only because Jim was in Southern Maine and we weren’t sure to what extent we were going to be playing, so it was just a fun little trio that we started with. But we quickly realized that Jim O’Neil, our percussion player, has a lot to offer and when we did play together a few times it was kind of obvious that that was the missing link; it gave us the opportunity to play venues where people could dance more. The three of us, when we started out, there was no drums or percussion (chuckle), so we were more of a Peter, Paul & Mary style, adding the stronger rhythm section really expanded our venues and our audience. And Jim is a multi-talented musician, on some of our songs he plays guitar and he plays electronic drums as well as acoustic percussion, it’s pretty amazing what he can do with his technology.

Q: And he sings, too!
Goulette: He does … oh, yeah he does! All four of us sing lead on different songs, so it’s a very well-balanced spread of who does what part. And the most amazing thing to me, with our vocals, is when we get together for a new song we just all naturally gravitate to the proper harmony, we all have sort of a different range that comes naturally. Sometimes it’s amazing even to us that, wow, that’s the first time we’ve played that song and the vocals seem to be right on point.

Q: Now, this show is happening at The Elm in Waterville … what do you think of that new performing space?
Goulette: It’s a wonderful venue … I can’t believe the resources that went into it, my involvement has been primarily with the stage, sound system and light system, and technology. It’s becoming one of the best places that I’ve ever played, it’s a beautiful venue, it’s great!

Q: Is there anything, Greg, that you’d like me to pass on to the readers of this article?
Goulette: Well, I don’t really have any pearls of wisdom other than the fact that it’s been a tough last year-and-a-half for everybody, us included, and we’ve been patiently waiting for the chance to get back out there and see all our friends again, and we’re looking forward to it. (www.facebook.com/thefossilsmusic)

Lucky Clark has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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