Epic Soundtracks, a drummer and songwriter whose 20-year career
encompassed early punk rock and classic, Beach Boy-style pop, was
found dead in his London apartment on Saturday.
Initial reports estimated that Soundtracks, born Paul Godley,
had been dead between one and two weeks, according to Tom
Prendergast of Bar/None Records, the label that released
Soundtracks’ solo albums. Friends had grown worried when
Soundtracks didn’t return calls, and contacted his parents and
brother, musician Nikki Sudden. They in turn called Soundtrack’s
landlord, who discovered the body. At this point, Prendergast says,
nobody is sure of the cause of death, although a suicide is
suspected. An autopsy will be performed soon.
Raised in Leamington Spa, a small town just north of London,
Soundtracks and Sudden formed the Swell Maps in the early ’70s.
Encouraged by the punk explosion, the Maps released their first
single in 1978 and recorded two albums before breaking up in 1980.
While neither album was released in the U.S., their anarchic
combination of aggressive guitar, pop hooks and random noise
influenced Sonic Youth, among others.
Soundtracks remained with his brother, playing drums on
Sudden’s solo albums and joining Sudden and Dave Kusworth in the Jacobites in 1984. In 1986, Soundtracks left to
join Crime and City Solution, playing on “Suit of Lights,” before
leaving the band to form These Immortal Souls with Roland S.
None of these projects foreshadowed Soundtracks’ more delicate
solo work. Mixing the classic Brill Building pop of Carole King and
Neil Diamond with the yearning emotionalism of Laura Nyro and his
hero, Brian Wilson, Soundtracks won fans among fellow musicians for
the shaggy intimacy and lived-in vocals of 1993’s “Rise Above” and
1994’s “Sleeping Star.” One particularly ardent admirer was Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando, with whom
Soundtracks co-wrote the song “C’Mon Daddy” for the Lemonheads’
“Car Button Cloth” album.
Soundtracks’ solo records came closest to representing his
personality — soft-spoken and rumpled, with a dry humor. He could
tell an interviewer with a straight face that Epic Soundtrax, the
soundtrack division of Epic Records, had to change the spelling of
its name because he owned the rights to those words. But he was
also prone to bouts of romantic me