gogoPilot is an indie rock/pop outfit from Charlotte, NC. The band formed in 2003, as a mostly acoustic ensemble featuring pretty, melodic songs, eclectic instrumentation such as violin, cello, accordion and lap steel, and the standard bass, guitar and drums. Original influences included a diverse collection of artists, ranging from the Beatles, Burt Bacharach and the Zombies, to modern acts such as Wilco, Guided By Voices and Those Bastard Souls. gogoPilot also mixed post-punk influences like early Echo and The Bunnymen and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions with the political leanings of the Clash thrown in for good measure. The band is the brain-child of singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeffrey Williams, whose past projects have included Lodestar, Iodine and Cellophane
Though band members have fluctuated in past years, 2005’s six song “maxie-e.p.”, Armageddon Lullabies, was primarily recorded with the help of guitarist and sidekick Chris Ravenscroft, drummer Chad Wilson and bassist Chris Lonnon. Other musicians appearing on the record include Rodney Lanier (on lap steel, accordion and guitar), Ben Kennedy (on cello and violin), Vance Carlisle (on piano), Reeve Coobs (on vocal harmonies) and Chris Walldorf (on percussion). Produced by wunderkind Joe Kuhlmann (owner of 36th Street Studios, as well as Charlotte's premier acoustic venue, The Evening Muse), the result is a c.d. that features strong song writing, melodic instrumentation and introspective songs about everything form the current political environment to very adult problems such as alcoholism, the drudgery of working life, relationships falling apart, and people-watching in an Italian train station
In mid-2006, gogoPilot shifted artistic directions. Williams’ songwriting drifted back to the familiar terrain of his former band, Lodestar. The band’s power pop/indie rock/Americana sound has thrust the band into the spotlight as one of Charlotte’s more popular and influential original acts. gogoPilot is currently playing Charlotte’s premier venues, such as the Visulite Theatre and the Evening Muse, and playing shows in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Currently, the band's sound is moving in the direction of established indie acts such as Wilco, Josh Rouse and Pedro The Lion, while staying true to the roots of time-honored acts such as Elvis Costello, The Police, The Jam, The Who, The Beatles and the Clash. As always, strong songwriting is the focus and Williams is still penning often-challenging songs that show no fear of subject matter that some writers consider tough to handle: divorce, alcoholism, right-wing fundamentalism, the Iraq war and salvation, just to name a few. Williams’ gift for cloaking sometimes gritty subject matter in delicate and beautiful melodies is a rare find. Never maudlin, the end result for the listener is cathartic and uplifting
Released in September of 2007, the band's second studio album, “Manana mon Frere” (Tomorrow, my Brother) was recorded in Williams’ home studio (Wasteland). Williams is also filling his time playing the role of producer for Reeve Coobs' debut solo recording, which is due out in 2007. (Coobs is a member of gogoPilot as well as one of Charlotte’s most popular female folk outfits, The Near Misses.
gogoPilot’s current line-up is Williams on guitar and vocals, gogoPilot veteran Chris Ravenscroft on guitars and Tom Stanfel (formerly of Static and Clifton) on drums and percussion. Matt Mangum joined the band on bass in 2007. Reeve Coobs plays piano, percussion and provides harmony vocals with the band when her Near Misses' schedule permits, and Ben Kennedy, from local band Pyramid, joins the band on violin and cello occasionally.