great and unique MASTERS OF REALITY have just released
their new album Deep In The Hole.
Mastermind Chris Goss took the time to do an interview.
But maybe he has been very busy, had a bad day, or just
didn't like the questions...
The new MOR album, Deep In The Hole, has been recorded at your ranch in Joshua Tree, California. So the sessions must have been very relaxed, right?
I rented a vacant house and made a temporary studio out of it. Josh Homme was simultaneously recording the new 'Desert Sessions' nearby. So in short, the whole recording process was a party.
Nice cover artwork. Since you are not the thinnest guy, how did you manage to crawl into a guitar? :-)
What do you mean? The album cover or my question? Anyway, unlike the last album, Welcome To The Western Lodge, the new album is no effort of a 2-piece band (you and drummer John Leamy), but features a collective of friends and colleagues (Josh Homme, Mark Lanegan, Troy Van Leeuwen etc). What led you to that decision?
For the first time, lots of my friends were available to play on a Masters record. They are usually touring.
The album is out on Brownhouse Records in Europe. Will it also get a US release?
I sell them on our website. I really don't care if a US label puts it out or not.
Are you so disillusioned about the US music biz? Hmm. When and how did you get in touch with drummer John Leamy?
I've known him since about 1986. He was a student at Syracuse University. He was very cute. In 1988 I commissioned him to begin painting 'The Blue Garden' LP cover.
Has he been in other bands before MOR?
He was in a band called B-Solution when we met. Later he joined Surgery.
Like you mentioned, John has already been doing the cover artwork for the self titled MOR debut album. He also did the cover of the new album. Is he also working for other bands?
He also currently plays in a band called Dr. Mars. He lives in New York.
Well, I actually meant his work as cover designer. But that's OK. With no stable lead guitar player, MOR seem to concentrate more on groove and feeling than on psychedelic guitar solos like on 'The Blue Garden' or 'Kill The King' from the debut. Right?
I am very glad that we agree on that one. You dedicated the new album to Stanley Kubrick. Has he influenced your work?
Probably. He was a great artist.
The last MOR album Welcome To The Western Lodge has been quite inacessible. Whats your opinion of it, two years after the release?
I still love it. I don't think it's inaccessible at all.
Sorry for hurting your feelings. On the last MOR release I missed those impressive walls of sound like on 'Domino' from the debut. 'Third Man On The Moon' (one of the best MOR tracks ever) goes back to that direction. Do you agree?
It wasn't an intentional decision like: "Hey, let's make a song like 'Domino' again." And also I think Welcome to the Western Lodge was a huge wall of sound, and I obviously think you cannot climb over it.
Maybe the wall was too huge for a small guy like me. Recently, you have been doing a solo gig at the Knitting Factory, performing songs from your whole career. Please give us some impressions from this show.
The show was like an acoustic jam with friends in my living room. Pure fun.
Lets talk a bit about the past: The MOR debut album has been voted one of the 250 best rock albums of all times by the big German mag 'Rock Hard'. Do you feel flattered?
I thought Sunrise On The Sufferbus was a much better record. Top 50.
If you want to complain, here's the address: www.rockhard.de. Tim Harrington (guitar) and Vinnie Ludovico (drums) left the band after the first album and formed a band called Bogeymen (album, There Is No Such Thing As...). Later, Tim released two more albums (H and Master Frequency). Do you know what he and Vinnie are doing now?
No, and I really don't care.
Can you please give us a short summary of when and how you met drum legend Ginger Baker (ex-Cream)?
Met at a BBQ, jammed, got along incredibly. Made LP.
Well, you shouldn't have taken the words "short summary" too seriously, hehe. With tracks like 'Madonna' or 'Ants In The Kitchen', the second album Sunrise On The Sufferbus featured a special kind of humour. In what mood have you been at that time?
Happy and stoned.
Ginger left for the semi-Cream reunion with Gary Moore in 1994. Did you feel his departure coming?
He didn't leave for that reason. He left because he didn't want to tour anymore.
Why did bass player Googe also leave the band after the second album?
He became more interested in computers than music. I love Googe. Great bass player.
Do you know what he is doing now? Are you still in touch?
I am glad to hear that. Please send him many greetings next time you speak. Producer Daniel Rey (Circus Of Power, etc) has also been part of the band for a while. Why didnt it work out?
Daniel is a good guy, but his musical personality was a bit more uptight than ours. He would try guitar playing solos over and over in the studio. The first one was always his best, but he didn't believe it.
Can you please tell us more about the unreleased album The Ballad Of Jody Frosty from 1995?
Sorry for asking. Back to the present: You will tour in Europe with Mark Lanegan this November, accompanied by Nick Oliveri and Josh Homme. What can we expect from this dream team?
A big wet dream.
Will Mark do a solo performance or also sing for MOR?
Only the U.K. shows are with Mark. I'm sure we'll end up collaborating on a song or two. I don't know.
So are you sure or don't you know? Brendon McNichol (guitar) did the 1999 MOR tour. Why wont he take part this time?
Because I have a chance to tour with Josh for a change. It's about fucking time. We've worked together for 11 years now.
With Josh Homme, you seem to have found something like a spiritual alter ego. Do you agree?
What the fuck is a spiritual alter ego?
Well, I am no psychologist. You should maybe check some encyclopedia for the exact definition.
We are a.) good friends b.) have similar musical taste.
That sounds reasonable. Do you plan to get a stable MOR lineup again or are you happy with the current situation and the guest performances of your friends?
I don't know.
What can you tell us about the side-project The Eagles Of Death Metal?
Eagles Of Death Metal will be recording an album soon.
That answer indeed leaves no questions. Can you please give us comments on some of the bands you produced over the years:
I am a weirdo.
I Love You:
I don't kiss ass.
I'm fat and ugly.
I don't care about the music business as much as I do about my personal life with my wife. I'd much rather stay home and hang out.
What do you think are the reasons for MOR always having been a cult band with loyal fans but without commercial breakthrough?
The music itself should be a good enough comment.
Where will your main focus be in the next years? On your work as producer or as MOR band leader?
I will go where my musical instincts take me. Maybe nowhere... I really don't care.
Sorry to hear that. Bye anyway, thanks a lot for the interview.
Thanx and love to the people who've supported the band... Chris.
So what do we learn from this interview? Chris likes the word 'cute' and is no friend of my comments about the last MOR album as well as my questions in general. For more info about his great band, check out www.mastersofreality.com