© www.daredevil.de 1999 R.I.P




A lot of stoner lovers probably know Chris Goss for being the producer, who created Kyuss´s desert sound. But what a lot of people nowadays might not really be aware of is that he´s got his own band, Masters of Reality, for over ten years now and they´re still going strong with a great new CD in 1999, called "Welcome to the Western Lodge".
This CD also brought them over to Europe last year for some extensive touring with great reviews everywhere.
What other reasons do we need to hop in the tourbus together with Chris after another great concert at the Effenaar in Eindhoven on a dark night somewhere in September 1999? I guess none.
So, after making himself a nice little smoke and getting into a comfortable position, the front-man was ready to talk.


DD: "Welcome to the Western Lodge" is the third full length Studio release in the history of the band. The second one "Sunrise on the Sufferbus" goes way back to 1992 and initially a third CD was planned to hit the Stores some 3 or 4 years ago. This really needs some explanation.

The reason why it happened... We recorded a record for Epic in 1995 which is already four years ago -the 90's flew by and I'm thankful for that too actually- and they didn't hear a single on it, you know..., single. They said, how could we bring this to radio and I was like: let's split ways, fine.

That delayed the record by quite a while. And I've been producing so many other bands and it just eats a lot of time. Especially if you work with a band that's not signed to a label that you really like. To develop them, find them a record deal, finance a record, put together a plan for the band and find them the right management. When I love a band they become friends and we usually Start talking and hanging out on a day to day basis. So it becomes quite involved. For example I did an accomplishment in the States with a band called "The Flys". The same thing, I got a shit little demo on cassette but heard good songs. And now, two and a half years later we sold half a million records. So it takes a lot of time and in the meantime, whenever I have a few days when I'm not doing that with a band, I'm working on my own stuff.
But it's always in the back of my mind. I think it's knowing what to apply. If you're producing other artists and you're an artist yourself, it's learning what parts of yourself to apply to the different projects. You have to give yourself wholeheartedly but still there's a vault in the back of my mind where I put away Masters of Reality ideas that wouldn't suit the band I'm working with. That's how I separate it. I suppose the closest way to put it, but it's not quite correct, it's almost like Masters of Reality is my hobby. I just love making records, whether it's other people's or Masters of Reality records. When the tape is rolling in the studio, nothing else matters in the whole world. A bomb can go of outside and I don't give a shit, we don't stop the tape! And that point of focus is a good way to pass your time, I believe.

DD: You just said you produce stuff and you play music yourself. What do you like most, if you can tell anything about it, because it's so different?

What I like most is the rare occasion when I'm jamming with some musicians and you hit a groove that removes you from your body, that makes your eyes roll back in your head and almost fall over. I tend to jam with musicians who enjoy repetition. Just play the same riff for 25-30 minutes, turn it upside down and turn it sideways, so it almost becomes a blues-riff mantra where the repetition of it all makes you leave your body. And when it's grooving and you look at the other guys and you smile, it's almost a shamanistic experience, you know. That's my favourite part of the music business. I love the other stuff too, but when that feeling happens during a jam, that's the best thing in the world.

DD: Now, let's go back a little to the music. The album you recorded for Epic, is that actually "Welcome to the Western Lodge".

No, that record was gonna be called "Absynth". Then I saw Trent Reznor and all the Absenth revival that's going on right now. I thought, no I don't like, so then it was "El Valva" and later it was "The Ballad of Jodie Frostie".
But anyway, making a long story short, the album was completed and was sitting on the shelfs, and I got permission from Sony to re-record three of the songs on that album for the live album we did at the Viper Room. And it just so happened that the three versions we did at the Viper Room where better than the ones we did for Sony. So the people who bought that record got a better version of three of the songs that we actually recorded originally. Very happy about that. And than we had permission to put "Baby Mae" on the new record.
And then around Christmas 1998, we snug "The Bailad of Jodie Frostie", which is like an eight minute long kind of strange piece of music with cellos and violins and stuff, on the website to be downloaded. So at this moment almost all of the best of what was done for that record leaked out without me legally losing my ass. So it's worked out well and if people wanna find the stuff they can. But I'm glad "Baby Mae" made the record because I was really pleased with that song.

DD: The new record, by the way, is received really well in the press all over Europe. How do you feel about that, because you've been away with your own music for such a long time.

It's cool man. I suppose this record is a strange little record and I didn't know what to expect. It's a change from what we've been doing. Ideas that have been piling up for a number of years and it turned out kind of dark and cynical with black humour. I'm kinda happy with it, I needed to make one of those. Less blues and a little bit more like fin de siécle doom quality to it, but from hopefully a different humorous angle.

DD: You already mentioned it: the music on the new record is really different from everything you've done before, but still the fans seem to like both the old and the new material. Does it make you feel good to see the old fans didn't back out because of the change in direction?

It's funny, for a long time I thought that if you're a rock and roll artist you liked old boogie and swing kind of stuff, I think from the same school that Jimmy Page came from. But then there's the side of, say Jimmy Page for example, that is a very sophisticated and mystical side. So there's this country/rockabilly side of Jimmy Page and the serious mystical side of Jimmy Page and Zeppelin managed to mix those two sides together and get away with it, to walk the tight rope between the two styles. And it's a really nice position to be in. I always wanted to have a band that could do Jailhouse Rock and not sound silly doing it. It would be silly for Peter Gabriel to do Jailhouse rock, but actually if he probably put his brains to it, he could do a great version of it, ha ha. To try to stay on the Keith Richard side of things and less on the Peter Gabriel side of things and not be afraid or ashamed to break out some basic rock and roll stuff. I'm in love with Radiohead and Marilyn Manson, but I don't know if either of those bands could do Jailhouse Rock or even if the era calls for it, if the synchronicity, the mood of the public calls for it at the time. It happens with drugs, it happens with music. And when it comes down to a man, I just love to boogie. That always wins out in the end and I can't help it. I'm white trash.

DD: (At this point in the interview it is already 1:30 in the morning and because I've got to get up again at 6:00, it's about time to fire one final question in Chris's direction.) In 1999 Masters of Reality did a lot of festivals and a lot of club gigs. Which do you like the most and if you like them both, what do you like about the festivals and what about the club gigs?

What I like about the festivals is saying what you got to say in 35 minutes. It's a challenge, you have to be aggressive. But on the other side you don't have much time to take anyone a long trip. I kind of miss that at the festivals though; when you have dips in the set and bring them around slowly again. So what I like about the festivals is the challenge and the down side. The clubs are cool for being able to take the crowd anywhere. To change the songs, to jam on them, bring them way down low, let them build up again.
At a festival you really don't get that kind of a chance. What I don't like about the clubs is that most of them are pretty shitholish. Effenaar is an exception, it's a nice club, but throughout Europe hard rock right now is Underground again. And therefore some ofthe clubs are like the sewers of Paris. But I guess rock´s got to stay dirty somehow...