Masters Of Reality returned in August 2009 with a new album
Pine / Cross Dover. The Sabbath influenced (and titled) stoner
band have taken on a wide range of inputs for this album, with
urban rhythms and John McLaughlin mixing with Beatles melodies and
touches of Cream and Led Zeppelin too.
If anything the new album is more experimental, with a couple of
winding instrumentals, of which the album's closing track
‘Alfalfa' runs at over 12 minutes.
The band have often had a roundabout of members coming and going,
with mainstay vocalist/guitarist Chris Goss here joined by
longtime drummer (and bassist) John Leamy. There are a host of
guests, including members of Eagles Of Death Metal and Queens Of
The Stone Age.
Albums are few and far between, something the label are happy
with, as Goss is a busy man with a long list of production credits
to his name.
How are you enjoying your time in London?
I got in late last night, so far so good, apart from the £10
bottle of water I had to get at the hotel last night. I always
forget, you need to be reminded. I got up to my room last night
and I was thirsty and I thought "Oh Shit", I'm on the 17th floor,
I've been travelling like crazy the last 4 days what am I gonna
My minibar wouldn't open, it's controlled by computer at the front
desk, so I told them to sort it and I was waiting and waiting so
then I phoned them to bring me up a bottle of water, still water,
and it was nearly £10 or something like that, I can get a bottle
of vodka for that.
Crazy, but [holding up items taken from the hotel] revenge
(laughs). Water replaced cigarettes for me. I quit smoking a
couple of years ago and I learned to keep a bottle of water with
me all the time but the airports fucked that up. So there's
periods where my water gets taken away and there's times where you
don't have time to grab another, you get into town and it's late,
you know, the water dilemma.
Some interesting rhythms on the new album. Was that
Oh yes, that's what we wanted. That was the plan, to make it a
very rhythmic record. Yeah, absolutely, from the start.
What other influences have you taken on board for this album?
Everything in the stew man. It's almost become a subconscious
thing at this point, there's so much in there, I don't know if
it's a rip off anymore. There's been so much input and output over
the years. You know when McCartney called his record Memory Almost
Full, and I'm starting to relate to that. It's everything, right.
I listen to everything to a fault. I tend to drool too much over
too much so there's 30 something years of listening gone into
I thought "Work In The Silk" (a more dub bass number) was
That's a little nod to Jah Wobble, really, yeah, I really miss his
stuff. I hear he's living up in Manchester now. He was the bassist
in Public Image and yeah, that's what it was.
What's the story behind "Alfalfa"? (12 minute track)
Chris A friend of mine, Mark Christian, who played guitar on a
country record, last year, for two actresses; two pretty well
known actresses, comedic actresses who did a country record. They
asked me to produce it and Mark did a lot of guitar, he's a good
picker, country Fender guitar picker, classic country playing,
country swing. I had him come by and jam when we were cutting the
drums for the album.
Mark, and Brendan McNichol, former guitarist with Queens Of The
Stone Age and John my drummer and myself were at the studios, we
were the four musicians who were there at that moment, and we just
said let's jam, and that's what happened. No plan, that was it.
John (Leamy, longtime drummer)'s been with you for quite a
while now hasn't he?
Oh yeah, we've been friends for over 20 years, and he's been
playing in the band for nearly as long.
Do you still have a revolving door policy to the other
musicians you work with?
Yeah, unfortunately yes. If I could afford to have Mike Garson, a
good friend of mine, he's David Bowie's keyboard player, piano
player extraordinaire, if I could afford to have Mike in the band
full time he'd be a permanent member. I haven't asked him if he
wants to do this tour yet, I don't want to insult him with the
We're touring in October (2009) for a couple of weeks, and there
are some people I would love to have in the band permanently, and
if we could tour enough and be managed well enough to pay the
people I wanted that would be wonderful. It's so few and far
between at the moment that you never know when a little luck will
happen. So we'll see.
What can fans expect from the tour?
Disappointment (laughs). A refund (laughs). If they expect
disappointment and get disappointment then they won't be
disappointed (laughs even more). Probably an emphasis on the new
material but kind of a history of too, we have a lot of ground to
cover, a lot of texture. That is basically my problem, in the next
week or two, to put that together and get the members together and
that will decide what it'll sound like, who's in the band, really,
so we'll see. We'll see whether it's just loud guitar rock or
something more crazy.
What other projects are you involved with at the moment? Do you
still do a lot of production?
Always, let's see, just finished mixing a new record by Creature
Of The Atom Brain, they're really cool, I'm always in a state of
negotiation of the next thing or two, but nothing I can confirm or
reveal, but I may be getting involved with some TV work I'm
looking forward to, things like that, but the thing that's on my
mind the most is this tour in October.
That pretty much overrides everything else at the moment. I really
like to formulate what I'm about to do and how to do it, and with
John, I'll be on the phone with him this weekend and kind of plan
the assault. That's so prominent I can't think of anything else.
How did the deal with label Mascot come about? Have you got a
good relationship with them?
Oh yeah, Ed van Zijl (label boss) is very understanding of the
artist point of view, to the point where I'm working on my record
and he'll ask "How's the record coming on Chris?" and I'll say
"I'm not finished yet, I'm running late", and he's like "That's
OK, if you're happy with the record, I'm happy with the record".
And I believe he truly wants me to deliver a record that I'm
pleased with. It doesn't get any better than that, it really
doesn't. It's obvious not a major label that can give me a million
dollars to do it but I like economics in music, it makes you work
smarter, makes you work faster. If someone gives you a million
dollars, you'll find a way to spend it and it's stupid. You should
make fucking 50 records for a million dollars. So anyway, that's
the Mascot story, we've been working together now for 11 years.
And so far so good.
So no chance of you putting out a Chinese Democracy then?
Laughs. What a coop man. Unbelievable man. No record should take
that long. If ever there was much ado about nothing. I haven't
even heard the record, he (Axl) took the curiosity out of it, it
took so long.
You expect the Wagner Ring Trilogy out of it, it took 12 years,
and not using Brian May's parts, you know, forget it, he blew it.
How long until, I mean, do you think the phone call's already been
made from Axl to Slash? I think, you watch, he spent $12million
making Chinese Democracy, Geffen isn't going to give him another
fucking penny. So, unless he gets that band together again...
Singer needs the band, the band needs the singer....
Voila! And there you go, the ultimate exposure of what it's all
about (Laughs) and then the announcement's made "Guess what
they're back together" now there's a fucking surprise (Laughs).
Who else would you like to work with?
Maybe about 10 years ago I would have said Cher, but that would
have been in porn movies, ah let's see, I would love to work with
an old hero of mine, Jon Anderson, lead singer of Yes. I'm going
to see him play Saturday night. I just love his voice so much. I
could listen to him recite the phone book.
He talks about when, on stage he was talking about when he was
younger in his home town, I think it's near the Scottish border
because he has a very strange accent, and the way he says Bingo,
like his band would play his local church or school and in between
sets they'd play Bingo.
I could just listen to him speak and I'm fascinated by the tone of
his voice and I've been fascinated by the tone of his singing
since I was 10 years old. And still to this day I just love to
hear him sing. So I go see his solo stuff too. Yes is touring
without him right now, with a stand-in, so much for that, I'm
going to see the real thing.
Who else did you grow up listening to?
Everybody. I was actually reading today that Gordon Waller from
Peter & Gordon died, and I was able to grow up in an era to catch
the Beatles and see them on Ed Sullivan to right now liking Lady
Gaga, that's a lot of ground, it's 40 something years, and of
enjoying anti-pop music too.
Trying to find a sense of humour, or intentions of a lot of
people, their delivery, everything. A lot of things people expect
I like, like I never bought a Hawkwind album, you can't like
everything or buy everything. I don't get too obscure, well I do
in my own prog fusion world, like 70s Yes, 70s King Crimson with
Do you go back to that first King Crimson album?
Yes I have it sure, probably the best use of Mellotron ever, even
before I heard Space Oddity, Rick Wakeman played the Mellotron on
that for David Bowie, so yeah that first Crimson album was pretty
What was the first record you bought?
The first single was I Should Have Known Better / A Hard Day's
Night, with the gloss picture sleeve, and the first album was Out
Of Our Heads, The Rolling Stones, with Satisfaction.
The single I bought because, I was in a go-kart, you know a
homemade cart to roll down a hill, and the wheels flew off, and it
flipped, I flew off the go-kart and landed on my elbows.
I had to go to hospital to get the stones taken out of my elbow
and on the way home it was like "you were so brave, we'll stop and
buy you a Beatles record" and that's how I got that, then my aunt
for my birthday took me to a record store and said I could have
six 45s or one album, ‘cause there were 12 songs on an album, so I
got Out Of Our Heads by Rolling Stones. I was six or seven years
old or something like that, and brain damaged ever since. I love
the cover especially with Brian Jones, those bangs right in his
eyes, that's how I wanted to be, that was it right there.
What was the last record you bought?
That's funny because I can't remember. I tell you what it's going
to be, it's going to be the new Marilyn Manson CD, I haven't heard
it yet. I'm good friends with him, you think he would send it to
me, I nearly worked on it.
But anyway, the last one I actually bought, they're an Algerian
band, how do you pronounce it? It's something like (then spells
out) t i m a r e m or something like that, it sounds like Algerian
blues. North African rocking rhythm with a guy who plays electro
guitar with his fingers it's really simple but that's the last
record I bought. Shit and I can't ever remember how to fuckin' say
What fact about you would most surprise your fans?
That I'm really lazy and I like chocolate milk. I prefer ice cold
chocolate milk to beer, by far. Very rock'n'roll (laughs). Nothing
too drastic I suppose.
What are your main interests outside of music?
Errrm. I'm a fan of media. Or media analysis, like demographics.
Watching particular words get popular, slogans, Like in the last
few years the word ‘journey', especially in Los Angeles, but the
word ‘journey' in reality shows, you know, like "I want to thank
you for this wonderful journey", you talk about this journey that
a movie does for you.
And catch phrases like that are really stupid. And what's amazing
is how you can start them yourself and watch them, next thing you
know you see them on TV.
The entertainment world is a very small world. There's 200 people
who control Hollywood, you know, writers and producers, a few
hundred media executives, they hear a word or a phrase...
I made comments that ended up on Seinfeld before, for instance
remember when Saturday Night Live and Dan Ackroyd did a skit about
Juliet Childs, where he cuts himself and there's blood going
everywhere, well about 2 weeks before that I was in a bar in New
York City, in 1976, I was just a kid, doing my Juliet Childs
impersonation, and Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi were 3 feet away,
and 2 weeks later Dan is on Saturday Night Live doing my
So I watch that, watch things like that start. Like Madonna
talking about her spiritual journey, her three week spiritual
journey. That's it, in general, watching civilisation fall apart
and crumble. Like John Lydon is funny, it's all falling to bits
Message for your fans?
Ha Ha. Message for my fans? Turn off the TV.
Interview © July 2009
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