Matt Goss

As Designer Magazine flicks through the tour schedule prior to our interview with Matt Goss it's clear he's either got all the bases covered or a schizophrenic booking agent. Tonight in Manchester is Matt's smallest ever gig and literally as far away as you can get from selling Wembley Stadium out 15 nights in a row...but closer inspection of the schedule reveals that a sell out gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire (recently home to Radiohead) and performing in front of 50,000 people at Gay Pride in London are later in the week.

Later in the year matt releases his "Face The Wind" album and a date at the Royal Albert Hall is planned for early in 2004. We caught up with Matt to find out why he never took the money and ran for a Bros Reunion Tour, ended up a reality TV or took the easy route back to stardom. Matt Goss is a true believer in the slow and steady win the race.

Q: It's halfway through your first tour in over a decade. How does it feel to be actually back in front of the fans?
A: It's amazing. Were doing theatres, rock & roll, outdoor gigs - every type of venue and you can really connect with the fans that way. I was in a hotel in London the other day and there were still fans waiting outside to me and last year I had over 700,000 hits last year on the website.

If you weren't there the first time round it's hard to understand it, but the level of devotion is still there. When we signed HMV there were 11,000 people outside one record shop so there was nothing really like it - we had to travel by helicopters just to get in. I think that's what it was, it was a movement - there was a uniform where everyone wore ripped jeans and a white t-shirt and it wasn't that hard to follow.

Would you believe this 6 ft bruiser came up to me the other day and said "I met my wife because of you and we had the time of our life's". It's moments like that, that remind you why not to stop.

Q: So where did the ideas for the Bros uniform come from and do you think pop acts today make an effort?
A: We got them from the Buffalo Boys, you know like the bomber jacket, white t-shirt and levi's. There was a club night at the Astoria years ago in London called Buffalo style and that's where it come from.

I don't know about the clothes, but I do think there is something to be said for not always taking the safe route. It's about having your own personality and charisma and today I'm not in a very good mood because i'm knackered so you might not get the sound bites you want. But pop acts are missing out today, there's something to be said for putting pen to paper and connecting so people know in 10 years time. Do you remember when you wrote that? Do you still feel the same? Yes I do or no I don't. Lyrics mean a lot too me and I love Stevie Wonder cos I love his lyrics and I love the Police because I think Stings a great writer.

Q: Why did you decide to come back now because I remember you briefly made a re-appearance in the mid 90s?
A: To describe it as a comeback is ridiculous to me. I still had 2 hits in 1995 and I didn't do any promotion for them. It wasn't a comeback, I chose to release 2 songs and they both made the Top 40 so people can call it whatever they want, I don't really give a shit. This is me coming back to play the music I miss doing and I had four hits last year all on a Number 1 album or a Number 1 single with the Stuart Little soundtrack. It made me realize that I wanted to perform again rather than be behind the scenes.

I think the Wembley Stadium gig was our last show together and for me I thought it was a nice way to go out. It's bollocks really, I should play whenever I feel like it whether it be in a big or small venue. Connecting with the fans again I've had some of the best times of my life and this is just the beginning as well. The records not even out. Some people get the record out and then go on tour and that's just too easy. I just wanted to go out and reconnect, iron out the creases and then go out and play a slightly bigger tour.

Q: I was reading some of the fan reviews on the website and I was surprised to see you still play the old songs. Did you not feel it necessary to cut yourself from the past?
A: I'm only doing 2 Bros songs, so it's an hour and a half of people having a mad time. You've got to understand they're iconic pop songs and the new songs are standing up strong next to them. I wouldn't be back if what I was doing was shit, I wouldn't want to put people through that or embarrass myself or others, so I know that sound is really good and the lads on-stage are giving 115% on stage. If you want to come out and have a laugh and sing your heart out because that's what its about. It's not a safe show.

Q: Lyrically you're really touching quite deep and personal subjects on your new material. How hard was it to avoid the usual pitfalls of banal pop records?
A: I've been through too much. I lost my sister in the middle of my so called best times which is very bittersweet to go through. That's why there was the odd stern face because there's a tremendous guilt that goes along with losing your sister and then having a number 1 record. Also I've lived in 3 countries in the last 6 years so I think there's just a tremendous wealth of experience. The people who don't follow me won't understand, but the people that do know me know that I do say what's on my mind in my words - some of it's heavy and some of it's completely light-hearted.

Q: This gig tonight in Manchester is the smallest gig you've ever done in your life. How does it feel to actually see the whites of the fans eyes for the first time?
A: I could look at it as being the smallest gig on the tour or I could get up on stage and have a laugh about it. I've learnt a lot about myself - I probably wouldn't have done this show if they'd have asked me in LA but now I'm on the road I understand it's not just about the bigger gigs, it's about shows like this as well. I know i'll never play a venue this size again and were already talking about doing the Royal Albert Hall in March next year. I chose to savour this because I have the luxury of knowing there are bigger things on the horizon next year. I have no doubt I can get to Wembley Stadium again, this is a movement again!!

Q: You've been away for years just song writing. Was there any stage you were in a pub, a bands up there and you thought I'll just get up there and give it my all?
A: I've got up in Barbados and sang. Two New Years Eve's ago I was in the Lainsborough Hotel in the piano bar and I got on the piano and sang. I sung with Patti Labelle about 3 months ago in the Bahamas, I've known Patti for some years now, and both of us sang our hearts out while I played the piano. There was a half full bar with people she knew and I knew. When your singing with Patti Labelle in a bar in the Caribbean with the sea behind me. What's better that or Wembley Stadium? It's all relative. That's a life memory for me!!!

Q: The thing with you is that even if people don't like you as an artist that have to at least respect you for not taking the easy route of celebrity Big Brother and the like. Would you agree?
A: I've been offered hundreds of thousands of pounds to do a Bros Reunion gig and to come and do all the hits. I'm a better songwriter now and I've got much more stuff to say. People shouldn't settle just for Bros. Bros was my Saturday job and this is my career!!!

I'd rather paint that just be featured in a magazine for the sake of it. We did 15 nights in a row and we broke so many records and I have respect for other people as well. I know this is a fantastic record and the people that love the record are as credible as you can get. There's not actually that many co-writes on the actual finished records now but one of them is Tommy Simms who wrote "Change The World" with Eric Clapton. I wrote "Carolin" with him which is one of the most personal song on the record and is about my sister who was killed.

I'm still a true believer that slow and steady wins the race. The fact that I'm still pulling people venues 15 years after my first record was released for me personally is an achievement. All I want now in life is to come to this little country that I love and play a gig whenever I want. Anything else above that is gravy!!!

"Watch Me Fall" is released in September
The album follows later in the year
For more info

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