Chris Goss
Chris Goss.jpg
Captain Goss and Homme Tennille.
Background information
Birth Name Chris Goss
Born 17 August 1958
Occupation Musician, Producer
Genres Rock and Roll, Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Desert Rock
Instrument(s) Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Years active Late 1970s - Present
Labels Dali, Def American, Brownhouse, Chrysalis
Associated acts Masters of Reality, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, The Desert Sessions, Mondo Generator, Goon Moon, Screaming Trees, UNKLE, The Mutants

Christopher Ryan Goss is an American record producer and musician. Best known for producing records for Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, he is regarded as an important figure in the development of stoner rock and desert rock genres. Goss is also the lead singer and guitarist of the hard rock band Masters of Reality.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Masters of Reality[edit | edit source]

In 1981 Goss and Tim Harrington started to make experimental home recordings with lo-fi, cheap and/or borrowed equipment that included a Sanyo boombox Rhythm Ace drum machine, a Korg, synthesizers and a Fender Vibroverb amp. The rhythm tracks of synths and a beat recorded on cassette would be played back to "overdub" vocals, guitar, more synthesizers, et cetera. They considered Manson Family as a name for their act, but never actually used it for their performances.[1] They played regularly at CBGB's with a sound reminiscent of Suicide[2] or somewhat like how Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson would sound in the 1990s.[3] Early original songs included "Building the Kingdom," "Voodoo Doll," "Metal Entity," "Cash," "Anchor," "Stones in Every Field" and "Doraldina's Prophecies."

By the late 1980s Masters of Reality would grow into a quartet with the addition of Googe on bass and Vinnie Ludovico on drums, developing a sound with less electronics and more of a rock sound drawing from blues and seventies metal such as Black Sabbath, Cream, Led Zeppelin and King Crimson. A demo tape would reach producer Rick Rubin, who would see the band live in late 1986 and sign the band to Def Jam. According to Goss it was Rubin who would bring out more of that blues rock side.[4] During the recording for the band's debut album Rubin would quit Def Jam and take the band with him to his new label, Def American.

Also known as The Blue Garden, the eponymous Masters of Reality saw release on 24 January 1989 to critical acclaim at the time. Goss got frustrated with the band while touring the debut album and later cited the recording process as a nightmare and opted to never let that happen to him or any band he'd work with again.[5] He quit the tour after Matt Dike invited him to come to Los Angeles and to get signed to his Delicious Vinyl label. They bought the rights from Rubin and released a newly sequenced version of the album with Doraldina's Prophecies as an extra track. Notably the band also played a show with Megadeth and Motorhead as part of BAM Magazine's anniversary.[6] The band even made an appearance in 1990 Steven Seagal movie Marked For Death as Seagal was a fan of the band and personally requested them, which also led to the band interacting with Jimmy Cliff.[7]

In 1992 Masters of Reality would resurface with Goss and Googe alongside drummer Ginger Baker of Cream notoriety. Though initially Baker expressed dread thinking it was going to be a "loud and awful" heavy metal band, Baker warmed up to working with the band once he got to jamming with them.[8] Recording in various studios in California, Masters of Reality would sign to Chrysalis Records and release their second album Sunrise on The Sufferbus on 9 February 1993. Despite their sound being altered to a degree the album was also critically acclaimed, even spawning a top ten hit in "She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)".

Despite this new lineup Baker would not stay with the band and leave shortly after with Victor Indrizzo (Circus of Power, Samiam) taking over on drums. The lineup of Goss, Googe and Indrizzo would then record a full-length in 1994, later titled as The Ballad of Jody Frosty, intended for release in 1995 via Epic Records. However the album would be outright rejected by the label and ultimately shelved, with live and studio versions of the songs surfacing on later albums.

Masters of Reality were quiet for several years as Goss was occupied producing music for other bands in California, working extensively with bands that would shape the desert rock scene among others. However, the band did appear at Johnny Depp's Viper Room night club on 22 and 23 September 1996 for a two-night stand. The end result would be How High The Moon: Live At The Viper Room, released on 10 June 1997 via Malicious Vinyl. Notably this live album also featured Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) on the song "Jindalee Jindalie".

Masters of Reality would establish a new lineup in 1998 to tour Europe surrounding an appearance at Dynamo Festival. This lineup of would consist of Goss, drummer John Leamy (Who would end up becoming the longtime drummer for the band), guitarist Brendon McNichol and bassist Paul Powell. Goss and Leamy would work together to record an album of new material and Welcome To The Western Lodge saw release on 21 June 1999.[9] The same touring lineup would return to Europe that year, adding Mathias Schneeberger on keyboards. Throughout 2000 Goss would work with the likes of Queens of The Stone Age and Ian Astbury among others.

The band's connection to Queens led to Goss and Leamy collaborating with Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegen, Troy Van Leeuwen, Brandon McNichol and others at Rancho de la Luna and an abandoned Joshua Tree cabin, that Goss christened as "Robby's 511 Studio".[10][11] The end result, described as "pretty fucked" by Goss, would be Deep In The Hole released on 15 June 2001 to positive reviews. On 17 October it would be announced that Homme and Oliveri would be joining Masters of Reality for a tour of Europe with Mark Lanegan (Who also participated in sets with MoR).[12] This tour would include a headlining appearance at the seventh edition of Roadburn Festival. A collection of recordings from this tour would be made into a live album entitled Flak 'N' Flight, released on 18 February 2003.

In 2003 Masters of Reality would notably cover "Devil's Radio" for the tribute album Songs From The Material World: A Tribute to George Harrison. Masters of Reality would perform once that year at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles that November (With Tomahawk, The Cramps and Queens of the Stone Age).[13]

The next year on 15 June 2004 saw the release of the band's fifth album Give Us Barabbas. Despite being listed as a studio album, Give Us Barabbas is largely comprised of lost and unreleased tracks, with the majority of the songs culled from The Ballad of Jody Frosty. A tour of Europe was intended for the fall of 2004 but Goss would be hospitalized and forced to postpone,[14] even ending up in critical condition for a portion of his hospital stay though would eventually make a full recovery.[15]

The band would sporadically tour in the meantime, largely in Europe and with occasional festival appearances such as Azkena Rock Festival in Spain circa 2005. Goss would largely keep busy through this time recording and engineering for the likes of Melissa Auf Der Maur and Queens of The Stone Age along with participation in a side project known as Goon Moon.[16]

Goss would begin work on a sixth studio album (And the first album of new material in a decade) through late 2007 and early 2008 at Rancho De La Luna and The Hacienda with a wide range of collaborators. After a year's worth of delays[17] on 1 June 2009 it would be announced that this new album would be set for an August release via European label Brownhouse and Mascot Records, described by Goss as a "rock n' roll record".[18] Pine/Cross Dover would see release in the United States via Cool Green Records on 12 October 2010.[19] In support of the record Masters of Reality would tour the West Coast in November 2010, followed by a tour of Europe that next January and February with the Cult and finishing with a show in New Orleans that June with Earthlings?.[20]

Masters of Reality would tour Europe again two years later, with several festival appearances and dates supporting Queens of The Stone Age.[21] The band would tour Europe again two years later but would go dormant afterwards.[22]

Recording Career[edit | edit source]

As well as being the founding (and only constant) member of influential desert rock outfit Masters of Reality, Goss is also well known for his production work on albums by Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age.[23] He met Kyuss in the early 1990s when he moved to California and was protective of the band's desert rock sound, feeling the band under the wrong producer or engineer would ruin them or get them labeled as a "metal" band.[24]

Largely credited as the Godfather of desert rock, Goss has on several occasions played down the importance of his role in this musical movement.[25] In 1999 he stated, “I can't make any claim at all to inventing desert rock, or stoner rock, or whatever you want to call it. I make rock n roll records, and hopefully try to make the listener feel like I did when I heard my favorite music.”[26]

After his recuperation, he joined Jeordie White and Zach Hill to release I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine, a "mini LP" released under the name Goon Moon.

Goss appeared with his longtime friend Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age as "The 5:15ers" at the "winter edition" of ArthurFest, performing an intimate set which was "crafted in less than a month as the duo was a rather late addition to the Arthurball line-up as Sunday's headliner".[27] Continuing with Goon Moon, Goss, White and Hill released a full-length album in May 2007 entitled Licker's Last Leg containing many guest artists synonymous with the desert rock scene. Goss also joined Queens of the Stone Age and Billy Gibbons to perform "Burn the Witch" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[28]

In 2013, regarding Josh Homme's supposed decision to sequence the album Era Vulgaris using songs originated in a "Los Angeles studio [beginning recording] without a single thing written, just to see what it was like to force songs out of his [and his bandmate's] psyche", Goss was quoted saying: "I’ve seen him do that before with the Desert Sessions but never with Queens. The Queens Of The Stone Age is a business, where he’s the CEO. It’s not run the same."[29]

In 2014, filming completed in Las Vegas for Death in the Desert, a full-length movie for which Goss wrote an original song titled "Only the Lonely", performed by singer Roxy Saint, who plays the character Corey in the full-length film, which is directed and produced by Saint's husband, Josh Evans. It stars Michael Madsen, Shayla Beesley and Paz de la Huerta. The movie is inspired by the book Death in the Desert by Cathy Scott, with the screenplay by John Steppling.[30][31]

Selected Discography[edit | edit source]

With Masters of Reality[edit | edit source]

As a Producer[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

V·T·E Kyuss
Past Members Josh HommeJohn GarciaScott ReederAlfredo HernándezBrant BjorkNick OliveriChris Cockrell
Albums WretchBlues for the Red SunWelcome to Sky Valley...And The Circus Leaves Town
Compilations Muchas Gracias: The Best of Kyuss
Extended Plays Sons of Kyuss
Splits Kyuss/Queens of The Stone Age
Associated Bands Vista ChinoPeaceThe Desert SessionsQueens of the Stone AgeMondo GeneratorHermanoFu ManchuUnidaSlo BurnChéChris GossMasters of Reality
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