Interview © Earcandymag.com
von Robert Pally
"It's what I wished I could do all the time."
Intro: "Pine / Cross Dover", the new CD by the Masters of Reality enters new territory. Amongst the eleven songs are two completely improvised instrumental tracks. In the interview their mastermind Chris Goss talks about philosophy, religion and off course music.
E.C.: The last Masters album “Deep in the hole”, with new material appeared in 2001. What took you so long?
Chris Goss: (thinks) Many factors are responsible for that. Mainly working with others and producing other bands. For example I worked one year with The Queens Of The Stone Age on their album “Era Vulgaris” (2007) and one year with Unkle on their album «War stories» (2007). Beside that I worked with Mark Lanegan, Melissa Auf der Maur, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, one of the best bands I ever worked with, Duke Spirit, a country / western record for a couple of actresses (Smith & Pyle; Shawnee Smith and Missi Pyle) who are friends of mine, and did an album with Jeordie White (Twiggy Ramirez) and Zach Hill under the name Goon Moon. I did a lot of productions.
That pays my bills although I can honestly say that I have never worked with someone for the money. I have to like the music a lot!! I have never been a whore. Many of them are friends. Beside that I have a five Acre Ranch out in the desert in Joshua Tree (close to Los Angeles) that gives me a lot to do.
E.C.: Tell me more about the new CD “Pine / cross Dover”?
Chris Goss: The new record is departure for us, a different sounding record. I wouldn’t even say its hard rock record, it’s a strange record. What came about was for me, psychologically, worth the wait. It covers for me territory that I wanted to go for years.
E.C.: The new album seems to be a kind of a coincidence, your label boss of Mascot Records Ed van Zjil asked you to do it. What priority do the Masters have for you now? Are they a project between producing and playing with others?
Chris Goss: Someone recently asked me if the Masters Of Reality were just a hobby for me. It’s more than that. It’s what I wished I could do all the time. The dilemma is this. I never have been able to find a manager who would dedicate himself in helping making the Masters Of Reality my only way of making a living. I would prefer to perform Masters music every night, if I could. Beside that am I not willing to do everything to make a career. I don’t wanna twitter or have a facebook page. I am the happy when I am in a room with a friend just playing guitar.
E.C.: With the two instrumentals “Johnny’s dream” and “Alfalfa” you enter new territory. What triggered that?
Chris Goss: I think, my love of instrumentals on certain album. Even David Bowie in his Berlin area. There are a lot of instrumentals on “Low” (1977) and “Heroes” (1977). A pop artist like Bowie having the courage to do this 30 years ago. Also my love of Fusion that was going on in the seventies: I was a huge fan of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin) and Weather Report. Fantastic instrumentals.
In this world of everyone talking all the time this is a relief. Andy Warhol was right when he said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. That is were we are now. Everyone can be a star for 15 minutes now. But back to the instrumentals. We just wanted to see if can speak through the music. I hear a lot of joy on the 12 minute piece of music “Alfalfa”. It was a really great experience and totally improvised. The same with “Johnny’s dream”. It sounded beautiful when we did. It was just made up on the spot. With both songs we made a homage to this bands.
E.C.: So this is going to be the future of the Masters Of Reality, only instrumentals?
Chris Goss: (laughs). No, probably, not. But you never know. I would love to do a fusion tour. Maybe an whole album but not more.
E.C.: What is the idea behind splitting the CD in two parts (Pine and Cross Dover)?
Chris Goss: It felt like the thing to do. To me there are two distinctly different moods on the record and two distinctly different messages on the record. One worries about the end of the world (Pine) and the others accepts it (Cross Dover). Its almost like Cross Dover is the Buddhists and Pine is the catholic side.
E.C.: The “whore of New Orleans” seems to be about the Hurricane Katrina. Were you concerned?
Chris Goss: The song is not about the hurricane. That is why I specifically said in the lyrics that the storm came in without warning. With Katrina they actually did have a lot of warnings and they bungled (handled it badly) it. The song in general is about tragedy on a world wide scale, not only about Katrina. It could also be about the tsunami in 2004. Mother earth is mad and fighting back. People are come to grips (deal with) with understanding what is happening. Accusations fly. People were blaming the actual hurricane.
George Bush because of his ignorance about global warming was accused to made the hurricane happen. Like he and Dick Cheney had a hurricane machine on island. That is so ridicules. That is almost thinking from the dark ages. “Whore of New Orleans” is about that kind of insanity and the pain people are going through who don’t have much. The whore is the evil side of mother earth.
E.C.: Are your lyrics often philosophic?
Chris Goss: Yes, sure. Subconscious or not. That is what I like to read, how I like to think an about things and approach thing. I am a big fan of Joseph Cambell and Alan Watts. People who almost have a pychotic not quite Buddhist overview of how every culture and religion has similarities. And how we could come to grips with one and another on connecting the similarities in our religion. The stories and myths behind all world religions are all very, very similar. Basically there is blood ritual involved in all of them. The religions should get together over these facts!
E.C.: What do you want to achieve with your music?
Chris Goss: Music is a prayer, good music is like a prayer. It works on many levels. Its works on a base level, a very body level, which is very earthbound. Hopefully there is also a quality to it that is achieving sawing us together on another level that we don’t even realize it is. I like the idea working both the underworld and the overworld on the same moment, especially the overworld. That is were the philosophy comes in.
E.C.: How do you want the Master Of Reality be remembered when you are old and grey?
Chris Goss: Like about a year from now. (laughs). Going back to the last answer I just gave you. I hope, I know that some people see that. The art I like, the music that I like, I sense those qualities I just listed, those goals that I have. Maybe I am not reaching them, maybe people don’t realize. Maybe I will fail at it. Time will tell. That someone knows what my goal was. That is how I want to be remembered. It wasn’t just Rock’n’Roll!! Musicians, when they are true, they have a responsibility for the kids, almost like a priest. To take care of our parish, they are almost like shepherds. The sacred thing of music can bring so much joy and relief to your life. It needs to be tended. It’s been pretty much disrespected and corporate ties made it into a joke. That is very sad. I would like to remembered as someone who really cared about what direction it all was going into!