The Sufferbus Files




(Sufferbus Files Part 1)


sunrise on the sufferbus

"It's been an evolving musical expedition.. .like a rock 'n roll obstacle course." Lead vocalist CHRIS GOSS is talking about the many incarnations of MASTERS OF REALITY, the brilliantly innovative rock band that has changed the world's perception of what makes rock "classic."

1980: upstate New York—the cold climate and upstate-collegiate atmosphere lent itself to be a surprisingly excellent starting point for the band. Remembers Chris, "l held other Jobs— everything from managing discos to spinning records and designing restaurants."
To let off steam and keep from being smothered by the boredom, Chris, Tim Harrington and high school chum GOOGE, began playing together in a band, which eventually was called MASTERS OF REALITY (the drummer Vinnie Ludovico joins the group later).
Googe continues "the original MASTERS OF REALITY used tape-looped drums, black lights, fog and strobes. After a while, they wanted to expand, so they asked me to play keyboards.
Chris Jooked like Marion Brando in 'Apocolypse Now'—this big, shaved-headedloomingfigureonstage. That went on for a couple of years - 'Central New York's Favorite Halloween Band.' Later, the songs changed, we got a drummer, and l started playing bass." "This was actually my original instrument." Chris adds, "In 1980/1981 , there were a lot of Punk snobs around leftover from the 70's. Bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath weren't in vogue anymore, if you named your band after a Black Sabbath album, then all it would do is turn off all the Vight' people — so it was good if they didn't like the name — it was their problem."

Eight years of hard club gigging in New York State ensued, leaving MASTERS OF REALITY's audiences transcendent. Continues Chris, "In order to really stand out like a sore thumb in Syracuse we put on a cool, weird show.
We had this mystical image, and we were trying to scare the pants off of everybody, which we did, many times." However, Chris points out, this is definitely no longer the case in the current MASTERS OF REALITY credo. "It was good for a while, but then you get tired of playing a role. l'd rather be myself musically."

The guitar is the root of MASTERS OF REALITY's music. Chris says "l played all kinds of guitar-oriented rock, l've played since l was 15, and my art-hero is still Jimmy Page. And after about 4 or 5 years, l started writing songs with both guitar and keyboards, and that was the beginning of MASTERS OF REALITY."
Googe agrees with the Zep influence himself. "You gotta know John Paul Jones and Geezer Butler [of Black Sabbath] were 'it' when l was growing up. l mean, how many times did l listen to those albums?
l know every note. And from the jazz field, l like Ray Brown, Scott Lafaro who played with Ornette Coleman, Cecil McBee and Bill Evans, l looked up to them as far as style and melody on bass."

During those years between 1980 and 1988, MASTERS OF REALITY found themselves playing at one point in New York City, and caught the ear of zen producer and label head Rick Rubin.
At the time, says Googe, "Rick had gotten a copy of our demo through our original manager in New York City." In late 1987, the original MASTERS OF REALITY were signed to Rick's Def Jam label, and later in 1988, were moved over to his new label, Def-American Recordings.
Caught in the middle of new label negotiations and general bureaucratic red tape, the band tried to tour behind their self-titled debut Def-American LP, but it proved unsuccessful. "We were at each others' throats," says Chris. "Everything was uncomfortable and distasteful." The original lineup split up. Traveling to Los Angeles, Chris and Googe met with Rick's good friend and LA DJ/producer-turned label owner Matt Dike, who, along with young mogul Mike Ross, headed up the fledgling rap Delicious Vinyl label, horne to Tone-Loc and Young MC. Matt wanted to sign a solid rock band, Chris wanted to re-release the album, and both had their wishes granted when MASTERS OF REALITY's debut re-introduced itself to the masses in the summer of 1990.
This time, however, the album included more music—namely the song "Doraldina's Prophecies," a hit on the College radio circuit and favorite among in-the-know critics.


(Sufferbus Files Part 2)

It was around this time that Chris and Googe met up with legendary Cream founder and drummer GINGER BAKER, through, of all things, one of Ginger's polo partners.
 "We met at a barbecue," Chris recounts. "The Suggestion of a jam session happened, and l thought, 'Great drummer. This'll be a cool jam.' We played for six or seven hours. After that, l think we all knew. We were smiling from ear-to-ear. Ginger understood—it was happening stuff."
"My wife convinced me to do this jam," says Ginger. "I didn't want to do it at all. And afterwards, l was totally amazed, especially with Chris."
Keeping in contact and becoming fast friends, Ginger became a permanent member within a week of their meeting. Raves Chris of Ginger, "His drumming has its own melody, his whole kit moves within all these counter-rhythms.
It's a great thing for a musician and songwriter to have to work behind, because Ginger lends so many angles to be looked at." Agrees Googe, "It's real easy for the three of us to just sit down and plug in—Ginger cranking his drum set up, and we could just play all night. Playing with him is just like you'd imagine. l remember the first time he said he was going to come over and jam. l was totally nervous.
l think l dranka six-packof Bud Light in 5 minutes. When you're playing with people of quality, your own Standard goes up too. But it's really the three of us together—the 'trio' idea, that makes this album and band so special." I´m the one who is the most practical," says Ginger. "Someone's got to have their feet on the ground. l mean, Chris is extremely creative, but sometimes you have to pull things down to Earth a bit. This is how people work together. It's a chemistry that works."

For the new album, SUNRISE ON THE SUFFERBUS. all three members contribute their writing and producing skills. In recording the new album, Ginger recalls, "In the two years that it's taken to record this album, we've endured a lot of hardship, and so it's a great relief to finally be going forward."
To Chris, however, the album title sounds more hopeful than disdainful. "It actually came from playing cards on our tourbus, around the clock until early in the morning - hence, 'Sunrise On The Sufferbus.'"

The future? "The music we're making - me, Chris & Ginger - is amazing, incredible to me," says Googe.

And what does Chris hope for most with SUNRISE ON THE SUFFERBUS? Answering simply and honestly, "l hope that melody makes a comeback."
Does a seasoned musician such as Ginger Baker feel he is a teacher or a Student as a member of MASTERS OF REALITY? T m both," he says, "and that's what it's all about, isn't it?"




(Sufferbus Files Part 3)


DECEMBER 2, 1992





MASTERS OF REALITY is ready to release their much-anticipated second album, Sunrise On The Sufferbus. which is at last slated for the street on February 9th of next year on Chrysalis/EMI Records. The band—CHRIS GOSS (vocals, guitars), GINGER BAKER (drums) and GOOGE (bass) - have lovingly and painstakingly perfected 14 songs for the LP, which took over two years to record.

The end result? "Let's hope, with this album, that melody makes a comeback," says Chris, the ever-optimistic founder of MOR.

MASTERS OF REALITY is made up of three guys who are a mutual admiration society. "It's like the idea of the three of us - we're a trilogy," says Googe. "I know if you lock us up in a room for a couple of days, people are amazed. There's no tension, no stress. There's just this kind of “unity” - we just go in and play together like one mind."

For this album, all three members have contributed their writing and producing skills. Such songs as "She Got Me," (the album´s premiere single and video), "J.B. Witchdance," "Jody Sings," "Tilt-A-Whirl," "T.U.S.A.," "Rabbit One," and "Ants In The Kitchen" [recently mentioned in an interview on Late Night With David Letterman by renowned film director and MOR fan David Lynch] are at times both light-hearted and deeply reflective.
In fact, most of the lyrics are written in a sing-song style that seems derived from children's books, a-la limericks. Check out "J.B. Witchdance": "So the moon took control of my eyes and my soul/Now I'm smiling 'cause
I know for me/No bell can ever toll/l'm dancing with the witches in the moonlight."

The music of MASTERS OF REALITY is unique—their own Version of vintage, "classic"-sounding rock. Reviews of their debut 1989 LP were stunning, and the critics lined up to sing the band's praises.


8730 SUNSET BOULEVARD  6TH FLOQR LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069  (310) 659-6400 FAX: (310) 659-1309
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(Sufferbus Files Part 4)



Rolling Stone's Rob Tannenbaum noted, "MASTERS OF REALITY... remember the Sixties. Singer Chris Goss has a vaguely mystical, jazz-influenced tenor reminiscent of Jack Bruce...the MASTERS playfully scramble sources without making a commitment to any hard-rock fellowship...that certifies MASTERS OF REALITY as disciples of a better generation of hard rock."
Janiss Garza wrote in the Los Angeles Times. "It's impossible to pigeonhole this Syracuse band. Are they '60s hippies? A '50s bar band? Alternative blues-rockers of the '90s? And does it really matter when every song is so appealing? MASTERS OF REALITY is a blissful frolic with a sound that is as elusive as it is enjoyable."
BAM columnists Katherine Turman (LA) and Steffan Chirazi (San Francisco) both raved about MOR's first recorded outing. First, Turman cited MOR's "evil, heavy rhythms, nasty lyrics, and retro approach."
Chirazi chimed in, "Here is a band that has maturity, class, chops and the ability to blend blues and metal...this band has depth, from the superb acoustic parts to the thick, hard rockers. If there is a small bit of justice to spare, then maybe it'll shed down on MOR and give this fine band a füll crack at the fat Chance they deserve."

So are MASTERS OF REALITY a "Classic Rock" band of the '90s? Ginger (founder of pioneering rockers Cream) doesn't think so.

 "I don't subscribe to any ´terms.' I'm a musician, and I will always remain a musician. People want to put things in little bags, and the only reason for this is so record shops can put the records in little different sections, you know? Music is music is music.
We're a band of the '90s. We're coming up with material that's new and really good. There's something for everyone on this album, for really young people, to people even older than me!"

Still, the band admits to being heavily influenced by '70s rockers. Chris explains why he picked up the guitar in the first place: "I've played the guitar since I was 15.
My art-hero, Jimmy Page, played it. And after about 7 or 8 years, I started writing songs with both guitar and keyboards, and that was the beginning of MASTERS OF REALITY."

The title of the album, Sunrise On The Sufferbus. in itself describes work of another kind—it depicts the band's last tour, and what a nightmare it was for them. Chris explains, "The title came from playing cards on our tourbus, around the clock until early in the morning—hence, Sunrise On The Sufferbus." Recalls Googe, "That tour was a tough one—like someone threw darts at a map of America and that's how the tour was set up.
We were on a tourbus, and neither Chris nor Ginger can sleep in a moving vehicle, so they'd stay up all night playing cards. I remember crawling from my bunk at 5:00 AM after a 17-hour drive through some ungodly place, and those guys would still be there, playing Gin Rummy or something, and the sun would be coming up."


8730 SUNSET BOULEVARD  6TH FLOQR LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069  (310) 659-6400 FAX: (310) 659-1309
804 PARK AVENUE SOUTH  6TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10017 (212) 674-2053 FAX: (212) 260-2170 184 DRUMMOND STREET 4TH FLOOR  LONDON, ENGLAND NW1-3HP »011 -4471 -383-5877 FAX: 011 -4471 -383-2591



(Sufferbus Files Part 5)


Those road experiences swept aside, MASTERS OF REALITY's core fans will definitely get the Chance to see them play live very soon. The band have already tried out some of the new tunes at a recent very successful gig in Hawaii.

"That Hawaii show really blew my mind," recalls Googe. "It was great—it had a real ”Jirni Hendrix trio” feel to it. It was just as thick and as heavy. “She Got Me” was like a steamroller. I think it's going to be no problem reproducing the album live."

MASTERS OF REALITY aren't here to preach or lay down a lot of political messages. They're simply saying, "This is our music. Let it wash over you—relax and enjoy."

It's time to wake up, smell the coffee, and experience Sunrise On The Sufferbus.



8730 SUNSET BOULEVARD  6TH FLOQR LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069  (310) 659-6400 FAX: (310) 659-1309
804 PARK AVENUE SOUTH  6TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10017 (212) 674-2053 FAX: (212) 260-2170 184 DRUMMOND STREET 4TH FLOOR  LONDON, ENGLAND NW1-3HP »011 -4471 -383-5877 FAX: 011 -4471 -383-2591




(Sufferbus Files Part 6)



February 6, 1993


“GIVE IT UP!” 1. Masters of Realiiy Sunrise on the Sufferbus (Chrysalis/EMI) — With Ginger Baker now on 9rums, quite possibly rock's premicr power trio.


Artists & Music

The Sun Is Finally Rising On New Masters Of Reality Set



LOS ANGELES—Whatever the last five years have been for Masters Of Reality, they haven't been uneventful.
The Buffalo, N.Y.-bred, now LA.-based hard rock band's debut album was released on two different labels. Two founding members of the group depaned, and a new lead guitarist split before a second album was completed.

And said second album took nearly two years to complete.

But this protracted saga reaches its climax with the Feb. 9 release of Masters' "Sunrise On The Sufferbus'.

Guitarist/vocaist Chris Goss says of his group's current pact with Chrysalis (the band's third label in five years), "We needed a rock'n'roll record Company, whatever that means - someone who could put a lot of muscle behind the album in the rock world. Delicious Vinyl was a street label."

Delicious purchased Masters' self-titled 1988 debut from Def American, the Company operated by the record's producer, Rick Rubin, and rereleased it in 1990.
Goss says that despite the band's departure, he remains close to Delicious' owners, Matt Dike and Mike Ross.

"I love Matt and Mike, and I still am doing work for them right now," Goss says.

Work on "Sufferbus" began two years ago with a reconstituted lineup of Goss, original bassist Googe, and new members, dummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Daniel Rey, following the departure of guitarist Tim Harrington and dummer Vinnie Ludovico. Sessions for the record began in February 1991, but Rey, also a noted producer, departed in the midst of recording.

"We cut all the drum tracks in the first three weeks, and proceeded to do overdubs for the next year-and-a-half," goss says with a laugh.

"There are two or three things on the album that are the way they were when Daniel was in the band—'Roll-ing Green' and '100 Years,'" he con-tinues. 'Then the rest I went in and resang, and I redid all the guitars,"

Goss expresses satisfaction with the pared-down, still vaguely psyche-delic sound offered by the three-piece Masters on "Sufferbus": "It's a progression. It's simpler—just little songs."

He also is happy with the band's alliance with recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Baker (who contributes vocals on "T.U.S.A.," a recita-tion that recalls his work on Cream's "Pressed Rat And Warthog").

"I met Ginger at a barbecue at one of his polo partners' house," Goss recalls. "A week later we got together and jammed, and that was it. We knew it was happening."

goss says he expects that the band will tour in the late spring, but no dates or venues have been finalized yet.

The new album's first single, "She Got Me," has already been serviced to modern rock, College, and metal radio. A video for the track has been shot by Casey Niccoli, who directed the much-lauded clip for "Been Caught Stealin' " for her husband Perry Farreirs former band, Jane's Addiction.

"Been Caught Stealin'' was my favorite video of all time," Goss says. "I saw this reel from her, and I said, 'Let's get a treatment from her.' It was the only treatment that made me laugh."
Of the video, he says, "It's a Mexican soap opera, with tacos flying around and stuff."

A video has also been created for the short, eerie track "Bicycle." Says Goss, "We just animated the cover art for the album, basically. It's a really creepy little piece of work."


8730 SUNSET BOULEVARD  6TH FLOQR LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069  (310) 659-6400 FAX: (310) 659-1309
804 PARK AVENUE SOUTH  6TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10017 (212) 674-2053 FAX: (212) 260-2170 184 DRUMMOND STREET 4TH FLOOR  LONDON, ENGLAND NW1-3HP »011 -4471 -383-5877 FAX: 011 -4471 -383-2591




(Sufferbus Files Part 7)



MARCH 1993





Sunrise On The Sufferbus


DON'T LET THEIR Black Sabbath-derived monicker fool you; there's nothing Sabbathy about Masters Of Reality.

You could say they'd be better off changing their name to Disraeli Gears, thanks to lead singer Chris Goss's haunting vocal resemblance to Jack Bruce and the fact that their new drummer is ex-Cream stickman Ginger Baker.
To pigeonhole them as Cream-wannabees, however, would be both unfair and wrong.
Their elusive new album, Sunrise On The Sufferbus, is a veritable potpourri of textures, moods and styles, as the band bridges the Sixties and Nineties with their unique style of alternajazzy-retro-

As they call to mind images of Cream ("Rabbit One," "V.H.V."), the Beatles ("Madonna"), and Queen ("Bicycle"), it would seem Masters Of Reality are ultimately deter-mined to rectify this generation's ignorance of rock* s roots by bringing us back to a better time.

- Michael Moses -

8730 SUNSET BOULEVARD  6TH FLOQR LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069  (310) 659-6400 FAX: (310) 659-1309
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