The Screaming Never Ended- Luke Goss Chats with ZANI

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Matt and Luke Goss of Bros, with their battle cry of ‘When Will I Be Famous’ certainly came true in November 1987, when this song became their breakthrough single, peaking at number two in the British Hit Parade. By the start of 1988, Bros mania was spreading across, not just the UK, but the world.

Three lads the blonde-haired twins Matt (Vocals) and Luke Goss (Drums), born 29th  September 1968, Lewisham, South East London, six minutes apart and the ravened haired Craig Logan (Bass) 22nd April 1969 Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland,  under the management of Tom Watkins (Pet Shops Boys and East 17 and co-writer of When Will I Be Famous),  were truly a sensation in the world of pop music, and for a while, the trio could do no wrong.

Bros, originally formed at Collingwood College, Camberley, Surrey, a state school, yet even though Bros were formed and came from Surrey, Luke stills feels a London Boy.  ‘Matt and I were in Camberley for a few years, High School age, as they say in the USA’, recalls Luke, now a permanent resident of The City of Angels, Los Angeles. ‘I like Surrey, but I am a proud South East London boy, as is Matt. We moved around, from Lewisham to Peckham, due to changes in the family dynamics, I was quite nomadic at an early age, and I easily adapted to my new surroundings, but not just familiarising with the area, I absorbed and appreciated the streets, the culture and the whole ambiance of South East London, especially the array of wonderful people of ‘the manor’. I got to know and be friends with the ‘mushes’ of ‘Sarf London’, I know you know what I mean by mushes, my friend’.  Yes, I do, the top boys and girls of the area and Luke’s ideology of adapting is beyond merely existing within an area, you interact and contribute with your community, which in turn brings gratification and wellbeing. 
 
With a positive and strong survival mode learned from his childhood, it is no wonder that Luke has successfully evolved from being a popular pop star to a successful actor.  Moreover, this month sees the release of his action heist film PAYDIRT with Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Doors, Batman Forever), which Luke co-produced, on DVD and digital now. I wonder how Luke got on with Val Kilmer who has the reputation of sometimes being an awkward actor. 
 
 

‘Val is a beautiful soul, a cliché as it may sound, but he really does light up the room, with love and laughter when he enters. Val is in a good place; he has overcome personal tragedies and demons. There was one time, when we were filming, when Val turned up on a golf cart, he got off and we embraced for about a minute, both of us could feel the bond’. From Luke’s tonality and deliverance, I could tell he is sincere about his co-star and equally sincere about Paydirt, ‘I enjoyed acting and producing this movie. It’s been promoted as action thriller heist, but it is a fun and enjoyable film, something to brighten the day, during these difficult and testing times.' I agree, a film about being outside the law, and getting free money from a heartless financial institution is certainly good escapism for Lockdown.

Paydirt is not the only film we will have the pleasure of watching Luke Goss in this year. Coming this Christmas, sees the major release of a new British comedy, The Loss Adjuster, a film that does what it says on the tin, as the plot is about a failed Insurance loss adjuster, Martin Dyer, in a series of misadventures, with Luke Goss in the leading role and a sterling cast, such as screen legend Joan Collins, (Dynasty, The Bitch), former pop star now respected actor Martin Kemp, (The Krays, EastEnders), the suave and beautiful Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa, Band of Gold), and a few more.  It was great to come back to London to visit the old haunts and to film this comedy. It is a satire about the British way of life, and we do love to laugh at ourselves. It will be a good film for the festive season’, states the ever-enthusiastic Luke. 
 

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time Luke Goss will have a Christmas hit. Bros, in early December 1988, the lads (Matt, Luke, and Craig, who left the band early 1989)  had a number two hit with Cat Among The Pigeons, along with their cover version of Silent Night, losing out to Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine for the number one Christmas Single.  
 
Then 30 years later, 23rd December 2018, the BBC aired – ‘Bros: After the Screaming Stops’, a fly on the wall documentary spanning seven months, as Matt and Luke reconcile after a fall out in 2006, as they prepare for a reunion gig, and united in love, after the tragic death of their mother. Craig was invited to the event but politely turned down the offer. In addition, from my research, there seems to be no bad blood between Craig, Luke, and Matt. 
 
The press release on Amazon Prime and IMDB  is not that complimentary, "Bros were one of the biggest bands in the world - for 15 minutes. A raw and emotional look into the aftermath of fame and the re-connection between twins torn apart by their past.”, I would go on to say inaccurate to a degree. As per usual, Andy Warhol’s quote is taken out of context. ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’ a quote I hasten to add that has been ingrained into our belief system. Furthermore, if we are as a society to hold any value to Warhol’s quote, then surely it applies to fame found on social media (the future), then that of the traditional route.
 

Bros lasted for four years, and their debut album Push, was a hit in 19 countries and sold over 16 million copies, now that is not bad for 15 minutes worth of fame is it? Moreover, the aftermath of Bros is one of success for all three. Matt has residency as a singer in Las Vegas,  Craig moved into songwriting, producing and management, and Luke, in 2000, established himself as an actor, OK, they are not front-page news anymore, but they were, and now they are fruitful in other fields, I would call that progress. 
 
Even though I was never a fan of Bros, I was intrigued by the trio. Why? because they dressed like me and some of my friends, I even got accused of being a Craig ‘wannabe one afternoon in a West End pub by a girl, I kid you not. The reason being, I had, and still do, dark hair, and back then, I wore 501 Levi’s jeans, turned up at the end, oxblood DM shoes, black bomber style jacket, slick back hair and a gold earring in the left ear, just like Craig. 
 

bros luke goss zani

 ‘Ha, she was probably paying you a compliment, Craig was and still is, a good-looking fella. It was just a bit of fun, and you took it to heart’, jokes Luke, when I recall the incident.  I stay silent as I guess Luke is right, then I ask if it was their management or them, that chose that look. The record company and the managers gave us advice, but we were not puppets, and as you know we were not a manufactured band, three schoolboy friends on an adventure. We were observing and absorbing the then fashion, it was stylish and rebellious. An eighties take on the Jimmy Dean look, Levi’s Jeans, DM shoes and a white tee-shirt, you’re good to go, looking like a rock star. Matt brought in the big buckle belts, which became the fashion’. Luke is right, and it did give me swagger as I was discovering London, looking like Craig. Yet like all fashion when you’re young, you change, and during Bros mania I started to grow my hair, swapped the DM shoes for Converse trainers, and started to indulge in Acid House, hoping I was never called Craig from Bros again, sorry Craig! 
 
At first, the public and press reviews for Bros: After The Screaming Stops, were not that pleasant, comparing the documentary to the USA hit mockumentary, ‘This is Spinal Tap’ , about the ups and downs of a touring heavy metal band, a film that was influenced by The Comic Strip Presents….Bad News. I think AfterThe Screaming Stops is raw, passionate, and authentic, highlighting a complex yet a loving relationship between the twins, and how they were built and destroyed by the mainstream media during their short career. Furthermore, I was delighted to see, during the Christmas period of 2018, the documentary started to receive positive and ardent appraisals, love conquered the hate, and it became a hit on BBC’s iPlayer, Bros were back for Christmas. 
 
 
Luke seems to have mixed feelings about Bros: After The Screaming Stops,Overall it is a good documentary.  I was an executive producer on it, yet I let the filmmakers create the version they wanted to create. I wasn’t going to be a tyrant, because that is not me, my friend, it is just a documentary, that is not going to make or break me. But there were parts I believe they should have cut out, and parts they should have added. Yet what I did like is how the narrative could change within 30 seconds, usually in a positive way.’ 
 
OK, so Luke seems centered, and not easily swayed by any negativity, refreshing and inspiring. But what about being in the mix of a music phenomenon with hit records, sell-out tours, screaming fans, being front-page news, and chased down the street by paparazzi, People thought I was being moody. I was not, I was studying what was happening, it was surreal, scary yet enchanted. I am a thinker, deep thinker in fact.  There were magical times, and I am proud of them, as I am with my acting, and now my painting’, states Luke in a reflective manner. My ears prick up when Luke mentions painting, so I ask an obvious question about his new creative outlet. ‘I am on painting 13, probably 14 by the end of August. I didn’t know I could paint, but during lockdown, the first painting I did was of Jesus Christ, I added oxidized blood to the painting, and the image of Christ does not respond without light being shone on it. Once I did it, people came, saw it, and were crying, that moved and encouraged me to paint more. I have now added painting to my business portfolio. I want to use my time to develop skills and inspire others to do the same. I do believe that is my right as an artist. Lockdown is tough, and to get through it I believe is to be creative and happy. But I think during this pandemic we need to find our hippy self, being conscious about loving ourselves’.  I had a hunch that Luke Goss wouldn’t be binge-watching and eating junk food during this testing time for humanity.  Along with being creative, is Luke looking after himself, ‘I am a vegetarian, and I have always been conscious about what food my body consumes. I did 90 minutes on the punch bag this morning, followed by an intense session with a boxing skipping rope and a two-inch battle rope’ when I informed Luke that I use a punch bag along with a kettlebell, Luke insisted in a nice way for me to get a battle rope, order already placed, thanks, Luke. 
 
 
 
From speaking to Luke, and seeing his development under the public spotlight, is he still the same kid banging the drums at Collingwood College with Matt and Craig, Our humble beginnings only deceive the foolish. My character isn’t what it was back then. You learn, you do something wrong, and know you won’t do it again, it’s fantastic and essential to grow as a human.’  I couldn’t agree more, and Luke is living very much in the now. Yet he started this journey into acting, and now painting, from being a drummer in a band, how did that trip start?  ‘I think people are born drummers, I never said I wanted to be a drummer, it just felt right at an early age, it’s nature not nurture. The drumming I did and still do for Bros is pop type drumming because we are a pop band, yet I am versatile in my drumming, from jazz to rock. There are many drummers I like, Stewart Copeland and John Bonham’, The Hammer of The Gods I quickly mention,Yes, the power he gave to Led Zeppelin is, well, we all know. How Bonham plays the tom drum (Luke mimics a drum sound over our ZOOM call), is harmonic, hypnotic, and tribal. The drummer is the thinker of the band, like me, he’s quiet, then bang, they bring the music to life. You feel the impulse. I rate Phil Collins, a clever and adaptable drummer, and the other Genesis drummer, Chester Thompson.  I had the privilege and pleasure of seeing them play together. I am still passionate about drums, as I am about acting and painting’. 
 
I can feel his sincere passion, and it would be fair to say that Luke Goss, after appearing in Blade II (2002) as the villain Jared Nomak: his acting career truly took off. Prior to that, in the early 90s, Luke formed and fronted Band of Thieves and Thieves Like Us, which were not successful, and wrote his autobiography ‘I Owe You Nothing,’ which became a best seller. Then Luke got the acting bug after appearing in the hit stage musicals Grease and What a Feeling. Luke certainly has not rested on his laurels, and I believe any director, especially from the USA and under the age of 40, will know Luke as an actor, not as the kid who used to play drums in Bros. I rate Luke as an actor,  as he is charismatic, as well as being empathetic and menacing on the screen, and two productions, yet there are others, that I believe demonstrate these skills: Luke Goss as the South East London gangster Charlie Richardson in Charlie (2004), in which he portrayed both Richardson’s brutal and vulnerable side. Moreover, as the creature in the TV mini-series Frankenstein (2004), as a misunderstood and lonely being, not just as a monster, as so often the creature is represented. Luke seems pleased when I ask him about his research for these mentioned roles. 
Luke Goss with Charlie Richardson
 'That’s a good actor’s question, Charlie was my first lead role. Coming from South East London, everyone knew the Richardson’s legend. I had read up on Charlie Richardson, but I spent a lot of time with him on set in South Africa. Apart from the scenes of the River Thames, most of the film was shot there, where Charlie had a few business dealings. of course, I knew what he had done, and what he was capable of, I saw his charming side, his manipulative nature and his vulnerable character, Charlie, like a lot of us, was developing and evolving to become the best version of himself.’. It probably goes without saying, there is no better way to portray a real-life character in a film, (Charlie Richardson passed away in 2012, eight years after the completion of the film) than spending time with them. But what about an iconic fictional character, immortalised by Boris Karloff in the Universal Pictures ‘ adaption of Frankenstein.  
 
‘As a kid, I had seen Karloff as the monster, who didn’t? A master class in horror acting. Yet the creature in the novel is thin with long hair. The series was made by Hallmark. The idea of Frankenstein came to the author, Mary Shelley, in a dream. I read the novel, but I focused more on The Journals of Mary Shelley, gaining her perspective into her character and cognizance. That was my template. Most people think of Frankenstein as a classic horror story, it is, but also it is the story of one man wanting and believing he could be God, Victor Frankenstein. This is an ultimate sin, and when  Frankenstein creates life,  he brings nothing but suffering and misery, and he is unable to give the creature, love, nor is the creature able to find love, “if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear”, as the creature states. It is a story that is biblical and highly relevant today.' 
Luke Goss as The Creature in Frankenstein
An intelligent and insightful account of the story Frankenstein, and as stated, Luke’s adaption for the creature, is empathetic, a lost soul looking to be accepted and loved. Moreover, when the creature is rejected, he brings chaos and death. With such a desire to understand the characters Luke plays, is there a Superhero, he would like to play? His co-star, Val Kilmer, did briefly play Batman. 
 
It would be Batman, I would play Bruce Wayne as confident to the outside world, and Batman as a slick and tough crime fighter. But I would emphasise on the loneliness of Batman, for the only thing that gives him solace, and that allows him to grieve the murder of his parents, is to be Batman. And if he overcomes his demons he will not be Batman anymore, and there will a huge crime wave in Gotham City if the caped crusader is no more. That is a paradox, for he is always riddled with guilt and, in turn, that makes Batman lonely’. Well Luke has a good grasp of the Dark Knight, and I could easily see Luke playing the caped crusader with style and grace on the outside, and on the inside, confusion and bitterness. As the interview was coming to an end, I asked Luke, a light question, favourite actors, male or female, alive or dead, ‘Wow, many, but in no particular order, to name a few, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, a national treasure’.
 
I would say that Luke, along with Matt, are national treasures, loved, then loathed and mocked, and now well and truly loved again, and Luke certainly deserves to be loved for he is an engaging, uplifting and positive soul to chat with for his happiness and enthusiasm is infectious and warming, but I wouldn’t take his nice persona to be a walkover, for I believe Luke’s ideology to human interaction is ‘I will accept you as a friend, but stand my ground if crossed’, or as he put it ‘I can be a dude sometimes, bash a few heads if I have to’. I am sure he has, yet it is so refreshing, especially during lockdown, to meet someone who is not guarded, and holds out their hand in friendship first. And as for the screaming from the Bros days, I don’t believe it ever truly stopped, it’s just the deliverance and the pitch changed, to that of praise and happiness.
 

 
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Read 946 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 August 2020 16:34
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