Bros star Luke Goss on Irish shows, Irish roots and how hit documenary healed his relationship with brother Matt
Bros stormed the charts in 1988 and became pop superstars, but by 1992 brothers Matt and Luke Goss had split under the intense pressures of their fame. However, now Bros are back in the wake of two hugely successful 2017 reunion shows and the Bafta-nominated documentary After The Screaming Stops. David Roy quizzed drummer Luke about their upcoming gigs in Cork and Belfast, their Irish family connections and what comes next
HI LUKE, what are you up to today? Is it still early there in LA?
Yeah, well it's 'early-ish' for actors or musicians! But yeah, we've been rehearsing so it's been fun. And I'm excited – it's nice to be talking to anyone from that part of the world because we've not played there for so long.
Can you remember how many Irish shows Bros played first time around?
It must only have been one or two. We did a lot more promotional stuff in Ireland, but live stuff, not so much. One of the reasons for doing these shows is that a lot of fans on social kept asking "are you going to play Ireland?". We were like "of course, we'll play wherever you want us!".
We've got family from Ireland too, our grandfather is part-Irish from down in Cork. Also my friends are all joking that I'm finally going to meet all my Elven brothers because of the HellBoy thing [Luke played Prince Nuada Silverlance, 'Crown Prince of the Elves', in Hellboy II] – that would be amazing!
I've done theatre in Ireland and I've played live there and one thing I've noticed north and south is that there's a warmth and a 'looseness' there which I really appreciate. You bump into people and the welcome sometimes seems so familiar that you feel like you actually already do know people.
It's a great place to be and kind of unique in that sense.
As we saw in After The Screaming Stops, you abandoned the drums after Bros split and pursued a new career as an actor. Are you enjoying being back behind the kit again?
Oh yeah, I am. And it's nicer this time around – before the O2 shows in 2017 there was a big old 25 year gap, whereas now it's only been two. I haven't played those songs since the O2, so we've been putting them back on their feet in the rehearsal studio – and yesterday I got my first eight blisters on my hands, which will be the first of many coming.
Only drummers will get this, but I was kind of digging it, y'know? It's like, "OK, I feel like I'm working now". Even a silly thing like just taping up my hands, it's a fun memory because I used to do that every single day. It gives me a "wow, this is real" kind of feeling.
You definitely play 'hard' during the live shows. Was that always your natural drumming style or did it develop as part of Bros's 'high energy' live aesthetic?
It's interesting you see that, because I do play real hard – I'm going through a few sticks a day and hitting the hell out of it. That's because I'm a rock and hip-hop fan, that's my musical taste, whether it be Foo Fighters or The Police, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy and all these bands. A lot of them are from before my time and that's because my aunt had these boxes of 45s that we would trawl through as kids.
It just connects to me, that 'rock' playing and hitting hard, because I guess I was trained in those big arenas we used to do, which was a privilege of course. But you have to play differently in those big rooms, you've got to somewhat simplify and really give it some weight.
So I guess the sound is somewhat drum-heavy at times, but it fits in: I've got a vocalist [Matt] who can do anything that we need doing because he has an amazing voice that's stronger than ever so, between the two of us, I think we're both building on what it is we do together.
You and Matt have had to reconcile your differences in order to be Bros again – all of which was captured in the documentary, along with intense pain of losing your mum and your sister at the height of your success. As an actor and film-maker, did you anticipate that a movie about your reunion would make for such compelling viewing?
It was just like, if we are going to do this [reunion], we should think about documenting some of it, even just for ourselves.
But I'll be honest with you, I'm a very private person and Matt is too. So I felt somewhat nervous about the idea of being followed around. But I just thought that there were so many weird misconceptions about us as far as our history that I think [the doc] was needed to have some kind of peace in our lives whether, people loved it or hated it.
Then it turned out to be so well received and a lot of people have said it was like a 'guys' movie. That was a surprise for us. We're now meeting guys who are telling us they lost their mum, or their sister or a loved one and that they were crying [while watching]. As guys, we're rubbish at communicating with each other, so I think this movie somewhat broke down that barrier.
As a film-maker, sure, when I watched it the one thing I felt was that we had a great film here. And who would have thought it, that this very public document of an experience ended up being a bridge-builder between my brother and I. It really has impacted us positively as family and as a band.
Any plans for a sequel?
We're talking about something which documents the creative process when we get around to doing a new album, giving people another triple-A pass. But some of the film-makers we've been talking to about that are curious to see if we're going to be fighting or whatever on-camera.
I'm like, dude that shouldn't be an expectation! We are not striving towards acrimony – we're trying to build something here. We want to document the musical content as well as the dynamic between Matt and I, but the film-maker's motives need to be authentic and finding someone who fits that bill is not as easy as you'd think.
So how far into the process of making a new record are you?
We were actually jamming yesterday: Matt was singing a little groove, I came in with a little vibe and it started building up – we were looking over at each other saying "we should remember this one". And that's kind of how simple it is at the moment.
There's been such an amazing reaction to the documentary that it's kept us very busy, so we're just trying to get through it. Once these next shows are done, then the next creative step for us will be new music for sure.
:: Bros, The Marquee, Cork, June 26 / Botanic Gardens, Belfast, June 27. Tickets via Ticketmaster.ie