80’s pop mega-stars, BROS, are reforming for three shows only in 2017. Two shows at London’s O2 Arena are taking place in August, with the first show selling out in an astonishing seven seconds. Twins Matt and Luke Goss are also bringing the show to Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on November 4th and I had the delight of speaking with them this afternoon.
I’ll start by confessing that I still have Push in my vinyl collection here at home.
Matt: That’s good to hear!
It was a long time ago but I still remember precisely the moment that I bought it. How vivid in your mind is that time of BROSmania?
Matt: We’ve both, me and my brother, we’ve experienced incredible things along the way, but I think that it’s undeniable that BROS is responsible for some of the greatest memories in my life, and my brother’s life. I do close to 200 shows a year and the stories keep coming and coming, and I always wonder when they’re going to stop but they never do.
The memories created by that band were extraordinary, even on levels that you wouldn’t believe. It’s not just about Grolsch bottle tops or the clothing, it was about how they bunked off school with a sense of rebellion and got on a train to hang outside our house, and they made new friends – friends for life – or they met their husband because of us, or they met their wives because of us. It’s a never-ending source of memories and I wish I could convey the level of the stories.
It’s not just music, it’s connections of a lifetime for certain people…they made friends for life because of that band. I think there’s a global kind of loyalty to the uniform, to the mindset, and even a bit to the sense of rebellion of BROS and the mania, hence the BROSmania. For what I’ve experienced, and it’s only a couple of months since I was on an arena stage, it’s still completely nuts in the best sense of the word.
How hard is it to extract yourself from that kind of hysteria so that you get some downtime and did it help that social media wasn’t a thing at that time?
Luke: That’s a great question. I think social media brings so much, it gives you a soapbox you can actually speak from…most time you don’t, you just need to be enduring of the truth, and enduring of the lies, which can be tough, of course. For me, I think social media can get in the way as well. It can be a little bit challenging to deal with, you know.
I think when you’re younger, certainly for me I was searching for the answer to that question and that’s some of the growing pains that you go through. Now I’m older I realise that the simplistic look at life, I meditate, I chill, I pray and humble myself, and enjoy looking after the people around me so that you’re not waited on 24/7 and you’re also giving back. It keeps you grounded, it keeps you humble, and it’s a beautiful place of peace. Normalcy is beautiful.
I’ve got the privilege of an amazing life as well so really simple stuff of checking in with people you love to make sure they’re okay keeps you active about the outward care of other people rather than just being catered to…normalcy, the pursuit of that, is something I look for.
I’ve read that the sad loss of your Mum was what brought you back together. I lost my father one month before you lost your Mum, so I know what a galvanising thing it can be for siblings to lose a parent. Do you think this on-stage reunion, and your reconnection in general, is a nice way to honour her memory?
Matt: Our Mum was someone so special, and I say this in my show, and I actually mention Mum every night, and I say that moment when you need that phone call where you say “Is everything going to be okay?”…that’s no longer there, and it was the day that I felt, personally, that I actually became a man in the true sense of the word. Although I have many many responsibilities, and I have many bills, on a very internal, very personal level she was my best friend. The two loves of my life are, without question, my mum and Luke.
I think it was definitely a galvanising moment for me where we had to digest that extreme…and you’ll understand this…it’s something that you’re not prepared for. I always compare it to a journey. You have to prepare yourself for the journey and one of the hardest things about the BROS thing is that it would have been one of Mum’s favourite things in her life to see me and my brother back on stage again. That’s why I will enjoy my brother’s eyes, face, his hands hitting those drums; I’ll enjoy it even more than I ever have because he truly is the central character in my family now and I adore him. I miss my mum terribly, she’s definitely been a catalyst and I want to make her more proud now than I’ve ever made her. I miss her.
Luke: I think we dedicate a lot of ourselves to that; my first-ever movie I’m directing is dedicated to her, on screen, as Matt was saying about Vegas…This is not just for us, it’s for anyone who understands like yourself, even just seeing us up there having fun, I think especially if it’s closer to the point of someone losing somebody, music is very healing. I’d say come and have fun, you are allowed to, they would actually – I’d imagine – want us to have the best time of our lives. It’s honouring on many levels, in many facets. It’s a big deal for most of us who have gone through it.
Moving on a bit from that, Is it correct that you’ve not played live together since August 1989?
Luke: Absolutely. We’re finding ourselves doing a lot of promotion for this, thankfully we are in a blessed position where people want to talk about it, but it’s a big deal for us personally, too, getting back on stage together. We haven’t even really addressed the emotional content yet…that first time walking into a rehearsal studio, seeing the techs, setting up the gear and being like, “Oh shit, we’re about to make some noise”. Let’s really hope it sounds great, I know it will do, of course, but it’s a bit of a journey personally speaking as well, beyond just selling the show. It’s a big deal. (laughs)
Is this BROS reforming ongoing with possible albums, or just a one-off scenario?
Matt: I think that the beautiful thing about music, and this industry, is that it’s ever-changing. In my instance I’ve never left the stage. I’ve witnessed the transformation, the collapse, the rising of the phoenix, and everything within the music industry. I’ve experienced everything. We’ve released all formats from vinyl and cassette, to CDs, to MP3, and now streaming. I’ve been through all of that and witnessed the ramifications of it, but the reality is that BROS is coming back to life and that involves two teams, agents, managers, publicists, all the stuff that people don’t realise that it takes to make this happen.
I think people think that things just happen. It’s taken so long, and this is my brother we’re talking about; we’re family and the most important thing is that we don’t over-extend ourselves. We’ve already made a few mistakes, we over-extended ourselves, and we don’t want to do that this time. I think that night at Qudos Bank Arena, that Saturday night, is going to be a real night to remember. When those lights go down I want everyone’s hearts pounding. I know that we can do it, I know what we’re capable of, and then if there’s a progression from that point on as new music, what a high-brow problem to have. What a beautiful place to be.
The big news for us is that you’re playing a single show in Sydney, your only Australian date, on November 4th this year; what brings you to Sydney?
Luke: Obviously we have every reason to release this show in our own country, but I have to tell you that I don’t think Matt or I have had more beautiful, welcoming experience in our careers. I can say that from a self point of view, from a musical point of view, I know Matt feels the same way…Australia greeted us in a way that was not only generous, not only warm, it was almost like family. They were proud of us.
I almost get more of a sense of pride from Oz than I do from my own country, sometimes. I can’t speak for Matt, that’s me saying it, but…police escorts, we’d have one hour free in three days and the promoters would make sure there was somewhere we could have some relaxing time for those 60 or 90 minutes. It was a great thoughtfulness from every direction, even the police blocking off streets and whatever. On top of that, the fans made such a noise on a social media level…the combination of those two stories…it would be impossible not to make every effort to bring that O2 show to Australia because, my goodness, they given us some of the best memories we could have ever had. So thank you, Oz!
The level of excitement about your return is taking me back to the frenzy of BROSmania back in the 80s. Is it strange to think that there will be people in the crowd that were probably standing there watching you 29 years ago?
Luke: That is a crazy concept, if I’m being honest. I think any musician would strive to be the recipient of that sentence you just said. I feel extremely lucky. Goodness.
Matt: I can only go from my own experience and I would hope that BROS would experience the same thing…there’s a lot of mums that bring their kids, there’s now the husbands that have got over the fact that they actually did really enjoy BROS, I have a lot of the husbands and wives coming to my shows now and I hope that BROS experiences the same thing. It’s a fun night out, and you get to be part of something that was a movement. We were a band, we were a movement globally.
We didn’t happen to just break Australia, most of our songs were simultaneous number ones worldwide, in 22 countries simultaneously. The good thing about getting older is that people have the courage to say that it was actually a brilliant laugh. I hope that what I’ve experienced as a solo artist BROS will get to experience with the dads, the kids, the mums…I hope it’s going to be an inclusive night out.
BROS last played in Sydney on November 4th, 1988. This show will mark 29 years to the day since BROS played the Sydney Entertainment Centre at the height of BROSmania in 1988!
Tickets for BROS’ only Australian show at Qudos Bank Arena are on sale on Friday, May 5 at noon here.