This video just surfaced. “Why the Fly” 10 minutes, live in Frankfurt, 2001 by Masters of Reality in that special Chris Goss-Joshua Homme-Nick Oliveri formation
Eagles of Death Metal bassist Brian O’Connor has been diagnosed with cancer, and is undergoing treatment in Los Angeles. More info on how you can help: brianeodm.org
Queens of the Stone Age & Eagles of Death Metal
Thursday, August 12th
Los Angeles, CA
PRE-SALE begins Thursday, July 15th 10 am PST
tickets on sale to the public Friday, July 16th @ 10:00 am
Sound Methods and Weird Channels
How producer and Masters of Reality main man Chris Goss got his groove
by Jay Babcock
Originally published August 26, 2004 in the LAWeekly
Over a recent leisurely afternoon lunch at Silver Lake’s Astro Family restaurant, musician/producer Chris Goss is in muse-aloud mode.
“Music usually makes its way into the hands that want it,” he says quietly. “Eventually, if you’re meant to have it, it’ll get to you, through weird channels that you’d never expect.”
I’m catching up with Goss at an interesting point in his career. The night before, he was in Studio City, contributing work to the new Queens of the Stone Age album at the request of longtime friend Joshua Homme, with whom Goss has collaborated since taking Homme’s desert-rock teenagers Kyuss under his producer’s protective wing in 1992. (Goss was featured on last year’s Homme-supervised The Desert Sessions Volume 9 & 10 in a duet with PJ Harvey on the desolate “There Will Never Be a Better Time.”) QOTSA co-vocalist Mark Lanegan’s new solo album, Bubblegum, which Goss co-produced and performs on, is finally out. Goss just finished producing the new album from buzzed-up Britfreaks the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, and is itching to start writing songs in a new project called Sno-Balls [eventually renamed Goon Moon—Ed.], with ex–Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez and Hella drummer Zach Hill. And his old band, Masters of Reality, has a new album out.
Well, in Europe, anyway. Like the last three Masters albums, Give Us Barabbas has no American distribution and is available only as an import at specialty stores on- and offline. And Barabbas, technically credited to “Masters of Reality/Chris Goss,” is not really a “new” album, it’s a collection of Goss-penned songs from the last 20 years that have gone previously unreleased in studio form. Why many of these songs are only appearing now is a long, serendipitous story involving Rick Rubin, band turnover, a grunge-choked ’90s marketplace inhospitable to the Masters’ varied classic rock sound and non-pretty-boy look, an impasse with a major record label, a “lost” album and Goss’ busy career as a producer. Cautionary and instructional as that tale may be, it is ultimately less important than the songs themselves: gems like the windswept, string-laden “The Ballad of Jody Frosty,” the campfire sing-along “I Walk Beside Your Love,” the majestic chorale “Still on the Hill,” the country-blues chantey “Bela Alef Rose,” the gorgeous epic “Jindalee Jindalie.” Any collection spanning two decades inevitably carries with it the air of biography, and Barabbas is certainly that; but it also feels like a secret monograph—a collection of timeless scrolls from a legendary Master that will be passed among acolytes and disseminated to those who are meant to hear it.
“Whatever will be, will be,” says Goss, with a smile.
From left: Larry Lalli, Mario “Boomer” Lalli and Tony Tornay
Larger Than Life: Casting shadows with Fatso Jetson
by Jay Babcock
A much shorter version of this piece was published Thursday, Dec 12 2002 in LAWeekly
Look closely at almost any significant rock band’s background—at its deeper, hazier context, at its place/space in its particular subcultural zeitgeist—and you will find someone who acted, perhaps unwittingly, as a crucial instigator: a subtle yet critical link without which the chain would not hold. Led Zeppelin had Roy Harper. Nirvana had King Buzzo. And Queens of the Stone Age, arguably the best American melodic hard rock band since Cobain exited in self-disgust, have guitarist-singer Mario “Boomer” Lalli.
“Boomer has this one quality that I’ve been searching for since the moment I saw him, and that is Boomer is un-heckle-able,” says Joshua Homme, the leader of the Queens of the Stone Age, who’s been watching Lalli play since he (Josh) was 14. “There could be a wide array of reasons to heckle Boomer—but it’s impossible when you watch him play. The second he starts to play, when he squints his eyes? I’ve never heard anyone go, ‘bleh, shut up!’ I’ve seen people not like it, but I’ve never seen anything thrown at him. Nothing. Because you believe it.
“It’s for real.”
* * *
Born in 1966 as “Mario” and quickly tagged with the impossibly appropriate nickname Boomer, Lalli was raised in Palm Springs, where his parents, a pair of opera singers, ran an Italian-themed restaurant called “Mario’s—Where They Sing While You Dine” with Mario Sr.’s brother Tullio. At Mario’s, which re-located to Pasadena earlier this year after three decades in the low desert, Mario Sr. and Edalyn lead the Mario Singers, a small group of performers, most of whom have other roles at the restaurant, in belting out two 30-minute shows (three on weekends) every night for the diners. (Now 80, the senior Lallis are still working/singing every evening, even on Sundays at 9.) [Restaurant’s now closed.—Ed., 2010]
“Our family has had a restaurant there for 30 years,” says Boomer. “For 20 of those years it was very successful, and summers off were just party time, just great. But now, it’s just changed. There’s a lot of big corporate money doing the restaurant thing there, so a unique little place like we had? It’s tough to make it work there these days. Our lease was up in the desert and we just thought What the fuck, let’s go for it in Pasadena.
“And you know, as great as the desert has been for our music, it was a terrible place to play music.”
Since he was 16, Boomer has been doing music in the desert that didn’t exactly fit the format at the family restaurant—or anywhere else.
“We grew up on Aerosmith, but that was fantasyland. Then we saw D. Boon and Mike Watt and the cats in Black Flag and the guys in Redd Kross and Saccharine Trust, and we saw these guys were guys like us! They‘re just dudes. And skateboarding too had a lot to do with it, because it was all about: Find a place. You wanna go skateboard? Find a pool, bail it out. You do all that work, you put effort into it, and then you’ve got this place. And that bled over into music.”