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
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.”
Download: “King Richard TLH” — Masters of Reality (mp3)
Here’s the opening salvo off Pine/Cross Dover, the new studio album out later this month from Chris Goss’s MASTERS OF REALITY, via the Mascot Records label in Europe—pre-order info here. The band willbe touring in Europe, check their dates and more at the October tour in Europe, more: official Masters of Reality page on myface.
Chris Goss: beloved Masters of Reality mainman for twenty-plus years—a storied New York City band whose debut album was produced by Rick Rubin and released on American Records, which was followed by a move to California and some time on the record label that brought us Tone-Loc. For two years, three tours and a studio album, Masters of Reality’s drummer was legendary fierce redhead Ginger Baker of Cream. Pine/Cross Dover is the band’s first studio effort in five years, and finds longtime drummer John Leamy once again on skins, joined by Brian O’Connor on bass, and Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal, Earthlings, QOTSA, etc) and Mark Christian on guitars.
Goss is also known as: Kyuss producer, occasional Queens of the Stone Age/Desert Sessions member/collaborator, UNKLE contributor, and, with Twiggy Ramirez and Zach Hill, one-third of Goon Moon. As one-half of the pictured-below The 5:15ers (QOTSAer Josh Homme was the other half), he headlined the second night of ArthurBall in Los Angeles in spring 2006.
And, of course, Goss is the author of arguably the best piece of neighborhood/cooking writing to appear so far in the pages of Arthur: check out his super-porkout Immigrant’s Sauce recipe/reminisence from the Brian Eno cover ish of Arthur (No. 17, July 2005—still available, collectors!).
Bonus dish: Here’s a profile on Goss that I wrote for the LAWeekly from August 2004…