In the world of Matt Goss, there is always room in the same audience for such mismatched celebs as Los Angeles Lakers power forward Ron Artest and 1980s teen pop sensation Deborah “Debbie” Gibson.
They were on hand, along with about 70 other invited friends, fans, admirers and music industry types Thursday night at Capitol Studios at the famed Capitol Records building in Hollywood. The event was, naturally, centered on music, as Goss and his backing band performed a live recording in the spacious, wood-bedecked recording enclave designed by late guitar legend Les Paul.
Goss wanted the audience for the performance to be filled with familiar (and in a few cases, famous) faces, which is how Gibson -- a friend of Goss’s for more than 20 years -- and the ever-imposing Artest showed up. Artest did duck out before the performance, but Gibson, who is remarkably 41 years old now and still quite adorable, made it past the halfway point.
The point and purpose of this music moment was for Goss and the Gosstastics (or whatever we call his backing band) and veteran producer Ron Fair to re-create the sonic power and audience buzz from his Caesars Palace shows. This is better accomplished at a recording studio that can handle a small audience than attempting to haul equipment to The Gossy Room at Cleopatra’s Barge, where mics would catch every clink of the glass, squeak of the chair and even the odd drunk toppling into the moat bordering the stage.
No, it was far more sensible to take the Goss Vegas show on the road, into an audio-friendly venue that accommodates about 100 fewer fans than the Gossy Room flotilla. “I wanted to try to capture the energy of his show, but do so by isolating the musicians and Matt’s voice,” said Fair, a man whose grandfather was a broadcaster and who has been calibrating audio entertainment for his entire adult life. “We also wanted the energy of the audience, so we created this experience.”
Later, Goss called out, “Remember that you are part of this recording! So have fun, and drink up!” That’s more or less the message of the Goss experience in Vegas. One quibble: The experience would have been further, um, authenticated by the appearance of The Dirty Virgins, but there seems no room for a dance team for a CD recording. Nonetheless, Dirty Virgins founder and the choreographer of Goss’ stage show (and a good measure of his career) Robin Antin kicked up for the audience for much of the show.
The CD will feature such familiar Gossy Room standards as his biting “Evil,” the fawning “Lovely Las Vegas” and covers of “Luck Be a Lady” and “Hotel California.” It’ll be interesting to hear how it all sounds to those seated in the room, listening to the performance through thick, black headphones. Fair said it was unclear how or even where the final product would appear, but I would be stunned if what we heard would not be put out as a live CD. This was no rehearsal experience, for sure. The ever-meticulous Goss was willing to run through two and even three takes to make sure these songs were fit to issue.
Specifics of the release date, or even who will back Goss financially in the in-progress project, were not provided. It was just a night of music. Goss’s Next Big Thing is an Oct. 21 date at Royal Albert Hall in London, performing yet another variation of The Gossy Room showcase.
“I’m still fighting the good fight in the music business,” said Goss, himself a former boxer. There is a term in the fight game, when trainers shout at boxers to “let your hands go!” It means to keep busy, and Matt Goss can be counted on for that, in Vegas or L.A. or London or anywhere else.