Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Bros’ Matt Goss

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: the Bros frontman and solo star takes the test

1
Who presented Bros with the Best Newcomer Award at the 1989 BRITS?

Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones.”

CORRECT. Also Bill Wyman from the same band.

“We went backstage at one of their gigs in Kansas City when we toured America [in the ‘80s], and Keith Richards said: ‘What the fuck are you doing here?!’ with a big old smile. We hung out playing table tennis, and then Ronnie Wood said: ‘Can I wear your jacket onstage?’ and he came out to wearing my big biker jacket. He gave it back to me after the show and they’d all signed it. Years later, Bill Wyman was in a remix video to my solo single ‘The Key’.”

2
Which frontman once described Bros as “the first band to be sold on the size of their crotches”?

“Oof! I have no idea!”

WRONG. It’s Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant in their 1990 book Literally.

“I know Neil and think he’s one of Britain’s greatest pop stars, but I didn’t realise he was looking at my crotch in such a detailed way! (Laughs)

“Both us and Pet Shop Boys shared a manager, Tom Watkins, and were both at the top of our game globally. We had a mutual understanding of the madness, not just within the industry, but our own management. It was a circus where Tom was desperate to be famous. I made amends with Tom when he was ill before he died [in 2020]. I called him and said: ‘Look, there’s no hard feelings, I just want you to get well’ and he was very complimentary about me.

“But he was a hard man to love and couldn’t get out of his own way. Neil was smart enough to be able to converse with Tom in a way that we couldn’t, because we were 17 and learned the hard way about the difference between net and gross. We didn’t understand you sometimes had to spend £1m to make £1m and ended up in a financial hole.”

3
Who once asked you to play him in a biopic of his life?

“Reggie Kray.”

CORRECT.

“I was eating sushi in Harvey Nichols [in 1998] and the phone rang out of the blue and he went: “Hello Matt? It’s Reggie. I love your book and we’re both twins and I feel a real affinity to what you’ve gone through and how you operate.’ We genuinely got to know each other. He’d phone me in the morning from Her Majesty’s and read me his poems. I even went to the prison to see him, which was surreal. He gave me his famous Kray Twins engraved bracelet and matching cufflinks for my 30th birthday. My French bulldog is named after him.”

Will we ever see a Bros biopic?

“Me and my brother, Luke, would love a biopic, but it wouldn’t be a Bros one – it would have to be a hybrid of both of our life stories, because at one point we didn’t think we’d ever get back together. We couldn’t find common ground. We were happy going out at Wembley Stadium [in 1989] as the youngest fellas to headline that venue. But the two nights at the O2 [in 2017] we did were extraordinary and we learnt so much about each other. We’re hot-headed together and push each other’s buttons, but we’ve figured out that even if we have a tense argument, the love we have for each other is far greater.”

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4
Bros only ever won one NME Award. What (harshly) was it for?

“I didn’t know we’d won an NME Award!”

WRONG. Erm… in 1988, Bros won NME’s ‘Ugly Bastard of the Year (Collective)’ award. Mea culpa!

“Well, that should just be called the Wanker Award. That’s a tosser’s award, and it just reminds me of the bullshit we had to go through that was not only offensive but arrogant and unnecessarily cruel. There was no line the press wouldn’t cross with us. They claimed we were genetically modified to look more identical and that our cheekbones were surgically implanted. It felt like all-out war. The press is the reason my brother left the band. When we were in the charts at Number Nine, they were saying: ‘Is this the end of Bros?’. It was the last straw and he said, ‘I’m done – this isn’t fun anymore.’ That’s basically when I lost my job. But I understood why he’d had enough.”

5
You appeared on 1989’s Band Aid II. Who sings your lines on the original 1984 Band Aid version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’?

Bono, George Michael and … maybe Boy George?”

CORRECT. Impressive! Talking of Bono, U2 took you under their wing and The Edge once put Bros’ 1988 debut, ‘Push’, as Number Four in his Best Top 10 Pop Albums Ever List in Rolling Stone.

“I was invited to go and stay with The Edge for a long weekend, which terrified me because I was such a big U2 fan! Back then, we were arguably the biggest pop band and they were the biggest rock band in the world. We went water skiing in the Irish sea on his speedboat in the pouring rain and I was wearing Larry’s [Mullen Jr., U2 drummer] wetsuit. Afterwards, we went to a pub and he was telling people to leave me alone! (Laughs) He’s like Ireland’s dad! We went to a club with him dressed as The Edge in a cowboy hat and me dressed as ‘Matt from Bros’ in my red jacket, and when we walked in, it was a scene from a Western. Everyone came to a standstill looking at this odd couple!”

6
Your 2018 documentary Bros: After The Screaming Stops is renowned for its quotable Spinal Tap-style Bros-isms. But can you identify whether the following quotes were said by Bros or another boyband?

“I’m a bordering genius.”

“I definitely didn’t say that!”

CORRECT. That was Blue’s Lee Ryan.

 “When are we going to start using the other two-thirds of our brain? How do we know we can’t levitate?”

“That’s probably us!”

CORRECT.

 It’s a weird thing to say, but how do you know you’re not a planet?”

“That was us as well probably!”

CORRECT.

 “I’m a born entertainer. When I open the fridge door and the light goes on, I burst into song.”

“I definitely didn’t say that either!”

CORRECT. It’s Robbie Williams.

 “The first experience of making love was quite amazing for me. We’d heard stories that you had to use lubrication so I covered my knob in after-sun lotion.”

“(Laughs) That was me and it was fantastic! I used so much that you actually couldn’t see my knob! Her name was Cindy and she’s still an incredibly good friend and comes to our shows.”

CORRECT.  

“There was a tidal wave of love for Bros: After The Screaming Stops. People tell me they feel better knowing they’re not the only people with dysfunctional familIes or that it makes them want to reconnect with their brother. I understand the humour of some of the quotes in the film, but I stand by everything I said! The great thing is it wasn’t just about the soundbites, it was almost the genuine emotion connecting with people – and the tremendous amount of pain and loss in our story. I lost over a stone through stress during the filming of it, but it allowed people to see us as two human beings rather than Ken dolls.”

7
Which Spice Girl wanted to marry you when she was younger?

“(Laughs) Victoria Beckham.”

CORRECT. Who’s been the most unexpected person who’s turned out to be a Brosette?

“Princess Diana told us she was a Bros fan at a luncheon. She was flirtatious in an innocent way, and whenever you spent time with her, you didn’t feel like anything else existed. It was nice to get a call from P Diddy to be in his Ciroc vodka commercial alongside Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Chrissy Teigen.”

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8
Complete the following of your lyrics: “I’ve been on lockdown for a while now, yeah / And my big blue conkers are starting to go brown / I keep asking the universe won’t you send me some poontang, poontang, poontang yeah…’?

“(Laughs) For fuck’s sake! Out of all the stuff I’ve done, you’re going to ask me to finish that? I don’t know what it is, because I made it up on live television for a lockdown edition of Celebrity Juice last year.”

WRONG. It’s: ‘“Cause my self-confidence is in my bum-hole.”

“(Laughs) Keith Lemon gave me all these words like ‘poontang’ and ‘conkers’ to put into a song on my piano on the spot. Thanks Keith! Our collaboration is now being quoted in NME! I turned down doing Celebrity Juice for many years because I’m a private and reclusive person, but during COVID-19, I thought people needed a lift. We’ve [Bros] turned down seven-figure sums before to do shows that wouldn’t honour our family name. Keith also challenged me to play the guitar naked and nobody thought I’d do it, but I put a sock on my cock and did it, so I’m pleased I could make people pleasantly uncomfortable! (Laughs) I felt self-conscious at the time because of my COVID physique, so it was a freeing experience!”

9
Name three of your pre-Bros bands.

“Epitoma, Caviar and Summerhouse.”

CORRECT. You could have also had Gloss and Ice.

“When we were Ice and 14 years old, we played a working men’s club and our manager got onstage and introduced us: ‘Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Pulse 2!”. He changed our name before we went onstage without even asking us. Also, why the fuck were we called Pulse 2?! Why the 2? He just relegated us – we were already the second, inferior Pulse! (Laughs)”

10
You famously delivered an impassioned speech in Bros: After The Screaming Stops  about how you can’t play conkers in the UK without goggles. But where are the World Conker Championships held?

“Somewhere like Cornwall?”

WRONG. It’s Northamptonshire.

“The point I was making was about how we’ve become so politically correct, we’re afraid of offending people. Britain’s known for its sarcastic, sadistic sense of humour. We’re a self-deprecating nation. I can’t imagine drinking with my mates in the UK without them giving me shit, but we’ve become terrified of offending each other.”

Tell us about your new forthcoming (presumably conker-free)  album, ‘The Beautiful Unknown’

“During COVID, I fell out of love with music. I didn’t want to touch my piano or guitar – it felt like my fingers were bruised from too many shows, my voice felt abused. I felt abused. I loved [my residency] playing Vegas but doing that volume of shows takes it toll. My band called me Iron Voice, but I stopped feeling connected to the shows. After my mum died [in 2014], I was back onstage seven days later and the audience just looked one-dimensional. I didn’t feel any depth and I knew the grief was deeper than any song would get me through. When COVID hit, I was completely alone and facing my demons and I got connected to mental health – I saved a fan from suicide.

“I’ve also realised that – apart from Luke who I talk to every day – I don’t have a supportive family. They never say ‘Well done’ when I release a record. But I finally sat down at the piano to see what would happen, and I wrote a song, ‘Shipwreck’, and all this emotion came out. I recorded it with [US singer-songwriter] Babyface, and out of it came this mad beautiful desire to create the best pop record of my life that honestly addresses the dismantling of love and my own sense of losing myself.”

The verdict: 6/10

“I enjoyed that!”

– Matt’s new single ‘Somewhere To Fall’ is out now, watch the video here. His new album ‘The Beautiful Unknown’ is released on November 19th. 

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