Brothers Matt and Luke Goss were ’80s pop icons.
With their studded black leather jackets and Levis 501s, Bros tore up the charts with seminal classics like ‘When Will I Be Famous’, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ and ‘Drop The Boy’.
Original member Craig Logan left the band in 1989 and, as a duo, Bros played on in their trademark bandannas for a further three years.
Now, three decades since they last played down under, Bros are back. And they’ve confirmed a one-off show at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena in November.
So we popped on the phone to chat with Matt and Luke about what they want from us 25 years on and what we can expect from the show.
But we begin by asking them what’s prompted this rekindling of an ’80s pop love affair.
“That’s an interesting way of putting it,” Luke laughs. “I think it just felt like… Matt’s been working hard and has been carving out a beautiful career here in the States and around the world with his music and I’ve been working hard myself and doing okay with that. And we just reached a point where we felt it was right.
“We had this beautiful band. The fans were calling out and the only thing stopping it from happening was Matt and I. So we felt that now, it was the right thing to do. It was a really informal decision. Within weeks of making it, we had Live Nation and Paul Dainty around us wanting to do the shows. So we’re very grateful for that and appreciative that it’s all come together.”
2017 marks 29 years since the band last made it to our shores. It also marks 25 years since the boys went their separate ways. So the timing is pretty much spot on. Not that rumours of a reunion haven’t been circulating for many years.
“It’s come very close from time to time, but it just didn’t feel organic and it didn’t feel it was the right time,” Matt admits.
“Many of the rumours have been exactly that… just rumours. But I think we’re in a place where personally we’ve been through great loss in the last few years,” he says, referring to the death of their mother in 2014. “And I think we’ve both realised that we’ve done extremely well as individuals professionally and personally as men and artists and businessmen and we just felt like it was the right time.
“It was so organic. We were just having a couple of beers, having a jam and it was almost like this telepathy between us. We just looked at each other and said, ‘it feels good, doesn’t it?’. We agreed. It just happened to hit at the right time.
“I was in London at the time, had a chat with Andy Copping at Live Nation. A month from that conversation, me and my brother were in a restaurant in LA and we were shaking hands with them to do the shows. Paul Dainty in Australia, obviously.”
The announcement of the one-off Australian show in Sydney this November was met with a great deal of excitement last week.
“I love that. That’s the stuff that me and Luke want to hear after a long day of promo,” Matt admits. “So is there a good buzz in Australia?”
We confirm that there is.
“I have to tell you… I’m not just saying this, but that’s a lovely, beautiful, generous thing to hear,” Luke adds. “I think you probably think we’re just saying it to be nice, but we’re genuinely touched by that.”
There seems to be a real appetite for the music of the ’80s and ’90s at the moment, whether through remakes, remixes and acoustic versions or the reformation of fan favourites from past decades.
In just the last two weeks, Bananarama has confirmed that they’ll tour Britain later this year alongside original member Siobhan Fahey.
’90s outfit Steps (who incidentally covered Bananarama’s ‘Last Thing On My Mind’) came close to knocking Ed Sheeran off the No.1 spot in Britain this week with their new album ‘Tears On The Dancefloor’.
We ask if the boys have any ideas as to why, right now, people are looking back with such fondness on pop icons past.
“You know what I think it is,” Luke ruminates, “Whether they were big in the ‘70s or the ‘80s or the ‘90s… for that generation… that’s their music. Boys and girls in the ‘60s were digging The Beatles. The fans of today… most of them weren’t alive then, but that’s the beautiful thing… it transcends time.
“I think the fans of whatever band want to hear their band. The music that reminds them of their youth. And you know what? Why not? I think with all the noise that’s going on in the world right now, music transcends all that. From whatever era it’s in and wherever it was created and in what time, why not do it again and have fun with it?”
To that end, we ask Matt why he thinks Bros hit in the way they did back in 1987.
“I think that we South West London boys, we had a lot of soul – even because of our upbringing, our humble beginnings. And I just think when we came out, we had so much energy,” he suggests.
“I think we’re still one of the few bands in history that had a bonafide uniform; you know, Doc Martins, leather jackets, bomber jackets, ripped jeans, bandannas, t-shirts… We did a TV show in Australia last week and there was a load of Bros fans – guys and girls – in the audience. And just to see the bandannas and the jackets and stuff like that… I felt a real sense of pride, because Bros definitely was about the music. It was about anthemic pop songs.
“But we were, without question, part of pop culture. And we were responsible for fashion globally. If you think that most of our songs were No.1 consecutively in many many countries, so every single country has stories about Bros and the uniform and the music. And there’s this kind of rebellious camaraderie globally now that’s starting to happen. We’re feeling this. That we were ‘Brosmania’.
“Brosmania consisted of people going ‘screw it, we’re going to go out and have a good time’. And I think Saturday night at the Qudos Bank Arena is going to be an incredible night in Sydney. And that’s what me and my brother get a real pleasure out of.”
“This is the thing. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes,” Luke tells us. “I’ve always said to people that when you’re not releasing records, you don’t know what your audience is or how many you still have. Or how many fans you’d love to have. But you’ve got to roll out the carpet.
“As Matt rightly said in an earlier interview, if you put five shows on sale and you don’t succeed with that, the whole thing doesn’t happen. If we put on a show, we can then say to our Australian fans… look, it’s up to you really. We’ve done this. We can guarantee we’re coming for this show. It’s not going to get cancelled, it’s not going to go away.
“But of course… what would be nicer than if it does so well and we’ve got to add shows? That would be a beautiful problem to have. And I personally would add shows in a heartbeat if the demand was there. But one show guarantees that we’ll show up when we say we’ll show up. And if more is needed, then what a great conversation.”
And, Matt reveals, it was a special group of people who really drove them to make Australia the second stop on the tour.
“The fans in Australia made so much noise on social media that it would have been impossible for me and Luke to ignore it,” he says. “So thanks to the fans in Australia for making this happen. They really genuinely were the catalyst.”
Though Matt and Luke are excited to be reuniting for the shows (including two in London and one in Manchester), they tell us there was no temptation from their former bandmate Craig Logan to be a part of them.
“To be honest with you, I think if we’d have all stayed in touch over the years and had a great time and he wanted to be a part of it, then it would have happened,” Luke tells us. “Craig left of his own accord. It was something he didn’t want to do anymore. And where I’ve gone into film, Matt’s in music, Craig has become an exec – very successfully so – and I’m very happy and proud of his achievements. But he’s never once suggested that he’d want to go back on that original decision of not being in the band.
“Our biggest achievements were playing at Wembley Stadium, some of the biggest tours we’ve done have been with just Matt and I. We don’t feel guilty about that… some of our greatest victories have been just the two of us. Craig has never expressed an interest. It’s not like Matt and I are banning him from the band – that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Luke has spent the best part of the past two decades carving out an enviable acting career in Hollywood, while for the past seven years, Matt has been in residence in Las Vegas. He says that experience has taught him many things about the art of performance.
“Vegas has probably taught me more than anything. More than Bros,” he admits.
“Vegas has taught me composure as an entertainer. When you’re playing 200 shows a year, you realise very quickly that some people know you and travel thousands of miles to come and watch you sing and some people have just read a review. It’s a very different animal to play Vegas. You have to check your ego at the door and be prepared to do one thing and one thing alone and that’s entertain. But I was very blessed.
“I’ve spent eight years so far in Vegas and it looks like it’s going to continue. And it taught me, basically, composure as an artist. I know exactly what to do with an audience and as a singer in a band, I can’t tell you how excited I am just to have my brother on stage with me and be Bros and have that energy, that force that Luke and me create. We’re both very creative, we don’t like mediocrity, we want to create something that when those lights go down on Qudos Bank Arena, we want everyone’s heart to start racing and the goosebumps to come up. We want that moment.
“And that’s what Bros has always done. Whether you like us or don’t like us, one thing Bros has always done is created extreme amounts of energy when we go on stage and that’s what we want to continue to do ‘til the day we drop.”
Given Matt’s extensive post-Bros solo career, we ask whether we might be expecting some of that solo material to pop up in the live show.
“We wanted to be very clear that we’re not doing any covers, there are only Bros songs in the show,” Luke says. “But the only exception to that is that Matt has just written what I think is his best single since the band finished. And it’s the sound that, if he continues, I’ll be buying every bloody one of his albums.
“This new song is his best single he’s done. There’s something just right in the pocket about it, so I’m going to be a backing drummer for one song and play Matt’s new single on stage for the fans in Australia. So if you want to hear his new record for the first time live….”
They tell us that audiences will hear all the hits and, potentially, their debut album ‘Push’ in its entirety. And while they promise to stay true to the originals, they will give them a more contemporary feel.
“They’re going to say, ‘shit, this is Bros in 2017’,” Luke teases. “It’s a big production. We’re making sure we bring a 2017 gig, so they can say to the people they bring who maybe didn’t know the band back in the day, ‘this is why we’ve stuck with these boys for 30 years’.”
But could the 2017 gigs grow into something more? Will the success of these shows see the boys reuniting in the studio for some new Bros material? Matt doesn’t deny it’s a possibility.
“The truth be told, it’s taken a long time – and again if the fans would give us the grace to allow this band to come back to life – you’re looking at two different sets of teams, agents, managers, me and my brother creatively, getting all of those bodies on stage, making sure the sound is exactly how me and my brother love it.
“But first things first, we want to get up and sing on stage. We don’t want to be beholden necessarily to radio or anyone. We just want to get on stage and connect with our fans again.
“I think deep down me and my brother would love nothing more than the next phase to be music, but first things first.”
Bros plays their one-off show at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday November 04.
A Telstra pre-sale commences at 9am today, with general public tickets on sale from midday on Friday, May 05.