Luke Goss looks up from his laptop at his window. “Wow,” he exclaims. “Two doves just landed right there. Hello, chaps.” He’s wearing a cross hanging from a chain around his neck. Doves and religious iconography – I could almost be in a 1980s pop video. Maybe something by Madonna rather than Bros, the teeny band sensation for whom Goss played the drums. Before long, he’s whisking me around his LA studio, brandishing his laptop webcam in the direction of his paintings – 17 of them – all displayed behind him.
“I had an exhibition a couple of weeks ago, which was nice,” he explains, gesturing at the brightly coloured abstracts. He’s also got a new single out (“Free”) and a Christmas-set film, The Loss Adjuster, in which he plays the lead. Not bad for lockdown. “I’m keeping myself as busy as I can.” Being confined to his home, he’s finding the “lack of interaction” difficult, which is why he was keen to speak over video chat. “I want to see people,” he says. “It’s a human experience.”
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Still, his mood is buoyant, welcoming. He recites some lyrics from “Free”: “I want to be free/ I want to be me/ I just want to be.” With its laid-back Latin vibe, it’s a long way from the days of Bros’ signature tune “When Will I Be Famous?” He says he wanted to write something that felt comforting. What about chart success?
‘I think Brexit was driving everyone bloody nuts. We came along and it was captivating and it changed the subject – that’s how a phenomenon happens’
“It’s not what I’m aiming for. I want to write a tune that people say: ‘Shit, man, when I’m singing that it gives me a minute off’, and if I can achieve that, that’s a chart position I’m looking for.”
On his phone, he shows me some artwork for the new single, with a silhouetted Goss turning away from the camera. “Look, reinvention, a new beginning,” he says. “I’m turning… my back to camera says I am turning my back on a lot. I’m turning my back on all of it. What I want to turn my face to is civility, support, candour, transparency, honesty, so we can actually get through this.”
Reinvention is something at which Goss excels. Two years ago, he starred in Bros: After the Screaming Stops, which documented his reunion with his brother Matt – some 25 years after Bros had split acrimoniously. While the band’s third original member Craig Logan was not involved, the film charted their build-up to performing at London’s 02. With Matt particularly prone to bizarre Spinal Tap-like proclamations (“I made a conscious decision because of Stevie Wonder to not be superstitious”), the film became a cult hit.
Bros were a thing again. “We never thought there’d be a magic pill,” Goss says earnestly, “but that’s what happened. I think the Brexit thing was driving everybody bloody nuts. I think we came along and it was captivating [viewing] and I think it changed the subject – that’s how a phenomenon happens.” He’s aware too that some were laughing at them, not with them. Was he bothered? “It doesn’t feel great,” he admits, but “there’s nothing malicious about it. And the documentary was fantastic.”
They may not be the Gallaghers, but the Goss’ tempestuous relationship drove the film. “Matt and I were like: ‘Man, what’s the point of hiding that truth?’ This is gonna be a journey,” he says. “I think the icing on the cake was the fact that the O2 was just jammed two nights in a row. The Brits might be tough, but [are] big softies at heart, and if there’s a good ending, and it’s happy and victorious… that’s what Great Britain is built on, those victories.” Ah, yes, Waterloo, Dunkirk and Bros at the O2.
Born in Lewisham, Goss and his brother were still in their teens when Bros became a sensation. They sold an estimated 16 million records but were crucified by public opinion, he says. “They were mad at us.” Why? “I think we were going against the flow of what the country was going through.” Singing about wanting fame and fortune at a time when others were unemployed? “I don’t really know the minutiae of why my brother and I got such a kick in the mouth, but truthfully it’s over now.”
He says that he and Matt are now in a good place, “speaking every single day”. Earlier this year, the compilation Bros: Gold charted highly. Now they want to make a new album – the first studio disc since 1991’s Changing Faces. “The next album will be the most definitive Bros album,” he says. They have already had offers to document its recording: not so much when the screaming stops as when the wailing starts. And why not? At 52, Goss looks tanned, gym-toned and ready to rock.
For the moment, he is focused on The Loss Adjuster, a black comedy, in which he plays Martin, a hapless fellow whose wife leaves him just before Christmas. Goss more than understands this: in 2017, he split from his singer wife Shirley Lewis after 23 years of marriage. So was loss something he’d experienced? “I don’t know many men in my life that haven’t. In fact, none.” He says he wanted to use the film as a platform. “Men don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak truthfully about their sensitivities.”
The film, which stars Joan Collins (now 87) and Cathy Tyson, reunites him with his old friend, Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp. Sadly, they have no scenes together. “His character anyway is having a good old time with my missus in the film. Not the kinda dude you want to drink a beer with!”
In many ways, the film brings him full circle, back to Britain two decades on from leaving for America to reinvent himself as an actor. Bros may have played Madison Square Garden, but back then that didn’t matter to casting directors. “I lived here for four years on my own, sometimes three, four auditions a day. And without doubt, [it was] one of the loneliest times of my life, but also one of the most liberating because it was like: ‘Shit, I’m going to see if I can get a movie.’ When you first land that American movie… it’s a little buzz.”
That turned out to be David S Goyer’s 2002 drama Zig Zag, with Wesley Snipes. It led to the Goyer-scripted, Snipes-starring vampire sequel Blade II, directed by future Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, who then cast him in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
“I was gonna do The Hobbit with him,” he adds, “and then it got changed from him directing it to Peter Jackson.” They’re still in touch. “I do hear from him. I do get occasionally a call or text. It’s not often but I will always love Guillermo. He gave me an opportunity to give my best work at that time.”
Still, Goss is itching to get back to Britain. He’s had enough of LA. “I want out,” he says. “As soon as there’s an opportunity for me to leave, I will be leaving immediately. I’d leave this afternoon if I could.” Why?
“It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the world – California has it all. But what’s happened is, it’s become very populated. So for me, it’s population, pace, aggression… it doesn’t feel safe. It doesn’t feel like the LA that I lived in.”
‘I want out of LA. As soon as there’s an opportunity for me to leave, I will be leaving immediately. I’d leave this afternoon if I could’
Perhaps after two decades in America, it’s time to come home and capitalise on the nostalgia grown-up Brosettes are feeling for him and his brother. “I have to be honest, when I go to the UK now, whether it be people in the streets, cab drivers, whatever it is, people are just so bloody lovely. And I think to hold that position in one’s country is a dream…
“I don’t know how long it lasts. I hope it’s the rest of my life. To be able to be there eventually is frankly worth the wait. It’s a lovely place to be now.”
The Loss Adjuster is available on demand from Monday 30 November; Free is released on 11 December