• Matt Goss. (Distributor)Source: Distributor
The end of the band tore him and Luke apart, but the star of music documentary ‘Bros: After The Screaming Stops’ says they’re tighter than ever now.
By
Stephen A. Russell

11 Jan 2022 - 10:25 AM  UPDATED 19 Jan 2022 - 9:40 AM

If you come to Bros: After The Screaming Stops expecting a paint by numbers music doco packed with nostalgia, then you’re in for a big shock.

Directors Joe Pearlman and David Soutar captured a surprisingly raw insight into the personal and professional battles of estranged twin brothers Matt and Luke Goss, as they prepare for a reunion gig at London’s O2 arena in 2017. Opening with an explosive backstage argument, the film proceeds to pick over the rubble of a relationship that never fully recovered from Luke walking out on the band in 1992, four short years after hit singles ‘When Will I Be Famous’ and ‘I Owe You Nothing’ rocketed them to the top of the pop charts.

“The movie is about dysfunction,” Matt levels over a Zoom call from his Las Vegas home. “It’s about whether you give a shit enough to plough through that dysfunction. We didn’t want to create a fluff piece.”

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat that’s become every bit as integral to his look now as the vintage bandanas he always wore and still does, Matt is the picture of serenity. It’s a far cry from some of After The Screaming Stops’ toughest moments. If it’s hard for us to watch the brothers at war, it was even more challenging for him. “I remember looking over at my brother, after he said a couple of things in the movie, and he just kind of shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘well, that’s how I feel’,” Matt recalls. “As I said in the film, it felt like a never-ending apology and, frankly, I wanted to fucking enjoy the journey.”

And it has been a journey. Matt’s performed for the Queen, and for US President Joe Biden, and says he’s “probably the last person who ever sang for Muhammad Ali in his house”. There have been hundreds of shows on some of Vegas’ biggest stages for more than a decade now, and several solo albums. Music is who he is, but, like many of us, lockdown upended that. “When the pandemic started, I just lost complete interest,” he reveals. “I didn’t want to touch my piano or my guitars, and I certainly didn’t want to sing.”

Thankfully it was a temporary block. He’ll drop a new record, The Beautiful Unknown, in February 2022 and can’t wait to share it with his fans. “I understand how powerful pop is with an audience,” he says.

You'll laugh, you'll cringe, as the feuding Goss twins reunite in 'Bros: After The Screaming Stops'
This is not Spinal Tap, but it sure feels like it. (SBS VICELAND)

The band's dedicated fans often show up to their concerts, or even just to welcome them at airports, dressed in Bros’ trademark look from their heyday: white Ts, tight ripped jeans and biker jackets. We see this in the documentary, and it's hard not to get swept up in their euphoric, lookalike tribute. Matt draws deep on their joyous well of support, especially when on stage. “You just play one chord and they know what’s coming,” Matt says. “And all of a sudden, it’s being sung back to you by 50,000 people. It’s an incredible feeling.” 

The fans buoy him, but they also look out for one another. He’s constantly amazed by the ‘Matt Goss Army’ support network, who help sort travel and accommodation for one another. “It’s a community.”

Community matters to Matt, which is why the rift with his brother was so devastating. They’ve endured a lot of tragedy together. Their sister Carolyn died in a car crash at the height of their fame during the ‘80s. Their mother, Carol, died far too young in 2014, having never got to see her boys on stage together again.

Matt unpacks a lot of this tumult in The Beautiful Unknown. “There’s a line I wrote, ‘I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, but my heart has no protection,’ and that’s really who I am,” he says. “If you need me, I’m there for you. But you can also prod my heart with your finger. Therefore it’s your responsibility to respect my sensitivity. It doesn’t mean I’m not strong, because I am.”

Exploring new understandings of male strength is key to both the album and the doco. Interestingly, when the latter aired on the BBC in the UK, the core demographic was 18 to 35-year-old men. “Many fellas have come up to me and said, ‘You made me want to call my sister or my brother or get closer to my mum’,” Matt says.

As for him and Luke, they’re closer than ever. “We play video games together [online] every day, probably around midnight. It’s our way of detaching ourselves from the lawyers, the managers and schedules. He’s my best mate and I love him.”

Dare we get excited about the possibility of them recording a new Bros album together? Matt chuckles. “That’s a whole different thing. I don’t know, honestly. But people have been talking about that being the next film, actually creating new music. That’s gonna be a very, very tough experience, but I’m looking forward to it.”

He also aspires to acting, like Luke, while respecting his brother’s space. “One of the reasons I want to do it is because I want that bellyache of fear, where I’m heading into the beautiful unknown.”

There’s a moment, in After The Screaming Stops, where Matt and Luke reminisce about how, as working-class kids, they’d play with a solitary dart, minus a board. One day Luke threw it into the sky, and on return it stuck into one of Matt’s ribs, before being promptly and unfussily removed by their grandfather. I wonder what that young boy would make of Matt’s fame now?

“You know, I’ve continuously lived in a place of wonderment and gratitude,” he says. “I’m sorry to go back to my mum, but she simply didn’t have the opportunity to decide whether she could be here. And whenever I’m having a hard time – I mean, I get so pissed off at the industry, it’s insane to me – but whenever I have those moments, I remember not just my mum, but all the people during COVID that we’ve lost. Our next breath is an absolute blessing.”

Bros: After the Screaming Stops aired on SBS VICELAND on Sunday 16 January. It is now streaming at SBS On Demand for a limited time:

 

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