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When Will I, Will I Be "VEGAS"?


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How Matt Goss went from Bros to being Las Vegas's new Frank Sinatra


By Cole Moreton



Last updated at 10:01 PM on 11th September 2010



He made millions in the eighties as part of boy band Bros - but then dramatically lost it all. So how did the South London singer turn into Las Vegas's new Frank Sinatra?






article-1310130-0B1897E6000005DC-660_306x486.jpg 'Being at Caesar's (Palace) means that someone bigger than me, with 40 million preferred customers, believes in me,' said Matt Goss


The horns are blaring on Las Vegas Boulevard. The traffi�c is in chaos because some crazy guy in a Frank Sinatra hat is striding among the cars, forcing them to stop.

'Hey,' yells a cop from the sidewalk.

'What's up?'

But then he sees who it is and smiles.

'OK. Just be quick.'

The jaywalker in the retro silver suit is risking his life to be photographed in front of an enormous neon image... of himself. That's him up on the giant billboard next to Caesar's Palace. He is the most fiercely promoted star in Vegas right now, the new face of the most famous casino in the world. And what a face. Sharp, blue-eyed and strangely familiar, if you're British. It brings back memories of ripped jeans and a pair of peroxide twins singing, 'When, will I, will I be famous?'

Matt Goss must hate that song, 23 years after he sang it with his brother Luke in their boy band, Bros. People taunted him with it after the act fell apart, when it emerged that the twins had blown - or been cheated out of - all their money. Never mind the 11 hit singles, Bros became known as icons of Eighties excess who wept when their matching red Porsches were towed away.

Luke became an actor but Matt dropped off the radar when he fled to the States, more than a decade ago.

'I came to America to get some space,' he tells me on the way back to the casino.

'I didn't know who I was. I didn't even want to be me. I wanted to know if I could meet a woman without being famous.'

The dramatic change in lifestyle was hard to take, at first.

'I felt so alone, immediately going from having bodyguards and 400 people outside my house to being completely on my own in another country. I blacked out in a shopping mall. I was so overwhelmed by just being normal. Agoraphobic almost. People would go, "What do you do? Are you on holiday?" I'd say no, I was a musician and they'd go, "Oh, good luck with it." And I'd headlined Wembley Stadium.'

For a while he had no money at all.

article-1310130-09DB1D72000005DC-622_306x511.jpg 'People come here from all over the country. If you play Vegas, you're playing to the whole of America'


'All our assets had been frozen. I was down to the wire, I'm talking only being able to buy one cheeseburger a day.'

How did he get through? Goss promises to tell me after the show, but for now the south Londoner wants me to see what he's become. To be honest, it is extraordinary.

Here in the Nevada Desert, Goss has reinvented himself as a new Sinatra. A Peckham boy updating the moves Ol' Blue Eyes invented. And rather than running him out of town for the cheek of it, the Americans have fallen for Goss in a way they never did before.

The rebirth has been so successful he is now daring to bring his new show back across the Atlantic, to stage a 'Live from Las Vegas'-style performance in October. It is a huge moment for him.

'I said the only way I'd come back to Britain is if I could play the Royal Albert Hall and perform on my own terms, doing the same thing as I do here - a big show with the dancers and all the glamour. That's what's going to happen. I am so proud of the Bros days, and I will put some of those hits in, but this show is a coming of age for me, and that's what I want people to see.'

At Caesar's, hotel president Gary Selesner says he intends to employ Goss as the resident singer 'pretty much forever. He's good-looking, suave, charming, the kind of guys Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were when they sang here.'

And Goss makes a deliberate effort to channel the spirit of the Rat Pack in the revamped lounge where he plays, Cleopatra's Barge.

'Frank drank in this room. With Dean Martin. That is amazing.'


Let's be frank: while Sinatra did indeed drink and even sing in the Barge, it was usually after performing at the resort's larger showroom. But Goss is the only resident singer at Caesar's Palace. The way the casino sells it, intimacy is part of the point: the 160 seats are hard to get. Leona Lewis, Mel B and Natasha Bedingfield were all here on opening night, Ricky Hatton has dropped by and tonight's guests include a magnificent blonde woman who introduces herself as 'Deborah. I sang with Matt at Wembley.' This turns out to be one-time pop starlet Debbie Gibson.

Not everybody is impressed. As Goss walks through the casino, flanked by bodyguards, on his way to the show, a lone voice from the card tables shouts out: 'Douche bag!' The singer spins on his heels, outruns his guards and goes close up, face to face with the offender.

'Just because I'm on the billboard doesn't mean I won't sort you out.'


article-1310130-09DB0DCC000005DC-179_634x442.jpg 'I have an extraordinary life. For the past couple of years I have had a Bentley, I've had an Aston Martin, I drive a Mercedes CL65 right now. And I am lucky enough to know some incredible, beautiful women'


Bigmouth is wise to back off, because Goss has been boxing ever since he came to the States. Underneath that tux is a tattoo he calls The Mark: a circle pattern worn by a close group of friends, all sworn to loyalty, including his father and his stepbrother Adam.

Rebuilt in plush red velvet, the Barge is meant to be a throwback to a stylish age.

'That's part of the sensibility we try to have in here. Style, elegance, dignity, manners, kindness, old-fashioned values. And everyone dressed up, looking at their very best.'

Images of Frank and Sammy Davis Jr are projected as the lights go down. Goss rips straight into the Stevie Wonder song Superstition, and he's good. His versions of Sinatra classics Luck Be A Lady and I've Got The World On A String are influenced by funk and soul. His dancers, the Dirty Virgins, have been recruited and dressed by choreographer Robin Antin, creator of Pussycat Dolls.

Five o'clock in the morning, and as the sun rises Goss is standing in the bay window of his suite, black tie hanging loose, with a tumbler of Johnnie Walker Black Label in his hand, looking down on Vegas.

'Look at this. It's not a fantasy. This is real.'

article-1310130-09DB21A2000005DC-150_634x309.jpg Matt on stage at Caesar's Palace


I don't want to break the mood, but isn't it a bit of a cheek for a boy who was born in Peckham to come over here and steal the Rat Pack's clothes?

'Not at all,' he says. 'We're doing it with respect and love. And I did meet them. I was 21 years old. Liza Minnelli invited me and Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys to come to see her perform with Sammy and Frank at the Royal Albert Hall. I went there and I walked into a room I wasn't meant to. It was Frank's. He was standing there with a scotch and five or six of his lads. I said, "Hello." Frank had this thing that Princess Diana had, a look that would immediately make you blush.'

And what did the Chairman of the Board say in reply? 'He said, "Hello".'

That's how the anecdote ends. Sounds like the singer ran for his life.

'Sammy was more approachable. He asked if he could borrow my jacket. To me he was one of the most charismatic people ever. His features and his bone structure were beautiful. He was like a Ford logo. That was one of those life memories.'

article-1310130-0B18BDB1000005DC-580_306x423.jpg 'Frank (Sinatra) had this thing that Princess Diana had, a look that would immediately make you blush'


This was in 1989, the year that Bros were at their best. Their biggest hit I Owe You Nothing got to No 1 and they played Wembley. But the twins struggled with the death of their little sister Carolyn, who was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 18.

'The pain was so intense, it was so hard to cope with what we were going through as a family, and then what we had to do for a living, going on tour as stars. The contrast did my head in.'

The band then lost bassist Craig Logan. He sued for unpaid royalties. Within two years Bros had stopped performing and the chaos of their finances was laid out in court for everyone to see. They'd sold 16 million records but ended up £500,000 in debt. Their manager had been charging them commission on what they earned gross, before all the expenses were taken out.

'I didn't know what net and gross was when I was young. I don't think anyone does. In simple terms, to gross a million quid you may have to spend a million quid in marketing and everything. So you've actually made nothing. If you also have to pay your manager commission on what you made gross, now you're paying out £1.2 million. You're in the red. It was a lesson I had to learn in front of my country. I was singing my backside off, touring the world, and we were mismanaged.'

They were ridiculed too. 'The fallout from it was enormous, it lasted ten years.'

Although the money vanished, the fans did not, at first.

'If you're one of the most known people in the world, it doesn't just suddenly stop in one day. It takes a long time, and you have to deal with that. When the band broke up we had even more fans outside the house. The best way I can describe it is to think of Michael Jackson's Thriller video, with all the zombies coming out.'

That was when Goss came to the States to start again.

'I went through a very tough time. I had a collection of beautiful watches, but I had to sell one a month to keep myself going. Come that last watch, I'm telling you, I was terrified. I remember taking a deep breath and saying, "Dear Lord, if this is my calling, let me find a way through here." That month I signed a $1 million deal with a major record company. I got back on my feet.'

article-1310130-09DB05CC000005DC-812_306x423.jpg Matt messing about with Caesar Palace's staff


Well, almost. He made several attempts at a comeback but none worked. Ask what he has been doing all these years, though, and he bristles.

'I had songs in the Stuart Little movie. I was the headline at Carnegie Hall, singing with the Tokyo String Quartet. I did Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. I could name 20 other things. I certainly didn't just disappear. I had a best-selling autobiography...'

Weren't there reports of him being embarrassed when only a handful of people turned up for a book signing.

'See? That's not true. There were at least 500 people at every signing. But if I say so, who are they going to believe? If I explain my life, the car I drive, the people I know, I sound like I'm giving it large. So the best thing to do is say nothing.'

He can't help himself, though.

'I have an extraordinary life. For the past couple of years I have had a Bentley, I've had an Aston Martin, I drive a Mercedes CL65 right now. And I am lucky enough to know some incredible, beautiful women.'

Still, it's true that when the idea for a show in Vegas came up he was in a low place.

'My grandad Harry had just died. He meant so much to me. He was an old soldier, very tough, but also a spiritual man.'

Goss wrote a song about Harry, and another about his long-term girlfriend, the model Daisy Fuentes, called Evil.

'We broke up for good five months ago. I have never spoken about my relationship but I don't mind saying it was extremely painful.'

What happened? He winces.

'She found somebody she found more... that was right for her. I truly wish her the best of all she wants.'

article-1310130-09DB256A000005DC-516_306x475.jpg Matt backstage at Caesar's Palace


The song suggests otherwise, but it showed him a way forward. Evil is a show-stopper and when his LA neighbour Robin Antin heard it she imagined a whole new approach to his career. Antin risked shooting a video with her dancers and Matt in the hat, shooting craps in a casino. Then she pitched it to the Palms resort.

'The guy rang me and said, "Welcome to Vegas."'

He knew it was a big break, at last.

'People come here from all over the country. If you play Vegas, you're playing to the whole of America.'

When he takes off the show clothes, Goss puts on tracksuit bottoms, a Who T-shirt and a beanie. The famous peroxide quiff is long gone. His hair is close-cropped, a downy blond.

'I don't think I could have done this gig ten years ago. Something has clicked for me. Becoming a man. It's the last piece in the jigsaw.'

Goss is a surprisingly gentle bloke, who spars but also meditates.

'I put my feet in contact with the floor every morning, and I go, "I am on this earth again." I have been more misunderstood than you will ever know, I have struggled but I have never whinged about it. I've just tried to crack on with my life. Being at Caesar's means that someone bigger than me, with 40 million preferred customers, believes in me. So, really, at this point, who is the silly one?'



In this reflective mood, Goss starts to talk about something really strange: his close friendship with the late Reggie Kray.

'I was in a sushi bar at the top of Harvey Nicks and I got a phone call. "'Ello Matt." I went, "Who's this?" And he went, "Reggie." I went, "Reggie who?" And he went, "Reggie Kray." Whoa.'

Why had he called?

'For whatever reason he felt an affinity with me, because we're twins. I went to visit Reggie in prison. The sweetest, nicest man, full of life.'

A gangster and murderer, surely?

'To me he was like a political prisoner: he'd done his time and he should have been let go. Reg would call me in the mornings, about 8.30, which is early for a musician. He'd be like, "'Ello Matt. Wanna hear my words?" So I'd lay with the phone on my pillow and he'd read me his poetry.

'For my 30th birthday he gave me a gold ID bracelet with two hands shaking and "The Krays" written on it. That's in a safe in England. It's an extravagant gift to give somebody when you're inside. We understood something about each other. Being a twin, you have the same DNA, you were born on the same day, you have a bond you can never describe.'

article-1310130-00C0DA8400000190-662_634x434.jpg 'If you're one of the most known people in the world, it doesn't just suddenly stop in one day. It takes a long time, and you have to deal with that. When the band broke up we had even more fans outside the house'


Speaking of which, what about Luke?

'He has done so bloody well. He was the lead villain in Hellboy 2 and I think he's brilliant in it. I'm as proud of him as I can be. I'd like to spend more time with him...'

He lets that thought tail off. There was talk of a Bros reunion last year, but it seems Luke said no.

'We had some incredible offers to do The O2 but I do think our worlds are very individually focused, so that moment may have passed.'

He hopes his family will be proud of him when he plays the Albert Hall next month. But what about living in Britain again? He shakes his head.

'I really have, with the help of Robin, managed to find a place where my mum, my dad and my mates can come and hang with their boy. I'm proud of who I am. I don't want to go back. I'll never go back. The time is right to say, "I was in a very successful band, but now I'm part of what's happening here." I'm doing all right, you know?'

Matt Goss gets up and walks to the window, to look down at the Strip. He sees himself down there, on that giant billboard, looking like a million dollars.

When will he be famous again?

Here and now.

Matt plays the Royal Albert Hall on October 19. For tickets go to mattgoss.biz.

He also headlines Caeser's Palace every Friday and Saturday at 10pm. caesarspalace.com



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1310130/Matt-Goss-How-went-Bros-Las-Vegass-new-Frank-Sinatra.html#ixzz0zHAKkCx8

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