Masters of Reality Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 4th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Just one New York show? Maybe on the return trip? Hell, I don’t even care if it’s New York. I’ll drive to wherever on the East Coast. Unfortunately for me, nothing of the sort has been announced, and Chris Goss (interview here) and the rather considerable Masters of Reality lineup he’s put together around himself and long-tenured drummer John Leamy — including Mathias Schneeberger and Dave Catching — will be heading straight to Europe later this week and by all revealed accounts straight back to the desert from whence they came when they’re done.

The tour includes stops at Download and Sweden Rock and other fests and dates with Queens of the Stone Age, which is a bill I’d like to see anywhere, let alone Paris.

This from the PR wire:

Chris Goss’ Masters of Reality Announce European Tour

Including Dates with Queens of the Stone Age 

Masters Of Reality will embark on a European Summer Tour starting June 8. The trek will include stops at the Sweden Rock Festival, Download Festival and dates with Queens Of The Stone Age. Frontman Chris Goss was most recently a featured musician in Dave Grohl‘s all-star lineup band for his historic Sound City 2013 tour which had a set list including some of Grohl’s favorite Masters Of Reality songs. The band is currently at work on their as yet untitled new studio album.

Originally signed by Rick Rubin to Def Jam in 1988, Masters Of Reality have toured the world releasing nine critically acclaimed albums, five of them released on Mascot Records. Goss is regarded by many to be the godfather of the California desert rock scene and is a well respected producer known for seminal albums by Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, as well as other acts such as Soul Wax, UNKLE, The Cult, and The Duke Spirit. 2013 started off quite abuzz for Goss, being featured in three current documentaries including the award winning Ginger Baker documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, the soon to be released Soul Wax documentary, and Dave Grohl’s Sound City.

Goss will be joined on the Masters Of Reality tour by longtime collaborator and drummer John Leamy (Surgery, Dr Mars). The live band also includes David Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal, Queens Of The Stone Age, Earthlings?) on guitar, Mathias Schneeberger (Gutter Twins, Twilight Singers, Earthlings?) on keys, and Paul Powell on bass.

Masters Of Reality Tour Dates
06/08/13 Sweden – Sweden Rock Festival
06/09/13 Denmark – Copenhagen – Pumpehuset (w/ SAFI)
06/11/13 Germany – Cologne – Luxor (w/ SAFI)
06/12/13 Holland – Amsterdam – Bitterzoet
06/14/13 Holland – Pinkpop Festival
06/16/13 UK – Download Festival
06/17/13 UK – Glasgow – Cathouse (w/ The Mighty Stef and SAFI)
06/18/13 UK – London – Islington Academy (w/ The Mighty Stef and SAFI)
06/19/13 France – Paris – Trianon (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)
06/21/13 Germany – Southside Festival
06/22/13 Germany – Berlin – Citadel (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)
06/23/13 Germany – Hurricane Festival
06/25/13 Switzerland – Dudingen – Bad Bonn (w/ The Shit and SAFI)
06/26/13 Switzerland – Zurich – Komplex Klub (w/ The Shit and SAFI)
06/28/13 Belgium – Leffinge – De Zwerver (w/ SAFI)
06/29/13 Luxembourg – Rock-a-Field Festival
07/01/13 Germany – Munich – Strom (w/ SAFI)
07/02/13 Austria – Vienna – Stadthalle (w/ Queens Of The Stone Age)

Masters of Reality, “Always” video by John Leamy

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Masters of Reality’s The Blue Garden Reissue Coming Dec. 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, I know officially that Masters of Reality‘s 1989 debut is self-titled, but whatever. Put that cover art on it and it’s The Blue Garden every time. The Chris Goss-fronted outfit released their last album, Pine/Cross Dover (review here) in 2009, some 20 years after the first one, and with a rich history of labels major and minor, tours and influential contributions to desert and heavy psych rock behind them, they’ll be coupling The Blue Garden with the How High the Moon: Live at the Viper Room live album, originally issued in 1997.

The PR wire heralds the Dec. 11 arrival of the 2CD/2LP:


December 11th on Delicious Vinyl
Delicious Vinyl is proud to announce the reissue of two seminal albums from MASTERS OF REALITY together in one deluxe package on December 11th, 2012.  Originally released in 1989 on Rick Rubin’s Def American label, the Self-Titled album is being re-released together with the 1997 live album How High The Moon: Live At The Viper Room in 2CD Digipak and Double LP formats.

Chris Goss formed Masters Of Reality with Tim Harrington as a two-piece in Syracuse, New York in 1981. A Warner Bros. pressing of Black Sabbath’s fearsome 1971 LP Master Of Reality with misprinted labels that read Masters Of Reality gave them their name. (Goss: “Nobody listened to Black Sabbath in 1981 if they considered themselves cool.”) Copping the sonic assault of No Wave duo Suicide, Goss and Harrington gigged regularly at CBGB under a smutty black light haze, before expanding to a four-piece and adapting Black Sabbath’s blues-based evil deeds template as their own.

Fans of Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age should recognize the name Chris Goss. As godfather of the California desert rock scene that blossomed in Joshua Tree, Goss produced three thundering Kyuss LPs as well as QOTSA’s breakthrough album Rated R and their Grammy-nominated Era Vulgaris. The Masters’ legend has grown stronger ever since.

Masters Of Reality’s lead single from the self-titled release was “Domino”, a flat-out rabble rousing rocker, Goss serving up Tony Iommi-style sickness while in his pure but potent tenor commanding the listener to “Paint me a picture/ make it the devil/ then run down the hole if/ the roof ain’t level.” “Lookin’ To Get Rite” is a concise and country-fried front-porch toe tapper, while “Kill The King” is a seven-and-a-half minute regicidal epic roping in the legacies of Queen, King Crimson, and ZZ Top. Most impressive is “John Brown” where Goss brays “I declare a holiday…no matter what the doctors say” over a full-bodied realization of the sort of acoustically-strummed bombast that Led Zeppelin had pioneered with “Over The Hills And Far Away.”

Completists and come-latelys may want to know this reissue maintains the self-titled album’s track sequencing from the Delicious Vinyl version, which includes the song “Doraldina’s Prophecies” (produced by Chris Goss, Matt Dike & Mike Ross) not found on the Rick Rubin-produced Def American release. The original Def American cover art has been restored. Longtime friend of the band and current Masters Of Reality drummer John Leamy’s painting The Blue Garden is seen in its full glory on the 8-panel digipak (as well as the bonus poster). The song “Magical Spell” is returned here to its majestic five minute lascivious trawl, missing verse, guitar solo and all. As for the second disc, How High The Moon: Live At The Viper Room has been out of print for years, and never been available on vinyl. Its standouts include “Jindalee Jindalie” (featuring special guest Scott Weiland) and a romp through “John Brown” that betters the already awesome studio version.

If you’re so moved, recognize that Masters Of Reality remain to this day an active, potent proposition both on tour and in the studio (check out their incredible 2009 album Pine/Cross Dover). Rock on.

1. The Candy Song
2. Doraldina’s Prophecies
3. John Brown
4. Gettin’ High
5. Magical Spell
6. Theme For The Scientist Of The Invisible
7. Domino
8. The Blue Garden
9. The Eyes Of Texas
10. Lookin’ To Get Right
11. Kill The King
12. Sleep Walkin’

1. How High The Moon
2. The Blue Garden
3. Alder Smoke Blues
4. Doraldina’s Prophecies
5. She Got Me
6. Jindalee Jindalie
7. John Brown
8. Tilt A Whirl / Swingeroo Joe
9. Ants In The Kitchen / Goin’ Down
10. 100 Years

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Buried Treasure: Haul That is Heavy, Vol. 4: Mega-Sale Edition

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 29th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

A mere two weeks ago, I posted notice that the kind souls at the All That is Heavy webstore were having a mega-sale with discs and t-shirts at 25 and 50 percent off. I also confessed that I did this only after going in and solidifying my own purchase. Well, the box showed up Wednesday and I’ve been making my way through the goods ever since. Here’s what I picked up:

The Body, All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood
Paul Chain “The Improvisor,Cosmic Wind
Church of Misery, The Second Coming (Diwphalanx reissue)
Leif Edling, The Black Heart of Candlemass
The Gates of Slumber, Villain, Villain
500 Ft. of Pipe, Dope Deal
500 Ft. of Pipe, The Electrifying Church of the New Light
Masters of Reality, Pine/Cross Dover (American version)
Mustasch, Parasite!
OJM, The Light Album
OJM, Under the Thunder
OJM, Volcano
Ponamero Sundown, Stonerized
Raging Slab, Raging Slab (2009 Rock Candy reissue)
Sgt. Sunshine, Black Hole
Sin of Angels, In the Grip of Despair

Stuff like the 500 Ft. of Pipe and Mustasch I’d had my eye on for a long time. The psyched-up Fu Manchu fuzz of the former has been a delight long awaited. With The Body, I felt like I was finally giving into the hype, but at the sale price, decided it was now or never. Ponamero Sundown I wanted to listen to again before reviewing the new one and couldn’t find my old sleeve promo — apparently I’ve never heard of YouTube — and Masters of Reality I bought solely for the different label name on the side of the disc. It’s not the first time I’ve done that with them.

OJM I wanted to backlog since reviewing Volcano, and I included Volcano too because I didn’t have a full copy. The Raging Slab I very much enjoyed last night after work, imagining what new wave/no wave New Yorkers must have thought of them busting out those songs in 1989 and seeing the old pictures of drummer Bob Pantella, now of The Atomic Bitchwax. Sgt. Sunshine‘s a little stranger than I expected, but still pretty cool, and listening to it now, I think I might’ve already owned this Sin of Angels CD.

The rest I haven’t gotten to yet, but it’s worth noting that even with the drastically slashed prices, Dan and Melanie — the above-noted kind souls — included a freebie in the form of Black Materia, by Black Materia, which is rife with Anathema-style sorrow and metallic melody, in addition to being a Final Fantasy reference. Dig it.

The sale’s still on, but I don’t know for how long or anything like that. Hopefully I’ll have time to recoup some funds for another round before it ends, but even if not, I think I did alright the first time. If you missed the link above, check out the list of goods here.

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Thanksgiving Media Blitz

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t done one of these in a while (it might actually be since last Thanksgiving), but today’s the perfect opportunity for it. Maybe you’re stuck in the house with your entire family and you want to get away for a little bit — no better way to do it than with the clips below.

For the puritan in all of us, there’s the creepy heavy ’70s rock of Salem Mass, for the doomer, The Obsessed live in 1992. Steven Seagal shows up in the Masters of Reality video. Christopher is bound to fill your psych needs, and if it gets more stoner rock than Fu Manchu doing “King of the Road,” I don’t know how. And finally, if you don’t feel like listening to or watching music at all, there’s Ian Gillan telling stories about his time in Black Sabbath. Hope you dig it and Happy Thanksgiving (or whatever day it is when you see this).

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Masters of Reality Interview with Chris Goss: Haven’t Dreamed Since… All Along

Posted in Features on November 4th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

When Masters of Reality frontman and mastermind Chris Goss says “wonderful,” it is as though he has reeled back his whole body to put a breathy and fully human energy into the word. And it is not a word he uses lightly. In the 67 minutes we spent on the phone discussing the US release of Masters of Reality‘s latest album, Pine/Cross Dover, on Cool Green Recordings (it came out in Europe in 2009 on Brownhouse/Mascot Records), he only said it three or four times, but each time he did, I could hear the genuine passion behind it.

Masters of Reality made their debut in 1988 with a self-titled full-length renamed The Blue Garden for its cover art. Throughout the multi-decade tenure of the band, and across albums like Sunrise on the Sufferbus (1992), Welcome to the Western Lodge (1999), Deep in the Hole (2001), Give us Barabbas (2004), Goss has been the lone consistent factor, making his name also as one of the key figures in the rise of rock from the Californian desert as producer and contributor to acts like Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Fatso Jetson and the Mark Lanegan Band, of course helming Masters of Reality from a production standpoint as well.

I’ve been a Masters of Reality fan since hearing Deep in the Hole in 2002/2003 (there are those who swear by the band’s earliest material, but I am not one of them), and whether it’s the driving rock of “High Noon Amsterdam” as presented on the brilliant live album from 2003, Flak ‘n’ Flight, or the rich harmonic texture of “Always” or “Testify to Love” from Pine/Cross Dover, I find that, whatever scene you want to lump them into, they make for a listening experience like none other. After wanting to for years, it was great to finally have occasion to conduct an interview with Goss.

In the conversation below, the guitarist/vocalist/songwriter/producer talks about pushing back the release date of Pine/Cross Dover to allow for more time in the studio, working with longtime drummer John Leamy on the album and bringing in guests like Dave Catching (earthlings?) and Brian O’Connor (Eagles of Death Metal), the state of commercial attitudes toward rock and roll, the enduring legacy of the desert scene he helped to found, being arrested in Germany on Masters of Reality‘s last European tour, and much, much more. The interview wound up being over 6,100 words, so there’s plenty to dig into. It’s pretty epic.

You’ll find the complete, unabridged Q&A after the jump. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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Golly, I Sure Do Wish Masters of Reality Were Playing Near Me

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

You know, Masters of Reality drummer John Leamy lives in Jersey, you’d think maybe they’d book a New York date or something, but no. Out Leamy flies to California to join Chris Goss and whoever among their desert luminary friends happens to be around that week (according to Goss, it’s Dave Catching, Mathias Schneeberger and Abby Travis) for a string of tour dates so far from my driveway they might as well be in China.

Then, in January, Goss and Leamy literally fly right over the East Coast of the US en route to the UK, where they play 10 shows. 10 shows! I can’t even get one! No justice, man.

I’ll have an interview with Goss posted sometime in the next couple weeks, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, here’s the current batch of tour dates off the PR wire:

US headlining tour dates:
11/10 – House of Blues, Anaheim, CA
11/11 – 4th & B Street, San Diego, CA
11/12 – House of Blues, Los Angeles, CA
11/16 – El Corazon, Seattle, WA
11/17 – Lola’s, Portland, OR
11/20 – Pappy & Harriets, Pioneertown, CA

UK dates w/ The Cult
01/18/2011 O2 Academy Leeds, UK
01/19/2011 O2 Academy Bristol, UK
01/21/2011 Hammersmith Apollo London, UK
01/22/2011 Cambridge Corn Exchange, UK
01/23/2011 O2 Academy Bournemouth Boscombe, UK
01/25/2011 Rock City Nottingham, UK
01/26/2011 Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton, UK
01/27/2011 O2 Academy 2 Newcastle, UK
01/29/2011 Academy Glasgow, Scotland
01/30/2011 Academy Manchester, UK

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The Top 10 of 2009 Revisited

Posted in Features on September 22nd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

As 2010 makes ready to jump into the double-digit months, it occurred to me the other day to go back and take a look at my Top 10 of 2009. I remembered a few of the albums that rated off the top of my head, if not the order they were put in, but I thought it might be fun to look through the list and see where I stand on the albums 10 months later. Let’s check it out:

1. YOB, The Great Cessation (Profound Lore)
Yup, this is still the best album that came out last year. Check.

2. Los Natas, Nuevo Orden de la Libertad (Small Stone)
Also still rules. Like YOB, I keep this one on me almost all the time.

3. Masters of Reality, Pine/Cross Dover (Brownhouse)
I think I was just really happy Chris Goss put a new album out, although I’ve started to listen to it again now that it’s getting a domestic US release and there are a couple really quality tracks.

4. Truckfighters, Mania (Fuzzorama)
Every time I listen to this album, I’m reminded of how much I dig it. It’s in the same CD wallet as YOB and Los Natas, but I don’t reach for it as much.

5. Shrinebuilder, Shrinebuilder (Neurot)
I hardly ever listen to this anymore, but killer album, killer performances, killer personnel. Can’t wait to get swept up in the hype for the next one, then do the same thing.

6. Crippled Black Phoenix, The Resurrectionists/Night Raider (Invada)
I like the art so much for this album, I don’t even touch it because I’m afraid of screwing it up or leaving fingerprints. It’s gathering dust on my shelf. Pretty dust though, so that’s alright.

7. Wino, Punctuated Equilibrium (Southern Lord)
Am I the only one who thinks maybe Wino meant “punctured” instead of “punctuated?” I just happen to be wearing my t-shirt of the album cover today, so I guess it still curries favor. “Smiling Road” rules.

8. Yawning Sons, Ceremony to the Sunset (Lexicon Devil)
This one still gets listened to regularly, is in that CD wallet. If I was making this list today, it might be number three.

9. Om, God is Good (Drag City)
Cool album, but I never put it on anymore. Maybe I will now.

10. Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope)
Josh Homme could take a dump on my brand new cupcake and I’d still have a man-crush on him, so this one was bound to show up. Needless to say, I went back to the first couple Queens of the Stone Age albums shortly thereafter.

If I had the list to do over, I’d put Blood by Snail on it, and maybe Church of Misery‘s Houses of the Unholy, which has kept its appeal pretty well. Other than that, I stand by most of the picks above. Let me know if there’s something I missed out on or anything you can think of that you never returned to once January hit.

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My Seven Favorite Barbecue Records, in Listening Order

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Here in the States, today is Memorial Day, which is basically yet another excuse for everyone to get their jingoism going and glorify war, blow fingers off with fireworks and blah blah blah. What it means to me is the official start of grilling season. True, I hate the heat and I have in fact been grilling all winter, but now it’s the season, which means eating outside, which means grilling music. Killer.

Because I’m all about sharing, here are my seven favorite barbecue records, presented in the order in which they should be played:

1. Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. What this says is, “I am here to grill. I don’t care what else happens in the universe, I am going to have a good time and that is that. Now rock with me as I cook this meat.” Perfect starter album.

2. C.O.C., Wiseblood. Like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, it’s a fun collection of songs, but Wiseblood is a little thicker sound-wise. It’s great to sing-along to, and the groove seems to run throughout the whole album, so it’s consistent too. A definite necessity.

3. Greenleaf, Agents of Ahriman. By now you’ve had a few beers and it’s time to let loose. Greenleaf‘s Agents of Ahriman is catchy, rocking and has a freedom to its sound that seems to be made for the outdoors.

4. Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf. I confess, I love this record regardless of the food and/or climate surrounding. I try to take it everywhere, so it comes out for grilling for sure. “Go with the Flow?” Come on, man. Can’t beat that.

5. Fu Manchu, King of the Road. The last of the real rockers on the list, it’s great to finish the meal with some righteous fuzzery, and for that, there’s nowhere to go but to Fu Manchu. If you’ve got ice cream for dessert, this’ll work with it.

6. Monster Magnet, Spine of God. You’ve rocked, you’ve stuffed yourself, you’re probably more than a little intoxicated and you feel like if you ever even see another burger, your heart will explode in your chest. Clearly you’ve yanked on the spine of god and it’s time for some penance.

7. Masters of Reality, Flak ‘n Flight. This is for your cleanup. When you’ve drunkenly insulted all your relatives or friends and they’ve left and it’s just you and the mess. You put this one on and sing along as you throw away paper plates, beer bottles and the bloody packaging that once contained the meat now blocking up your colon. It’ll help ease the pain.

I’ve also found that Enslaved‘s Ruun album is great for cleanups, so if it persists longer than Flak ‘n Flight lasts, you might want to have that on-hand for reinforcements. Or maybe you just want to sit on a plastic chair in the dark for a while. It’s good for that too.

Of course, if you’re in it for the full-day barbecue experience, you’re going to need more than seven albums, but hopefully this is a decent start. If you have any longtime favorites, leave a comment and let me know about them. You can never have too much grilling music.

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