The good-looking guy on stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas appears to have it all. Fabulous voice, great dance moves, gorgeous scantily-clad dancers hanging off his arm. Plus an adoring sold-out crowd applauding every moment. From the outside, life looks sweet for Matt Goss, 46, who is the undisputed King of Swing in Vegas.
But appearances can be deceptive. As the two-hour show nears an end, his voice goes quiet as he dedicates a song to his beloved mum Carol, who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. It’s a particularly poignant moment with Carol’s husband – Matt’s stepdad Tony – looking on proudly from a table in the audience.
Sitting down with the Mirror the next day, Matt is still very emotional. He says his tribute is the only time he’s felt strong enough to talk about his mum. “Yesterday morning when I woke up was the first time I could get any emotion out about my mum since she passed,” he says quietly. “Before that you’re just existing in a cocoon state of just wanting to stay in bed all day.” Carol, who was in her 70s, was first diagnosed with cancer last year but got an all-clear at Christmas. However it came back to claim her life this year. Matt says both he and his twin brother Luke were by Carol’s side in Los Angeles at the end in May.
“It’s profoundly changed my life,” he says. “She was my best friend and the person I called every day, two or three times. I ever did a show without calling her afterwards. “Any fella will know that when they lose their mum they feel for the first time they are going into the world. That’s how I feel at the moment and there is a gaping hole in my life where she once was.”
All kinds of thoughts and regrets have been running through his head. “I would have loved for my mum to have seen me happy emotionally with a family and a wife she could have got to know,” he says, wiping away a tear. “I couldn’t wait to make my mum a grandmother.” But his priority is now looking after his stepdad Tony, who has moved into Matt’s LA home. “I made a promise to my mum to keep Tony safe,” he explains.
Sitting in his luxurious Greek-style villa in the grounds of Caesars Palace, Matt is a million miles from the teenage heart-throb who won a legion of diehard Brosette fans back in the 1980s. In a dashing tuxedo and trilby instead of ripped jeans and earrings, he is now a fixture on the Vegas cabaret scene, first at The Palms casino and since early 2010 at Caesars. This is almost unheard of in a cut-throat world where singers are regularly chopped and changed. Each Friday and Saturday, the Londoner performs a blistering set which even includes swing versions of his Bros hits When Will I Be Famous? and I Owe You Nothing.
His show in the same venue where his Rat Pack idols Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr all performed was hailed as the Best New Act by the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve been here for six years and half the audience are Americans who have no idea about Bros,” he says. “But when the Brits come up to me and say how proud they are of me, it means so much.” It’s a remarkable re-invention following the implosion of Bros amid an avalanche of legal and cash problems. Despite 13 top-five singles, 16 million record sales and packing out Wembley Stadium, Matt and Luke had to sell all their belongings to avoid bankruptcy. At the root was a contract with Tom Watkins, the manager who guided the Pet Shop Boys to success. It was explained to the twins that if they made a million dollars he’d get 20% and they would get 80%. “What we didn’t realise was that to make a million, you may have to spend a million,” says Matt. “We got this huge bill and I was like, ‘What’s this for?’?” The twins ended up an astonishing £500,000 in debt. Matt had to sell off everything. At one point he was eating just one cheeseburger a day to get by.
But any bitterness has long since ebbed away and Matt says he recently reconciled with his former manager. “I recently called Tom and wished him all the best,” he says. “He said that was very big of me and thanked me. I wish we had been advised differently but I will also give Tom credit that those years were some of the best moments of my life. It was a nutcase band. Everywhere we went we had helicopters, police escorts and armoured vans.”
Hundreds of fans camped outside his mum’s house at the height of his fame but he only had eyes for Melanie Sykes, currently in the I’m A Celebrity jungle “I lived with Mel throughout the Bros days and she remains a true friend,” he says. “We met on a blind date in Manchester. Three days later she was on the phone saying she missed me. I bombed up from London to Manchester and met her mum and her dad. We ended up living together for five years.” Both brothers went to the States to make a new start. Luke has a movie career and lives in LA with Shirley Lewis, his wife of 20 years. Matt is single after splitting with MTV presenter Daisy Fuentes after 10 years.
Not that he’s got time to find love. He’s got a movie coming up in January, two homecoming gigs in Britain (one already sold out), and he is also mentoring and writing music for a brilliant new British singer called Grace Wilson, just 17. “It’s a really exciting time and Grace is a big talent. She has an amazing voice and this is just the beginning,” he says.
Matt’s an upbeat man, but he has one current irritation in his life.
Despite Bros playing a big part in the 1989 version of the Band Aid single, they were not invited to join in this year’s hit remake. He says it’s the one thing he and Luke would have reunited for, despite million-pound offers. “We were massive parts of Live Aid yet we didn’t even get a call,” he says. “I think we would have come back for it but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t hurt but a bit p*****d off. It would have been a good one-off thing for me and Luke to come back together.” It’s perhaps an indication of his state of mind as he anticipates his British shows that Matt steers our conversation back to his mum. “The second the plane touches down in England, I would always ring saying, ‘Hello mum, see you in the hotel in three hours.’ Not only won’t that call happen, she won’t be at the hotel…or the show. But I know she will be proud of me.”
Source: The Mirror