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Weiland, Baker Meet Master

Reality album twenty years in the making

July 1, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Chris Goss' new album Give Us Barabbas was two decades in the making. Serving as producer and engineer for Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Stone Temple Pilots, Ian Astbury and Melissa Auf Der Maur, and issuing albums under the Masters of Reality alias, the singer/guitarist has amassed a hefty collection of unused tracks.

"There's twenty years of material on the record, literally," Goss says. "I got tired of pushing it back and forth across my desk in my music room. I just wanted to get it out."

Guests on the album -- released under the moniker Master of Reality/Chris Goss -- include Velvet Revolver (and ex-STP) singer Scott Weiland ("Jindalee Jindalie") and former Cream drummer Ginger Baker ("Desert Song").

"Those are two people that when you work with them, you don't have much memory," Goss says with a laugh, trying to recall the sessions. "Maybe I'll leave it at that. Obviously, they're both professionals, and both redheads -- I seem to work with a lot of redheads."

While Masters of Reality's sound plays like Black Sabbath meets the Beatles, the melodic Barabbas leans more toward the Fab Four. "It's mainly acoustic-based stuff," Goss admits, "so it was kinda hard to fit in on other records."

Goss will launch a European tour in the fall, with ex-Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez lending a hand. The two then plan to launch a new band, tentatively called Snowballs. "We started hanging a few years ago," Goss says. "And then every time we got together we'd write five songs -- really quickly. We're making the record first, before we even have a label. Already labels want it, and they haven't even heard it."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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