He’s a man, yes he is... as our exclusive photo shoot
with Luke Goss shows. The actor took time out from
his recent Bros reunion gigs to strip down and let
loose with Gay Times...
As an advocate for kindness on his social media posts, Luke Goss is impressed by the LGBT+ community’s stance against threats to their rights under the Trump presidency.
“They’re leading with a compassionate, noble and very dignified standpoint,” he feels. “They’re letting love be their ambassador and that will win in the end.”
There’s anger in his voice, though, when it comes to states like Texas seeking to roll back same-sex marriage legislation. “I can’t tell you how fucking absurd is is that in 2017 we’d even be discussing whether two individuals should be allowed the union of love,” says Luke, a Londoner who has lived in the US since 2007.
“Marriage doesn’t mean shagging, it represents love, right? So to have to ask permission for that is something that I’m deeply bothered by.”
It’s a birthright, he believes, to be able to leave your possessions to loved ones, but it goes further than legalities. “The fact that some stuffed shirt in political office somewhere is deciding whether a gay man should have the right to marry the love of his life is a fucking absurdity. We shouldn’t be discussing it. It’s not a controversy, it’s a human fucking right.”
The Bros drummer and action movie star has had a strong gay fanbase ever since he and brother Matt (and, for the first couple of years, non-sibling Craig Logan) stormed the charts with When Will I Be Famous? in 1987. Thirty years later, with triumphant Bros reunion gigs under his belt, the 48-year-old says of the continued support: “It’s deeply flattering and I’m deeply proud of the gay fans because as a community they represent themselves beautifully.”
Matt noted in a recent interview that the female fans have become a lot friskier as they’ve gone from screaming teens with Grolsch bottle tops stitched onto their shoes to grown women. Is that the same with the gays? Luke bursts out laughing. “Whether they’re teenagers or 50, they’re always frisky when it comes to what they say. It’s beautifully frisky, but I take it with a pinch of salt because I like to keep myself grounded, so it’s a combination of being mildly shy and flattered.”
Posing shirtless for Gay Times is Luke’s way of saying thanks. “It was such a fun shoot and hopefully the readers will like the pictures,” he says. “It’s a tough audience!” Admitting he hit the gym beforehand, Luke adds: “I didn’t want people going ‘How dare you put that wobbly guy in our magazine?’”
He needn’t worry. He’s in great shape, honed by action movies like Hellboy II and two Death Race sequels, high-energy drumming on the Bros comeback shows and a full body workout every day. He doesn’t subscribe to the theory that you should alternate. “I might back off on certain muscle groups I’ve done the day before, but if we were living an ancient lifestyle we’d be gathering wood and using our bodies every single day. We wouldn’t be going, ‘Well, I chopped wood yesterday so I can’t do it today.’”
Getting back on stage for the 02 gigs with Matt in August was a joy. “My day job of making films is sometimes a very serious business, although it’s my number one calling. Music brings more fun and the contact with fans is more immediate, whereas with films you only either see them at the premiere or the supermarket.”
Basking in the roar of a crowd who, ourselves among them, were thrilled by the perfect mix of nostalgia trip and stonking good live show, he adds: “Music fans make a bigger noise and it makes for a more sensational day. To have that back in my life, especially as an adult being able to play the music the way we want to, is great. It’s like ‘Wow, this is fucking cool!’”
A highlight of the shows was a cover version of Freedom 90 as a tribute to George Michael, with Luke’s singer wife Shirley Lewis – who worked with George and counted him as a friend – joining him and Matt on stage. “As much as I didn’t seen him often, he was and is deeply in my heart,” Luke says of the pop legend. “I always thought he was a lovely, private man. I miss him and my wife misses him greatly. I’m deeply proud to have been able to call him a friend.”
There was a lot of love in the show between the Bros brothers, although Luke confesses they fell out in the past. “We’re individuals.
“A stu ed shirt in political
o ce deciding whether gay men should marry is a
“We don’t have the same style or completely the same outlook and, yes, we burned out on each other. But looking back, we had fun times and as the world gets more terrible I want the next half of my life as an expressive artist to be as an advocate of love and kindness. Frankly I’m sick to shit of the other stuff. The hate is suffocating.”
Luke is a thoughtful, erudite interviewee who doesn’t think he always said the right thing back in the day. “In a weird way my life was represented by fucking soundbites. Questions would come fast and hard, you had to answer quickly, and nine times out of 10 you’d think, ‘Shit, that didn’t come across right.’ There were so many grown-ups around us imposing their view of how we should function. I was a kid and didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Now I want to do it my way.”
Success came quickly when Matt, Luke and Craig got together in 1986. Debut single I
Owe You Nothing may have stalled at number 80 when it came out the following year, but follow-ups When Will I Be Famous? and Drop The Boy both peaked at number two, and the 1988 re-issue of I Owe You Nothing was a chart-topper.
When they spilt in 1991, Luke did musicals, then branched out into movies. He’s just directed his first feature – an action thriller called Your Move due for release next month – in which he plays “a normal guy, not a superhero”. He’s also readying the launch of his own nutrition range and he’s setting the bar high, declaring: “I want to reinvent the industry to a degree. I want to give people more, namely great nutrition for a shitload less money. It’s natural product derived nutrition, not synthesised.”
Does he feel gay men are ahead of the curve when it comes to taking care of themselves? “Without doubt. Some of my gay friends in America are in incredible shape and when you’re working out next to someone who really knows what they’re doing, it inspires you to work harder.”
As for being in Bros first time around, Luke was happiest during live shows because the record company executives were in the audience, not on stage telling them what to do. But he wasn’t so keen on the legendary French and Saunders skit that lampooned the brothers’ desperation to be seen as men, not boys.
“I was deeply hurt by it because the person I was being portrayed as wasn’t the person I really was,” he remembers. “I was embarrassed by it. It made me feel foolish inside.” He laughs the laugh of someone who doesn’t take himself half so seriously anymore. “Now I think it’s bloody funny. Looking back, it was all part of that crazy journey and a great compliment that people would have taken time to take the piss out of you.”