Pic 1: Tom Goss
Pic 2: Matt Alber
MUSIC WITH A MISSION:
Tom Goss and Matt Alber sing OUT against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”…
Two out-and-proud musicians, one great cause! Singer-songwriter buddies Tom Goss and Matt Alber teamed up to record the song “Who We Are”, an anthem of protest against the prejudicial military policy “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT). Tom Goss, who lives in Washington, D.C., is busier than ever. He has a new album, “Back to Love”, and is currently on an intense national tour which will include an appearance at New York City’s landmark cabaret hotspot The Duplex on Thursday, April 8th. Goss was recently nominated for two Pride in the Arts Awards, one for “Favorite CD” for “Back to Love” and another for “Favorite Male Musician”. Matt Alber, who lives in Los Angeles, was a soprano of the elite classical men's acapella ensemble, Chanticleer. The group recorded seven albums, two of which won Grammy Awards. Alber’s latest solo album, “Hide Nothing” (described as “enchanted pop”), yielded the song “Monarch”-- the video of which has been seen on LOGO. Goss and Alber also created an accompanying video for “Who We Are”, which features appearances by discharged servicemen Mike Almy and David Hall. The two handsome artists/activists are offering the song as a free download in return for a donation to The Service Members Legal Defense Network, the organization on the frontline to repeal DADT. Goss and Alber gave an exclusive interview with Jed Ryan about their current collaboration and other recent endeavors:
JR: Hi Tom. Congratulations on the new CD and your musical collaboration with Matt for equality. So, many independent GLBT artists have a cause that they have an affinity for, like HIV/AIDS awareness, or gay youth, or something else. Is the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” your chosen cause now? How did your interest in this issue come about?
TG: As a general rule, any social injustice is of interest to me. For the majority of 2009, my main focus has been equality of love and more specifically, marriage equality. DADT (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) falls along those lines. I will always fight for the right to love as madly and deeply as possible without negative repercussions. Many in our military, who have served honorably and bravely, have been punished for loving another. Honestly, that idea is something I can't even comprehend.
JR: I agree. Congratulations on your new CD “Back to Love“. What song on the CD are you most proud of… or, which one should everyone reading this interview rush to download first?
TG: Hahaha, good question. Without a doubt, "Till The End" is the song that touches people instantly. There are a lot of love songs on "Back To Love" and that one is the most universal. "Back To Arkansas" and "Lover" are also songs I would recommend giving a listen. Afterward, you might as well download the rest...
JR: True! What, have you found, has been the hardest thing about being an independent musician in 2010?
TG: Leaving my partner Mike. Touring is a lot of fun, but it's hard leaving someone you love for weeks or months at a time.
JR: Speaking of which, that’s quite a busy tour you have in store for April! You plan to be in Portland, Maine on April 7th and then in New York City on the 8th, and then Pittsburgh the next day? Wow! It doesn’t look you’ll get to spend much time in The Naked City…
TG: Yeah, I told myself that I wouldn't go overboard this year but I apparently lied. I just booked a show in Appleton the day after my Nashville show (11 hours) and that doesn't count the stop in Chicago for a midday interview with the folks of Feast Of Fun. That will probably be my longest day, wish me luck.
JR: Well, good luck! Will we get to hear “Who We Are” at The Duplex? Or is it an unwritten rule that you can only perform it with Matt?!
TG: If requested, I will be happy to play it. I feel a little lonely without Matt but the message is more important than any two people!
JR: In 10 words or less, what do you want to tell everyone out there about Tom Goss?
TG: “I'm much shorter in person”… or, “I'm someone who still believes in the power of love.”
JR: Thanks Tom! So, Matt: Greetings from New York City! Where does YOUR passion on the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” come from?
MA: My good buddy Paul Dodd is a retired military chaplain from the Pentagon. Years ago he explained to me what was happening-- gays being rooted out and witch-hunted from the military. He founded The Service Members Legal Defense Network in D.C. It is exciting to see all of this forward momentum in the country, so I wanted to do my part.
JR: Gotcha! How has the reaction been so far: from people that have heard it, from the media, yada yada yada…?
MA: We've gotten letters from active-duty service members, their partners and those who have retired. Some of them were honestly a little leery of a song about DADT-- I guess there are some cheesy protest songs out there-- but all of the responses have been overwhelmingly positive (except for the HRC who we heard didn't want to publicize it for some reason…)
JR: That’s THEIR loss! Now, from your impressive body of work, what songs are what you would call “Essential Matt Alber”? Let's pick three.
MA: Well, if you're a gay teenager, I'd play you "Fieldtrip Buddy,” “Beotia,” and “End of the World."
JR: (Sigh!) Sadly, I’m a long way from the teenage years, but I’ll definitely listen to them anyway! What’s the hardest thing about being an independent musician in 2010?
MA: I think it's always been hard. Guys like Tom Goss inspire me ‘cause he really took the plunge and went for it. It gets tricky lugging a keyboard around… have you ever tried to check a Yamaha? It's like a million dollars.
JR: (Laughs) I’ll bet! Any plans to come to New York City soon?!
MA: I'm making plans to come sing in New York in mid-June to sing a solo show. Working on the venue now!
JR: Great! So, in 10 words or less, what do you want everyone out there to know about Matt Alber… presuming, of course, that they are not already a fan!
MA: I would want them to know that I'm a choir-geek at heart, that I love to sing more than anything else, and that I'll never have it all figured out.
JR: Thanks Matt!
See more about these two artists at:
Learn more about The Service Members Legal Defense Network at:
Watch the video for "Who We Are" here!