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It has to be said for the sake of blunt honesty: Tom Goss is so beautiful it’s almost too difficult to look at him. One runs the risk of going blind, an effect much like what staring directly into the bright sun might cause. But the risk can be easily negated by closing one’s eyes, donning a pair of stereo headphones, and pressing play.
That’s because the 29-year-old Kenosha, Wisconsin native happens to be one of the most sublimely talented, multiple award-winning indie singer-songwriters out there right now. A former college wrestler, Goss entered the Catholic seminary in 2004, but his dalliance with the cloth proved short-lived. Following an unpleasant experience there, he left seminary to pursue what would be his higher calling: music.
Flash forward, and Goss is continuing to draw raves for his third CD of infectious folk-rock ditties and love songs, Turn It Around. A hard-working touring musician as well, he comes to OutCentral May 5 with Matt Alber.
We chatted with Goss about his past and his present and surviving it all.
So, I have to ask: how does a guy go from being a wrestler to a Catholic seminary student to a singer-songwriter? I’ve heard of changing careers, but that’s a new one!
Ha! Yeah, I guess so. I’ve never been the kind of person to be afraid to pursue what I am passionate about. I guess that’s taken me in some very different directions.
Was it painful or was it liberating for you when you left the seminary?
It was very painful. I truly believed I was in it for the long haul. Being in seminary and taking promises is a very serious thing. Furthermore, there was a lot of drama around my leaving and there were others that were asked to leave as a result of my situation. For me, I found the seminary to be very predatory. I think folks can read between the lines. By the time I spoke up about what kind of relationships folks were trying to have with me, it was too late. Mentally and spiritually, that is. I had lost my faith along with my passion to become a priest. Walking away from seminary and choosing to stay in DC also meant that I was leaving my only friends, my only support structure. It was the loss of faith, community, friendship and stability that was the painful part. Still, in a way it was liberating. I knew there was nothing tying me anywhere anymore. No vows or practice schedules, families or friends to be accountable to.
The Catholic Church has been a foundation for so much anti-gay sentiment, while at the same time so many of its priests have historically been entrenched in sexual molestation controversies. Do you follow follow the stories?
I don’t really follow the stories that closely. I don’t consider any of this news. In my experience, the Catholic priesthood and seminary is at least 50 percent gay, if not over 70 percent. My house was over 90 percent. People should stop pretending that it isn’t. The church also has a history of protecting and covering up for sexual predators. This is really disgusting. Obviously that should stop.
Your music is really terrific! I’ve been digging the happy, upbeat, strong guitar oriented pop-rock vibe. So many gay musical entertainers offer the usual synthesized dance floor stuff, so can I say it’s very refreshing to hear performers like you who rock out? Why are you a rocker instead of a dance diva?
I’m not sure really. I think the simple answer is that I write the music that speaks to me. Dance diva music doesn’t speak to me. I’m not saying that it’s not good. I’m simply saying that everyone is drawn to something different. A lot of folks dislike my music and I’m fine with that. I can’t please everyone. I’m just grateful that my music speaks to some folks. I have great listeners, fans and friends that have supported me from the beginning. I’m just glad I can continue to reach out to them.
What singer-songwriters and musicians inspired you when you were growing up and learning your craft?
Well, I’m going to use the term “growing up” loosely because I didn’t really start listening to music until I was 17. I started playing the guitar at 18. At that point, it was pretty much because I was obsessed with Dave Matthews Band. Once I got my guitar, I started learning every Dave Matthews Band song ever written. That’s how I learned to play. It wasn’t too long after that I started writing songs. Oh man, they were horrible. Dave Matthews has a very distinct and complicated way of playing the guitar and writing songs. I spent years trying to write songs like him, and years writing horrid songs.
Eventually I started listening to David Gray, Damien Rice, Jason Mraz and a handful of other folks that approach songwriting much more simply. I started to understand and appreciate the power of simplicity, both in chord movements and lyrics. As a result, my songs started getting better. There is no doubt in my mind that David Gray saved my songwriting career long before anyone knew I was going to be a songwriter.
And of course you gotta know us boys are totally loving the video for “Make Believe!” The whole time-lapse nude body painting thing is sexy and creative and cute. It’s a perfect match to your buoyant, cheerful song. What was it like making that video?
Making “Make Believe” was a blast. I spent 12 weeks straight on the road for my spring tour last year. By the time I got home I was burned out and just ready to relax. No videos, no recording, no performing. I just wanted to be totally domestic, do the dishes, have a husband. I got home from a long night of driving – from Georgia, if I remember correctly – and slid into bed. For some reason this idea of taking time-lapse to an extreme and coupling it with body painting popped into my head. My plans changed pretty quickly.
I called my friends Aram Vartian and Michael Patrick Key, who make my videos, and told them about this wild idea I had. They didn’t shoot it down and so of course I took it further. Eventually, “Make Believe” was born. It was quite a whirlwind. The take that made it was our third full take. What you don’t see is a crew of ten people all around the table, making all the cogs work. It was quite a production. Every second in the video is 30 seconds in real time. Just watch the clock, it keeps track of it all.
You aim for the heartstrings with the lovely ballad “You Know That I Love You.” Is it about anybody in particular or is it a composite of past relationships?
That’s about Mike. Almost all of my love songs are about Mike. When I think about Mike and our love, I can’t help but glimpse into something that’s far greater than…either of us. I told myself at a very young age that I was never getting married, never being in a relationship even. For me, relationships were poison; they only hurt the people in them and the people around them. Mike changed that for me.
You married your husband Mike in 2010, right? Congrats! What has married life been like for you? Did it change your outlook on life in any ways?
Marriage is great! But dating was great and being engaged was great. It didn’t really change those things. For me, it’s just another step in building the kind of relationship that is strong and long-lasting. It’s another step in becoming the kind of man I strive to be.
I know that you’ve said you don’t feel like you fit in with the mold of prevailing gay culture, but you’re unabashedly an LGBT activist and you’re involved with LGBT organizations in Washington, DC. Also, your lyrics and music videos are heartfelt, honest depictions of same-sex love. What moves you to be so involved in the fight for equality?
I only speak about things I know, and work for causes and movements that move me. It’s as simple as that. I’m lucky enough to really know what it means to be in love, to be married. I want to share that. Furthermore, I have, and always will, work for injustice. I suppose it’s in my blood.
Tom Goss plays at OutCentral on May 5 with Matt Alber. For more information on Tom Goss visit tomgossmusic.com and ticket information at outcentral.org.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.