Masters Of Reality
asters Of Reality started with Chris Gross (vocals/guitar/keyboards) and Googe (bass) at the helm. After plugging away at gigs for most of their first decade, they were discovered by Rick Rubin who promptly added them to the expanding repertoire of his 'Def American' label.
After Vinnie Ludovico (drums) and Tim Harrington (guitar) completed the line-up they officially formed in 1980 to embark on a club tour that got them attention. Delivering modern technology but with a sound clearly reminiscent of the 1970s and signing to 'Def Jam' (before it became 'Def American' when it wisely diversified its repertoire) they struggled for almost a decade to release the monumental Masters Of Reality in 1989 (titled The Blue Garden in the US). Naming themselves and their debut after a Black Sabbath album only gave a hint as to their influences merging a varied selection of Rock styles including Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Love and Deep Purple. The remaining of the story lay in the album cover art not seen since the early 1970s coupled with quasi-psychedelia, Metal, Blues and Boogie. Indeed, the album failed to garner high sales but nonetheless the few it got were important for it towered over just about any other comparable release issued that year. The record resurrected ghosts of Rock's past, and proved to be mesmerizing. The subsequent support tour made the band an even harder commodity to get a hold of, for before it made it very far interpersonal issues caused it to dissolve. After the tour the personnel problems continued to the point that Gross quit and took the name with him to re-issue the debut on hip-hop label 'Malicious Vinyl' with two extra tracks added. Gross subsequently recruited Daniel Ray (ex-Iggy Pop; guitar), Jon Leamy (drums; and shortly later Ginger Baker) for touring.
Meanwhile, Harrington and Ludivico would launch the Bogeymen side-project to release There's No Such Thing As... in 1991 before formerly coming back together as Masters Of Reality to release Sunrise On The Sufferbus (1993) before Baker left and the cancellation of the forthcoming Reading festival. The dissolution of a second tour sent Gross to the production desk for a while, most notably with the likes of Kyuss. But Masters Of Reality wasn't formerly split and he and Googe returned with Brendan McNichol (guitar), Chris Johnson (keyboards), Vic "the stick" Indrizzo (drums/vocals) and guest performer Scott Weiland (on one track) to release the live set, How High The Moon - Live At The Viper Room (1997) before John Leamy (bass/drums) came in for Welcome To The Western Lodge (1999), their style leaning more toward the heavy side rather than psychedelia. The album proved to be a disappointment to fans despite Gross getting acclaim for his production work with Queens Of The Stone Age.
Undaunted, the band would return with:
Deep in the Hole (2001),their fifth album, Give Us Barabbas (2004), andPine/Cross Dover in 2009.
The second live album would appear in 2003 as Flak 'n' Flight.