I first wrote about Tom Goss back in December of 2oo8 after discovering him through the Feast of Fun podcast. I was deeply moved by his song that he wrote called Rise. Since that time I have written a few more posts about him and seen him perform here in San Francisco this past year.
Yes, I am a fan. Not in that crazy, screaming kind of way. I am a fan of this talented artist who knows how to take words that have an emotional impact, and through the tempo and rhythm they create, form a mixture of poetry of what I like to call Gossism.
It is a writing process, that he even admits, often comes to him from his subconscious with no predetermined agenda. It is a built in talent. That is what makes this artist unique in his style and delivery.
Tom was in San Francisco this weekend because he participated in the Defying Inequality Concert where he joined many celebrity luminaries in a benefit to end discrimination against the LGBT community. They specifically were advocating marriage equality and domestic partnership rights.
Tom contacted me and wanted to find some time to hang out together. That was a real surprise to me. I knew he was busy and I knew that he had a lot of fans in the city, so I was deeply touched that he reached out to me in the way he did. He kept in contact with me through instant messaging chronicling his preparation for the concert, typical of messages friends would send each other. Of course, we also communicated to coordinate our meet up. He has a great sense of humor and sarcasm that I liked and instantly related to very well.
So last night on his way to the San Francisco Airport, I met him at the front of the Westfield Mall in downtown San Francisco after work. He had just commuted in from the East Bay on the Bart. There he stood at about 7: 15 p.m. at night casually dressed with his flip flops. He had his guitar inside a stickered covered case. He had a couple of khaki back packs. I volunteered to hold one of them.
Soon after he saw how awkwardly I was holding it and he kept asking me if he should hold it. Then we started a sarcastic banter that broke the ice and actually made me feel more comfortable. I felt like I was hanging out with an old buddy.
Also, even though he is originally from Wisconsin, this guy definitely has adopted the East Coast attitudes. He wanted to cross Market Street in heavy traffic and not at the crosswalk. He reminded me of my friends back East. I told him to cross at the cross walk, because in my mind, all I needed was to have a taxi to run over Tom Goss and have him splattered all over downtown San Francisco. Knowing him, the only thing that would not be damaged would have been his guitar, because I know he would have found some way to have protected it.
Tom is actually not a tall guy and is actually younger looking in person. He was immediately fascinated with the sights and sounds of San Francisco. He was especially in tuned with the sounds. As we walked towards Union Square, he instinctively started moving to the rhythm of the sounds of a street drummer or the strums of the guitar of a street musician. He really had an ear for music. I thought in my mind, I wish he would be inspired to write a song about San Francisco.
He loved the the aliveness of the city and also the Trolley car. Tom was very engaged with everything around him and it was great to see him soak it all up. I began to understand where his creativity pulls from to produce his art.
We decided to get a snack at Lori’s Diner on Powell Street. The Diner’s motif is a throwback to the 5o’s and I joked that it should remind him of Wisconsin. He walked into the restaurant and said ” Cool.”
He ordered chocolate cake but I found out he likes more non chocolate cake like cake…I think he likes the fudgier kind. He also ordered tea. I ordered a bowl of fruit and a low fat latte.
We were able to chat like old friends. I asked him about his music. He talked about how conceptually some of his writing comes from trying to put words or parts of words together. he also talked about how certain words come to him and may not actually seem to be combination of words ever used before but worked for the song.
You can see in the way he talked and described the process that he can hear the beats and rhythms in his mind. It is really embedded in who he is and is so natural to him that I do not think he realizes how amazing it is to us who do not have his talent.
He is so proud of his album Back to Love ( rightly so). Tom told me that he has had a difficult time working on a new album because it has been hard to let go of Back to Love. Here you see the heart of an artist emerge. It is that transition stage between works of art that each artist must make from giving birth to one work of art and preparing for the labor of another one.
We also talked about our personal lives. We talked about religion. He was a seminarian before he came out. I was an active Catholic and then a Mormon. We talked about our partners. We talked about our current lives. He asked me a lot of genuine questions about my life and my coming out process. He seemed interested and I was actually surprised that he wanted to know more about it.
We also joked a lot. He built a pyramid out of half and half creamer packages on the table ( a talent he was proud of).
It was time to go. I had a chance to thank him. I remember when I first heard his song “Rise” it spoke to my heart because it related to my journey. I thanked him for writing an anthem for my life. His music and writing has touched me and I wanted him to know that his art was appreciated.
One of his other songs that I love is ” Lover” that he is currently working on a music video on – which will be exciting to see when it is completed.
His song “Til The End” was #1 on Logo’s Click list this week.
We both went to the Powell Bart station together. He caught the train to San Francisco Airport and I caught the train to Oakland.
This was a good night in San Francisco.
Post note: I met Tom Goss though listening to the Feast of Fun and through blogging, social media opened the door for me to make great connections in my life. I am a believer.
His songs can be also downloaded on iTunes.