MASS – Louis St. August – It all started back in 1984, when MASS released their self-titled EP and garnered the widespread attention of radio stations, record companies and of course their new-found fans. In 1985, this Boston, Massachusetts originated band was signed to RCA Records and their first full-length album, New Birth, was released upon the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world. New Birth catapulted MASS onto the Billboard charts and MTV came knocking on their door. The single released from New Birth was Do You Love Me and this song became a successful music video within the coveted MTV rotation.
Caught somewhere between the positive vibes of Stryper and their very own brand of melodic heaviness, coupled with credibility at every angle, MASS did exit the 80′s leaving behind 3 studio albums and their historic EP as a reminder of greater things to come. MASS was then, as they are now, a Heavy Metal band that glistens with accessibility without compromising their hard and heavy sound.
Louis St. August – 2011
MASS is still Rockin’ in 2011, their fifth full-length, Heavy Metal achievement and critically acclaimed Sea Of Black was released in 2010. With their best work existing in the present, reflecting on where it all began for MASS is something Louis St. August embraces and is understandably quite proud of. As the old saying goes, “times were different back then” and 1985 was no exception, as founding member and lead vocalist Louis St. August will reveal in this exclusive Metal Odyssey interview.
Stone: Do You Love Me is a memorable song from the New Birth album. What was the process of choosing this song for a music video?
Louis: It was solely RCA records idea of making and pushing the Do You love Me video first as we felt it was a poor representation of what the band was really about. We wanted to go with something a bit heavier like Too far Gone or Crying Alone. But the label insisted and thought a power ballad would open doors up for us and that radio would pick up the song a lot quicker. They told us the second video would be the heavier one which never did come to be.
Looking back at it now It’s kind of funny because the very first script the video production team wrote for the Do you love me video was actually turned down by RCA records because they felt it was too sexy and would get banned from MTV and other video stations. The script only calling for a Catholic girls school bus breaking down in some dark alley, when the girls all got out of the bus dressed up in their little catholic school dress’s knocked on our rehearsal door only to come in and start dancing seductively and falling in love with the song and band. Very mild and tamed I must say compared to the videos we see today. (Laughs). But that’s the early eighties for you.
Stone: Where was this video filmed?
Louis: The video was filmed in an abandoned warehouse in Manhattan, New York. It took two days to film it. (Film not video), that’s why it has that grainy look to it. I couldn’t believe it took 48 straight hours to film, only to have it edited down to a 3 minute and 20 second song. (Laughs). The video cost RCA records $50,000 something that would cost $5,000 to $8,000 today.
Stone: How difficult or easy was it to get Do You Love Me on MTV? How psyched were you guys to get that exposure?
Louis: It was not difficult at all with such a big label like RCA behind us. MTV execs were actually at the shooting of the video and approached our management at the time to see if they would agree to let MTV make the Do You Love Me video an exclusive premier for MTV. But our management said NO because they wanted to share it with the U68’s,V66’s video stations of the world. A big mistake in my eyes for we would have gained much more exposure had they agreed to this and received “heavy rotation” play instead of the “1ight rotation” we received on MTV.
We were very excited the first time it aired on MTV. Just like the first time you hear your song on the radio you never forget that feeling. After that it seemed like every time you put the TV on or the radio on you would hear your song. The phone never stopped ringing after that. And still hasn’t. (Laughs).
Stone: Were there any aggravating and/or funny moments you want to share while filming “Do You Love Me”?
Louis: We just simply had a blast making it, hanging with all the hired extras and crew. We even put our road manager (Gino) at the beginning of the video along with our stage manager (Laurie). We also included our manager & lawyer towards the end (carrying the food trays). Although it was extremely exhausting we were just running on pure adrenaline and tons of laughs and good times.
MASS – In The Present!
Stone: As you look back on the New Birth album now, what fond memories does it stir up?
Louis: There are so many but here are just a few for me. We all moved in to the studio in beautiful Bearsville New York. The whole band actually lived in a huge barn. Our equipment was set up downstairs in the living room while all our beds were upstairs in the loft. We would work with our producer Tony Platt (Led Zep /Cheap Trick, etc) during the day on preproduction stuff in the barn for two weeks before moving into the studio to start recording. When I had free time, I would ride my mountain bike through the beautiful town and hills, while enjoying the fresh air and star studied night skies.
During the evenings, the band would get together and hang with Joe Lynn Turner and his band mates and go out for dinner at various places. Joe and his band mates were there recording an album as well with producer (Roy Thomas Baker/Queen). We had a lot of fun and many a food fight at some of the top-notch restaurants in the area, where we would sometimes be asked to leave. (Laughs).
Our girlfriends, wives, would come down a few weekends during our 8 week stay and enjoy the surroundings as well as the music we were making. My wife at the time was pregnant with my first child so it was special for me when we decided to call the album New Birth.
* All Photos Courtesy/By Permission Of Louis St. August
* For more info on MASS, click on the link below:
LONG LIVE MASS.