Tom Goss Brings A Smile to Summer with Sexy New Video 'Nerdy Bear'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday August 4, 2020

Jason Villegas and Tom Goss in 'Nerdy Bear'
Jason Villegas and Tom Goss in 'Nerdy Bear'  (Source:Molly O'Brien)

Out singer-songwriter Tom Goss has always had an appreciation for plus-sized, cuddly men, and his music proves it with catchy anthems like the aptly-titled "Bears" (2013), "Round in All the Right Places" (2019), and his sexy new single "Nerdy Bear," which drops today — complete with a charming, steamy video.

EDGE caught up to Tom as he was on the road with his husband, Mike, taking a well-deserved break and spending some quality time with the number one bear in his life.


EDGE: You have a new single, "Nerdy Bear," which is the second new single you've put out this summer after "Dancing in My Room." Both these singles have been very different from the music on your last album, "Territories." And even the new video for the acoustic version of "One Thing Missing," which is just you lying on the grass — it's so sweet. You're going upbeat and giving us something to smile about.

Tom Goss: I was making such serious music and such serious videos for the past year or two, and I'm really proud of that work, but for right now — you know, I just think that people need something to make them smile, and they want something positive and uplifting. I think that I have a responsibility to help bring that positivity into the world.

EDGE: And to celebrate bears! "Nerdy Bears" fits in there perfectly with "Round in All the Right Places," from last year, and, of course, "Bears," from 2013.

[Laughter]

Tom Goss: Yeah, I always have that responsibility!

Tom Has Got Some Skills
(Source: Molly O'Brien)

Tom Has Got Some Skills

EDGE The new single has a video — a really fun video there you get to show off your skills with a basketball. I know you were a wrestler in school. Did you also play basketball?

Tom Goss: I played all sports, and basketball is the sport that I am definitely the worst at by far. I think it's really funny people keep telling me that I have these really great basketball skills, but I don't at all! But I have enough to fake it and to make it look funny on screen. Just don't make me shoot it, 'cause I miss all the time!

[Laughter]

Tom Goss: I was always good at defense, and I guess I can dribble just fine, but I played basketball for only one year, in sixth grade, and I fouled out of every game. I'm far too physical and aggressive for basketball.




We used to play all the time in the backyard. We had a hoop against the garage. [My brothers and I] were all gymnasts, you know, and the garage had a stone middle and then two doors on the side, and once we got a little older we realized we could run up the stone wall, jump off the stone wall, and slam-dunk the basketball.

He's Not Flirting, Honest!
(Source: Molly O'Brien)

He's Not Flirting, Honest!

EDGE: Another skill you show off in the video is how good you are at flirting.

Tom Goss: I think I'm a pretty horrible flirt, but people always think I'm flirting. I'm a really nice person, and so when I just talk to people I often get in the situation where I realize, like, "This is the moment when they expect me to ask them out." Boys and girls. This happens to me all the time. My nice naiveté has gotten me into trouble where I'm leading somebody on when I'm not meaning to.

So, I think I'm good at connecting with people, and bad at flirting, mostly because I don't even realize when I'm flirting half the time.

EDGE: Do you realize when you're getting flirted with?

Tom Goss: No, absolutely not. You know, it's funny, Mike teases me all the time about this. Actually, a lot of my friends do: "That person's flirting with you!" I'm, like, "No, they're just interested in my life, in the same way I'm interested in theirs." Because I'm genuinely interested in the people that I meet. And they're like: "No, they were flirting with you!" I'm pretty oblivious.

I once had this guy in San Francisco ask me if I was a prostitute. I said, "No, why would you think that?" He replied, "Well, you're young, and I'm old, and you're talking to me." I immediately replied, "I'm not a prostitute, I'm just from Wisconsin!"

Safe Set, Happy Shoot
(Source: Molly O'Brien)

Safe Set, Happy Shoot

EDGE: How did you manage to produce this video in the middle of a pandemic? What sorts of precautions did you have to take?

Tom Goss: It was a little difficult. First, we shot in New York, but I live in Los Angeles. My husband and I drove all the way across the country [rather than fly] to keep it really safe. Also, we kept the crew really, really small. There were six people total on set — the director [Michael Serrato], the cinematographer [Catalin Stelian], me and Nerdy Bear [Jason Villegas], makeup [Lino Supdos] and a Production Assistant / Photographer [Molly O'Brien]. And that was it.

We all kept our distance, wore masks [off-camera], and we didn't have any craft, we would just order meals and everybody would get their own meal. It was a new experience. I didn't want to do anything that was going to put anybody at risk, so it was very much a "safety first" set, and everybody respected that.

It was nice actually, like being with a little family for a day. I liked it: We had to be so tight, and so in sync, in order for it to work.

EDGE: You did all that in a day? Shooting on location, shooting indoors in a couple different environments, and then doing work for the scenes where you're a video game character? And a video game character in drag, no less!

[Laughter]

Tom Goss: It was actually a pretty easy day. Michael and I have done so much together. We did "Breath and Sound," "Son of a Preacher Man," "Illuminate the Dark," "Click," "La Bufadora" — we've done so much together that we have a good rhythm, we understand each others' strengths and how to play to them, so that is really helpful. And it was in both our wheelhouses; he's been a comedy director and writer for many years, and I think I am really comfortable playing a goofball (it's my natural state).

Also, Jason (the owner of Rockbar NYC) made it really easy for us. We shot the bar and the green screen in Rockbar NYC after shooting the outdoor scenes literally across the street. It would have been impossible without his generosity. We had a lot of fun, and we wrapped earlier than we expected.

Jaake Castro and 'Covet'
(Source: Molly O'Brien)

Jaake Castro and 'Covet'

EDGE You got to direct someone else's video recently, Jaake Castro's "Covet," which was a first for you. How did that project come together?

Tom Goss: Jaake and I have been friends and collaborators for a while. I met him through this producer that I work with a lot, Austin Danson. We write songs for other people and with other people. We write songs to pitch to television and movies. One day he brought Jaake to the house and we wrote this hilarious song called "You're Boring," and we just hit it off.

We became friends, and he recorded a chunk of his EP at my home studio. When he was getting ready to make a music video he approached me about it. It seemed really exciting to me to work on somebody else's project, and to just focus on one aspect of the production, and to help him understand what it takes to make a really dynamic music video.

He's really brilliant and has so much to say, and so many visual ideas — it was such a pleasure to work with him, and I'm really proud of the video.




Tom Goss: We shot his shirtless scenes first, which were in many ways the easiest setups. Just make him look beautiful and get the team warmed up, easy. I was directing him and trying to get a certain performance out of him, and he was so happy! I needed all this attitude and swagger, and he was just this kid in a candy shop in the middle of his dreams coming true. The production that we put together was so big and so beautiful and the space that we were in was something that he had always dreamed of. He experienced homelessness growing up, and for him to be in this position, he was just overwhelmed with gratitude and moved to tears. It was great to see that.

I've been in this position now [of making big production music and music videos] for over a decade, and there are times when I feel under-appreciated, or not respected, or whatever, whatever, whatever — and to see this kid, to see how appreciative he was of the world that we're creating together, it was very, very inspiring. It was wonderful. I love Jaake.

Perspectives and Priorities
(Source: Molly O'Brien)

Perspectives and Priorities

EDGE: You are even now driving across country... are you on tour, are you on your way to make another video? What's going on with you right now?

Tom Goss: You know, my life is pretty much canceled, Kilian! I mean, all my gigs are cancelled until March, and honestly — it's been quite an adjustment. I've been trying to figure out what my life is, and what my life looks like in the future.

I've spent the past almost fifteen years with my nose to the grindstone, always driving and producing and working so hard, every single day, all day. I think at some point, for some time, I didn't see the forest for the trees. In a way, this has been an opportunity for some forced perspective in my life, in terms of what's important to me, what my music is about, what my message is, who my music is for, and where I find that value.

Again, part of that value I found working with Jaake, seeing how, as someone who's been in the business for fifteen years, I can be a mentor and help other queer artists find their voice.

But also, I have a husband who has always wanted to do this kind of [road] trip, and I now have time to make that dream come true. So it's been an opportunity for me to set some of my dreams aside, get perspective on those dreams, drive, and vision, while helping the dreams of other people in my life come true. It's giving me the opportunity to really focus on the people that I love and the people that are important in my life.

EDGE: So you're getting a chance to recharge your batteries.

Tom Goss: Yeah. Well, I did also make a music video.


For more about Tom Goss, go to http://tomgossmusic.com/

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

Comments on Facebook