Two Fruita men inducted into Las Vegas hall of fame
What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Sometimes, what happens in Las Vegas ends up in the checkout area of a Fruita grocery store.
Several months ago, Cliff Goss and Michael “Sparky” Goodall — more on the nickname later — found themselves at Fruita’s City Market one afternoon nearly speechless that both had ended up in the same Colorado town. The two originally met in the early 1980s as part of the Las Vegas entertainment scene.
“What a small world,” Goss said, shaking his head.
Since their recent supermarket meeting, they have gotten together and spoken a few times each week to reminisce about their time in Las Vegas during the 1980s and ‘90s when the city transformed from a smaller, mob-driven locale into a sensory overload of lights, noise and overindulgence.
For their contributions to the ascent of entertainment in Las Vegas in the ‘80s, Goss, 59, and Goodall, 56, were inducted into the Las Vegas Rock Reunion Hall of Fame in April, along with nearly 100 other individuals or bands that worked on stage or behind the scenes in the city’s entertainment venues.
Goss, a Fruita native, was in Las Vegas from 1981 to 1998. Among the jobs he had while he was there, Goss was a sound guy, which was the reason for his induction into the Las Vegas Rock Reunion Hall of Fame.
“It was really the early days of sound reinforcement,” Goss said. “It wasn’t really until the rock era that they needed to be able to cover bigger venues. The rock scene was on fire in the mid-‘80s. It was fun.”
Goodall, an Illinois native, was stationed in 1977 in Las Vegas with the U.S. Air Force and it is where he met his wife, Sue. He left the military four years later but settled in Las Vegas until 2010 when the couple moved to Fruita. The jobs Goodall had in Las Vegas include lighting and pyrotechnics, which were the reasons he was inducted into the hall of fame.
(His interest in fireworks dates back to his childhood when he burned down two garages one summer and got the nickname “Sparky.” He had to mow a lot of lawns to pay for the damage, he said.)
“When I got out of the military, I started Destiny Stage Lighting and F/X pyrotechnics company,” Goodall said. “You are learning how to do stuff and doing it for free but making the bands look good.”
The list of places Goodall and Goss worked and the big-name acts they worked with are too long to list, but the men have specific memories that stand out.
“It was a cool place,” Goodall said. “It was like putting a kid in the candy store in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It was way cool. There was never a place more hip than Vegas.”
During the 1980s, Goss served as front of house sound for Siegfried & Roy’s Beyond Belief show at Frontier. He also ran front of house sound and lights for the Las Vegas-based band Champoux.
“I still have a smoke machine in my closet,” Goss said.
Goodall’s experiences in the city were a bit different. As a lighting and pyrotechnics man, Goodall ended up working with Elvis impersonators and got involved with specific venues such as the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts (now the PH Live at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino) where we worked with bands such as Van Halen, Moody Blues and Motley Crue.
“I set off so many concussion mortars it moved the stage about eight inches,” Goodall said of one Motley Crue concert.
Flipping through a scrapbook recently, Goodall pulled backstage passes for numerous shows that he worked as stage manager, including a Michael Jackson concert in 1987, Ozzy Osbourne in 1985 and the Rolling Stones in 1985.
Eventually, the ‘80s passed and although neither man was inducted into the hall of fame for work in the 1990s or 2000s, both were there for at least a portion of that time.
Goss worked at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino from 1994–1998 as part of a crew of 14 technical guys, overseeing three theaters and five stages.
He was there for numerous championship boxing matches, including the infamous 1997 fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, where Tyson bit off part of Holyfield’s ear.
“It was an ugly crowd. Spooky.” Goss said of the boxing audiences.
Goodall, meanwhile, moved into the TV and movie industry by the early-1990s. He coordinated set relocations, actors’ transportation and more, saying he sometimes was a cross between a bodyguard and driver.
He worked on the hit TV show “CSI,” as well as popular movies “Rush Hour 2,” “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Hangover.”
Goodall fondly remembers his time working on “Ocean’s Eleven.”
“(George) Clooney was way cool. Julia Roberts was way cool. Brad Pitt met my wife,” he said. “‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘The Hangover’ were probably two of my favorite movies to do.”
The opportunity to reminisce about an exciting time in their lives has been fun for Goss and Goodall since reconnecting in Fruita, but they admitted some things will stay in Vegas, or at least off of newspaper pages.
“Do as much as you can without getting caught,” Goodall said of the attitude rampant in Las Vegas in the 1970s and ‘80s.
“Anything goes as long as you weren’t hurting anybody,” Goss added.
“We can’t tell you everything,” Sue Goodall yelled from the kitchen.
“We laugh about (the stories) though,” Goss said.