My musical endeavors, the GAD! Zine, and this blog can all be traced back to one inspiring cassette that I purchased when I was a kid: Faith No More's debut album, We Care A Lot. Early FNM introduced me to the sounds of punk, post-punk, metal, even a touch of rap that I could stand. The vocals were truly unique, with lyrics that could be abstract and enigmatic one moment and so utterly relateable and down-to-earth the next. The music that would accompany this new poetry was dark and menacing and catchy and unencumbered by any preconceived notions of a particular blueprint or specific style. This album completely opened my mind to not just a whole new world, but to an entire universe of creative possibilities. I've often said that if it weren't for punk rock, then I'd have been a lot more successful, but I would've killed myself. So, in a way, Faith No More saved my life.
Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled when Kolbey and I were given the opportunity to interview singer Chuck Mosley for the GAD! Zine on MLK Day, 2015. He was sweet and funny and just damn charming. We published the interview in three parts, from issue 8 through issue 10, but never posted it online... until now. With the much-anticipated deluxe reissue of We Care A Lot on Koolarrow Records coming this Friday, the recent physical release of Chuck Mosley and VUA's "Demos For Sale" on EMP Label Group, Chuck's acoustic Reintroduce Yourself Tour, and his collaboration with Indoria, it seems more than appropriate that we finally share our interview here. And because it's been over a year and a half, I reached out to Indoria's Doug Esper, who also happens to currently be Chuck's tour manager/percussionist, for a more timely perspective. He was also cool enough to share some photos here with us. Massive thanks to both Chuck Mosley and Doug Esper for talking with us and being so nice.
CHUCK MOSLEY interview by Adam Harmless & Kolbey Leek
Chuck Mosley rose to prominence as the frontman of Faith No More during the 1980's, singing such classics and fan faves as "We Care A Lot", "As The Worm Turns", "Anne's Song", and "Introduce Yourself". When that tenure abruptly ended in 1988, Chuck bounced back as singer for the Bad Brains before settling into his own unit, Cement, in the 90's. Cement recorded 2 albums and built up an audience in its own right before being derailed by an auto accident. With Chuck recuperating from a broken back for a year, momentum was lost. In 2012, Chuck made his return to the music world with his first solo record, Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food. He has since digitally released demos for that album, as well as his new single, "Ericalution".
GAD!: Who exactly do we need to petition to get the first Faith No More album out on CD in America?
Chuck: Um. That's a good and pertinent question, because I'm just in the middle right now of talkin' with them guys and their manager they're signed to... well, I really can't say too much about it, but they're basically trying to get that question answered for you. Um, I don't even know the name of the company but it's on one company and they're trying to wiggle around and do something but really..I... it's not my place for me to say about all that. All I can say is that I do know that they want to make it more available.
GAD!: Oh, absolutely. That'd be...That's excellent. I know Faith No More still does a lot of the songs off of it.
Chuck: Yeah, they do. That's good for me always, ya know? But, um, look a lot I can't say. I'm like in the middle of... Well I've been talkin' to 'em for a while about their new album. I was too late. I was gonna try to do a cameo appearance on it, but I got in touch with them way too late about it. Billy's band The Talking Book and my band played together down in Chile a couple of years ago. Well, actually a year ago last summer, and it was a lot of fun. We played, VUA played, a couple of Faith No More songs in our set. Basically, VUA is kinda like a band right now that's kinda like a run-through of my anthology, ya know, and then plus new stuff. If we do another album, like on the last one how we did "Piledriver", the single that was we just released was originally a Cement song. We rerecorded it because it never got any mileage. Right when we came up with that song, we kinda broke up and we went our different ways or whatever, but the drummer was still playing with VUA, so basically, Cement and VUA are all the same band, ya know, except for two people until we stop playing so, that's why I always tell people it's like an extension, but taking Cement to the next level..... On the next record, I'm thinking "Killing an Angel" but I'm not sure but there be definitely a song that we'll play off of that record. Because when we put that record out we had the accident. I broke my back so I was laid up for a year. We didn't get to play off that record till like the year later. So it got shelved... and I moved out here (Cleveland). So, "Piledriver", we got "Killing an Angel", maybe something else, maybe two songs. Definitely the one that was just released and then one more. Songs we recorded in Holland and we gotta rerecord those....Those will definitely be on this record. Then some brand new stuff that we're working on right now. So my point was when were down there in Chile playing with Billy. we played I think "Why Do You Bother?" from the first album and then "Death March" from the second record and I think another one but I can't remember. One night Billy came out and played on the computer on "Why Do You Bother?". He did like atmosphere. And then the next night, he played on "Death March".
GAD!: Both of those are great songs...
Chuck: I played with the band again in San Francisco a couple of years ago. It was fun just hangin' out. Yeah, they do play a lot of the older songs and that's great and we're playing 'em too. There are a couple more songs I whip out that I liked playing when I was in the band. I really like "Mark Bowen". That's one of my favorite songs. And we're working on our own new stuff and then...whew...maybe I shouldn't talk about this one...and then even another couple songs from another band I've been in that I know for a fact that we wrote a couple of songs together, but I'm pretty sure they never put 'em on a record. So we'll be playing a couple of those songs...
GAD!: I was gonna say, I'm sure you have plenty of material to be putting out because you haven't had that many releases lately.
Chuck: Yeah, I know. Yeah, well when we put out that VUA record, that was like a compilation of a bunch of songs dating anywhere from two years to ten years late to get on record. One thing I really wanna do more than anything, as opposed to having old songs I wrote by myself is playing and working on us as a band, VUA, like me and Tim and Steve the bass player and everybody. Stuff that we create together right now, and in the last year or so up until right now. I'm really wanting to put some of that stuff down. That's going to be taking up a good part of the record... Really legitimately brand new music and stuff that we're writing now, that we've written in the last month or two. Those guys have riffs, our guitar player and our bass player both have a shitload of riffs and stuff that are gonna be new songs. That's the stuff that I'm more excited about working on more than anything. About that first album, yeah I know somebody is trying to make that one more available. I do know that much.
GAD!: Well that's awesome. I just never hear anything about it. It's nice to hear there's somebody talking about doing something with it. My cassette's lookin' a little rough these days....
Chuck: (laughter) I don't even have it on an album or data. I don't even.. think I've got it burned onto a CD. A couple of songs. I think there's a lot of good songs on that record. "New Beginnings" is another one I'd like to cover.
GAD!: That's easily one of my favorites...
Chuck: That's probably one of my favorites to sing. That one and "Mark Bowen". And actually "Why Do You Bother?", which I had nothing to do with writing. I mean, that was all Billy on that one. "Why Do You Bother?" is like a real hypnotic one I really like the fuckin' vibe on that. "New Beginnings" is like a sing-song kinda song, ya know? I just like the melody.
GAD!: Are we going to be seeing any more Chuck Mosley merchandise anytime soon?
Chuck: Merchandise like?
GAD!: T-shirts...stuff like that..
Chuck: What we wanna see first in order to make all that stuff pertinent is us being on tour. I mean, do we have a website that you can go on? Yeah. Do we have a couple of t-shirts left over from the record company? Yeah, but they're terri-, for lack of a better word, they're crappy. They are what they are, but they're not real good. They threw 'em together right at the last minute. All the things that the record company focused on that put out our record...all the things they focused on, they shoulda been putting their entire effort and energy into just getting us on the road. Maybe making a video and then basically getting us on the road. And that's what they basically ignored. The guy started a record company without backing and he didn't know what the hell he was doing. He hired people that embezzled from the company and basically took people out for lunch. I dunno where the hell their millions of dollars went, but they didn't blow it on us. We were invited to play down at SXSW that year and they were turned down by our record label.
Chuck: We started getting airplay right when we put the record out on the first song, "The Enabler", the one where John (Davis of KORN) sings with me. And that was getting airplay on around forty or fifty stations. A lot on the west coast and then on some in the mid-west, and then in New York and on some satellite stations... and every station, they all... there were sixty cities that wanted us to come down and play...Radio stations wanted me to put on a show like with the local clubs. So we basically had a tour made up out of cities that were playing our song and they didn't capitalize on that. They turned that down. Because they didn't wanna pay for transportation. Really stupid stuff. When you're gonna make a band big on your label, all the things you're supposed to do, they didn't do.
GAD!: It seemed like they were just trying to promote everything online.
Chuck: Yeah. When were making the album, I was told to leave, asked to leave the studio a lot of times... I'm not gonna watch what I say about them anymore. I'm not gonna hold back. I'm not gonna say their names. I'm not gonna name any names, but they went about it all backwards. And they didn't capitalize on the one piece of capital that they did have in their catalog that they could've done something with... that included Russia and Asia and Europe and they passed on that one. All because they didn't want to invest a couple dollars more into a show.... meanwhile they're damn showering a million dollars on everybody going out to lunch. So that left us without a label.
Chuck: We're here doing everything on our own, without a label or any backing or a booking agent
or any of that stuff, and that's why its so hard for us to make a dent in it. We've got our fans, they contact us online, and that's where we sell our stuff, cause we don't have anybody else who--no pun intended--has faith in what we do, on the business side of it. I'm sure all this can all be misconstrued as complaining, but I ain't got nothing else to do right now except go to work and try to take care of my family... so I complain about shit.
GAD!: (laughs) Right.
Chuck: But not all the time, you know, that's just the way it is. We always try to move on and do things. We've got some crappy t-shirts for sale, women's mostly, a couple of guy shirts, most of them are pretty small. We are working on a new design. But we're working on new music and don't really have the investment to put into the merchandise. We got our catalogue of CDs and vinyl, which is all stuff to throw into the merchandise pile. We've got some merchandise but not much, you know, we're just trying to advertise that we've got some new music, and we're going on the road a lot. These days when you go on the road, you're basically just paying to do it.... We had a lot of problems, with two places specifically, that went back on their words--we didn't have a contract or anything. So I knew it was time to stop taking people at their word. We have to be professional and run it like a business, you know. You can't count on what people say very much anymore. And the industry is not what it used to be. The internet came along and really fucked it up from the business aspect. But it's also done a lot of good, and puts bands in touch with their fans, makes their music more accessible. But on the other hand, it's ruined the game for record companies, radio, and all that stuff. So ya gotta find a happy medium, and that happy medium is the bands having to do a lot more for themselves now, and that's what I'm doing. I'm not rich, I never have been.
GAD!: We've spent a lot of time trying to convince kids to buy music. If you care about it, buy it.
Chuck: When I think back to Lars Ulrich making a stink about that, a lot of people were getting on his case and crying about people's right to download music. Kids felt like they were striking a blow against big business and the record companies. But you're really not, and it really affects the artist. Especially in my case. All I have right now is a really crappy job, and this music and stuff I sell online. I try to make it as cheap as possible. Before when I was selling vinyl and stuff out of my house, I'd sell a record for $10 to someone in Belgrade, and then spend $30 shipping it.
Chuck: Shit, if I was rich, I'd be happy to put out a single for free. If I didn't need money, I'd have no problem with that.
GAD!: Sure, you want people to have your music, but you don't want to starve either.
Chuck: Yeah, I'll be damned before I let my fuckin' family be starvin' and be homeless. That's the thing I have to think about when I'm trying to be the cool guy putting out stuff for everybody to just have, you know.
GAD!: That happens with us with the zine.
Chuck: Yeah. And I can't do anything else either. I mean, I can cook okay, but that's it. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to my mom. I didn't finish college. I didn't develop any other skill to fall back on. So it's either do this, or die. I'll be like Iggy Pop or Johnny Cash and I'd be happy just makin' minimum wage if I can travel and play music all the time. Travel around the world and make music and make more music 'cause that's what I love, ya know? I got a couple fans, at least a hundred... What else is there for someone like me?
GAD!: You're living in Cleveland now, right?
GAD!: What's the Cleveland scene there like lately? We haven't heard much about it recently.
Chuck: It comes down to the whole thing, like on the internet, there's no real unity, or people supporting each other. You don't see people hanging out and marching on the street with their fists in the air, or anything (laughs). I mean, there's a little bit of scene here and there. But I guess its not that different from a lot of other places. I can only speak for the places I've been. But I don't see much of a scene here, you know what I mean? I mean, there are some really good bands here, but there's not a lot of people supporting each other and stuff.
GAD!: Right, that's how a lot of scenes are right now.
Chuck: We moved to Cleveland because of the cheap real estate. Me and my family wanted to move from L.A., cause we were having another daughter at the time, and we were either gonna move here, Seattle, Pennsacola, or maybe England where my girlfriend's from. And we ended up here, and I was really excited at first, cause I wanted to meet a lot of musicians and stuff, cause I'm a big fan of Cleveland rock. A lot of my favorite bands came from here, like Devo and Pere Ubu...
GAD!: Hell yeah. And you got the Dead Boys.
Chuck: Rocket From the Tombs. Yeah, there's a lot of them. And you got Mott The Hoople, with the whole Cleveland Rock thing. I came out here a couple of times on tour, and the radio here was really good at the time. So I was really excited to move out here. Getting into the Cleveland scene with the Cleveland musicians. When we moved out I saw people supporting each other all the time, but I also saw a lot of separatism, you know? People doing their own thing and stuff. So long story short, I guess it's like any scene from any town. Small town attitude, although there's like a million people living here. It seemed like a lot more was going on before I moved here, and there are a lot of people trying to build it back up. There's still a lot of cool bands here, cool people playing together and stuff. My goal was to move here and meet a lot Cleveland people and make a lot of Cleveland records. I can't even imagine what L.A. is like now. Since I moved, now when I go back there I feel like a total outta-towner. Like a tourist. Like I'm some guy coming in wearing black socks and black shoes and shorts. I was born and raised there, but it doesn't even feel like my home anymore. I feel like this is my home and it's not a bad thing.
GAD!: I wanted to ask you about L.A... I know you were part of the L.A. scene in 70's.
Chuck: Yeah, I was, but me and how my personality is, I'm not good in big groups of people. I'm more of a one-on-one kind of person. So I had my one or two friends and we'd go out and check shit out, you know. I was a big fan of the early punk rock scene in L.A., but at the same time, I was really young, so I didn't hang out with that many people, so I'd just kinda see them around and stuff. There was some people I had seen at shows and stuff since I was 16 or 17, then I'd get to know them later and become really close friends. A good example is Pat Smear who plays for... I think the Foo Fighters now--
Chuck: He played with Nirvana...
GAD!: And The Germs.
Chuck: Right, and I was a huge fan of The Germs, and I just thought they were the coolest fucking thing.
GAD!: Absolutely, they were excellent.
Chuck: Pat, he was like my hero growing up, and I'd be around him in proximity, standing like 10 feet away from them (The Germs), but I thought they were too cool for me to go up and talk to them. I was a little shy growing up, I could barely talk at that age, I couldn't talk to a girl to save my life. I was always kinda by myself... and then there I was a few years later, I'm on tour with Faith No More, and Roddy and his friend Gary, drove us over to meet Pat. Gary was in a band called Celebrity Skin, and Pat had been playing with them for a while. So before then, I had met Pat before, and said like 'hi, how's it going', but all the sudden we became friends, and were all hanging out together and stuff, you know what I mean?
Chuck: Same with Don Bolles, who was playing with those guys. Same with a lot of other bands, like when my band Haircuts That Kill--
GAD!: I wanted to ask you about that band, Haircuts That Kill.
Chuck: Yeah, we'd play with bands like Nip Drivers, Social Distortion, or Bad Religion. We'd be around all those people. That's why I'd call myself a satellite, cause I was always orbiting around these other bands, but I'd never been like a star, you know.
GAD!: (laughs) Right.
Chuck: Then me and Billy from Faith No More, who was like my best friend since we were in our first band, The Animated, I was on keyboards and Billy played bass, this is when we were like 16, 17, and no one else wanted to go, so we'd be going to punk shows together. And it was really fun, it was a really great scene. I'm not saying there wasn't separatism and bad stuff like that. There were a lot of skinheads that came in, and punk rock gangs and stuff... but it was a fun scene, really fun.
GAD!: Did Haircuts That Kill record anything?
Chuck: Yeah, we actually made a lot of recordings. There was a girl Louise who used to sing in the band, and I saw her online, can't remember if it was Facebook or what, but she was going on about how she had all these recordings from the band. Do you remember the actress from Facts of Life, Dana Plato?
Chuck: You know that movie actress, Dana Plato? She's dead now.
GAD!: Oh yeah, her. [She was actually on Diff'rent Strokes. Different show, same fictional universe.]
Chuck: Yeah, a good buddy of mine Tom went to high school with her husband, and he was an engineer and had a studio in his house. So her house is where we recorded most of our songs.
Chuck: Yeah. We recorded like 8 or 9 songs. We made a video for one of the songs with a friend of mine who went to USCA film school... I can't even tell you where that is right now. It's got a lot of weird stuff, cause we were so... out there, you know. We really didn't have our shit together.
GAD!: Yeah, I heard y'all were pretty wild.
Chuck: Most shows involved us playing, getting drunk, or getting fucked up and then playing really crappily. A few songs were not played very well, cause I was on guitar and singing. We were always looking for a singer, and I was supposed to sing backup vocals. But we never could find a singer, so most of the time, I would be singing. Then we'd find a singer and I'd do backup again. I was really relieved when Louise came along. We had a couple of girl singers, but nobody really fit the bill, but she was the best one at that point. So she'd sing, and I'd do backup and play guitar. But we were really crazy rude, like we'd practice somewhere, get drunk.... (laughs) we'd smoke PCP. And my drummer was a black punk rocker, he grew up around a lot of Mexicans, so he grew up in the Mexican projects, so he was a black but he talked like a cholo but he played like Keith Moon. He was really good but he was a total drunk. We were all fucked up. We would practice in the gym in the projects... We'd end up in a fight. The bass player and the drummer would try to take my money cuz I was the only one that worked. They'd be outta beer and they'd keep me company cuz they wanted to get more beer. We'd all be in a fight. One time we played with Bad Religion... After a while, we started getting really tight and started trying to be serious about it. We started getting a following and stuff. There's a movie, I can't even remember which one, but one of our fliers is in the bedroom of the kid in the movie. And that movie, Pump Up The Volume.
Chuck: I worked on it with my buddy Joe, who actually played bass with us for a while. Right in the intro, you see all around his studio with all the cassette tapes and stuff. Well, you'll see three cassettes. The top one says "Haircuts..". But we started getting a following, then I guess Faith No More, I guess they got rid of Courtney (Love), but still had three shows booked and I went up there to do that. And then they wanted me to keep on singing with them. It was supposed to be temporary but then they said they liked the response of their fans with me singing, well I wasn't really singing at the time. I was a little bit. Whenever I'd imitate David Bowie, I could actually sing. I could kinda croon and stuff like that and I found out I had a baritone and I could actually sing but it at a higher pitchier stage... So I yelled a lot and that's where the rap music came from with the more rhythmic parts that they had. I loved rap but I was no good at it. The point is, right when Haircuts That Kill started getting popular, I started with Faith No More. I told Troy this was temporary and then we'll come back and we'd just keep on playing. He got real mad at me so that was always a sore spot in our relationship. We'd come back to town and we'd play some shows. But there was always something that would make it a mess. By that time we'd actually started playing decent shows, having a national following, but it could never work all time...We never could get it together. We were totally punk rock. Sloppy. But I am looking for our recordings. Joey, our bass player just called me recently and he want to record a bunch of our stuff. I said okay. Me and him, we can get along and he's a good musician so we'll see how it works out.
GAD!: See what happens...
Chuck: So I'm always on the prowl for some more of our music. If I can track it down, I'll definitely release some of it. Real bad quality, but good songs. Played really badly for the most part but some of the recording at Dana's house we put down some good shit.
GAD!: You were talking about the Bad Brains. How did that come about?
Chuck: Those guys I was talking about from Celebrity Skin. They're really good friends so they got a tour together. And right after I got fired from Faith No More, I had really nothing going on except Haircuts That Kill so they asked me to come on tour with them and be like their roadie and do like a ten to fifteen minute solo acoustic set. So I'd played a couple of songs then I'd drive and roadie. So we were touring around the country and when we got to New York... the phone rang and a guy said he was their (Bad Brains) manager, and I didn't believe it. Thought it was like a prank call, ya know? But the only person who had that number to call me would be my mom. She always knew where I was all the time. That's the one person I'd tell. I asked him, "How did you get this number?" He said, I called your number in LA and I talked to your mother". So then I said, "Are you serious?" cuz those are kinda big shoes to fill (replacing HR). He said that the thing about the Bad Brains is that their fans love the band. They know the situation with HR and, more than anything, the fans just wanna see them keep on playing. "It's all about the fans and not the band." I said, "Alright, I'll give it a try," so I came up there and we moved up to Woodstock. We were touring Europe and then the Midwest and I was always practicing on new stuff and learning all the old songs. It was real hard and it was stressful. And it was a real boot camp for a rock'n'roll singer. It was punk rock boot camp cuz they were always pushing me. One thing they did make me do was take what I did seriously and made me really try. Before then, I didn't try real hard. Things seemed kinda easy. Things fell in my lap and I goofed around a little bit. But I'd never really seen myself as a singer, ya know? They made me think of myself as a singer. And be good at it. Just learning HR's lines, learning the lyrics, learning the songs made me better. When I could sing one of their songs, that made me better because you had to be better to be able to do it because they're the best in the business. They were there hardest fuckin' band I ever listened to, or heard, or been in, or anything. So I just kept on with them and wrote about five or eight songs with them. They probably put some on some record with HR or that guy Israel (Joseph I) at some point, but we never put out a record with me. They never put out a record with me but we recorded a bunch of new stuff. And as I said, we went to Europe and we went around the States a couple of times, up and down the East Coast. Played about fifty to sixty shows in about two years. They got offered a record deal with me and let's just say it was like $250,000, but then somebody offered them a lot more, like a million dollars, if they got HR back. So they came and asked me if I was hanging around Woodstock for a while, with my new family and my brand new daughter. They wanted me wait around and see how it'd work out. If it didn't work out, then they'd call me back. I was like "I'm in Woodstock. I can't work up here. I don't have a New York license. I have to go all the way to California to get a new license. My house is two miles away from anything. What am I gonna do in the middle of the fuckin' woods with no money?" So I went back home. I said "Here is what'll happen..." Doc came over to my house and said, "How do you feel about all this?". I said, "Well, I feel like you're making a bad decision. But it's your life, it's your career. You gotta do what's best for you and your family. I have to do what's best for mine. But here is what'll happen.." I said, "If you stick with me, you keep me in the band, then we're gonna put out, I dunno what, two? Three? Four records over the next ten years? And those records will sell well and we'll tour constantly and make money and may even get a number one hit. And we'll have a successful little career. If you go with HR, you're gonna be all happy. You're gonna get that money up front. But then after about two weeks on the road together, he's gonna throw another temper tantrum. And you're gonna break up or fuck it up somehow. You'll lose your record deal. Something will happen where you just won't be able to carry on." And that's basically what happened. They had that deal with Madonna's label. By the time I found them on the road, he was already... the first day on the tour with the Beastie Boys, I think he started beating people up. He kicked the manager in the face. Then something else happened and they got dropped from that label. They got picked up by somebody else and they were with Israel for a while. Then they got back with HR and they put out a couple more records.. kinda like me. We even opened up for them at a couple of shows one here (Cleveland) and one in Detroit a few years ago. It was fun. Anyway, I couldn't stay in Woodstock, so I went home, and literally that week, I started playing with my old friends that I'd grown up with and that was Cement. So we started playing right off the bat and couple months after that, we recorded a couple songs. Later, we went up north and played a show and they said, "If you let us record you an album, we'll get you a deal," and they did. We recorded the album. Went to Europe. Came back home. Started recording our next album, spent about about a month to do that. Then we start out on our year-long worldwide tour. And the first week of that tour, the driver fell asleep with the cruise control on 80mph, and it broke my back. I was laid up for a year. We went back and started touring a year later after I got this steel rod outta my back. But by that time, the second record was already on the shelf because we couldn't go out on tour.
GAD!: Goes back to what you were saying before about touring to promote.
Chuck: Exactly. A band's gotta put in the hour, ya know? And we were ready to do it, but unfortunately, we had the accident that first week. Down in Florida. On Highway 10. Tallahassee, I think. So, yeah... that fucked that up. (Laughs) I've had a run of bad luck. But you gotta get up and keep on going.
GAD!: How's your book coming along?
Chuck: Still working on it. I've got a lot written but it's still in the beginning. Gotta finish up a couple more chapters and shop them around for a publishing deal. The internet hasn't completely taken over yet, but they're workin' on it. And plus the story's not over yet. We gotta figure out a point to end at.
GAD!: That's true.
Chuck: Ya know, where the end is not my death. But more aiming for it to be "happily ever after" or "miserably ever after". Hopefully it's a happy ending where I got a record deal. It's not that much, but it allows us to go on tour and I'm on the road touringly ever after.
DOUG ESPER interview by Adam Harmless
GAD!: How did you and Chuck hook up?
DOUG: Mostly through proximity of the Cleveland music scene. He was around and I was around, so our paths crossed enough that we got comfortable with each other. Chuck talks to everybody, I mean everybody he encounters, so breaking the ice is easy. With him there’s no rockstar ego thing going on. He is curious about all the goings on around him. When we played in Denver back in June, our show ended early as it was a Sunday. As we are loading out Chuck says one of the people in the audience mentioned they were headed to a death metal concert a few minutes away. So, we found the place and closed out there bar with this crazy heavy band from South Dakota. You want to talk about fish out of water, Chuck and I were the only guys not wearing black shirts with unreadable band logos on them, but before anyone gave us any crap, Chuck starts talking with these big, bearded metal dudes in a language they understood and we all had a blast. BTW, off topic, but what’s with the drivers of Denver?
GAD!: It's great to see "Demos For Sale" getting a proper physical release. What's the story behind the demos and the new CD?
DOUG: Demo’s For Sale is sort of a passion project for myself that I'm super happy is seeing the light of day. Chuck started recording songs for the 2009 VUA disc as far back as 1996! Shortly after I met him in 1997 he brought up in conversation that he didn’t have a CD burner, so he would give me cd’s from the studio with different mixes of songs and I’d burn him a few copies for his bandmates or whoever. Well, at first I would delete them so he knew I wasn’t posting them or whatever, but after a while I asked if I could keep a copy for myself, which he said was fine. Over a ten year period I built up a good stash of VUA demo’s.
When the WWOHRFF (Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food) album came out, I enjoyed it, but I loved some of the demo versions of songs better. I listened to them more than the album, especially the song, "Bob Forest".
In 2012 Chuck wasn’t doing much musically and I suggested he release a digital only version of Demo’s for nerds like me that would want every last note they could get. We wanted to release a disc as well, but there was no budget to do so, and Chuck wa going through some well documented financial woes.
In February of 2016, Thom Hazaert of the EMP Label Group approached Chuck about helping release the demos physically, and here we are.
DOUG: The various members of VUA are all in other projects and it’s extremely difficult to get them all in the same country at once let alone the same practice room. So when EMP green lit the demos release, they wanted to support it with shows that VUA couldn’t commit to. Now, back in 2006 I had approached Chuck about recording a stripped-down acoustic EP. I had rationalized that some of my favorite Mosley moments in music would sound great with just him, a guitar, and very minimal accents. For example, "Chip Away" by Cement is one of my favorite songs ever, the intro to "Crab Song" is beautiful, and "Sophie" off the VUA record is stunning in it’s simplicity. Anyway, Chuck didn’t see it and so it never happened.
Flash forward ten years and now all the pieces seemed to fit. I mean, getting 2-3 guys on the road with minimal equipment is way easier than coordinating a full band. Just not having a drum set alone gave Chuck the ability to avoid renting a band van. No amps also makes humping equipment a breeze, while keeping overhead down. We made a list of area musicians we knew and worked our way through it to see who could hit the road, starting with the members of VUA. By April we were under the gun and had no one. Chuck had asked me to go along to act as tour manager, help drive, and sell merch, so I mentioned a could keep a beat if it would help. My end goal is to get this project started and hopefully grow it enough that more able-bodied musicians will step forward and the the reigns. Chuck has an ear for the psychedelic, spacey side of rock and I think adding some keys, bass, and atmospheric guitar would really round out the sound and give Chuck the ability to create some cool new tunes. Nothing would make me happier than getting a call from Chuck once o twice a year saying his new band was coming to town to promote a new album and he wanted to get a drink before they played so I could hear it. The guy writes great songs and I dig his voice and I hope there’s a lot more to come out of him before he decides to retire and create World War Two documentaries of his own.
GAD!: What was Chuck's involvement with the reissue of We Care A Lot and how excited is everyone to finally be able get a hold of it again?
DOUG: I’m not 100% sure exactly what his involvement was. I know Bill Gould found the masters and spear-headed the process. I know Maor Applebaum mastered it. I know Matt Wallace ha the opportunity to remix three tunes from the original multitrack tapes. I know they ripped a few live tracks from a video circa 1986. None of this info is anything above and beyond the press release Faith No More put out, but I get giddy just talking about it and want to make sure everyone knows what’s up. I find it curious that I haven’t heard much buzz about the bonus track, “Intro” included in the collection. Is it an unreleased tune with vocals or an instrumental they opened shows with? I wasn’t around to see them back then, so I have no idea, but I'm excited.
As far as how pumped everyone is, I can tell you two things:
1. I didn’t get to hear the WCAL album until I found the CD in a used bin at a record shop in San Fran in 1996. Yes, I had heard the version of, “As The Worm Turns” with Patton singing on the, “You Fat Bastards” live video, but nothing else. Experiencing, “Why Do You Bother” for the first time only helped confirm my love for the Mosley-led era of Faith No More. Reading the lyrics for, “Greed” and “New Beginnings” really showcased for me the personal narrator/storyteller Chuck is that really helps set him apart from many other vocalists with nothing to say for themselves. Chuck has no filter. He sees or feels something and boom, it's right there in the song, no matter how exposed he is in the process. The used copy I bought has not aged well and many songs skip, so I haven’t had access to them in years. To have fresh copies of them, plus bonus material will be awesome.
2. It’s disheartening when musicians downplay or even diss older recordings of theirs. I certainly understand touring for years and playing the songs they can get stale, and I could see in the case of Chuck where some songs bring up the memories of the end of his time in the band. That can hurt, sure. So, when Chuck and I were touring in June, facing a 28 hour straight drive and he asked me to play the WCAL cd, I was gleeful…yes, gleeful. He listened and sang along and told me stories about various lyrics or tidbits from the time he or Bill or Roddy had written them. We listened 2-3 times through and he had a lot of good stuff to say about the songs, especially, “Mark Bowen” and “Why Do You Bother”. I hope the rerelease helps give him and the other guys a fresh perspective on this collection as there are some stellar moments. Not to go all fanboy here, but when you think about the unlikely pairing of these five guys and all the stuff they accomplished at a young age with no budget, really, and man, I am blown away. By my mid-twenties, I was still working dead-end jobs and playing in bands just spinning our wheels. Of course the excitement for this era of the band isn’t complete without a reunion with Jim Martin and Chuck Mosley onstage with the band. I hope one day we’ll see it. Yes, for the fans, but also for the guys themselves. Bury any of that old animosity and allow yourself to enjoy the music and the moments for what they were and celebrate along with your fans on what it means to them. By all accounts, being a member of Faith No More takes thick skin and comes with a price. It wasn’t always pretty, but nothing ever is, so again give yourself one last opportunity to play the songs and maybe you’ll be able to let the bad taste in your mouths dissolve enough to enjoy the sweetness of the songs you wrote together.
GAD!: Tell us about your band Indoria?
DOUG: Through the years, Indoria has evolved its sound and its members. We have shared bills with Estradasphere, The Alter Boys, Tub Ring, Dog Fashion Disco, Unified Culture, Finless Brown, Infinite Number of Sounds, and so many others without ever really fitting any of the shows. Typically I would say we are a synth-pop-rock band who dabble in this or that, but on our latest release with Chuck on vocals we went for a stripped-down, folk-pop-rock sound. Originally we had pitched the idea (again) to Chuck about collaborating on a collection to showcase his “softer” side, so he could release a solo disc, but as we got deeper into the project it really need up sounding like an extension of Indoria. Chuck and my wife provide most of the vocals and they sound great together (though maybe I'm a bit biased). This is the first Indoria CD without any keyboard/synth stuff, so I’m still wrapping my head around it.
Chuck wrote a song, “Bella Donna” which appears on the CD. We have been playing that live on his acoustic tour and it’s gotten some of the best feedback out of all the songs. Again, I hope this Indoria disc and acoustic tour are a springboard to get Chuck actively writing, so who knows if he’ll be a part of Indoria moving forward. For now I'm just enjoying the ride.
You can hear a bunch of Indoria stuff for free at douglasesper.com. I’m an author, so if you don’t like reading fiction, ignore the main page and click on the music tab. You can also stream our latest disc and our last disc at Indoria.bandcamp.com. Chuck did guest vocals on a song, “What I Feel” on that disc as well. Other than that, we’re on Amazon, iTunes, and if you're overseas, a European only disc is being printed in a small limited run through InfiniteHive records in Scotland. It will have a couple remixes, live things, and possibly one or two of our older songs as well. Just the photography by Jay Byrd alone is worth the money for a copy.