ONE HALF ACOUSTIC, ONE HALF ELECTRIC, ONE HALF PSYCHEDELIC
A CONVERSATION WITH CHUCK MOSLEY
Chuck Mosley is a man who wears his soul on his sleeve. While currently on tour with what he describes as his “semi-distorted, semi-psychedelic acoustic band” of the North American leg of his Reintroduce Yourself tour, I had the chance to chat with Mosley, who in the past has worked with the likes of Faith No More, Bad Brains, and Cement. I was told these types of interviews typically last five to ten minutes. For almost forty-five minutes or so, Mosley and I discussed themes of life, identity, the music industry, and good food, all in relation to his current tour and upcoming work.
Currently, Mosley is in the middle of numerous projects. Cement’s 1994 cult classic, The Man With The Action Hair, which Mosley sang on, is up for a reissue that he is aiming for a November release. Mosley also sang on the upcoming Primitive Race album, Soul Pretender which is due out on November 3rd. While the previous Primitive Race record was a more industrial record, Mosley describes this collaboration as not as industrial as their past work, calling it a little more rock, and lyrically much darker than his past work. Mosley is excited by the collaboration, stating “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it… I haven’t heard anything like it”. Furthermore, Mosley is in the middle of writing a solo record of more personal material that he hopes will be released early 2018. Musically, much like Mosley’s current tour, this upcoming record is unlike anything he has ever done, and is composed of a mix that Mosley refers to as “one half acoustic, one half electric, and one half psychedelic”.
The Reintroduce Yourself tour originally started in Europe in 2016, with just Mosley and his pal Doug on congas. Now the tour is filled out with a full acoustic band, giving the group a much bigger sound, and allowing for some experimental elements to creep their way into the set. Mosley, however, humbly laughs it off as a way to cover up his mistakes. He went into this new creative venture following an itch to perform, while the members of his main band, VUA, were busy with their own projects. Since then, however, his acoustic direction has taken a life of its own. A typical set will start mostly acoustically and, depending on the night, may evolve into a set of VUA and early Faith No More material, over the course of two hours. In some cases, the band will transform their songs, changing slow songs into blistering punk thrashers on the fly as a means of fitting them into their allotted set time. “These concerts are really just a compilation of everything I’ve done since 1981”, Mosley states, only this career spanning set is performed in a manner that is sonically completely revitalized.
It is this blend that attracts both metal heads and acoustic fans to his shows as Mosley refers to this project as “the loudest acoustic band in the world” leading him to jokingly call this new sound as Mosley-Head. Mosley shares his passion for performance by saying that while he never really loved performing, “it has a calming effect on my soul. I still get real bad stage fright, but it seems to work to my advantage “cause it’s a time when I’m not feeling any pain- mental or physical. I’m addicted to it. It’s like a drug”. Similarly, the discussion of identity and being true to one’s self plays a very important part in Mosley’s creative process, simply stating “I only know how to be me… I won’t dance for you, I’m not Michael Jackson. I’m happy to be a working class musician if it means I can be true to my soul”. This is very much at the centre of Mosley’s current music; it’s stripped down, vulnerable, intimate, and allows for him to bare his soul to his audience.
In this regard, the tour is appropriately titled. This is a risky and musically dangerous endeavor, in the sense that it is a brand new experience for Mosley. While it can fall apart at any moment, he and his band embrace a spirit of improvisation, roll with the punches and are willing to take their music into any direction that it needs to that night. This is a reintroduction to Mosley, once an alternative rock pioneer who helped set a blazing trail through the ’90s. He is back, and busier than ever as he carves yet another creative path to his career. Chuck Mosley is a simple man; he likes to laugh and likes good food (on the day we talked he was aiming to have buffalo wings while in Buffalo and jokingly griped about having Red Lobster as opposed to real lobster while in Maine), and he will be the last person to leave a club after a show, as he signs autographs and talks with anyone who has waited to see him. At the centre of it all, he is a man of integrity and personal authenticity. His art is a direct result of this, and it is the spark to his current creative peak that fuels his creative process and makes his performances explosive, heartfelt, and spontaneous.