Remembering Chuck Mosley - The last Los Angeles Interview by Tony Santiago
Chuck Mosley, former Faith No More singer, passed away on Thursday November 9th, 2017. His family released the following statement:
"After a long period of sobriety, Charles Henry Mosley III lost his life, on November 9th, 2017, due to the disease of addiction. We’re sharing the manner in which he passed, in the hopes that it might serve as a warning or wake up call or beacon to anyone else struggling to fight for sobriety. He is survived by long-term partner Pip Logan, two daughters, Erica and Sophie and his grandson Wolfgang Logan Mosley. The family will be accepting donations for funeral expenses. Details to follow when arranged."
Our contributing music journalist Tony Santiago sat with Mosley during his last Los Angeles show this year in what would be one of Chuck's last interviews.
Tony: Hi Chuck. Great to meet you. You have a new solo album coming out soon. You’re playing with the band Primitive Race. Also a new record with those guys as well in November called Soul Pretender. You got a lot of things going on. I love that you’re doing all of this and hitting the road again. You’ve toured for years with bands like Faith No More & Bad Brains. It’s been a while since you’ve done the road thing. How’s it treating you? How you are you feeling?
Chuck: Good, just tired, I’ve been grinding and now to be back here...
Tony: I know you’re back where it all started in Hollywood.
Chuck: I know it's always weird coming home but it's my home and it's like so many people are gone. So it’s weird but my friends are still around, just not my parents so it kinda makes it more different than usual.
Tony: How different is it?
Chuck: I don't know. It always feels different coming back. It’s been different since I've been visiting here since like 2001 to see Roxy Music. I came around and then in 2005 my dad passed away so I came out for his funeral. Then i came back in 2010 so basically every 5 years or so I come for like 24 or 48 hours. Once I started visiting every 5 years I started feeling like I’m not from here. I felt like I’m the tourist but then I get with my real friends and I feel like normal again when I see people I grew up with.
Tony: Speaking of changes, the music industry had changed a lot since you first started out. Where do you see this going? Is it even worth it playing music anymore? What do you say to anyone just starting out in this crazy business?
Chuck: I don't even know what the music industry is anymore to tell you the truth. Lars warned everybody this was going to happen. Now people hardly buy music anymore so I don’t know what the future holds. My advice to anyone trying to break in is what my mom told me friggin 40 years ago. She said I should always have something to fall back on cuz it's not always going to be a secure thing and it's never a for sure thing. Well that’s pretty true. But like for me, I’ve been playing music since I’m 3 years old so I don’t know what else to do really. I can cook. I’m a chef when need be. Other than that, I know music and that’s it. The money’s probably way better being a chef but until someone buys me a restaurant or a kitchen to run, I’ll be doing this. Luckily I’m one of the few who still get royalty checks. I mean a lot of people do but i’m like a nobody so it’s cool to still get them and have my foot in the door.
Tony: 2015 was the 30th anniversary of We Care A lot. There was a reissue of it. I bought it. I love the remastered sound. Artists seem to only make money touring these days. Records do seem to be selling again. Have you seen any money come from that reissue?
Chuck: Maybe, I mean yeah eventually it’s supposed to but I don't know. It hasn't come to me yet. I guess it’s the trickle down theory. It usually takes a year or two to start generating any cash. Plus I don’t know how it sold or anything. I haven’t talked to them in a while and gotten the information. I got other stuff to worry about, you know? It’s money that’s not even there.
Tony: What was the motivation behind the Re-introduce yourself tour? What made you wanna go out and play a lot of these songs again?
Chuck: Oh my goodness, I didn't want to do this. (Laughs) Doug (Esper) who you’ve been talking to is the one responsible. I’ve known him for like almost 20 years since I first moved to Cleveland. He’s a total Clevelander. He’s the total opposite of me but he loves music and he loves metal. He loves hard music and he’s a fan and we became friends. He was a fan that became a friend and he didn’t wanna see me sitting around and not playing music. He’s always been a motivator. He’s been trying to talk me into doing this for like 10 years and I just absolutely refused because me trying to play acoustic? I can’t play acoustic. I can barely play electric guitar. I can fool with the pedals and make noises but that’s it. So I’m like telling him I’m terrible. I’m like ok on electric but terrible on acoustic. I’ve gotten a little better in the past few months actually because I’ve been playing so much but yeah it took him like 10 years to finally get me to do it. And then I was doing an interview on the radio last year with Thom Hazaert who like runs our label EMP with Dave Ellefson from Megadeth. We were doing the interview and I’m telling him all about the Charlie Brown luck I’ve had and all the things that go on. So he just says man you should be out there playing again. So him and Doug started plotting on me and getting together and before I knew it he was already booking shows. That caused me a lot of stress. I got really stressed out about that.
Tony: You still get nervous playing to a live audience?
Chuck: Oh totally, every night. Absolutely every night. I mean because of David Bowie I wanted to be like a rock ‘n roll something. I could’ve been happy being a cog in the wheel though like I was in my first band, where I just played keyboards and stuff with Billy (Gould.) But then yeah to then get put in the front is a total freaky, crazy thing. I get total stage fright. I grew up really shy. I couldn’t talk. I stuttered. I didn’t talk to girls at all when I was younger so yeah it was scary.
Tony: Is the road different now than it used to be? Are you noticing any changes?
Chuck: It’s about the same. I just got so used to it but back when I was younger it really wasn’t part of my plan you know? Things started to change. My role started to change but I was doing it anyway. I’d complain about it a lot but it was still fun. It was like the funnest time I’ve ever had. I didn’t do it for 20 years not because I was like ducking out in some corner. It’s because I was waiting for a record to get done. That record took 13 years to get done plus I was also being a dad. I was staying with my younger daughter and raising her, being there as opposed to how I was with the first one. I started working and learned to be a chef but yeah after all that it was just time. Before I get too old I wanted to play again. So Doug got me out again. We limped out last year. It was really rough because it was just the two of us. Then we went to England and our driver started playing bass so it started sounding more full. Then we came back and I felt like we started sounding better. I mean I can make mistakes and joke about it, which is what I do but I actually started getting good. But I started noticing the better I got the less funny I got so I gotta put the kibosh on getting any better I think (Laughs.) Gotta keep it low key but we sound good because of that fuller sound with bass and another guitar. And then Matt blessed us with some of his valuable time to record. So we just made an album and then things really just got busy. That’s the pace I’m kinda used to just like when I was working in a kitchen cooking. I call that the other end of the entertainment business because It’s like the same thing, It’s all about presentation. You’re in a rush, having to fucking get everything ready by a certain time and have it come out good. It’s the same kind of thing and I pretty much thrive on pressure.
Tony: I saw the show here in Los Angeles when you reunited with Faith No More at the Troubadour back in 2016. I loved it. Everyone in the audience was getting into it. Sold out show. What did that feel like after all these years? Were those nerves kicking in?
Chuck: Oh I was totally nervous, out of mind. It was stressful but It was so fun just hanging out with the dudes. I mean we’ve all been fine since 1990 despite all these misconceptions. That’s like the 3rd or 4th time I’ve played with them since I was out of the band. So It’s always really good to hang out with them, It’s always a lot of fun. That time I was really nervous because there was a lot of family and friends there and every time I come to L.A. It’s like that. San Francisco was a little looser even though there was a lot of people there too. That was the first time I ever came back on stage with them in like 2010 and that was a tear fest.
Tony: Why was it a tear fest?
Chuck: Because I saw people crying in the audience, crying on the side of the stage and that got me all teary. Yeah there was a lot going on but I loved it. It was fun but I wish I had more of my voice that night. Sounded like I blew my voice out.
Tony: The Troubadour show sounded great. It sounded like you guys really gelled together well on stage. I noticed Mike Patton sitting on the side lines during the show watching. Of course people in the audience started chatting about will there be a collaboration on stage between Mike and Chuck. Was there ever any talk of that or was he just there to chill and check out the show?
Chuck: Yeah nah he just wanted to check it out. He was letting me do my thing. I actually asked the guys If they wanted to do something since he was there and they were like no he just wanted to hang back. Which is very cool. He’s very respectful of me when we meet up and he’s always been very nice to me but I would’ve been fine if he wanted to get up there and do a song with me.
Tony: So what’s next for you Chuck? What’s the ultimate goal at this point? What would make you happy?
Chuck: The ultimate for me would be just to be able to keep putting records out. I’m excited about the ones I got coming and being able to play them live. People wanting me to come and play my music. I mean that’s pretty much it for me. Then i can make my meager living but thats ok If i’m doing what I wanna do. I can make money cooking too but I love to travel. I’m a history buff. I love going to Europe because I love shit that’s over 2000 years old. I like going around and seeing different stuff. It’s just a way of life I can’t get out of my blood. I’d be happy fucking making minimum wage if I get to travel and play my music.
Tony: Chuck thank you so much for your time. You can see Chuck Mosley currently on tour all over the place. Check for dates near you. New record in November 2017 with Primitive Race. We’ll make sure to pick that up. Thanks again Chuck that was a real pleasure. Good luck with the show tonight at the Viper. I’ll be there cheering.
Chuck: Thanks Tony. I appreciate that. Nice meeting you. See you at the show.
Rest in Peace
December 26, 1959 – November 9, 2017