A GUEST CONTRIBUTION by STEVE MCLEAN
The Late, Great Chuck (Fantasy Chuck Mosley Compilation)
If you’re reading this in the future, we’re all trapped inside. There’s been a disease outbreak and in spite of Hollywood insisting for years that we’d be rescued by a ‘housewife’s favourite’ type scientist, there’s no sign of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon or even an 90s Dustin Hoffman. Turns out you just have to stay home and hope for the best. It seems Covid 19 advice is the same as the customer support for Yodel and DPD.
So I’m home and flicking through old records and I’ve come across Faith No More’s Introduce Yourself. It’s the one with vocalist Chuck Mosley before the band became super massive with the arrival of Mike Patton (Chuck himself had replaced a very young Courtney Love.. off to youtube you go).
Introduce Yourself has always been my favourite FNM album, I’m not saying that to be a contrary bellend… I AM a contrary bellend (I think Grease 2 is better than Grease and that Star Wars Episode III is better than Return of the Jedi) but on this occasion it’s not true. This was the first Faith No More album I owned. I played it to death when I was 14. I didn’t even know it was a different singer, I just assumed that Mike Patton had changed his style between records. Looking back now you can hear this record is clearly more personal and a lot more raw than their later works. The songs are closer to stories with vocals that get right into you. Chuck *is* an acquired taste, often singing off beat and off key. He’ll get under your skin if you like things like click-tracks, vocal processing and range. If you’re not keen on slurring then I’d probably skip this whole list if I were you.
Chuck died in 2017 and I regret to this day not going to see him live when I had the chance. Troubled by alcohol and drugs his whole life, he’s had a varying career. However the highlights soar above his peers and at times are just beautiful.
Side One – Faith No More
Released in 1985 for their debut solo album (also called We Care A Lot) this is one of those songs that have become a hit over time rather then landing straight away. The song was later re-recorded for their second album (Introduce Yourself) but here you can really hear Chuck growling through the recording. Mosley re-re-recorded it for his 2009 album ‘Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food’ but that lacks the feel of the original.
As The Worm Turns (1985)
Another song from the debut album (We Care A Lot), another song the band would return to a later date (albeit as B-side re-recorded with Patton). This starts with sinister keyboard build up before it launches into a help-line for the suffering. It’s possibly an early example of Emo but you know, not shit. Emo with an 80s garage punk vibe.
‘’Listen, man, I know
That things are really rough
And everybody gets you
And life is really tough
But I know that deep down inside
There’s a feeling that rides
All the way to the end’’
Fast Disco (1987)
The opening song of Introduce Yourself and a fine example of the band as they both tell a story and explore the feelings of the average 80s city dwelling young adult. While their hairspray peers where singing about sex or partying, Chuck was vocalising the every day hardships of growing up.
Anne’s Song (1987)
The 2nd single from Introduce Yourself and possibly the finest moment in the whole in the whole FNM career. Name me another song that sings about cream soda and doesn’t sound shit? You can’t, can you? QED. It includes Chuck riffing at the start which he would develop on stage and later in his career. The song covers a party at Anne’s place. It’s about the freedom you feel when you’re having a good time. It’s a party song but it still seems to dig deeper than the average 1987 rock tune
‘I never claimed to be different I only said I was bored and she’s tired of your uniqueness it sends her over head first, then the rest of her follows’
The Crab Song (1987)
Another song with talking / riffing at the start and hits hard. It’s a break up tune that descends into a tirade against the former loved one. We’ve all been there but I’ve never seen the emotion captured so well in music before. It’s song equivalent of ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHFUCKYOU…ILOVEYOUTHOUGH. Put that into words (I mean I just did, but you know, do it better)
In 1988 Chuck left Faith No More, due to ’’erratic behavior’’ which I think is code for being cunted all of the time. FNM went on to become a massive arena headlining chart regulars who were often lumped in with the rank shitness of the Red Hot Chili Peppers by the hacks (to be honest though if you try to sarcastically take off Anthony Kiedis to nuance-free 80s / 90s rock press, you really deserve the shit)…. And Chuck went off to oblivion.
Side Two – Chuck Mosley and Friends.
Not QUITE oblivion. In 1990 Chuck joined the ranks of hardcore punk veterans Bad Brains. Although they never released anything and there’s doubt that they even recorded together, they did survive long enough to complete a world tour and a bootleg from the tour recorded at the Marquee in London survives today. I’ve only heard clips but it sounds amazing. If you’ve got a copy, I’d love a rip. Perhaps a small label could do a RSD release of it for 2021? Come on, you bedroom dwelling fucks, stop working on that fucking ‘Indie Tribute To ABBA’ which is going to be shit and put your energies into this instead.
1993 saw Chuck resurface with an outfit called Cement. They were a patchy at best with Metal Hammer riffs but without the hair. Buried in among the fret wanking and sub-rap/rock that was popular at the time were a couple of little gems.
Living Sound Delay (1993)
From the debut album, this has touches of Sugar and the Pixies, it’s a song that’s chomping at the bit from the rest of the album. It’s wanting to say ‘look at what I *can* do when I’m not trying to be Kerrang! popular’ He was seemingly trying to win back the FNM audience but those who remembered Chuck had moved to Grunge the previous year and the band now had new younger MTV based rock fans.
Chip Away (1993)
And here is a glimpse of the future. Where Mosley is starting to use his voice as an understated weapon. He’s embraced the drawl and the slurs and has invented punk country or punk folk depending on how you listen. In 1994 the tour to support the second album saw the band in a bus crash leaving Chuck with a broken back and an enforced retirement from music.
Punk Rock Movie (2009)
After dipping his toes into music on and off in the 2000s, with the odd live appearance, Chuck finally released a true solo album in 2009. Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food. It was a statement of his financial position as much as claim. The record is okay. It’s a mixed bag but a lot of the hard edged songs had missed the boat a bit and it feels dated for the year of release. This song is one of the stand outs, it has a three-songs-in-one feel, like an alternative Band On The Run.
Another stand out from ‘Will Rap…’ it’s a duet with Leah Lou who is an Ohio based Indie foker. It’s gentle and highlights Chuck’s voice as an instrument. In 2016/7 he toured acoustically, I think this really would have been his way forward, acoustic protest rap love songs…
Indoria – Bella Donna (2016)
Somehow he got himself involved with this outfit. The producers of this track are clever enough to put him to the forefront of the mix, capturing his breathing and intakes in all their glory. The ‘band’ or collective describe themselves with this line – ‘’What happens when an electro-pop producer, a rock singer, a polka queen, a metal guitarist, and a conga player get together to record music? Indoria’’ Which sounds fucking awful. But it’s lovely. Dear bands, stop writing your own bios, dumbarsed fucks.
After his solo acoustic tour of 2017, he joins the ‘industrial rock supergroup’ (not my fucking lame arsed words, again FFS bands) Primitive Race. He is clearly still wanting the rock press. The band sees other members such as Graham Crabb (PWEI!) Mark Thwaite (The Mission, Spear of Destiny) Dale Grover (The Melvins) plus a host of others, mainly leftover sidemen from the brief Industrial age of the late 90s….. it’s exactly what you’d expect it to sound like. They released a whole album with Chuck and it is almost certainly big in the online gaming community and with people who make youtube videos about how the Government is putting chemicals into jet streams and such. Probably.
You can hear it here. https://primitiverace.bandcamp.com/album/soul-pretender
It’s not horrible but it is not the send off Chuck deserves.
In November 201 7 Chuck died at the age of 57. Drug related. It never truly leaves you I guess, even when you’re relatively clean, it still chips away at your inside. Chuck reformed with Faith No More a couple of times from 2010 until 2016. The last two concerts were whole gigs, not just guest spots, they billed as Chuck Mosley and Friends to celebrate the re-release of the debut album. The footage is on youtube, Chuck struggles as times at the occasion seems a bit big for him at this stage in life. Either that, he’s pissed. It’s hard to tell with him. And that’s about it, until Record Store Day 2019 when this was released.
Chuck Mosley – Nothing Compares 2 U (2019 – recorded 2017)
Recorded while on his ‘Reintroduce Yourself Tour’ It’s beautiful take on the Prince song that embraces Chuck’s vocal limits. Again it’s country punk rock or folk punk rock. It’s tender and beautiful and a lovely ending to career that should have been so much more but addiction, wrong turns, missteps, hardship and a bus crash. RIP Chuck.