Recently I was interviewed about my role in Chuck Mosley’s acoustic Reintroduce Yourself tour by Faithnomoreforever.com. Here is the original link to the interview
And here is an english translation of that talk:
- For the last several years the world of music has greatly changed, to promote, make shows, distribution of music, etc… I’m pretty sure you are working very hard in this new process (in the past too). Since you are working with Chuck, what aspects would you emphasize of him as artist and person?
Chuck and I come from two totally different backgrounds in music, so we often discuss/disagree on things to focus on in his career and how to handle promotions and marketing with zero budget. The knowledge that there is no one straight path also comes with a realization that neither of us is 100% correct. Typically any success he has follows an idea that merges both of our viewpoints into one cohesive strategy.
As an artist Chuck is a free-thinker who is constantly in a state of juggling multiple ideas…the problem becomes focusing enough on one idea to see it come to fruition. When we had out first practice for the acoustic tour, Chuck was noodling around with a riff and a few lines of lyrics and I asked him what it was. He told me it was a little ditty he had had brewing for years and he had even played a snippet of it at a coffee shop in our area called, Bella Dubby’s. I asked him to repeat the riff a few times and I started hitting my conga. We launched into the song and it has remained mostly unchanged since then…the one change I can think of is that it’s now titled, Bella Donna. We have played it at every single acoustic show thus far and judging the feedback it’s had one of the best responses live out of all the songs we play.
So, Chuck has had that song for years, but until an outside force applied a little pressure/offered encouragement to continue it, he never pursued it further. I have recordings of four-five other snippets Chuck has played in soundcheck or at practice and my goal is to find the right balance of encouragement and pressure to get these turned into his next release. Look for them to start appearing in our sets soon and evolve as they get played more.
As a person, Chuck is endlessly curious and infinitely frustrating. He is a unique character on both sides of the coin. If Chuck was a billionaire he would spend his days just walking around talking to random people and absorbing their stories/experience/aura. Every city we go to he meets people and connects on a level deep enough that most people take years to reach. And he remembers everyone’s story. For example, in July we stayed at my buddy Terry’s house in Philadelphia and one day Chuck starts talking about someone that I don’t know. I asked him who he meant and he mentions it was a guy he met that lived down the street from Terry. Chuck knew the guy’s whole life story, his extended family, his dreams, his pains…and as the tour went along Chuck would see a billboard and remark, “Oh, so-and-so would love to tour that museum, or so-and-so saw that Broadway play when he was in junior high…had his first kiss that day.” It is incredible the amount of info he stores about people he meets. He has a genuine passion and cares about everyone. The frustrating part is I have to repeat myself forty times before he retains any info I tell him, ha!
- Chuck joined Indoria for the new record “You’ll Never Make The Six”. What do you think has been him greatest contribution for the record and can you tell us more about Indoria?
So, Indoria is a project that I started with my buddy, Adam Probert back in the late 90’s. We managed to record some demo’s and add various pieces to the band over several years, playing with some great bands like Dog Fashion Disco, Unified Culture, Finless Brown, The Alter Boys, and Infinite Number of Sounds in the process all while holding it together with duct tape and a torn shoestring. In late 2002, we split to pursue other projects and then Adam moved out of state.
Years later, I think 2008, Adam sent me two snippets of ideas he had. They got stuck in my head and even though I was now married and working a semi-real job and he was a world-traveling underwater welder, we decided to see these songs along. A year or so later we found ourselves recording a full length in Adam’s portable studio during an elongated visit to Cleveland, Ohio. We wrote a lot of the album as we recorded, which was fun and frustrating to see what we did flying by the seat of our pants. Adam handled almost all of the music, but we enlisted Tim Svitak, one of my favorite area guitar players to add some crunch and we twisted my wife, Michele Esper’s, arm until she agreed to also lend her powerful, beautiful voice to several songs.
Since then, we have released three additional EP’s each boasting different guest musicians and Michele has (thankfully) taken over most of my vocal parts.
When we recorded our last EP, There’s A Gleam, Chuck was using Adam’s studio to record some vocals for a one-off release and we played him a song, What I Feel, to get his feedback. He told me the next week the song was stuck in his head. He agreed to provide some backing vocals. During the vocal session I asked him to take over my small part, which was during the song’s breakdown. The pattern, lyrics, and Chuck’s performance combined, though brief, are one of my happiest musical moments I’ve helped create.
Shortly after that album came out, and we realized just how good Michele and Chuck sounded together, we had a desire to do more. Adam suggested we create a batch of songs, outside of Indoria, geared specifically as a striped down, acoustic-driven release for Chuck and Michele to stretch their voices.
Simultaneously, Adam, myself, and guitarist Donald Spak began work on the next Indoria. After a while all the songs ended up mixed together as Chuck sang on a song of mine, I sang on one with him and Michele, so we took six songs and decided to just release it as Indoria to keep it simple. We added a remix of, What I Feel, so people could hear the previous song we did with Chuck. The first song on the disc, Only In My Head, was very different when it was going to be recorded as a straight Indoria song. It had a different lead guitar riff and key part with a thick, New Order vibe. The chorus part with Chuck saying, “I’m not hearing my voice…” was sampled by Adam during an off the cuff remark Chuck made while recording something totally different, a year or two earlier. I loved the sample so we cut my chorus and plopped that in.
The result of, You’ll Never Make The Six, is, I hope, an interesting collection that holds true to our original intent. Chuck has some shining moments in this collection unlike any of his previous work. He really got to showcase another side of him, and of that, I’m super proud and happy. My hope is as the positive feedback roles in, it will build his confidence and give him a push to work on his own acoustic collection. (And then have Indoria open up for him, heh.) Feedback welcomed after you listen to our songs for free: www.indoria.bandcamp.com if you like us, please tell your friends. If you don’t like us tell your enemies.
- Reintroduce Yourself shows have a little touch of humor of you part. For you as artist and in your everyday life, how important is the humor?
Chuck doesn’t get enough credit for how funny he is, as usually his humor comes offstage and away from the spotlight. In everyday life, Chuck enjoys being a smartass and he finds messing with me at the worst times super funny. Sometimes onstage, however, he clams up a bit. Usually if I sense he is in one of those moods, I try to take the lead on between song banter. It wasn’t anything we planned, hell, we don’t really have a plan for anything, but thus far it has worked to various degrees.
As far as how important it is, I don’t have a choice. My dad is the king of dad jokes and I inherited his style. I am cursed to blurt out whatever comes to mind and it’s usually a mix of corny, goofy, and wacky, so that often dictates the vibe of the show.
I also spend a lot of time watching Chuck just waiting to see what he will do next as he is unpredictable every single night. For example: I create the setlist, which thus far has really stayed similar concert to concert as we’ve only had time to learn so many songs and adapt them to our two person line-up, and then Chuck proceeds to ignore the setlist and go wherever the night takes him. This keeps things fresh for him, I suppose, but it causes me endless stress as I am a man of routine. Not to mention I trigger Chuck’s vocal effects so I need to have the right ones cued up and I sorta need to know what drum pattern to play. Almost every night Chuck realizes he skipped a song he really wanted to play and gets frustrated. Of course I remind him that all he needs to do is read the list that I put RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM.
Humor will always be a part of Chuck’s shows whether I’m involved or not. In VUA he, Tim Parnin, and Steve Rauckhorst are all funny guys.
- Roddy Bottum was playng a couple acoustic shows with you on this tour, how did your experience playing in the same stage with Chuck, Roddy. Also with FNM for the GAMH and Troubadour shows?
You mean besides freaking out like a thirteen year old girl at a Beatles concert?
Listen, some people have dreams and the smart ones follow those dreams and make the world a better place. I, on the other hand, had a dream situation fall into my lap and I still wasn’t sure if I should follow it. When Chuck started talking about the tour my goal was to get him paired up with someone else, but for various reasons people couldn’t do it until we started running out of time and he asked me. I said no.
I’m a husband and father and home-owner with yardwork and a dog. A normal, well-adjusted man doesn’t just abandon all that to hit the road. Also, I feel the need to mention, I’m neither a drummer nor a tour manager.
He asked again. I said maybe.
Then my wife and my buddy TJ said I’d regret not going the rest of my life.
Knowing the tour may only go a couple weeks, and that the budget was zero and that there were fifty different ways the tour could end badly (not to mention that Chuck and I could really get sick of each other and ruin our 19 year friendship along the way) I jumped onboard and have been white-knuckling ever since.
So, to get to the meat of your question: Roddy and FNM.
Chuck mentioned at some point that Roddy lived in the NYC area and he might come to a show and maybe jump onstage for a song. I thought, that would be super cool. Chuck and I discussed a few cover songs, Portishead and New Order are the two I remember. We also play a few FNM songs in our set and I knew that would please the crowd, but Roddy didn’t have his keyboard available, so that was scrapped. I suggested, The Beginning, by Imperial Teen as it’s Roddy singing and playing guitar, the beat is straight forward, the backing vocals would be fun, and IT’S A GREAT TUNE.
As we parked at the venue a decision still hadn’t been made, though a few other songs had been suggested. I asked what the plan was and Roddy, said he felt like playing, Butch, by Imperial Teen. Another great song…but one I hadn’t practiced. I had only ever spoken to Roddy via email after I donated money for his San Fran to LA AIDS Awareness bike ride, so for all I knew he didn’t even want me to play on it.
We didn’t get a sound check.
Chuck called Roddy up midset and he started conversing with the crowd (eerily similar in how Chuck banters onstage) and then we launched into the song. I was so nervous, in fact, I would’ve been less nervous getting naked onstage than I was to play the song. Imperial teen as a band are so strong when it comes to group vocals and several harmony parts, so I felt the song might sound too minimalized without backing vocals…what’s a guy to do? I certainly don’t want to step on Roddy’s toes as our guest onstage and it’s not like I’m the world’s best vocalist…what if I throw him off or annoy the audience?
In the end it didn’t matter, that song is far too catchy to be standing in front of a microphone NOT singing along. I kept as quiet as I could until Chuck came up during certain parts, which emboldened me to get a little louder. As the song ended, and I hadn’t done anything to screw it up massively (though my drums could’ve been more dynamic at parts) I felt an overwhelming rush of disbelief and relief, similar to watching my kids being born, but with less grunting (on my part, my wife was a rock of strength. Baby could’ve come out sideways and she wouldn’t scream.). I raised my fist in the air, and I think I yelled, “Roddy!” really loud. (Though it might have just been in my head?)
In San Fran, Chuck brought Roddy up and fulfilled Chuck’s vision of covering, Bizarre Love Triangle, by New Order, but I’d love another, better rehearsed version, as that night was chaotic and such a huge deal for Chuck that it got a little sloppy.
The next night, in LA, Chuck and I did an impromptu gig at the LA listening party for the WCAL reissue. Roddy was in attendance so I thought I was going to get a more relaxed chance at the song. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to set up his keyboard. Graciously, Roddy agreed to take another stab at Butch.
The downside was though I now knew I could make it through the tune, there was no microphone for the conga or for any backing vocals, so my contribution (for good or ill) was left mostly unheard. I can cross off playing with two members of my favorite band in front of a large screen showing the movie, “The Warriors” off my oddly specific bucketlist.
I will be retelling these stories to my grandchildren (from the grave if I have to).
As far as the reunion shows, I could write a novel…in fact, I’m pretty sure I’m going to. I will say that standing alone in The Great American Music Hall watching FNM reunite with Chuck and soundchecking, Crab Song, felt like an out of body experience. There is no way anyone in the universe could ever be lucky enough to witness that. I mean, there’s no way ever that Chuck would do a full on concert with FNM ever, right? And yet, I was that person. I saw/heard/experienced it and I just can’t calculate or process how so many different things had to happen to make that possible. I only wish every single FNM fan could’ve been there with me, as me, to feel that same buzz.
I certainly realize I’d be greedy to ever ask the cosmos for any further FNM experiences or interactions, but they haven’t played my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio since 1997…
Do you have any plans for the short-term future?
Everything with Chuck is short term. He gets excited and bored with things quickly, so i knew going in that the acoustic tour had a limited shelf life. It certainly wasn’t a career decision. It was a cool opportunity to help Chuck build momentum toward whatever he decides is next. I suggest for those who want to see it, get out to a show if the opportunity arises. That might be the only chance you’ll get. That being said, i hear Chuck at soundcheck trying out new riffs and vocal patterns and i really think he should consider recording an acoustic disc of new originals to mix in with our set. I think his voice sounds strong and i appreciate it more now having heard it without the loud rock music around it. Chuck has this deep, mellow tone that sounds like Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen that is mesmerizing and relaxing. I think people would really enjoy hearing that side of him, especially with how personal he gets with his lyrics.
Other than the tour, I’m promoting the new Indoria cd and i’ve spoken with William Weaver, the guitarist from an old band I sang for called, The Firmary. We discussed putting out a disc, which would make me very happy. I loved that band. Unfortunately at the time, we could never find a stable drummer, and we were all hitting the stage of life when weddings and babies and houses take over. You can hear some of our old demos for free at douglasesper.com just go to the SONGS section. Kind of a Social Distortion meets The Cure with Chuck Mosley singing type vibe, ha.
I am an author as well as a “world class” conga player. I write novels and short stories. If you have a chance, check out my releases on, Amazon.com or my blog, douglasesper.com. I have new adult, sports fiction, horror, suspense, and even a western or two published thus far.
FREE QUESTION: if you want to add something else, please do it (with a sense of humor, emotive, what you want)
Chuck knows how strong and passionate his fans are down in Chile and we hope to bring this tour to South America. We are searching for the right opportunity to make it happen. The best thing to do if you want Chuck there is to spread the word on what he’s doing, and let the club owners and promoters know you demand to see him live in your city.
Finally, I would be remiss if i didn’t mention my wife, Michele Esper, who has encouraged me every step of the way and made all of this possible. Without her, there probably isn’t a Chuck Mosley acoustic tour. if you like Chuck, you should find her on Facebook and tell her thanks 🙂
Hope to see you in Chile & South America ASAP.