The tragic death of Chuck Mosley has left all Faith No More fans devastated, numb and bereft. Chuck was the voice of Faith No More for most of the 1980s, and in many ways the personification of the the raw, untamed and brash band spirit.
I did not know Chuck. Unlike many fans, I did not get the chance to meet him in person. But I spoke to him by phone and email. And in recent research I got to appreciate profoundly his role in the band’s creation and evolution and early success. I attempted to capture this contribution and legacy and this spirit and essence over many pages and many months. But today, despite darkness and despair, the band, his band, succeeded in capturing that essence in pitch perfect fashion in a few hours, in a few lines:
It’s with a heavy, heavy heart we acknowledge the passing of our friend and bandmate, Chuck Mosley. He was a reckless and caterwauling force of energy who delivered with conviction and helped set us on a track of uniqueness and originality that would not have developed the way it had had he not been a part. How fortunate we are to have been able to perform with him last year in a reunion style when we re-released our very first record. His enthusiasm, his sense of humor, his style and his bravado will be missed by so many. We were a family, an odd and dysfunctional family, and we’ll be forever grateful for the time we shared with Chuck.
Chuck – charismatic, boisterous, quick-witted – was a natural front man. He joined Faith No More in 1983. The band wanted a presence for live shows rather than a voice for recordings. And Chuck delivered: he was part poet, part punk preacher, part precarious performer, all attitude.
His devil-may-care demeanour was a little deceptive. He said of his introduction to Faith No More: ‘I was really nervous. And I remember being in awe of this sound because I hadn’t heard anything like it before. It made me nervous because I didn’t know what to do with it. You know what I mean? That was where the rapping came from.’ That’s the origin of rap-rock. Punk attitude, unfamiliar music, improvisation — allied to having little chance to rehearse with the rest of the band based down the coast in San Francisco — led to chanting and ranting and, eventually, when things calmed down somewhat in the studio, to rapping: ‘I was just like screaming to the beat, like ranting. Not rapping, but ranting.’
Chuck was also an accomplished lyricist, capable of devastating self-awareness and of expressing delicate and personal emotion. And equally adept at penning party anthems and catchy chatter. He hit his lyrical and vocal peak on ‘The Crab Song’, probably the most personal and romantic song in the Faith No More oeuvre. It is the perfect embodiment of how Chuck’s bratty rap could perfectly complement Faith No More’s music. Lyrically, he evokes every emotion in a doomed relationship arc: love, yearning, frustration, anger, hatred, regret. Or, as Chuck has himself said: ‘Getting broken up with, thus turning from a sad little love monkey into a raging psychopathic, blood-lusting, sociopath of a serial killer, inflicting the pain in your heart upon everyone who has the misfortune of crossing your path….theoretically speaking…per se…a real bloodbath…..then turning back into a sad little love chimp oh so regretful of what you’ve done.’
Now I know why everything turns grey, but it’s our own world we paint
And I want the brightest, I want flourescence every day and night
Deepest sympathy to the band and all who were close to Chuck. A special word for his dear friend Douglas Esper, who went beyond the call of duty to ensure that Chuck got the recognition he so richly deserved in recent years.
Heartfelt sympathy to Chuck’s long-term partner Pip Logan, his two daughters, Erica and Sophie, and to his grandson Wolfgang Logan Mosley.