|Associated acts||Can, Tenth Planet|
Mooney began singing in high school, and was a member of an a cappella vocal group known as the Six Fifths. He gained some fame as a sculptor in New York, then moved to Germany where he became a friend of Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay, who were forming a band. Mooney joined as lead vocalist. The band was originally known as "Inner Space", but Mooney came up with "The Can", which was later shortened to just Can.
An album of material was recorded, initially entitled Prepared To Meet Thy Pnoom, although no record company was willing to release it. Can made a second attempt at recording an album, which became their debut Monster Movie. It was successful in the German underground scene of the time, and combined the band's Velvet Underground-influenced rock and Mooney's James Brown-style vocal funk. Prepared To Meet Thy Pnoom was released in 1981 as compilation album Delay 1968, and various other tracks that Mooney recorded with the band during this period appear on Soundtracks, and the compilation Unlimited Edition.
Mooney left Europe in 1970.
He rejoined Can in 1986 to record a one-off reunion album, Rite Time. He also has released three albums with the San Francisco Bay Area band Tenth Planet, on the first of which, a new version of the song "Father Cannot Yell" from Monster Movie appears. For the second Tenth Planet album, a different line-up was introduced, and the album saw a limited release in Japan on the P-Vine label. Prior to its issue, the Unfortunate Miracle label issued a limited 7" picture disc single containing two early mixes from the forthcoming album. In 2002, Mooney was invited to sing on Andy Votel's "All Ten Fingers" album - on the song "Salted Tangerines", a version of Mooney's poem of the same name. The Tenth Planet released an album on Milviason Records entitled, [(inCANtations)]. Mooney now focuses on his visual art. In 2007, Matthew Higgs invited Mooney to exhibit a piece at New York's venerable White Columns.
In 2013, Mooney began to collaborate with drummer, songwriter and producer Sean Noonan, along with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Aram Bajakian, to record Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night. The group performed in February of 2014 at the Sons D'Hiver festival in France in advance of the release of the June 2014 release of the CD and accompanying book featuring lyrics and Mooney's art work.
Malcolm Mooney appears on the following original albums:
- Monster Movie (1969)
- Soundtracks (1970)
- Unlimited Edition compilation, includes all the tracks on earlier Limited Edition (1976)
- Delay 1968 compilation (1981)
- Rite Time (1989)
- [(Lost Tapes)] (2012) 3-CD (box set) and 5-LP (album box set)
With Tenth Planet:
- [(Malcolm Mooney and the Tenth Planet)] (1998)
- [(Hysterica)] (2006)
- [(inCANtations)] (2011)
White Columns: with Luis Tovar and Alex Marcelo
- [(Malcolm Mooney)] 2011 WC006
With Andy Votel:
- All Ten Fingers (2002)
With Sean Noonan
- Pavees Dance: There's Always the Night (2014)