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Mosley in 2016
December 26, 1959|
Hollywood, California, United States
|Died||November 9, 2017
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Genres||Funk metal, alternative metal, alternative rock, hardcore punk|
|Labels||Dutch East India Trading, Rough Trade, Slash, Reversed Image Unlimited|
|Associated acts||Bad Brains, Cement, Faith No More, VUA, Indoria, Primitive Race|
Charles Henry Mosley III (December 26, 1959 – November 9, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, who was best known as the frontman for Faith No More from 1984 to 1988. During his tenure with the band, they released two albums, We Care a Lot and Introduce Yourself.
Mosley was born in Hollywood, California, but raised in South Central Los Angeles and Venice. He was adopted at a very early age, as talked about in the Faith No More biography book, The Real Story. Coincidentally, both his biological parents and his adopted parents had the same ethnic backgrounds. In a 2013 interview, Mosley said his adopted parents "met at some kind of socialist/communist get-together in the '50s. They were interracial - my mom was Jewish and my dad was black and Native American. So that was something controversial in itself. My dad had a daughter and my mom had two daughters, and all they were missing was a boy, so they went out and adopted one, and it was me."
Faith No More years
Mosley first met Billy Gould in 1977, going to a The Zeros, Johnny Navotnee and Bags show. He then went on to play keyboards in Billy's first band, The Animated, in 1979. In 1984 he joined Haircuts That Kill, a post-punk band from the San Francisco area, which lasted up until Mosley's joining of Faith No More. He joined Faith No More in 1985 replacing, among others, Courtney Love (Hole) who had a brief stint as lead singer. AllMusic states that Mosley's "out of tune" vocals for Faith No More are "an acquired taste to most."
By 1987, Faith No More were gaining mainstream traction, signing with the major label Slash Records (Warner Music Group) and touring with prominent acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers. According to Billy Gould, they started to consider firing Mosley during a tour of Europe in 1988, where his behaviour had become increasingly erratic. Incidents include Mosley allegedly punching Gould on stage. and one of Mosley's roadies getting into a fist fight with guitarist Jim Martin. Gould stated "By the time that happened, Chuck was already kind of out of it for me. I guess Jim and the roadie had been drinking and they got in a fight. It came a point where Jim was our guitar player, and he broke his hand fighting the guy. It’s the first night of our European tour, and somebody had to go – it obviously wasn’t going to be our guitar player. Chuck took it very personally, sticking up for this roadie." Mosley was eventually fired after the band returned home from Europe. Billy Gould reflected "There was a certain point when I went to rehearsal, and Chuck wanted to do all acoustic guitar songs. It was just so far off the mark. The upshot was that I got up, walked out and quit the band. I Just said: ‘I’m done – I can’t take this any longer. It’s just so ridiculous’. The same day, I talked to Bordin, and he said: ‘Well, I still want to play with you’. Bottum did the same thing. It was another one of these ‘firing somebody without firing them’ scenarios."
Subsequent legal battles
Mosley sued his bandmates in 1989, claiming a partnership interest in Faith No More’s financial assets. They eventually settled, and Mosley agreed to give up his rights to most of the band’s works, most of its assets, and its name. There is currently an ongoing legal battle between Manifesto Records and Faith No More regarding the right to release the band's debut album We Care a Lot. Mosley stated in January 2016 “I am distraught that I am being sued by my former band members and even more distraught if I did something that would negatively impact my future relationship with the band, which I value. I consider certain members of Faith No More as my ‘family.’ I would never have signed the Manifesto contract if I fully appreciated the dissention it would cause or how the band would object."
Post-Faith No More
In 1990, Mosley began a stint as lead singer in the revered hardcore punk band Bad Brains. He performed at nearly sixty shows in the United States and Europe before leaving the band in January 1992.
Mosley went on to form a new funk metal band, Cement. They released two albums: Cement and Man with the Action Hair. Both albums were distributed by Dutch East India Trading (United States) and Rough Trade (Europe). The band toured both locations promoting their music. During the first week of what was to be a year-long tour for Man with the Action Hair, the band's driver fell asleep at the wheel causing a major accident. Mosley spent a year recovering from a broken back, the tour was canceled, and the band was subsequently shelved.
Mosley relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in March 1996, where he spent several years writing and compiling new material while raising his two daughters, and working as a chef in various restaurants.
In 2009, Mosley announced a new album would be released under the name of "V.U.A. (Vanduls Ugainst Alliteracy)". The band name was later extended to include Chuck's name. Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food was released on August 11, 2009 by Reversed Image Unlimited. Guest appearances on the LP include Jonathan Davis (Korn), John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie), Michael Cartellone (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Roddy Bottum (of Faith No More and Imperial Teen), and Reversed Image label mate Leah Lou.
On April 14, 2010, Mosley made an appearance on stage at a Faith No More concert in San Francisco, the first time since 1988 that he performed with the band. Mosley performed the songs "As the Worm Turns", "Death March", "We Care A Lot", and "Mark Bowen" on his own with the band, and was joined by Mike Patton during the final encore to perform a duet on "Introduce Yourself".
On November 17, 2012, Mosley re-released his album, Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food, and was working on an autobiography.
In late 2014 he revealed he was broke and that he and his family were on the verge of eviction: "The shocking truth is, that I'm not rich. We struggle every day, just like most everybody, more, right now, worse than ever, in a long time. I'm ashamed for being in this condition. Our band, VUA, has had to put off trying to tour or play any shows. We're starting to record new stuff, but even that is suffering at the hands of my family's financial situation."
In May, 2015 he again made another appearance at a Faith No More concert, performing the track "Mark Bowen" at their Detroit show.
In fall 2015, Mosley had a non-fiction short story about the writing and recording of the Faith No More track "Mark Bowen" published in an anthology titled A Matter of Words.
In mid-2016, Mosley toured the US doing an "unplugged" show, and a reissue of the We Care a Lot album, with extra tracks. At a performance on July 20 that same year, Bottum joined Mosley on stage for a rendition of an Imperial Teen tune.
Mosley appeared as the vocalist on You'll Never Make The Six, the fourth album from Cleveland’s Indoria. The album, which was released on August 30, 2016, features an expanded role for Mosley, who joined the band late in the recording process of their previous release.
In 2017 he joined Primitive Race, the industrial collective created by Chris Kniker, and featuring guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Tricky, The Mission, Gary Numan), Erie Loch (LUXT, Blownload, Exageist), and drummer Dale Crover of Melvins. The new lineup recorded and released the sophomore album 'Soul Pretender' on November 3rd 2017 on Metropolis records to positive reviews, just a week before Mosley's passing
On the evening of November 9, 2017, Mosley, 57, was found dead by his partner Pip Logan and their friend on the living room floor of their Cleveland home. Drug paraphernalia was discovered at the scene, with police suspecting a heroin overdose as the cause of death. His family released a statement that read:
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.
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.
Legacy and influences
Some of Mosley's influences included David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Killing Joke, Motown, Michael Jackson and Black Sabbath. His rock/rap singing style has been cited as an influence by successful rap rock and nu metal groups such as Korn, Disturbed, and Limp Bizkit. Regarding the rap rock genre, Mosley stated in 2017 "I would say I am the originator. Some will argue and say the Chili Peppers, and I will say, “No, that was funk.” Some will say the Beastie Boys, and I’ll say, “No, they were playing punk rock, then they started playing the beats, then they started playing the rock."
The original recording of Faith No More's "We Care a Lot", for which he performed the vocals, has been featured as the theme song for the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs as well as in the major motion pictures Grosse Pointe Blank and Bio-Dome, and it has also been used in Major League Baseball games to introduce relief pitchers due to the refrain, "it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it."
Faith No More
- Cement (1993)
- The Man with the Action Hair (1994)
Chuck Mosley and VUA
- Soul Pretender (2017)
- Indoria - What I Feel (guest vocals) (2014)
- Indoria - You'll Never Make The Six (vocals & guitar) (2016)
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- [permanent dead link]
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- Prato, Greg (July 13, 2017). "Ex-Faith No More Member Claims Red Hot Chili Peppers Didn't Create Rap Rock: 'I Did'". Alternativemation.net. Retrieved November 11, 2017.