Tribute by Pete Crigler
"Over the hills, they came from the valley, making innuendos about my lack of talent... oh well." –
"Greed" by Faith No More
When I got the news that original Faith No More vocalist Chuck Mosley passed away on November 9th, I was absolutely floored and stunned at the same time. A dear friend posted a link on my Facebook wall because he knew, as does most of my really close friends, that I am a diehard FNM fan and have been since 1990. The account of his passing details that he died from addiction-related issues after years of sobriety. When one wound down from the shock, the outpouring of love and support from FNM fans and followers was amazing and uplifting.
Mosley came of age in the eighties and performed on FNM's first two records, 1985's We Care a Lot and 1987's Introduce Yourself. Mosley wasn't the best overall frontman but his off-kilter, sometimes off-key vocals were part of the band's early essence. It was hard to think of someone else singing some weird ass lyrics like "Anne's Song" or "The Crab Song," a tale of love lost that is one of my favorite tracks of that era. Most critics were not kind to Mosley's style of singing and the band began to feel the effects when Mosley seemingly refused to improve.
After numerous incidents including fistfights with guitarist Jim Martin, getting drunk and passing out at the record release party for Introduce Yourself and more seemingly reckless behavior, the time had come in 1988 for Mosley to go. The British music press, having latched onto the band by this point, were sad to see him go but were looking forward to the band's next chapter. Of course, the band hired Mike Patton and became superstars and unleashed some of the best and weirdest rock records over the next decade of existence. Mosley, on the other hand, seemingly disappeared into obscurity, fading away into the sunset.
In 1990, after getting sober, Mosley was drafted into Bad Brains. Yes, you read that right, the fucking Bad Brains. H.R. had recently quit again after the Quickness album and the band wanted to continue touring. The band toured around for about a year and a half, just playing shows wherever they could. YouTube footage exists of a show at the fabled City Gardens in New Jersey and Mosley tries his best but of course, no one can live up to H.R.. At one point, according to a dog-eared copy of Spin magazine, the band were offered a deal with Atlantic Records with Mosley but nothing ever came of it. By 1992, the experiment was over and Mosley had been replaced by the more traditional Israel Joseph-I for 1993's Rise. Out of a job once more, Mosley decided to try something new.
Hooking up with guitarist Senon Williams, Mosley formed the funk rock outlet Cement. Teaming up with Dutch East India Records, the band released two records, 1993's self-titled album and 1994's The Man with the Action Hair. The self-titled is more funk oriented but does contain an interesting ballad, "Chip Away." The latter is a bit different overall but "Sleep" is the real standout; good guitar work and some pretty damn good vocals from Chuck, showing how far he'd come since 1985's "Greed." The band wasn't terrible but their records weren't anything more than just curiosities for the record buying public. As the band embarked on tour for The Man with the Action Hair, there was a terrible van accident and Chuck was critically injured with a broken back.
Once Cement disbanded, never to be seen again, Mosley had to face facts. He had two small children and no way to provide. Moving to Cleveland, Ohio, he became a chef and proceeded to disappear off the face of the earth for nearly 15 years. The most noteworthy thing that came out of this time was the launch of the Discovery Channel reality show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Utilizing "We Care a Lot" as the show's theme song, the show provided Mosley with a decent enough living for a few years and he was able to bask in the notoriety of his song for quite some time.
By the middle of the 2000's, Mosley was getting itchy to do something else. His children were growing up and he felt like he needed to be making music again. Hitching his wagon back, he announced in 2007 he was making a comeback and launched a new group, VUA (Vandals Against Illiteracy). The album, cleverly titled Will Rap Over Hard Rock for Food was released in 2009 and gained a decent amount of critical reception. Aside from the amazing ballad "Sophie," written for his youngest daughter, there's not much there. He even wrote new lyrics for a remake of "We Care a Lot" featuring FNM's Roddy Bottum on keyboards but the track wasn't very good. Lack of good distribution stunted the album's progress but he got back on the road playing wherever he could.
In 2010, during a Faith No More reunion show in San Francisco, he joined the band onstage for the encore, even performing "Introduce Yourself" with Mike Patton. He would reemerge with the band a few more times, even performing two whole shows with the band in 2016 to celebrate the deluxe reissue of We Care a Lot. His vocal ability at these shows was suspect and diehard fans like myself were not that amused by how kind of crappy he sounded; even a lot of his old school were dismayed that his croon was gone. But still it was nice to see him on stage with old friends again.
In 2014, he announced that he and his family were near destitute and in danger of losing their home. Seeking relief, he put up his phone number and allowed fans to call him. I took the chance and dialed him up on a weekday night. To my surprise, he picked up and we talked for twenty minutes. He allowed me to geek out and explain how much FNM had meant to me and how much I still enjoyed those first two albums. He was very gracious but seemed like he couldn't acknowledge how cool and great he was and how amazing some of those early songs were. I wished him the best of luck and kept his number in my phone. I later learned that through donations and friends' help, he was able to keep his head above water. But it was a shame that someone so energetic and lively was on the brink of collapse and seemingly had no way out.
Beginning in 2016, he teamed up with percussionist Doug Esper and hit the road, playing acoustically and meeting with the fans. Some performances were good, some not so much but all the way, he kept his humor and was always gracious with time and requests. He kept touring all throughout 2017 and managed to hook up with ‘industrial-rock' supergroup Primitive Race alongside Dale Crover of the Melvins. Writing and recording vocals for the band's sophomore record, Soul Provider, he seemed to be emerging from the shadows and appeared to be on the right track.
Soul Provider was released November 3rd and garnered some good critical notices and Mosley was pleased with the project. Then the unthinkable happened. On the evening of November 9, his body was discovered on his living room floor by his partner and a friend. Drug paraphernalia was discovered as well and the medical examiner on scene seemed to reveal that he died of a heroin overdose. He was 57.
Now I'm not demoralizing him for succumbing to heroin, but with his death he becomes another rock ‘n' roll drug casualty. I've always been straight edge and things like this just reiterate my dedication to it. Fortunately, his fans have rallied. A Gofundme page set up to help his family and pay for his funeral surpassed its initial goal in 4 days with much more coming in. Ultimately, his memory is secure in the hearts of diehard FNM fans who feel without his presence and determination, the band wouldn't have had all of their success. Rest in Peace Charles Henry Mosley III and a flight of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Also see our articles on Faith No More, their Angel Dust album and an interview with former FNM guitarist Dean Menta
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