As I get older, I regret not listening to my grandad more. Like many older people, he had stories to tell; some were trivial, but most, I’ve come to realise, he told for a reason. Without telling me how to live my life, he used regrets and success from his own life to influence mine.
I wish I’d noticed this subtly earlier.
I could be a better person.
It’s not too late to notice the lesson he left though- that the best way to pass on knowledge is not by being directorial, but by presenting a straight forward account of our own experiences. Being authentic is the current buzz phrase. Perhaps we could just call it being honest.
Like my grandad, Chuck Mosely also has a history of being honest. His lyrics have always been honest, but perhaps they’ve also been concealed; any lyric can hide behind the bombast of the Faith No More sound, or the intense physicality of a Bad Brains show.
Stripping Mosely right down to an acoustic guitar and gentle percussion allows us to fully hear his experiences. The best Grunge and Punk music should be close relatives of soul music, perhaps not as shiny or as accessible, but they should present an honest account of how the writer sees the world, and their place in it. And that, after all, is all soul music has ever tried to be; as intimate as reading through someones diary or personal email.
Ironically, loosing his usual wall of sound does not reduce his influence, it gives us more; we get to see the faults and we get to hear the regret. Musically the gig is similar in style, of course, to the Rubin produced era of Cash, but there’s also a feeling of late Arthur Lee and Gil Scott Heron; men who had it all, lost it, and were conscious enough to realise what they’d done. Like them, Mosely’s voice acts as a physical demonstration of loss and a life lived; like lines on our faces, these voices are painful to listen to because they’re so honest and, even if they wanted to, can’t be disguised.
Mosely presents tracks from his solo back catalouge (King Arthur, Bob Forrest, Tractor) as well as tracks from his commercial high (Chinese Arithmetic, Death March). We don’t get Anne’s song or We care a lot, but perhaps they would be even more emotional than his chosen songs to sing. I’m not sure we need to learn much more tonight.
Tonight Mosely has presented his life to us honestly.
I’m sure we all go away better people.
Support: Ashes O Iron