MOSES MO AND THE REAL COOL BAND
It was in 1970 that guitarist Gary “Moses Mo” Moore co-founded the very successful American funk rock band Mother’s Finest. For almost 5 decades now the successful band is active and with an upcoming tour they are not saying their goodbyes yet. Although Moses Mo has a full schedule he also loves to work on other musical projects. In 2010 the guitarist released his debut solo album `Cartoon You’, which he recorded with the help of many friends. In 2015 he released his next solo project `Two Ton Message’ and there was no doubt that Moses Mo would leave it at that. Moses Mo found himself some local cool people and formed the 5-piece band Moses Mo and The Real Cool Band. Recently they launched their debut `Drive In’, which displays a funky, bluesy rock guitar sound with a classic hip hop style. HeadBangers LifeStyle’s Lilo decided it was about time to ask Moses Mo some questions.
First of all, what made you start up Moses Mo and The RCB?
,,Starting up The RCB was a natural course of events. As a songwriter there was a need, a desire, to allow myself the personal freedom to explore all aspects of song writing, not always with a group in mind. For many years I wrote songs only for a group, more or less writing songs motivated by being a part of a group, for others to sing, often working out arrangements which suited the whole band. A time came when I realized that I had a huge catalogue of songs that no one was singing or using in a group in which I was involved. The songs needed to be heard and so, I decided to sing the songs myself, give them a voice.’’
,,The songs are not just rap or hip-hop songs, there is a blending of genres and writing styles.’’-Moses Mo
How different is the music from Mother’s Finest, the band most people know you from?
,,Very different and also, not at all since I still perform and write with the other members of Mother’s Finest. What I bring to MF is the same in my own writing, I just approach song writing on my solo releases in a more selfish way, I write more for myself these days than with others in mind. The guitar leads and rhythms are still me, as the guitarist of Mother’s Finest and one of the founding members, there is naturally an overlap. The lyrics are often co-written now with Zero because he brings something different to the song, something more than just the melody. The songs are not just rap or hip-hop songs, there is a blending of genres and writing styles. Sometimes I write the song with verses, chorus, bridge and he’ll then write the rap, which expands the story and sometimes, he’ll share a rap to a beat he has written and I will work it into a songlike melody with other instruments.’’
How different is `Drive In’ from your two earlier released solo albums `Cartoon You’ and `Two Ton Message’?
,,On my debut release `Cartoon You’, I wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, and recorded all the songs in my home studio. I had guest artists, perform vocals, recording parts on instruments and vocal styles I had not mastered, like the mandolin by Steve Stone of A.R.S. on ,,Can You Tell Me’’, keyboards by Eric Frampton on several songs, slide guitar by Carl Carlton and harmonica by Jamie Russell on ,,Dollar In My Pocket’’. I added bass tracks from players like Wyzard from MF and Mark Hogan, a local session artist. Kerry Denton performed most of the drum tracks and I added strong vocalists like Joyce Kennedy, Glenn Murdock, Andrew Black, Johnnetta Johnson and Caroline Aiken. On my next release `Two Ton Message’ I was looking for a really different sound. I used a lot of different drummers, each having a strong suit but unable to satisfy me on all the tracks, until I ran into an old friend of mine, Kenny Soule who was free to record and was actually building a studio in his home, learning how to transfer files and drop tracks into different recording software. Every song I sent him came back perfectly suited for the song and he inspired me to complete the project. I used the strongest drum tracks for the songs on `Two Ton Message’ and wrote a lot of new ones that Kenny performed on. I had a similar situation with the bass tracks. I had recorded all the bass tracks but was still not satisfied with the outcome, so I sent the tracks to Kenny and he suggested I give Ivan “Funkboy” Bodley a try. Ivan performed on Broadway, did weddings, and worked for a lot of classic artists as their musical director, he had a wide variety of styles that he had mastered. I sent the songs to him that I had been working on and he blew my mind with his tracks! The project was released soon afterwards but I felt I needed to perform the songs to be heard. The main problem that existed was the fact that Kenny and Ivan both lived in NYC and I lived in Atlanta, very hard to rehearse and book live performances, so, I began to explore my options locally, to build a band which could perform the songs and build a performance set to debut the songs live.’’
,,I needed an outlet for my creativeness in song writing that wasn’t available through any of the bands that I worked with.’’-Moses Mo
Who were the musicians you found for TRCB?
,,I recruited Kerry Denton on drums. Kerry and I have worked for many years together and lived close by, so for mat that was a natural choice. Mike Long is a local bass player that has worked with many local bands, including The Producers, members of 38 Special and had a laid back southern style I just fell in love with the first time I heard him in a band fronted by The Producers guitarist Van Temple. My son-in-law, Zero Basement had performed on ,,Can’t Have Nothing’’, he’s an excellent writer and has a natural rhythm when he raps that just gave the songs something the melody alone could not. I asked him to write a few more raps and included those on many of the other songs on `Two Ton Message’ such at ,,All The Time’’, ,,Flyin Machine’’, and ,,Soul Wrecker’’. The last person to be added was PoiZen EV, she did not provide any tracks on the `Two Ton Message’ release but I felt the live band needed a little somethin’ somethin’. She has a sassy spirit like Ruby from Jim Dandy, she uses a tambourine to create a rhythmic accompaniment, and other percussion type instruments which add a richness to the songs when performed live. I did all of this because I needed an outlet for my creativeness in song writing that wasn’t available through any of the bands that I worked with.’’
Did you experience a different writing process with `Cartoon You’ and `Two Ton Message’?
,,With `Cartoon You’, those songs came out of years of touring and working with others, musicians, recording technicians, producers and major labels. The songs were solely mine own as I had imagined them to sound and be heard by others, only afterward having recorded them in my studio did I look for little nuisances that could be added to make each song stand on its own. The project was entirely supported by family and friends.
With `Two Ton Message’ many of the songs had been written for Mother’s Finest to perform on their next record that we crowd funded and produced ourselves. They were the songs that didn’t make it. So I decided to fundraise to produce this solo project. There were not enough songs for a complete release so many songs were written and then, given to Kenny and Ivan to write their own tracks and we dropped those into the songs that had been written with a beat and they just grew legs of their own. I used a studio for mixing and that’s studio’s technician to put the finishing touches on the songs. I took more time on my guitar tracks and on my vocals, reaching for something new that I may not have used before or something I could do differently, I was always comfortable with my guitar tracks but I pushed my vocals a little harder to try things I had not done before.’’
,,There was definitely a more creative vision for `Drive In’.-Moses Mo
Did you have a clear creative vision of where you wanted to go with Moses Mo and The RCB?
,,By time I was ready to record `Drive In’ there was a Real Cool Band, it’s what the band named themselves, people were always telling us what a Real Cool Band we were and the name won out. Many of the songs came from weekly rehearsals while working on the songs from `Cartoon You’ and `Two Ton Message’. Sometimes, I would bring an idea or a song that I had completed to rehearsal and we would just jam it out. The ones that felt really good to everyone stayed and then we recorded them in my home studio. Sometimes, Zero would bring in a rap with a beat or some of the raps he had written before joining us and we would develop into songs, again, the ones that felt good to everyone stayed and were eventually recorded. With this new release, I wanted it to include everyone that had become a member of the band to record their own parts for the songs, I still used Kenny and Ivan, and a couple of guest artist like Martin Huch on slide guitar. I liked the sound of double drums like in the Allman Brothers and I liked what Mikey and Ivan came up with to have multiple bass tracks. I’m not a big fan of multiplying tracks but like building orchestration within the song with different instruments much like building harmonies with vocals. There was definitely a more creative vision for `Drive In’ and everyone was including in all aspects of creating the project. `Drive In’ was much more like working with a band.’’
,,I stopped listening to people a long time ago, I look for people who respect what I do and who are experts in their own right.’’-Moses Mo
What did the other musicians bring to the table to finalize the sound of Moses Mo and The RCB?
,,When I decided to have a band to perform the songs I looked for several things, one is that the members had to live close to me and wanted to rehearse regularly, be interested not only in the songs I had written or bands that I had performed with but also in discovering something new that we could create together, which led to number two – I looked for people I could stand to be around for long periods of time, like minded folk with interests that I also enjoyed but also with strong personalities that interested me. Lastly, they had to have a talent that inspired me. I could have recorded with anyone, but I am better with people that I can get to know along the journey. I’ve never enjoyed session work and I did not want session players to play a part for me. I wanted the artist performing on my songs or writing them with me to believe in them as much as I did. I wanted the songs to mean as much to them as they do to me, it is not always about the pay check. I’m more of a porch player, it has to feel right in the moment. What these players bring to the table is their heart and soul, along with skill.’’
What was the biggest challenge and fun part for you writing and recording `Drive In’?
,,All of the recording are done in my home studio and the biggest challenge was making time in everyone’s schedule to record. Kerry and Kenny are set up to record at home and have become really good at creating files and sending them to me to drop in to the software I use to create the song tracks, Mikey comes early before rehearsal or stays afterwards to record his tracks, Ivan is also set up in his home and is also very proficient at creating files that I can drop into a session. Zero and EV have different types of recording needs, I usually do private sessions with them until we get just what we’re looking for, as for me, the fun part are my parts, except maybe for the vocals, those are sometimes very taxing. The most fun is the listening to the playback and saying “YaH” that’s it!’’
What did you want to accomplish with the album from a producer’s point of view?
,,As a producer, you listen with an open mind and share your experiences as a songwriter or one who is interested in the songs themselves. I stopped listening to people a long time ago, I look for people who respect what I do and who are experts in their own right. I know what I want to hear or what pleases me in the music or in a song. I look at producers as someone who polishes the project and makes it shine. Someone who can suggest that one thing that I had not thought of and make the whole sound better. I learn a little bit more about the process of recording, the equipment, and the software you can use with every song I write. I try to keep the whole process simple, not too many effects, not too many machines, just pure skill coupled with the best the equipment you have to get the best song for the performer.’’
What audience are you aiming for or do you want to rely on your current fan base?
,,It’s something we all think of in different ways, personally, I am out to please myself and I’m always looking for others who are also pleased with what I do. I may be an integral part of the music of Mother’s Finest but I’m not the only reason for the group’s success or popularity. I do not think that the fan base of Mother’s Finest will necessarily support all of my music. Some of the Mother’s Finest fan base is interested in what I do when I’m not with the group, some really like what I do, but they will not hear Joyce or Glenn’s voice, they will not see or hear Wyzard on bass, they may hear a few Mother’s Finest songs but mostly the songs are mine, done as I feel they should be done. We are looking for an audience like any other band out there, one who enjoys what we do and will support what we produce.’’
Where can people buy the album?
,,All 3 releases are available worldwide on all digital streaming platforms like Spotify, AppleMusic, Shazam, Deezer, Amazon, YouTube, Soundcloud, etc. You can find all the links on our website (HERE) or you can go to CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon to purchase digital downloads of singles or the albums:
Hard copies are sold only at live performances or by ordering through our website (HERE) (foreign postage has to be added)
What can people expect from Moses Mo and The Real Cool Band
,,Well, I’m not really sure what I expect, except that I am enjoying the journey and the self-discovery we are all experiencing. We have about half of the next project written and the music continues to excite us all. We are also hoping the people will continue to join us on this musical journey and discover new things about the music with us. What you can expect is that there is a lot more that we want to say, to express and experience. We will continue to blend genres and merge our musical interests to develop songs that excite use and in return, will excite others.’’
,,I am who I am because this is the path that God has chosen for me.’’-Moses Mo
Having an almost 50 year career as a musician, how would you like to define yourself as a guitarist and a songwriter and what do you think you have contributed to the music scene?
,,First of all, I want everyone to know how grateful I am to have had the career that I have had, who knew it was going to last this long? I have been afforded the opportunity by having been a part of a group that broke new ground and developed an entire genre for ourselves, I am not sure what others have seen in me but I am humbled by the experience. There are many, many great guitar players famous, well-known or not, that are better at their craft than I but I am who I am because this is the path that God has chosen for me. I’ve had a lot of help along the way but as a person, I work very hard just to please myself and I have much to learn, there are many genres and writing styles that I am still a novice at but I am constantly looking to improve myself, acquire new skills and tell my stories better through my song writing.’’
What is the most important lesson you have learnt over the years?
,,There have been many lessons, be true to yourself, you cannot be someone who you are not. Learn to become comfortable in your own skin. Relax, listen to everyone but most importantly, listen to yourself. Take the time to quiet the world outside you so that you can hear your voice. Build relationships with people who will support you for no other reason than you are important to them and they want to see you succeed. Practice every day, write every day, learn something new every day but realize there is more to life and that you need to take time to be in the moment.’’
You go on tour with Mother’s Finest soon, will this be a farewell tour?
,,It could be for someone, who knows what will come next, as the band ages, you never know, I intend to go out with my boots on, pursuing a solo career gives me plenty to do, making music as long as I can, continuing to write and release songs, experience more opportunities to express myself, I’m not good at goodbyes.’’
What can the fans expect?
,,From Mother’s Finest, there is the discussion of a documentary, with a new merchandise package and a tour to support to it. Possibly, as a 50th Anniversary Tour, the band continues to explore their musical options, last year background singers were added to the line-up, more production added to tour dates. For my solo work, I’ve been recording new songs for 2020 and pursuing distribution options, increasing my solo performance dates and audience through articles and interviews such as yours, building my YouTube channel, always looking for new opportunities to share my art with others.’’
What gives you the adrenaline rush on stage after all these years of constant touring?
,,The opportunity to interact with the audience, your whole day is based on that one performance and you look forward to a positive response from the audience, when the lights come up, I’m still amazed that there is an audience and when that audience is large, that’s the BIG ONE. Never gets old.’’
What do you consider as the highlights of your career with Mother’s Finest?
,,We toured with The Who, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Earth, Wind, And Fire, The Commodores, BB King, and many more, performed at some of the most unique venues, and most importantly all the fans who have shown us so much support from the days of playing high school gyms to College Fraternities, to Clubhouses and Festivals, to some of the largest stadiums and smallest of towns, the TV shows like Midnight Special, Arsenio Hall, TopPop, and Rockpalast, always showing up with their stories, right up to the present.’’
Is there anything you regret?
,,I’ve never lived my life like that, no regrets, may have made a few mistakes but I am always grateful for all the experiences that I have lived through.’’
What would you like to say to your fans?
,,Give my music a listen, support the independent artist, buy their products, attend their shows, support your local venues who support live original music, and that I thank you very much for every FOLLOW, LIKE, CONNECTION that you make because you like what you hear, share with others, the links, the events, the website. These numbers are extremely important, join us on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.Google Moses Mo, Moses Mo and The Real Cool Band, MosesMo, Moses-Mo, go to the website (HERE) and watch for more from us! Thank you!’’
All photos taken from MMATRCB social media with permission of MM.
MMATRCB HBLS Bandpage here
Moses Mo Website here
Mother’s Finest Website here
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