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Interview: IAN MOSS

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Well, it’s that time of year again… the Festive Season is upon us once more and people all over the country are celebrating the end of a busy working year with their Christmas parties. Music lovers in south regional NSW are very lucky to have one of the best Christmas parties right on their doorstep! Featuring Jimmy Barnes with special guests Ian Moss, Richard Clapton and Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates, The Kinross 2013 Christmas Party is set to rock the Kinross Woolshed in Thurgoona this coming weekend. Ian agrees it promises to be a pretty amazing show. “Great line-up, great energy. I think that, with all the acts, there’s some really talented performers and with some great songs.” He says he has never played at The Woolshed before and is rather curious to find out more about it. “I don’t think I’ve ever done a woolshed gig before,” he laughs

Ian has been kept busy with shows, including some acoustic and some rockier, electric shows.“I’m doing quite a lot of solo acoustic work,” he tells me. “Which is probably the majority of the work. And there’s some nice trio gigs on the electric side which I quite enjoy as well. I do the electric side with a bass player and drummer. They’re the same guys that will be playing at Kinross. And that is drummer Kerry Jacobsen, formerly of Dragon and a bass player from Melbourne, Jonathan Zion.”

The New Year will see Moss performing in a run of Day on the Green shows throughout January, February and March. “They’re generally pretty big shows,” he says. “In the old days, we would do a lot of touring and might be away from home for weeks and weeks on end playing every town; Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and so forth and work our way down the coast but now it’s more a case of just popping out to a region and doing shows and then going back home. It works particularly well this way if you’ve got family. You don’t have to be away from them for too long.”

Those ‘old days’ that Ian refers to include the years of touring with his band Cold Chisel. And one of the most memorable tours of that era took the guys to America in the early eighties. Ian has very fond memories of that time.“It was a mixed experience of good and bad,” he reveals. “Largely because relationships in the band took a bit of a beating, – unnecessarily of course but then, we’re all wise in 20/20 hindsight. Some of the touring time fell through because the band that we’d been scheduled to tour with collapsed and that tour didn’t happen and it was very late in the piece to rebook it so, out of the six weeks, for two weeks we had no gigs. We were fortunate enough to be stuck in New York at the time which is not a bad place to hang for a bit of time off. It was the first time we’d ever been to New York which was a fabulous experience.” But it was a gig in Austin, Texas that still stands out for Moss. “It was called the Tornado Jam,” he explains. “It mainly featured bands from Austin but it included terrific acts like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy Vaughan (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother) and on that bill was a chap who has now died. No one had really heard of him until he played all over one of David Bowie albums and that had been released and it brought the blues back into the charts and musicianship back into the charts.” He is, of course, talking about Stevie Ray Vaughan. “I remember arriving backstage in the afternoon and getting out of the car, thinking ‘Wow. Who’s this guitar player?’ He sounded like a cross between Albert King and Jim Hendrix. I wanted to get up on the side of stage but they weren’t allowing anybody up. All I could see was what turned out to be the trademark hat of Stevie Ray Vaughan. I heard him years later and when I saw that hat, I realised that, yeah, that was the guy that was at Tornado Jam back in 1981. Anyway, we had a great show that night. It was a great vibe. We were very different to most of the other bands; they weren’t quite as heavy as us but we got a fantastic reaction and at the end of the night, there was a nice big jam with all the different members and Barnes and myself were invited up for the jam. It was a great day. It was a great experience for us to see those bands and learn a lot about R & B; about how swing is more important than bashing people over the head with our power. A very memorable experience.” Ian recalls that the band was received very well by audiences on that tour but he wonders if they came back to Australia prematurely. “We made the mistake of coming home.” He pauses for a moment and corrects himself. “Well, maybe it was a mistake and maybe it wasn’t. We came home and made a great record. A very bluesy rock record, ‘Circus Animals‘ and that was heavily influenced by our recent tour to the U.S. and a great inspiration not to just give in to the pop machine but to keep the blues alive and well.”

Ian has not been doing any recording lately but has slowly been doing bits of writing. “Not as much as I’d like,” he concedes. “But eventually I’ll get something together to start doing some recording.” Ian also recently started writing again with the other members of Cold Chisel. “As you’re aware,” he says, “we did the Light the Vitro Tour back in 2011 and released the ‘No Plans’ album last year and we’ve just released a ‘No Plans’ DVD so we’re promoting that at the moment. We started doing some writing together about six months ago and one spell of co-writing, all with Cold Chisel individual members and we’d all go away and come up with complete ideas but six months ago, it’s the first time in years we’ve actually tried writing from scratch. And that went pretty well. Unfortunately, Charlie Dayton wasn’t able to be available but we are hoping to reconvene in the new year and take up that writing position again with Charlie involved. It’s all good. It just means that there’s life in the old dogs yet!”

by Sharyn Hamey

Copyright © 2013 Sharyn Hamey All Rights Reserved.

Saturday 14th December 2013 | 4.30pm
Kinross Christmas Party featuring Jimmy Barnes with special guests Ian Moss, Richard Clapton and Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates
Kinross Woolshed, THURGOONA NSW
Tickets $69.90 + BF (children under 12 free with a paying adult)
Ticketmaster 136 100 | www.ticketmaster.com.au

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