Chuck Mosley, best known as the original singer of Faith No More, died unexpectedly on Nov. 9 due to a possible heroin overdose — an addiction that may have resulted from a debilitating back injury sustained after a bus accident in 1994. He was 57.
Thom Hazaert, a friend of Mosley who heads A&R for metal label EMP Label Group, says that Mosley may have developed his addiction in the year he spent recovering from the injury. The accident, as reported by the National Rock Review in 2014, took place on the first week of tour for Cement's second album, The Man With the Action Hair, after the band's bus driver fell asleep at the wheel.
"He was in a horrible bus accident and broke his back, like, 30 years ago, and out of that, I think, is where his addictions developed from," says Hazaert in an interview with KQED. "He’s been clean for a couple of years and we've been working really hard to keep him working and keep him clean."
A statement issued by the Mosley family writes that Mosley passed away “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,” read the statement.
Celebrity news outlet TMZ reports that Mosley was found by Logan at their Cleveland home surrounded by drug paraphernalia. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, though TMZ speculates that his death resulted from a heroin overdose.
In a statement issued by Faith No More, they commemorated Mosley’s creativity and verve:
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.
Mosley was born in Hollywood, California, and raised by adoptive parents. He later relocated to San Francisco, where he joined Faith No More in 1985 as its first permanent vocalist. Before then, Mosely was among a rotating cast of lead singers, and he took over the position from Courtney Love. He also had a brief stint in local post-punk group Haircuts That Kill.
In 1985, the band’s debut album We Care A Lot was released on San Francisco indie label Mordam Records as its inaugural release. Mosley would go on to front the band for 1987’s Introduce Yourself, Faith No More’s first album for a major label.
It was around this time where Faith No More, along with the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone, rose into prominence as architects of the burgeoning funk-metal scene. But inter-band tensions resulted in Mosley being fired from the band in 1988. The following year, he sued Faith No More for partnership assets from the band’s two first albums.
Mosley would go on to form another funk-metal group, Cement, after a brief stint with legendary hardcore outfit Bad Brains. Cement would release two albums before Mosley relocated to Cleveland in 1996.
Mosley’s return to music, more than a decade after Cement’s dissolution, was received with much fanfare. He released music under his own name in 2009 with contributions from members of KORN and Faith No More. This year, he contributed vocals to industrial supergroup Primitive Race's second album Soul Pretender.
In 2010, he performed with Faith No More during a hometown reunion show at the Warfield in San Francisco, which was his first performance with the band since parting ways nearly 30 years before. His last appearance in San Francisco was in 2016 at the Great American Music Hall in honor of We Care a Lot's 30th anniversary re-issue. Both shows were billed under “Chuck Mosley + Friends.”
But prior to — and after these shows — Mosley was touring independently for much of 2016 and 2017 after signing to EMP Label Group.
Hazaert, who discovered Faith No More growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin after We Care a Lot was released, played an active role in Mosley's musical comeback. After Mosley was signed to the label, Hazaert helped to arrange Mosley's latest tours, including the Reintroduce Yourself tour that concluded just last month.
“When I started working with Chuck,” he continues. “he had been out of business for 10, 15 years or more, and me and Doug [Esper], his tour manager, we basically dragged him kicking and screaming back into doing it.”
But Hazaert, who has recovered from addiction himself, says that he wanted to ensure that Mosley would continue on his road to recovery — especially after he learned of Mosley's history with addiction.
“It's amazing to see the outpouring of love after he passed away, but it's kind of sad,” he said. “I wish we would have had these last two years when he was doing stuff and we were pushing and he was working so f*cking hard, going out and playing for 20 people some nights.”
Hazaert expressed his gratitude for working closely with Mosley during his return to music. But more than that, he was glad to spend time with Mosley in the weeks before his death. They both attended the Loudwire Music Awards on Oct. 24, and met up in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago before Mosley headed back to Cleveland.
“Chuck was such a down-to-earth, humble guy, and that's what made him so great,” Hazaert said. “When they made that f*cking guy, they broke the mold and threw it away.”
Mosley is survived by his long-term partner Pip Logan, daughters Erica and Sophie Mosley, and grandson Wolfgang Logan Mosley.
Chuck Mosley's former tour manager, Douglas Esper, set up a GoFundMe to offset costs for a private memorial service and for a public concert to honor Mosley's life. Find more information here.