RON : We're here with James Gary “Moses Mo” Moore, original member & lead guitarist for Mothers Finest and still kicking some s-e-e-rious butt on stage. Hi Mo. Thanks for being with us. It’s great to be chatting with you.
MO : Nice to be here, Ron, thanks for the support and appreciate the opportunity!
RON : After 40 years, Mother's Finest continues to pack venues around the world. One thing that stands out with everyone is the energy and enthusiasm that the band has with every show. That's a cool testament to how much ya'll love what you're doing and how dedicated you are to the fans to always give them an awesome show.
MO : We do love what we do and the fans give it right back. To me playing live is the one place you get an instant payoff. There’s a connection between us and our fans, a hunger, it’s a lot like sex, the more you get the more you want. We’ve always been a live band first, so the stage is like food to us and we come as hungry as our fans are!
RON : Who were the original members of Mothers Finest and when did the band form?
MO : The core of the group, as far as original goes, formed as far back as 1970. Joyce and Glenn were already working professionally as a duet when I met them, we wanted to form a group that just “Rocked”, no rules, I followed them as the guitar player to Miami, FL where we met Wyzard (Jerry Seay) who became our bass guitar player thru his brother and what followed became history. When we headed to Atlanta, GA, there were different members in the group than the ones that became known with the group’s success. Members came and went but the 4 of us continued working together as Mothers Finest.
RON : Now, obviously you're still a member, then there's Joyce "Baby Jean" Kennedy..there's Glen "Doc" Murdock..Jerry "Wyzard" Seay. Who are the other current members?
MO : Dion Murdock (Drums/percussion/programming) has been with us off and on since he could hold sticks in his hands and John Hayes is the “New” kid on guitar for the last 20 or so years. Both became members of Mothers Finest, a version formed in the 90s, and recorded an album called “Black Radio Won’t Play This”, which was extremely successful in Europe.
RON : The majority of the original members are still with the band. Sticking together all these years is awesome, but unusual for the music industry. What's been the magic to that? MO : Just Karma I guess, it is unusual but over time you build relationships outside of work, we became a band of brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends and lovers, we fight, we make up, we’ve always supported one another, basically, we still feel it, we still want it, we still need it!
MO : He did “Another Mother Further” and the "Mothers Finest LIVE" records.
RON : I can remember when y’all played at Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom in Atlanta. That was a long time ago....what year was that when Tom Werman, producer with Epic Records, saw the band there and landed a record deal for the band. Talk about that and the results of signing with Epic.
MO : Yeah, that was a long time ago but it still feels like yesterday, don’t know where the time goes and it’s even harder to remember specifics but that was a great time. Our management at the time was key in pulling all that together, I remember Tom coming to check us out and having a great big smile, we loved Tom, it was cool working with him. He did a great job of getting the MF sound on tape and we had a lot of fun doing it. He was a pretty patient guy and we wanted to try everything, it was an extremely creative progress, we were both just getting started and in 1976, the music scene did not have a band like us and Epic Records was just a little bit nervous about how to promote such a group. It felt like, to me, Tom joined right in with our fight to show people what we did was a good idea!
RON : Tom produced a couple of albums for Mothers Finest. Which ones did he produce?
MO : He did “Another Mother Further” and the "Mothers Finest LIVE" records.
RON : His style with record production was believed by critics, back then, to be refined and controlling. Did the band give him the final production mix freedom on these albums or did Mothers Finest control the final editing?
MO : Tom did a great job of taking what we played and not screwing with it too much. We were all involved with the mixing and editing. What makes Tom a great producer is that he knows when to hold and when to fold while working in the studio. As artists, our creativity knows no boundaries, that’s where the chaos begins, Tom might be refined and controlling but that was his job, to produce product from the chaos and that becomes an art in itself. If it wasn’t happening, he would step in but when the play button was hit, we mostly had a party!
RON : I understand he commented, just a few months ago, that Mothers Finest was one of the strongest bands that he'd ever worked with – saying that the band's musicianship, songs, originality and live presentation were so impressive and the album "Another Mother Further" was in the personal top five of his career.
MO : Well, I see he still has good taste, we love you, too, Tom!
RON : Mother's Finest has three gold albums - "Another Mother Further, "Mother Factor" and "Mothers Finest Live." Out of those three albums what's your favorite song to perform and why?
MO : I like them all but if I had to choose, probably Mickey’s Monkey. It’s so much fun the places where we take it live. Each night the song takes on a personality of it’s own, always a surprise.
RON : One of the things that stands out with everyone is how energetic and electrifying your performances are . That's a cool testament to how much the band loves what its doing and your dedication to the fans to always give them a great show. You really set the stage on fire.
MO : Thank you very much, it is what we live for. All day long it’s about everything but the music, you’ve got so much stored energy, just waiting for it, it just explodes when you hit the stage, or that’s what you’re hoping for! The fans never let us down and their excite- ment just fuels the fire! I love watching Joyce sing her heart out and the others getting their groove on.
RON : Mothers Finest is known internationally, not just in the United States. You've toured in Europe and other countries. In fact, you were at the Berlin Wall just before it was torn down. What are some memorable moments from performing overseas - outside of that one?
MO : We’ve been performing overseas for a very long time now and it’s like our second home, we’ve made friends and they’ve become like family. Our audiences always show us so much love, each one seems to make their own memories, the perf ormances are the memorable moments for me. Pretty much everything else is sort of a pain, usually, not much time for anything, except on days off. Visiting the Berlin Wall was something we decided to do on a day off, who knew, the next week they would be tearing it down. This past summer we happened to be in Holland on Father’s Day and did the Traditional Pancake and Beer Breakfast for Dads on a Riverboat, everyone was singing, eating pancakes, and drinking beer as we took a boat ride down the river. It was crazy!
RON : Mothers Finest has played and toured with so many groups like Aerosmith, The Who, Santana...too many to name. Out of all the artists that you've been on stage with, who's been one of your major influences and why?
MO : Well, for me, it would have to be Sly Stone, we didn’t tour with him but did a few concerts with him in the southeast and that was after Woodstock, we must have watched the film version of Woodstock 200 times, and it just got better and better. Sharing the stage with his group and getting to watch him perform up close and personal was a huge influence. It was major!
RON : Fast forwarding now...... recently Mothers Finest was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. It was great to see the band recognized for the significant contributions that everyone has made over the years. What impact did that have on the band?
MO : It was an honor and a blessing to have been placed amongst some of the finest talent ever, Otis Redding, Gladys Knight, James Brown, The Allman Brothers, REM, The Black Crowes, an overwhelming list of artists. We are so lucky to have folks that dig the music of Mothers Finest enough to want to remember it. We’ve always worked at being as good as anybody else and better. We were pleasantly surprised at just the thought of it and humbled beyond belief when we were told of the induction. It was a huge event. We consider this award to be bigger than any other we could possibly receive because it was from where Mothers Finest started. This award will always mean the most to us. We are glad that the work we have done was considered significant but we don’t look at the award as the end result of a long career but as a beginning, we believe that the best thing we’ve ever written is in the future.
RON : So, what's going on today and what's the band's current plans? Any projects in the works, individually or for the band?
MO : We are writing for a new Mothers Finest album, it’s our main focus. We recently released a “Live” performance compilation CD called MF4D, we chose 11 songs we had performed and recorded with various members over our career, most of which had never been released in the USA and added a bonus studio track of Funkawhile. We tried to bridge the earlier MF with the present day MF. It is so cool that my big toe shoots up in my boot whenever I play it! It may be my new favorite CD! It’s available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. I am also finishing up my second solo project and hope to have both available by the first part of the year (2013). We have so many projects we want to complete, just a matter of time and money. There’s a whole lot more to MF, DVDs, Holiday CDs, books, additional merchandise besides the usual swag, solo projects from all members, we are working independently of major record labels, management, and performance agencies. It’s no secret that we have lot been on a major label in the USA since 1992. We continue to record and release music in Europe. Our fan base and our earlier catalogs of music have kept our careers alive. For that I will be forever grateful. Living here in Georgia, working as an independent has been a learning experience, one every artist should be well educated in, but there’s no stopping the train if you’re the conductor!
RON : Yea, the CD MF4D is a great compilation - love the arrangement of Baby Love. Best wishes on the new album and your solo projects. I can't wait to hear them and I'm sure the fans are excited about the news. While I’m thinking about it, my wife still has a Mothers Finest t-shirt that she bought 30 years ago at a show when ya’ll were performing at Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom (or it may have been the Agora Ballroom then). All Mothers Finest merchandise was cool stuff back then, especially the logo, and still is today.
MO : That’s cool! The logo is something Murdock came up with, you know he used to work as a graphic artist for an ad agency. We always wanted to be known as MF ‘ers in the bizness, and the shield just made the MF jump out, we found you could do a lot of things with it. Mothers Finest made it ok to say MF in public in a positive way. I’d love to have a picture of that shirt and tell your wife, we’ll send her a current one as a back up! Guess we could send you one too because you know her!
RON : I'll be sure to tell her and we certainly appreciate the tees. Mo, you’re an outstanding musician, an awesome guitarist and Mothers Finest is one fine band. Congratulations to you and the band on its induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame – so deserving. Thank you so much for spending time with me today - and thank you for the contributions that you and the band have made to Georgia music history.
MO : Thank you very much for this opportunity. Thank you for your support and for supporting the fantastic musical talent from our state of Georgia. On behalf of everyone else, I thank you and truly appreciate your compliments. There is no other to compare to you!