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Blues Interview
Real Blues
Real People
by MissVickie@stlblues.net

Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, Play It 'Til Tomorrow

Alvin Jett, joined by his friend, bandmate, and saxman Frank BauerSome time ago I introduced some of you to Nick Moss. You may remember he was here in St. Louis at BB's for the Harmonica Hurricane. Nick, with his band, has been back to BB's several times since then. I caught up with him Saturday night at BB's, Oct 6th. This time, I spoke with him in great detail about his newest CD coming out Monday oct 9th. But first, let me tell you about the great gig you may or may not have seen Saturday night.

The first song, Check My Pulse, off his first CD, started off Strong and Loud! Nick and the band are at BB's for the first night back after a few days off and they were here to play! I was sitting by the front door and was very excited to hear them start off so boldly. I had an opportunity to chat with friends and musicians that came into BB's to see Nick Moss and the Flip Tops and no one was disappointed. My husband's friend, Frank, was very happy to hear Check My Pulse as the first song. The band was tight as always and put Frank and everyone else into the “mood” for the evening. Nick's guitar rifts are effortless. Kinda reminds me of BB King, but not as old and far more guitar licks. (laughter)

At more than one point in the first set, Nick was rendering waves of Real Chicago sounds and the drummer was pounding away at his kit, rising from his seat, and the keys on the keyboard were flying off of the board, the bass player was “Right On”! At the end of the song, Nick was calling for John May to come and replace the amp! WOW! What heat on the stage! They really love to play the blues!! More than one amp was blown during the evening. I lost track at three! Woohoo!!

While waiting for the amp to be replaced, Nick had some great rapport with the crowd. He chatted and joked and took time to introduce the band members...Victor Spann on drums, Gerry Hundt on bass, Willie O'Shawny on keyboard. “Piano Willy” was having a birthday! Nick was funny when he mentioned Willy was turning “94”! (laughter). Sharon, the bar manager, brought out a cake with the number “94” and we all had fun with the joke! What a great group of guys and it was fun to see everyone enjoying themselves. By the end of the first set, the place was Rockin'! These guys are very talented musicians, playing together for a long period of time, each playing multiple instruments, as can be heard on the latest CD.

Nick Moss and the Flip TopsLet's talk to Nick Moss about his career and the new CD, Play It 'Til Tomorrow'.

MV: Hi Nick! I'm very happy to interview you and the Flip Tops, here at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups, tonight. I'm here with Nick Moss and the Flip Tops! The first thing I heard about the new CD is from a fellow musician, Eric McSpadden. He said, “Cool cover, Man!” so tell me about the cover of this CD.

NM: Well it was all my idea. I take full credit for it! Just Kidding! My wife, she's a graphic designer, she's brilliant! She does all of my covers.

MV: Let's give your wife her due. Kate Moss, you do great work! Thank you!!

NM: She wanted to go with the old “Fillmore” look, like you see on the posters.

MV: That was one of the great comments I got...that there are great photo shots in this CD package. I want to make a point of that! Next question... What's it like getting so many nominations?

NM: It's like Susan Lucci! (Big Laughter)

MV: I thought that too but I didn't want to say! (laughter)

NM: Seventeen years, I'll win one too! (Big Smile)

MV: So how long to do have to go?

NM: About another ten!

MV: There you go! Lots of time for many more great CD's. How long have you lived in Chicago?

NM: All my life.

MV: Is there a particular part of Chicago where you live?

Nick Moss and the Flip TopsNM: Well, I grew up in Ellwood Park, but I live in the suburbs now with my wife and daughter, Sadie Mae. (Sadie Mae is three 1/2)

MV: Where do you like to play in Chicago?

NM: Buddy Guys. I play there about four to five times a year. I really love it. It's like home.

MV: I see here you have a really big October schedule. So what do you do on your days off?

NM: I spend as much time with my wife and daughter that I can. Family stuff.

MV: So when you're off hangin' around in Chicago, is there some place you like to go and hang out and just listen to music?
NM: Years ago I did that, but now I'm kinda far from the city, but occasionally I like to go to the Smoke Daddy. I go more to the smaller bars in the suburbs and listen to some of my friends play. Barrelhouse Chuck is a great friend and Gerry, in my band, plays some side gigs around town.

MV: We do that here too, except we live in the city. There's lots of places in St. Louis to check out great music and hook up with your friends. I noticed in the bio I have that this CD had many special guests. Let's first talk about Eddie Taylor, Jr. How did he get onto your CD?

NM:Well, his father, Eddie Taylor, Sr. is one of my favorite guitar players of all times. I've known Little Eddie for ten years. He's a real nice guy and a great guitar player. I don't think he's gotten enough recognition over the years and I thought it would be great to get a little more recognition. It was a lot of fun playing with him and he adds his great flavor to the cuts I had him play on the new CD.

MV: It's fun to play with your friends.

NM: Yeah. That's the most important thing...to play with my friends.

MV: So is that how you hooked up with your other guests?...Bob “Cartello” Carter on drums and Barrelhouse Chuck on keys.

NM: Yeah. Throughout the years just playing and meeting different guys. About three CD's back, on the Count Your Blessings CD, there was a lot of special guests...Sam Meyers, Anson Funderburgh, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith, and many more...that was a lot of fun to do that. Then I made a few more CD's with just my band, but this CD, I wanted to bring in some friends, Like Barrelhouse Chuck and Eddie Taylor, Jr.

MV: I'm envious that you can get out there and meet all these blues guys and become friends with them. You're 38 and you have so much more to go. Who did the song writing on this newest CD?

NM: I do the song writing. I find it easier to do my own thing and bring it to the studio. I have a lot of great talent in my band and these guys give me what I need.

MV: I agree about the great talent in your band. Gerry Hundt plays bass, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica. Willie O'Shawny plays keyboard and bass. And I love your drummer here tonite, Victor Spann. He's very enthusiastic! Your bio talks about an “unplugged” side of the band. Can you expand on that?

Nick Moss and the Flip TopsNM: I wanted to do a more “traditional” feel on the second CD in this package. I usually perform mainly electric Chicago blues on my CD's. I wanted to do some of the 30's, 40's and 50's style of blues, so most of the second CD is acoustic mixed in with some electric blues. There is some Robert Nighthawk and some Memphis Minnie type feel on this second CD.

MV: The first CD of this package has a lot of original songs written by you, but there are three covers that you did...Floyd Jones' “Rising Wind”, Luther Snake Johnson's :Woman Don't Lie”, and Left Dizz' “Bad Avenue”. How did you choose these covers?

NM: I have six CD's out now and on all of my CD's I write the songs, but I lie to do at least one or two covers. I like to do more obscure cover tunes that you haven't heard before by five other bands.

MV: I like that! Otherwise, you may as well just listen to the radio. Here we hear the blues on KDHX Community Radio, FM 88.1. What would you like say about this new CD, Play It “till Tomorrow?

NM: This is my first CD I've felt really comfortable about. I'm a little more comfortable in my writing and my playing and the band was real tight in the studio. Living in Chicago and listening to the music has really been a great influence in my music. I've said that all along.

MV: What are your plans for the upcoming year 2008?

NM: I'll be working on producing a CD for Magic Slim. I've produced all my own music so this will be fun working with Magic Slim. I've been working with Blind Pig Records about this for about a year. I'm a huge Magic Slim fan!

MV: Great! All of our readers will be waiting for that one! Now, you've played at BB's several times. What do you like about playing here?

NM: I really like it here. We play here about as often as I play at Buddy Guys. It's close for me since I live in Chicago. John May has always been a big fan and a big supporter. In fact, he's about one of five guys to ever give me a gig under my own name. He says, “I know you. You played with Jimmy Rogers. I'll give you a gig.” I love playing here. They've done a lot of great things with this club. It's always a fun place to play for me!

OK. Now that you've met the man...let's talk about his latest project...a two CD package entitled, Play It 'Til Tomorrow'. It hits the market Monday Oct 9th. This is his most ambitious recording project yet on Blue Bella Records, Nick's own label. Each CD has 14 tracks. Our friend, Frank, said it best...”Nick Moss put's out some of the greatest barrelhouse blues!” Side one is just that! Rockin' barrelhouse blues! It's like you're listening to them “live”, but they are in the studio. I can how see Nick likes this CD so much. You can really hear the band and guests having having a great time playing this music. I listened over and over again while on a road trip from St. Louis to Rosebud. What a great way to travel!

The second CD has the acoustic tracks and some electric blues as well. I really loved track #6...Wild Imagination. What more can I say? If you're a Nick Moss and the Flip Tops fan...you'll have this two CD set in your collection. If you want to be a fan...this is where to start! The artwork and photos are outstanding and the music ROCKS!!!

My thanks to Nick Moss and the guys for this interview. My special thanks to John May for all of his hard work and blues foresight.
Buy this CD...you will not be disappointed. Go out and see Nick and the guys in person. You will have a blast!! And keep supporting the Blues!

Check out Nicks website at www.nickmoss.com and www.bellabluesrecords.com.
Also check out www.kdhx.org for a schedule of the blues shows on FM 88.1. They are having a pledge drive as we speak, so now's the time to become a member!

And of course, check out www.bbsjazzbluessoups.com for more fun at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

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