Interview with Moses Mo and Wyzard (Mother’s Finest)

MER: You’ve just released a live album called MF 4D. This is a collection of live recordings made throughout the years. How did you go about selecting the songs to be included on the album?

MF: We knew it was gonna be some time before a new release and we were still touring throughout the SE USA and had no new product to sell. We had already been discussing how much material had been released in Europe but not in the USA over the past 10-15 years, and this idea of a compilation of live performances came up, and many of the songs had never been released before. We listened to the live performances available throughout our career and the recordings that many of us had collected over time and began compiling a list of songs we thought our fans (especially in the USA) would love to hear. For our European audiences we included several songs that had been recorded during concerts in Boston and Baltimore that had not been released before. We tried to build a bridge from the earliest parts of our career to more recently, trying to connect fans to our different versions throughout our career, bringing together shows and listeners from both sides of the Atlantic. We thought giving our older and newer fans an opportunity to hear the songs performed in different eras with different musicians along the way would make a nice CD. One we could put together ourselves and produce. You experience the musicianship throughout the years and the songs include “favorite” players (BB Queen, Michael Keck, Kerry Denton) and introduced the newer members Dion Murdock, John Hayes and JJ Johnson. It was a PROCESS!

MER: You must have had boxes of recordings to go through. How long did the whole process take?

MF: It took 3 or 4 months going back and forth with everyone. Half the band lives in Georgia and the other half are located in California and the Netherlands. Most was done through the internet/email/file servers. When differences occurred we resorted to conferences on the phone and Skyping. It was very 21st century communication. Once the recordings were selected, they were sent to Rodney Mills to be remastered. You can only imagine how differences in recording and producing changed over a period of 40 years! It was quite the challenge for him, but he did a great job!

MER: Who actually sat down and listened to all the recordings?

MF: We all took part and everyone had different ideas and input as to which songs were selected. Once we had formulated a list, which had to be narrowed down quite a bit, we started looking for the recordings that most pleased us. Not all were always happy, but the majority wins out. Some songs not included were because there were already too many live recordings of them on too many other CDs, but we had to include fan favorites, so it wasn’t easy pleasing everyone.

MER: Which is the earliest recording on the album and where was that one made?

MF: Probably, “Piece Of The Rock” or “My Baby/Rain” — both were recorded during the era of the Live record, POR in Atlanta and My Baby/Rain in Holland around 1980/81 before BB Queen or Mike Keck’s departure.

MER: Four decades is a long time for a band to be around. How did you feel listening to the older recordings? Does it feel like 40 years or does it just seem like yesterday that you were starting out?

MF: We got really excited. We had not collectively worked on a project as independent recording artists before, so it was inspiring and may have been the igniter for writing the new songs that came afterwards. The music created early on was youthfully energetic, way fast, and loud! We still hold to those ideas, but we’ve matured and mastered our craft, so we’ve become more fanatical about the way we perform and not everything is soooo fast. It doesn’t feel like 40 years when listening — we still feel the music the same as when we performed all those years ago because we are still doing it and better!

MER: The soundtrack to the Rockplast DVD is also coming out featuring shows from 1978 and 2003. Were you involved in putting that out or was it the label who decided to release it?

MF: That was the label. They did a great job putting the DVD together.

MER: Those shows were 25 years apart. When you were listening back to the songs from both of those shows can you hear how you’ve grown as a band over the years?

MF: Of course! The group was comprised of different members. A lot of time had passed, and we had discovered how to create a sound that was totally our own — be it with keyboards or not. Different drummers brought different rhythmic styles, increasing the vocal presence with additional voices, additional guitars, all were an experience in expressing ourselves and it worked! We have definitely developed our ability to perform, write, and record as a group. We’ve tried new things and have grown with experience.

MER: Musically, 1978 was a very different climate to 2003. Your blend of Hard Rock and Funk was totally unique. Did you face difficulties with record labels and the industry in general who just didn’t know how to handle you?

MF: Definitely. We just couldn’t play by the rules. One, we didn’t know them when we were younger, and two, we didn’t always like them when discovered. We’ve adjusted as time goes on, but you have to follow the path you’ve chosen and go where it may take you, listen to your inner voice, learn along the way, but recognize the value of self. We started off doing what made us feel good, and it holds true today. There were compromises along the way, but we are in this together, the group, the fans, the industry, we listen better and the industry has changed. The love of our fans support us or it would have been over a long time ago!

MER: When you first started as a band, did you set out to create something different or did your sound evolve naturally as a result of your different influences?

MF: In the beginning, we didn’t set out to do anything but create a sound we enjoyed. We found common ground in the music of James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin. We all lived together in the beginning so it was easy to share ideas, help someone finish a song, jam/practice/rehearse all day. Experience makes you wiser. We were open to anything and everything. We enjoy all styles and genres of music, no barriers, no judging, no segregation. So we listened and experienced a lot of different things, we shared amongst ourselves what we loved most about everything we heard, we created a blend of all the sounds familiar to us. Glenn digs Nickelback and Alter Bridge, Joyce loves old movies and their soundtracks, Wyzard is heavy into Jazz and also Coldplay, John is into the Heavy Metal shredding of Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Dion likes Motley Crue, Kiss, Fishbone, Sevendust, and myself (Moses Mo), The Who, The Rolling Stones, MC5, a big fan of Robert Palmer, Rory Gallagher. We all love Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, and Smokey Robinson — the list of artists is endless, as infinite as time.

MER: What musical influences did you each bring to the band?

MF: We come from different areas of the United States, and with that brings diversity. Joyce was from Mississippi and moved to Chicago where she met Glenn, they bring a Northern Soul – Motown sound. Wyzard was from Miami, and his entire family was involved in music in someway — he brought the Jazz and rhythmic sounds of Latinos, the Soul and Blues of the south, and myself being from Ohio/Kentucky, my parents were involved in Bluegrass bands, brought the Rock and Roll from the heartland of America.

MER: Towards the end of the ’80s there was a surge in interest in Funk Rock with Living Color, Dan Reed, Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Steve Salas all making waves at that time. Did you feel that there was a renewed interest in Mother’s Finest at this point, or do you think you didn’t really get the credit that you deserved?

MF: I don’t really think about any of it at all — these are all very talented artists. I feel we inspired a lot of these artists to explore their own creativity, and they’re all very unique and talented. We have a following that allows us to continue touring and recording, and we often share the same audiences. The more artists that are similar, the larger the genre, and who’s supposed to get credit for it? I feel fortunate that our name is mentioned alongside such artists and have great respect for what they do.

MER: The core of the band featuring Joyce, Jerry, Gary and Glenn has remained together since the very start in the early ’70s. What has kept you all together for 40 years when so many other bands have imploded for one reason or another?

MF: I think for the most part we still enjoy what we do together; we can still excite and inspire one another. We’re grounded by our shared ideas about diet, health, spirituality; we have families and responsibilities that are similar to one another. We have our differences, but we still get along with one another. We have a history together, which only comes with time, and we’ve allowed one another to explore their individual interests — take their own path — and we just seem to be intertwined.

MER: For those who have not heard any Mother’s Finest, what album and which songs in particular would you recommend to get them hooked in?

MF: Our most popular albums are Mother Finest, Another Mother Further, Mother Factor, Iron Age, Mothers Finest Live, Black Radio. The most popular songs by us are “Baby Love”, “Mickey’s Monkey”, “Fire”, “Truth Will Set You Free”, “Love Changes”, “Piece of the Rock”, “Gone with the Rain”. Newer Songs that are popular include “Funkawhile”, “Bring It”, “I Believe”,”Cheap Shot” and “Chain”. I think if you were going to get a compilation album then go for Not Yer Mothers Funk or Live at Villa Berg.

MER: Jerry, back in the ’80s you played with Rickey Medlocke in Blackfoot for a while. How did you end up working with Rickey?

MF: I knew Rickey and the Blackfoot gang from back in the ’70s when we did shows together. I always made sure I gave time to Rickey and Jackson especially. They were a great band. Rickey saw me on Saturday Night Live with Stevie Nicks and he said it brought the interest up to work together, now THAT’S something you should ask me about — the Stevie Nicks Tour in the early ’80s was very interesting!!! Anyway, Rickey’s manager, Al, got in touch with me about hooking up with Rickey and a new experimental direction. It was good timing and he wanted my brother on drums also. Doug Bare was the keyboardist and another guy I liked a lot. So it was on. We did a lot of touring with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joan Jett, REO Speedwagon and also a lot of venues as headliner. I saw the last unseen parts of America for me on those tours, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, a lot of the heartland. I have now played every major American city. We did the Atlantic recording from the base in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Rickey’s offices were. That was such a cool period.

MER: How was it getting to play classics such as “Highway Song” on stage every night?

MF: “Highway Song” was great, as was “Good Morning” and “Train Train”. There was a period where Rickey’s grandfather came out and did the harmonica intro on “Train Train”, which was way cool. “Wishing Well” by Free was one of my favorite songs to play with Blackfoot — we rocked the hell outta that one.

MER: Fans last heard new material from you in 2006 with the four new tracks on the Live At Villa Berg album with “Do Me Right” being particularly impressive. When can fans expect a new studio album from you?

MF: We are currently writing and recording new material for a new release soon — negotiations continue with the German label SPV, and we’re looking forward to a possible release in 2013.

MER: Pledgemusic and Kickstarter seem to be popular innovative ways for artists to fund recordings without the need to rely on a record label. Would you consider going direct to your fans via one of these routes for your next album?

MF: We have discussed both of these programs, but have not made a decision on whether to use them or not. We have checked out several artists who have used the programs to release new material. Could be a possibility in the future.

For more on Mother’s Finest visit


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.