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Ian Moss' national 'Matchbook' 30 year Anniversary tour

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by Bernhard Sayer (subscribe)
A freelance writer living in suburban Adelaide, taking his first tentative steps. You can see some of his past work at bernhardsayer.wordpress.com
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Ian Moss plays the Matchbook album 30 years on
At the start of November 1988, Australian music fans hadn't heard from Ian Moss for five years since the initial Cold Chisel split. Chisel songwriter Don Walker had just released his first solo album under the name of Catfish, drummer Steve Prestwich had recorded albums as a member of LRB, and singer Jimmy Barnes was already three albums into a highly successful solo career. But even being blessed with extraordinary guitar skills and a majestic voice, Ian Moss was by his own admission slow getting off the mark on the solo front, and I asked if he sensed an expectation building among the Chisel audience when his first solo single, Tucker's Daughter, was released.

"There were people saying 'at last!! Jeez, take your time mate!' My father came from Broome and so it was probably more a bit of Broome time." (I relate how, on arrival in Western Australia a few years ago, I was told that 'WA' stood for 'wait awhile'. "That's a good one, but you wait even longer if you're up at Broome!")

The record-buying public clearly felt the single and the album that followed were worth the wait. Tucker's Daughter found its way to the top of the charts in no time, and on its release in the second half of 1989, the Matchbook album also reached No. 1 and ultimately sold over 200,000 copies. Other songs from the album, such as Telephone Booth and Such a Beautiful Thing, remain favourites among Moss' fans today.

Ian Moss

But it was a new landscape for Moss, and one that took some adjustment. "I suddenly appreciated how good it was to have been in a strong band with shoulders to lean on and where you're all in it together. Then suddenly you're up front and you end up as 'the boss' of a small company with employees. It's a slightly different mindset because it's 'my thing'. I'm literally paying wages, so I've got a boss/employee type of relationship with the band. It was a little bit scary."

With nine of the ten songs either written or co-written by Chisel's Don Walker, I suggested to Moss that the album still sounds like it recorded a true Australian sound. "There's lot of Australian place names in the songs, and most of the film clips are clearly in the Australian outback - Tuckers Daughter had scenes of us dancing around in fields of rape seed down near Geelong."

"I try to keep a strong hat-tip towards the blues in what I did then and today, but obviously I'm looking to make it commercial enough to make it a memorable pop song."

I was keen to hear how Moss had spent the years between 1983 and 1988. He was honest in saying that he was able to enjoy "a fair bit of holiday time! I was lucky enough to be in a position where I didn't have to race out and get a factory job again. Just a lot of fun playing, different line ups together. I was kind of strictly non-Chisel for a while because I knew I was going to cop that attitude of always 'play Khe Sahn' (from the crowd) and I strongly wanted to avoid that. Between being out there gigging and keeping my hand in, jumping on a couple of theory books to keep the learning process up, it all went pretty quickly."

Ian Moss

I asked Ian about some European shows that he'd done recently, including one showcase in London. "That was all to do with me lining up a booking agent in London for gigs, lining up stuff like Isle of White in June or July next year. I'm still on typical Broome time it would have been nice if I was doing this twenty years ago!"

Ian's self-titled solo album from 2018 was written in Nashville (you'll hear a few songs from the album at his Matchbook anniversary concerts), and I asked if he would be returning there for new material in the future. "I've just been there actually. I had a week off in New York and then went down to Nashville and got stuck into writing". When I asked about when fans might expect a new solo album, he replied "the plan is to have it all ready for a Christmas 2020 release".

In between times and in addition to the Matchbook anniversary tour, 2019 also brings a new Cold Chisel album and tour (which stretches to New Zealand), and then Moss also takes his place on a 15 day African music safari tour. "That's in late May next year. There's always a promoter out there doing something interesting. That's been running a few years. I know Mark Seymour did one and James Reyne did one as well. I've never been to South Africa, never been to a game park or Lake Victoria. I'm so looking forward to all of that".

Ian Moss and his superb band (Kerry Jacobson on drums, Zoe Hauptmann on bass, Mike Duchesne on guitar and the amazing Leanne Paris on keys) plays the Matchbook album and other songs throughout November and December in Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Newcastle. Check out the dates for your part of the country at www.ianmoss.com.au and get your tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.au (or phone 136 100).
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Why? 30 years on, relive the glory of the classic 1989 Matchbook album
When: refer www.ianmoss.com.au
Where: Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Newcastle
Cost: refer www.ianmoss.com.au
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