The dissolution of Cincinnati’s The Ferns by 1985 would find Rick Mosher in common cause with keyboardist Tim Miller (ex-Dog Pound). Rick & Tim’s new musical unit would play out live around town – but eventually grow weary of Cincinnati’s fairly provincial views with regard to modern sounds in popular music. The situation would come to a head.
Mosher in a candid moment – early 1980s
“We left Cincy in 87 and never returned. We could not afford to live in MA, so we
lived in NH and commuted in for gigs. The scene was way different than Cincy;
you played one 45-minute set, usually with three other bands. You started on
Tuesday nights and had to work your way up to weekends by drawing crowds.
No one got paid until you made the weekend rotation, and then you were lucky if
you got $50. It was a blast playing in front of strangers in a big city! We made it to
the weekends within a year or so, headlined occasionally.”
Before leaving town, however, the band (possibly Mosher) came up with a brilliant name: Bachelors of Art.
(L to R) Rick Mosher, Mark Richards, Jim Faris, Tim Miller
The unmarried musicians, with Mosher as principal songwriter, would set to work on recording songs for their debut album, Bag.
“I wrote all of the songs on Bag, and we recorded the whole thing on a ½ inch Tascam reel to reel. We dedicated one track to SMPTE [timecode] so we did not have to record keys to tape. The drums were mixed to stereo and the vocals got two tracks.”
“‘No Reaction‘ was written about girls and not getting recognition as a band. I am
sure you can hear the lead section is directly ripped off from [Bram Tchaikovsky’s] ‘Girl of my Dreams‘! I was pretty happy about how that song came out given our limitations. I think it has one of the best drum sounds on the record.”
[Pssst: Click on triangle above to play “No Reaction” by Bachelors of Art]
“‘Safe to Be Alone‘ was written after I read a book [1987’s And the Band Played On] by Randy Shilts about the AIDS crisis. I was pretty moved by the story, which documented how the disease made its way to the US and how it spread throughout our continent.”
[Pssst: Click on triangle above to play “Safe to Be Alone” by Bachelors of Art]
The Bachelors would play in the Boston and NYC areas primarily over the next 7 years – even playing at storied CBGB’s, as Mosher’s ReverbNation bio notes. “We had been in Boston for a couple of years when Bag came out,” says Mosher, “It opened some doors for us. We found a lawyer who worked pro-bono and eventually recorded a second project [1992’s G] in a real recording studio.”
Bachelors of Art’s 1992 follow-up, G
1994 Bachelors of Art cassette EP
The Bachelors – alas and alack – would part ways in 1994.
Unfinished Business: Zero to 180’s Q&A with Rick Mosher
Q: At any point in the group’s history did band members ruin the story line by getting married?
A: Tim got married first! There were three bachelors in the group still, so we did not take issue. When we finished pursuing the original scene, the final members of the band learned 60 covers and got a regular gig in VT playing ski lodges, very lucrative. We changed our name then to “the good timin’, hot-doggin’, ski party band!”
Q: Your joining The Max brought a modern pop aesthetic to what had been a power trio “jamming” approach. The Max’s evolution into The Ferns would allow you to embrace a more structured, modern rock path. How you describe the change in artistic direction from The Ferns to the Bachelors of Art?
A: Well, The Raisins had a huge influence on everyone, especially me. Going to music school for college also opened up the world of theory to me, which had a big influence on my writing. I am still convinced that some day I will be able to craft a 12-tone pop song! I was always a big fan of groups like the Eagles and The Who etc, which also influenced my writing and playing style.
Mosher, 1981, in the studio with The Max(photo by Leslie Spitz-Edson)
Q: Looking back, what are your jazz impressions of the Boston music scene in the late 1980, early 1990s when the Bachelors were plying their art? What favorite covers did the band enjoy playing?
A: We played some 80s classics given our instrumentation – The Cure, Blue Nile – and our drummer at the time was a big fan of Canadian music, so we played stuff that I had never hear, Blue Rodeo for one. We always played one cover in our one set just to get a read on the crowd.
Q: With regard to your latest work, how long did it take for you to write and record these songs?
A: I did “release” something new two years ago — the album was released under the name Dean and was called “Closer” after the title track. I feel very good about the recording, though it took too long to complete – two years! I feel overall it represents some of my best songwriting and playing. Tim [Miller] is on it somewhat, and I played with a solid drummer [Tom Evans] and excellent bass player [Clayton Young]. Unfortunately, scheduling became difficult, so after awhile, I ended up doing most of the vocals. Tim played keys, me on guitars, keys, harmonica, and dobro. It was a lot of fun to make and reflected my transition from marriage to being single and the changes in the structure with the kids, who were pretty young at the time.
Richardson & Miller once substituted subversive lyrics in 2nd grade singalong
“Dean was formed in 1999 as a solo project. The first release was more of an EP, with 7 songs, and Rick played pretty much everything. After working through some major life transitions, death and divorce to name a few, Rick wrote a batch of songs, which were finally recorded and mixed this year.”
Link to Rick Mosher’s Dean – courtesy of ReverbNation