Ian Moss is a national treasure. His monumental work with Cold Chisel, partnered with his brilliantly fruitful solo career, has been embedded into Australian culture. At 64 years of age, he is still etching his name into the Australian music industry. January saw the band got back together as Cold Chisel reunited in the studio and upon the A Day On The Green stage for Blood Moon marking a special celebration in the band’s history.
“It was rather special actually because the last three albums we’ve done in the last ten years, eleven years, this one had the most original new songs on it. It was one of our best tours in terms of having great songs to play, getting along with each other and how well we played.”
Now, Moss is having his own celebration; the 30 year anniversary of his career-defining, debut solo album, Matchbook. Matchbook was born out of a pivotal moment in Moss’ life – the end of an era with Cold Chisel and the start of Moss standing on his own two feet.
“It was [scary]! Towards the end of Cold Chisel splitting up it – we took a long break back in ’83 and it was sad and unpleasant and everything right at the end at that time and we got to the stage of ‘I can’t wait to get away’, ‘it’s not fun anymore’ and ‘I’ll do my own thing and I’ll show these guys how it’s done’ [laughs] and then suddenly you’re on your own and everything is up to you and you realise you don’t have those buddies, you don’t have that team and those others to lean on and those minds to discuss things with. It was definitely a bit of a ‘time to harden the f*** up’ as they say and get on with it. But when it got to the last day of recording and mixing Matchbook I felt I was on my way then. I felt pretty ready to take the world on by myself,” Moss explains.
He definitely took on the world with Matchbook. The album, released 1 August, 1989 peaked at #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, remaining in the Top 10 for 14 weeks, shipping more than 200,000 copies in the first 12 months alone and saw Moss take away Album of the Year, Best Male Artist and Breakthrough Artist – Album, Breakthrough Artist – Single and Song of the Year (shared with Don Walker) for Tucker’s Daughter, as well as being nominated for Single of the Year at the 1990 ARIA Awards.
“At the time really I genuinely had no idea how well it had done, so I was quite stunned. It took me until the next day to understand the impact of it all but it was certification that Ian Moss is here as a solo artist and an acknowledgement I guess,” Moss recalls. “Unfortunately it’s kind of true; looking back it’s all gone too quickly. But I’m still proud of each and every song on that album. With Matchbook I think every song stands up on its own.”
To celebrate, Moss is taking the album on an intimate 19 date solo regional road trip, playing Matchbook fairly well in full, along with songs from his 2018 self-titled album, ‘Bow River’ and a few Cold Chisel classics.
“I was born and raised in Alice Springs so I certainly know what it’s like to miss out on great entertainment being so far away so I make a special effort to make sure I get out to regional Australia a lot more and take music to them. I really enjoy it and feel quite at home in regional areas.”
Tour dates are available at ianmoss.com.au
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Daniel Boud