Whatever happened to...
Rob Moschetti (ex-M.O.D.)
June 2006 - Interview by Sjouke Bakker for www.sod-mod.com
M.O.D. is Billy Milano. Billy Milano is M.O.D.... From the very first M.O.D. album Billy has always performed and recorded with different musicians. At one time, during the mid 90's, a guy called Rob Moschetti was M.O.D.'s bass player. He did a few tours with M.O.D. and recorded one album with Billy. After that, Rob played for a couple of years in Pro-Pain. It has been quiet around his person for a long time since he left Pro-Pain, so it was time to ask the following question: 'Whatever happened to Rob Moschetti?'
Hi Rob. Please introduce yourself for those who don't know you...
RM: I'm Rob Moschetti, married since 1998, I have 3 dogs and a talking bird. Originally from N.Y, now living in Florida. My life still revolves around music, even though I'm out of the business. I have a small recording studio and I still write and record music constantly. A few times a year I play a couple of shows, but my true love is writing and recording. I also give music lessons and record demos, mostly for solo artists.
You were a member of M.O.D. from 1993 - 1995, right? Please tell us about the time when you became involved in M.O.D. and how this happened.
RM: Billy was looking for a bass player to go on tour with him to support the 'Rhythm of Fear' record, and I was recording at Trax East studios where the record was done. The project was Rhythm Trip, with Timmy McMurtrie, from M.O.D. Timmy and the producer of that session Steve Evetts pretty much told Billy about me, and when me and Billy met for the first time I had already learned every M.O.D. - S.O.D. song ever released. I wanted that gig so bad that I made sure that Billy would be blown away at our first jam session, and I guess he was.
What were you doing before you were asked to join M.O.D.?
RM: At the age of 12 or 13 I was in a band with guys who were already out of high school, playing classic rock tunes, but not top 40 stuff. It was like Robin Trower, the Yardbirds, Johnny Winter, and stuff like that. But when I got into Sabbath, that was it. Sabbath lead me to METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, SUICIDAL, S.O.D. - M.O.D… YES I WAS A FAN BEFORE I JOINED. So I just started writing my own songs for my first original band MOLLESTOR. After they broke up I was asked to be in MUTILATION. They were just about to be signed when I joined, and soon after we released our first record worldwide on JL AMERICA and TURBO records. After 1 record 3 of the 4 mutilation GUYS joined Timmy in RHYTHM TRIP.
You played bass on one M.O.D. album, called 'Devolution' which was originally released in 1994. This same CD was re-released 10 years later, with extra concert footage of the last show of M.O.D.'s first tour in Europe. Do you still remember that tour?
RM: I will remember that tour for the rest of my life. That footage was from the '93 tour, my first headlining tour. I had never been to Europe before that, and it changed my life even to this day.
What did you contribute to 'Devolution'? I mean, did you come up with songs or was everything written by Billy?
RM: When me and Billy were writing for that album there was no band, it was me and him. We both wrote the music and he wrote all the lyrics himself. I think that my rock background really came out on the bass tracks. I wasn't playing a watered down version of the guitar riffs. Billy let me go off into my own world with those songs. He said that I was coming up with cool stuff that complimented the riffs and to get creative with it, so I did. I was shocked when he wanted my voice on the record, because he was always the main focus of the band. But he thought it would add to the record.
I read in the liner notes that Billy wrote all the lyrics for 'Devolution' just one day before recording the vocals. What do you still remember of the recording sessions for this album?
RM: We recorded all the music for that record and then I went home. I had not heard one lyric at that point. A few days after I left he called me and said: "Get your ass back up here, I want you to sing backups you fucking prick", so I drove up and heard the vox for the first time, and was blown away.
What is your favourite track of 'Devolution' and why?
RM: For bass performance it is ROCK TONITE, just because I was playing blues scales to a fast beat, something I had never heard before in a hardcore/metal band. And SUPER TOUCH because every instrument and vocal performance was fuckin brutal. Tons of energy on that track. Billy wrote the sickest guitar leads on that song and Tom played them perfectly. Billy would hum the solo and Tom would play it.
Did you tour a lot during your time with M.O.D.? What are your best memories of touring with M.O.D.?
RM: I toured Europe for the 'Rhythm of Fear' record, and I said earlier that I will never forget it, I also toured Europe again for 'Devolution', but the most fun I had in M.O.D. was opening for PRO-PAIN in America. BEER, BONES, AND BITCHES... I never partied so much in my life. We shared a bus and it was insane every night. I can't get into specifics but I'm sure you know what I mean…. so I did 3 full length tours with M.O.D. and each one was amazing in their own way.
I know you're a fan of S.O.D. as well, right? You already played S.O.D. songs in Europe (with M.O.D.) even before S.O.D. played these songs over here.
RM: When I was in MOLLESTOR in '87 I was huge a fan of S.O.D., and never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought that I would be playing those songs with Billy Milano in his band. It was an honor…
Do you still remember which S.O.D. songs you did with M.O.D.?
RM: PUSSY WHIPPED, KILL YOURSELF, FIST BANGING MANIA, FREDDY KRUEGER, MILANO MOSH, and of course UNITED FORCES…
What is your favourite M.O.D. album and why?
RM: As a fan, 'U.S.A. FOR M.O.D.'. I have personal reasons for liking Devolution, but 'U.S.A.' was like the first Suicidal (Tendencies) record, or the first Metallica record, it was a new beginning for heavy music that laid the foundation for all heavy bands today.
What is your alltime favourite M.O.D. song?
RM: Aren’t you hungry/Get a real job.
Which M.O.D. show(s) do you remember the best?
RM: Probably my first one. The 'Pi Alpha Nu' show in upstate NY... WHICH IS ALSO AN S.O.D. SONG.
At one time, you traded M.O.D. for Pro-Pain. As a matter of fact, the whole line up of 'Devolution' (except for Billy) played in Pro-Pain at the same time. What’s the story behind that?
RM: You would have to ask Gary Meskil that... but I do know that PRO-PAIN's live show wasn't very visual before that change, where as M.O.D. was all over the stage. I don't think it was a musical thing because Gary played the bass and guitar on the first 2 records. He could literally record a whole album by himself.
Left: M.O.D. with Rob, Tom and Dave | Right: Pro-Pain with Rob, Tom and Dave
What is in your opinion the biggest difference between (playing in) Pro-Pain and M.O.D.?
RM: M.O.D. was a fun life changing experience, PRO-PAIN was a job for me. Don't get me wrong, I loved being a part of that band in '96 and '97, but regardless of all the backstage madness, it was all business. Our goal was to destroy everything in our path. When I lost that fire I had to leave… I just couldn't fake it for a paycheck.
Do you still follow the careers of both bands? Have you heard any of their recent albums?
RM: I speak to Billy regularly, and we are friends aside from music. I have heard M.O.D. material after my departure. I think the latest material sounds more like M.O.D. than the 'Devolution' record. I have heard some PRO-PAIN stuff as well, and it still sounds heavy and tight as usual. I wish Gary, Tom and Klinger all the best.
In M.O.D. you played bass guitar, in Pro-Pain you switched to rhythm guitar. Which of these 2 instruments do you prefer?
RM: I think that I contributed more, musically as a bassist. But also love playing guitar. Since I left PRO-PAIN I have been concentrating on bringing my guitar skills up to my bass skills. Along with brushing up on my drumming.
Which other instruments, besides the ones you just mentioned, do you play?
RM: On my new material I play all of the instruments on it: guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals.
Did you ever take lessons to learn to play all of these instruments? I'm asking this because you told you now give music lessons yourself. What can you tell us about that?
RM: I learned one power chord when I was 12 years old. Who knew that this one chord would carry me around the world. The guy who taught me that chord, and to whom I owe my musical career, is AL DESALVO… I thanked him on every record I ever played on. All the other instruments I just picked up on my own.
Are you teaching those kids how to play M.O.D. songs? Hahaha.
RM: These young kids parents are fans of my ex bands.
Recently you launched a website at www.myspace.com/moschettimusic with songs you wrote and played yourself. It says on your site: "While playing with two legendary bands in the 90's, there was never enough time between tours to start a solo project. As of 1998 the flood gates have opened and Rob has enough material for 5 albums… The formula, simple rock arrangements, heavy guitars and heavy vocals with melody."
So you started writing songs for yourself about 8 years ago, you have material for 5 albums… why did you wait until now to let other people know what you created?
RM: As soon as I left PRO-PAIN I needed to figure out who I was, musically. I never wrote more than a few riffs that Billy or Gary would turn into songs. I wanted to write as honestly and from the heart as much as possible. And the only way I could accomplish that was to write for myself, and not for other people. I had the freedom to write mellow songs, acoustic songs, along with my heavy songs, without the backlash of metal fans. I wrote what I felt no matter how cheesy or lame. I tried to convey what I felt at that moment without any outside influence, which is what art is all about. I do feel that I'm more of an artist now, than I ever was because of this. Now I feel confident enough to show people my songs because I am proud of what I created. It’s not the best, but it’s my best…
The songs you wrote for your solo project are very different from the songs you played with M.O.D. and Pro-Pain. Your own material is less metal and more rock.
RM: I think I turned my back on my true influences of my childhood by jumping into the metal scene, but when I started writing this stuff my old influences slowly showed up unintentionally. I compare my stuff to a blind man painting. You don't know what you've created until it's finished, and love it or hate it, it came from your soul.
I already heard more than the 4 tracks that you uploaded to your website at MySpace. I think you have a good singing voice. There is also a lot of difference between the songs that I heard. Does it take you a lot of time to write a song?
RM: My best stuff comes out of thin air. I never have an idea in my head before I write a song, and sometimes I don't even know where it comes from. I go into my studio and shut the door and I don't come out until the song is complete. Sometimes it's a great song and sometimes it's shit, but whatever it is, I had to get it out of me and move on to the next creation. I never spend to much time on one song because I have a short attention span, and don't want to loose that original vibe I had when I started it, or loose interest.
Like I said, you have uploaded 4 tracks on your website. I'd like to offer an exclusive track (that is not available on your site yet) to the readers of this interview. Is it okay if I make 'Just Once' available for download? What is that song about?
RM: Every song I write is about me or something that I have experienced or witnessed in my life. I'm just letting people read it from my perspective. You have free reign to offer any song, and I stand behind my lyrics 100%. I just hope people can understand what I'm saying underneath the loud guitars.
Do you perform your own songs live as well?
RM: I have performed a lot of these songs live and they translate very well on stage. It's not just noise. There is melody in the music and vocals but still has a very heavy delivery.
Do you have a record label already? Or are you looking for a label?
RM: I haven't shopped my stuff to any labels because any major label would try to change who or what I am for marketing reasons. And most independent labels are signing thrash or death metal. If there is a label that would let me be an artist and do what I want, I would consider releasing my stuff. My goals in releasing records have already been achieved in M.O.D. and PRO-PAIN, right now I just want to write and give people my music to enjoy, because that's all I ever wanted anyway.
If you were asked to join M.O.D. again, would you consider it?
RM: I would play on his records in a second, but touring is another thing. I would only tour again for my own project, not someone elses.
To finish this interview, I'd like you to make a few choices. Please make your choice and explain...
M.O.D. or Pro-Pain?
RM: Tongue in cheek fun band - M.O.D. … aggressive brutality... PRO-PAIN.
Billy Milano or Gary Meskill?
RM: BILLY AS BOUNCER…….GARY AS A BARTENDER.
S.O.D. or M.O.D.?
RM: M.O.D. FOR PERSONAL REASONS.
‘Speak English Or Die’ or ‘U.S.A. For M.O.D.?
RM: If I was on a deserted island, the one with more songs…
Touring or recording?
RM: Right now… recording (at home with no budget or deadline).
Bandmember or music teacher?
RM: I've already been a band member, but if I can do for someone what Al Desalvo did for me in 1982, that would be awesome…
If there is anything that you want to add to this interview, feel free to do it here.
RM: As far as my music goes, love it or hate it, please know that it came from the heart. I can't be something I'm not………..
Rob, thank you very much for doing this interview. I wish you all the best in the future with your own music. It was great to talk with someone who was a member of M.O.D. for several years and is still active in music. Now everybody knows 'whatever happened to Rob Moschetti...'!
Anyone who wants to listen to Rob's music, please visit: www.myspace.com/moschettimusic
© Sjouke Bakker, June 2006
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