10 Questions For Marillion Drummer Ian Mosley

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The Message For The Week Oct. 28, 2008

10 Questions For Marillion Drummer Ian Mosley

Musician Ian Mosley is one of the finest and most underrated progressive rock drummers anywhere, having set the back beat for the British band Marillion for some 25 years. Although never finding complete commercial success in America, Marillion has developed quite a following and are still considered an important and vital band to progressive rock fans all over the world. The Message recently caught up with Mosley as Marillion releases their 15th album (11th since front man Steve Hogarth replaced Fish) titled Happiness Is The Road.

Photo courtesy of Ian Mosley
The Message: Where are you from and who were your earliest musical influences? Do you remember going to your first concert?
Ian Mosley: I was born in Paddington, London. My earliest musical influences were mainly big band music such as the Buddy Rich Orchestra and Duke Ellington, and rock bands were The Who and The Beatles. My first rock concert was Fleetwood Mac at Parliament Hill Fields, London in the late 60’s.

JM: What was your first band and first professional gig?
IM: My first professional band was called “Darryl Way’s Wolf”. My first professional gig was playing drums in the West End musical Hair at the age of 17.

JM: Before you joined Marillion you worked with original Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. How did that friendship and collaboration come about?
IM: I was based at a recording studio while working with “The Gordon Giltrap Band” and Steve Hackett was recording an album there. The album had all programmed drums and he asked me if I would be interested in doing the tour of that album.

JM: How did you originally connect with and then join Marillion?
IM: I read in the Melody Maker (British music magazine) that Marillion needed a drummer and I contacted their management only to be told that they had found somebody. Fortunately for me it didn’t work out with their new drummer and they invited me along to Rockfield Studios in Wales to help record their second album Fugazi.

JM: Your first record with Marillion was indeed 1983's Fugazi. What stands out to you about those first recording sessions?
IM: I remember it being a very exciting time and I also remember a bit of a panic going on as we hadn’t completed the title track of the album and the studio was costing an incredible amount of money per day.

JM: When Misplaced Childhood was released in 1985, Marillion finally tasted some success in America. It must have been an exciting time for the band. How did that change the band moving forward?
IM: It was a very exciting time for the band. The highlight of the year was being asked to tour with Rush on their Power Windows arena tour. The next year we went back to America to headline some of our own shows at the same arenas.

JM: After original front man Fish left the band in 1988, what was the process of finding a new front man, and how/why did Steve Hogarth win the gig?
IM: We auditioned lots of singers but eventually were sent a recording of a band called ‘The Europeans’ (by his publishers Rondor Music) which featured Steve Hogarth on vocals. The four remaining band members of Marillion were unanimous that he was the one for us.

JM: Since the band formed its own Racket Records, the label has enabled you to do some creative things as far as marketing, merchandising and releasing very interesting CD titles for the fans. What do you see as the biggest challenge in the band running its' own label?
IM: Every day is a challenge as every day throws up new and different problems for us.

JM: The band is just released a new album titled Happiness Is The Road. What can all us Marillion fans expect from the new release?
IM: It’s a double album. CD one Essence, is best listening to from beginning to end as it is a journey. CD two The Hard Shoulder, consists of stand alone songs. Early reviews of the album have stated it is our best yet – we hope you enjoy it.

JM: Thanks for spending some time Ian and we'll let you go with this question… name a musician whom you admire and would like to work with?
M: I really admire Serj Tankian of System of A Down.