Reports of the death of guitar-based rock music are nothing if not premature, and it’s been refreshing to see folks like John Dwyer, Kurt Vile, and Ty Segall carry the mantle for the current generation. Classic rock can only go so far to carry the form, and the fumes are thinning each and every day. Labels like Burger and In The Red have played a crucial role in parlaying the six-stringed anguish and teenage heat of a myriad of bands, and at the hot, sweaty nucleus is Segall and his small army of like-minded colleagues.
One of those is Charles Moothart, a multi-instrumentalist who is at home blasting out distorted power chords, holding down the bass parts, or keeping time behind the traps. Asked about his origins with Segall, Moothart states that “We went to high school together, and started playing music together after he graduated.” I had a chance to check in with Moothart and find out some details about his forth-coming solo record on In The Red under the name CFM, who opens for Ty Segall and The Muggers on Tuesday, March 1 at Royale.
This is the first time I’ve seen you opening with your own band rather than playing in Ty’s band. How different is that?
It’s the first time I’ve been the front person of the band, so that’s an interesting challenge. Working with Fuzz [where Segall plays drums], I’d been working on my ability to carry that stuff forward. It’s been really fun to watch Ty play, from the sidelines. To watch him do his stuff, and just enjoy the show rather than being a part of it.
With The Muggers, Ty is just singing. Have you ever done just vocals, without playing as well?
No, and I’m proud of Ty for stepping out and trying it. He’s been killing it. Definitely a whole different ballgame.
You play guitar, bass and drums; which do you prefer?
I used to play drums in a band a while ago called the Moonhearts. I miss playing drums all the time. it’s the ultimate release.
With Ty playing drums and guitar as well, do you share notes or compare experiences?
We kinda just take it as it goes. We did the GØGGS records with my buddy Chris, and Chi-Nites when we switched off on guitar, bass and drums throughout the recording process. If and when we do shows, we were talking about switching it up during the set. We try to keep things as linear as possible, so that we keep the ideas as separated as possible.
What’s been your musical highlight so far?
It’s hard to say. Every step of the CFM project has been a personal challenge to myself, so in that way everything I’ve done before has been a movement towards constant change. trying to challenge and keep things interesting. Obviously there’s been ups and downs, but the main thing is to keep it exciting, fun and challenging. This tour’s been fun to play the CFM material and people have been reacting positively which is huge. Everyone in the band is a close friend. Michael Anderson who plays guitar and synth. He and I also played in a hardcore band called Culture Kids and he’s played in Mikal Cronin’s band for the last couple of years. Tyler Fromey plays bass, and Thomas Alvarez is playing drums. He played drums in a band called Audacity, and we’ve all known each other for quite a while now.
Listening to the new CFM record (Still Life Of Citrus And Slime), there’s definitely some sonic similarities to Fuzz, but there’s also some quieter moments, with the foot off the gas.
Fuzz has a specific sound. If I was working on a song, it’s pretty clear if it was gonna be a Fuzz song, which has been my focus for the last couple of years. This whole record came about when I was in a weird spot about a year ago, and needed to get some shit out of my head. I started writing just one song, just to see if i\I could write and finish it, and do everything on it. I did one, and it turned out better than I thought it would, so then it was like, ‘I’ll try this one, and this one,’ seeing what was possible. Trying to push myself through it. It became a personal challenge, but i didn’t approach it at the start as trying to write a solo record. It just came about song by song, and the next thing I knew I had a batch of songs, and they all work together. Even just putting it out was a challenge, and then playing the material live, I’m lucky in that I’ve got friends who are talented and supportive and stoked to try something different with me. It was just a progression of steps, nothing premeditated at the beginning.
Based on the garagey/metal stuff you play, what records do you listen to that may come as a surprise?
The possibilities are endless… I am down with all types of music. I never want to be a one trick pony. I definitely want to branch out and experiment, keep it interesting. That remains to be seen!
Do you see CFM doing more records?
Definitely. I want to do stuff with the band and write songs all together. I definitely want to keep doing it.