NEW NICK MOSS BAND ALBUM 'TIME AIN'T FREE' OUT MARCH 18 ON BLUE BELLA RECORDS
It might have been Nick Moss, NCAA football champion instead of Nick
Moss, scorching rock & roll and blues guitarist and bandleader, had
his kidney not gone into almost total failure at 18. He says, "I was a
state championship heavyweight wrestler, and a college scouted football
player as an offensive tackle/offensive guard. Lots of colleges were
looking at me for scholarships for both."
At 18 years of age, he was admitted to the hospital. "I had 80% of my
kidney taken out of me. It almost killed me. They told my parents I
wasn't going to live after my first surgery. I spent most of that winter
and spring between my 18th and 19th birthdays laid up in the hospital.
They told me that I'd never play football again," he recalls.
But other plans were afoot. His older brother Joe, already a guitarist
with Chicago blues mainstays Buddy Scott & The Rib Rips, brought him
a bass and a pocket headphone amplifier in the hospital to pass the
time while he was recovering. By the time of his surgery, Nick had
already sat in with Scott at the historic Checkerboard Lounge on bass a
number of times. Moss says, "He was really highly regarded in Chicago. I
learned a lot from him about stage presence, showmanship, and how to
play with a band."
After the surgery was another matter. He smiles and remembers, "One
night, my brother snuck me out of the hospital to see Little Charlie
& The Nightcats play their first show in Chicago at Wise Fool's Pub.
I literally had two tubes with two bags holding my urine. My brother
put those bags inside a shopping bag and brought my dad's camel-hair
overcoat to cover them up. Rick Estrin—you know he's such a sharp
dresser—he opened up the coat because he wanted to see the lining and
saw the tubes and just said, 'What happened to you?'"
It proved to be a defining moment for the young Moss, suddenly bereft of
his athletic talents. Of that night at Wise Fool's Pub, he says, "I
thought to myself: This I what I want to do for the rest of my life. I
want to be able to play like these guys are doing. The musicianship was
incredible. I'll never forget it. Later, I would see them at shows or
festivals and they were so encouraging. I am grateful for the kindness
that those guys showed, always making themselves available."
The Nick Moss Band's new album 'Time Ain't Free' comes out March 18 at Blue Bella Records. You can catch them live on WGN-TV on February 25, making their national TV debut.