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Ian Moss is an Australian rock musician, best known as the lead guitarist and occasional singer with Cold Chisel. In that group's initial ten year career, Moss recorded eight albums, three of which were #1 national hits. His solo career began with a #1 album and single and five ARIA Awards. Since then his career has been more low-key, interspersed with periodic tours and albums with a reformed Cold Chisel.

Early life and Cold Chisel

Born in Alice Springsmarker to Geoff and Lorna Moss on 20 March 1953, Moss originally took piano lessons but switched to guitar at age 11. When Ian Moss was a child, he would perform for his family and friends. When he was nine years old, he sang "The Battle Of New Orleans" for his school. When Ian Moss was fourteen, he was asked to join a local band called "The Scene". Ian played rhythm guitar, so he had to plug in his acoustic to the bass player's amplifier. "The scene" played at their local centers and soon began organizing their own dances. Ian Moss sang a couple of songs with "The Scene" and a year later, he bought an electric guitar to replace his acoustic.

Around this time, he started his own band called "Anger and Tears", which debuted when they played at the Alice Springs High School in 1970. The band also played at the school's dance and a local Battle of the Bands contest. Moss had failed a year of high school and decided to repeat in Adelaide. After attending high school in Adelaidemarker he met songwriter and organist Don Walker and together they joined bass player Les Kaczmarek in a band called Orange. Within months the line-up also included drummer Steve Prestwich and singer Jimmy Barnes and the group's name became Cold Chisel.

While Moss' main role in the band was as its guitarist, he would often be called upon to take over lead vocals as well (when Barnes walked out of the band, as he did repeatedly). After periods spent in Adelaide, Armidalemarker and Melbournemarker, Cold Chisel settled in Sydney in mid-1977 and finally won a recording contract with WEA late that year and recorded their self-titled debut album.

While Barnes remained the group's identifiable front man and lead vocalist, Moss also added lead vocal to several of the band's songs, the first of which was "One Long Day", the B-side of the "Khe Sanh" single and the closing track on side one of the debut album. His vocals feature on some of the band's best known songs, including the hits "My Baby", "When the War is Over" and "Saturday Night" and on "Bow River", which Moss wrote and the track that has since become his signature tune. "Bow River" was the only Cold Chisel song Moss performed when he returned to live work as a solo artist in 1988 and remains the only one he consistently performs to the present. Moss also sang lead on Cold Chisel's version of "Georgia" which became a staple of their live shows, although the only recording of this is on the 1984 album Barking Spiders Live: 1983.

Already established as a singer and musician, by late in the band's career Moss had also gained status as a songwriter, contributing "Never Before" for the East album, the track that was chosen as the first to be aired by Triple J when it swtiched from AM to FM in 1980. Songs on later albums included "Bow River" and "No Good For You" on Circus Animals, and The Last Wave of Summer's "Red Sand". He also featured on recordings by other artists, playing a guitar solo on the track "Skin" from the album Icehouse by Sydney New Wave band Flowers and an uncredited appearance on Richard Clapton's The Great Escape, that also featured Jimmy Barnes.

Solo career

After Cold Chisel disbanded in 1983, Moss retired from the music industry for several years before launching a solo career in 1988. His first single, "Tucker's Daughter", co-written with Don Walker, was released on Mushroom Records in March 1989 and was a No. 1 hit. Another Walker composition, "Telephone Booth", also went Top 10. Matchbook, released in August, reached number one on the album charts, remaining at the peak spot for three weeks. Two further singles, "Out of the Fire" and "Mr. Rain" were also minor hits and at the ARIA Awards early the following year Moss won five awards including Best Male Artist and Album of the Year.

1991's Worlds Away featured the same style of commercial pop-rock as Matchbook but was less successful and Moss did not record another album of his own for five years. In the meantime, however, he played in Don Walker's Catfish, contributing to the Ruby album. He also made guest appearances on albums by The Black Sorrows and Richard Clapton, and made a cameo on Jimmy Barnes' Heat, the first time he had worked with Barnes in ten years.

His Petrolhead album from 1996 was an album of hard edged raw blues and was followed a year later by a live album. Neither made an impact on the national chart, but during 1998, after fifteen years Cold Chisel reunited to record a new album, The Last Wave of Summer and perform live once again. The reunion was a huge success, resulting in sold out concerts with both the album and several singles becoming chart hits. Another Cold Chisel tour in 2003 proved to be just as successful.

During 2005, Moss was invited to record an album of acoustic songs for Liberation Music and Six Strings was the result. To support the release he undertook an extensive tour with former Noiseworks and INXS singer Jon Stevens. The same year he worked with Barnes again on Double Happiness.

Ian Moss' sixth album Let's All Get Together was released in 2007.

In 2008, Ian Moss was on the Australian television singing show, It Takes Two.

Personal life

Ian Moss was in a de facto relationship with Australian actor Megan Williams for eleven years until they split up in the 1990s.

Ian Moss has a son named Julian. His album Six Strings has a song written for Julian named "Song for Julian". The song is instrumental and has no lyrics.


with Cold Chisel:

entire catalogue, see Cold Chisel


Other appearances:


  1. "Ian Moss from Cold Chisel to Solo Performer", ABC South West WA 12 November 2004
  2. Creswell, Toby Jimmy Barnes: Too Much Ain't Enough (1993)

External links

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