Brian Moss of Spafford
photo by DeWook
1998 was a year of change. The parents sold the house I grew up in and moved to Prescott, Arizona. My whole world was upended. Change was all around me. Whether a rave or jam band concert, I was into music on both ends. It was my only retreat. 2008 brought more change—this time for the music scene. Some cool guys started performing at open mics in Prescott, just miles away from my parent’s new home.
I was first introduced to Spafford in 2016. The Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin would host the band and it was my night to photograph this quartet. I was waiting backstage when they came down from the green room and prepped themselves to walk on stage to start the show. To this day I have yet to experience the vibe and energy these gentlemen gave out when they walked on stage. Brian, Chris, Nick, and Red made the venue erupt. From that day forward I was determined to photograph this band as much as possible.
I interviewed Brian Moss a few weeks ago while I was at home in Wisconsin and had following plans to come back to Prescott, Arizona, to visit family. After finding out that Prescott is where the band was born, I found it only fitting to write this piece in the place where it all began.
I had a chance to talk with Brian about family, future, and the band’s upcoming tour:
DeWook: First off, congratulations on your new addition! Welcome to Fatherhood my friend! How has everyone been adjusting to the new addition?
Brian Moss: I’m sure you can hear him in the background (laughter). It’s been great! It’s nice bringing kids into our Spafford Family. I’m the first one in the band to enter this chapter.
DeWook: Fatherhood is a big deal. How do you feel it will affect touring moving forward for you, if at all?
Brian Moss: I have a great woman behind me who supports me and my dreams. This was always the plan from the beginning. I’m certainly not the first musician to have a child and figure this touring thing out. I’ve gotten a lot of advice and support from friends who are musicians and they’re available to answer any questions we might have. We also have great support in our families. Easy peasy!
DeWook: Speaking of your tours, you’ve accomplished a lot. For example, there was that one year Spafford had their own tour while still touring with Umphrees McGee. What was your most memorable moment with Spafford on stage? Your all time stand out moment?
Brian Moss: My all time stand out moment? Playing Red Rocks (Colorado) for the first time was really quite an experience. I had never been there before, I’ve never gone to Red Rocks for a concert or anything, so to enter from the back behind the stage…just wow. Once we got through the tunnels to get on stage, and you look up and you see this coliseum basically, it’s unbelievable to look at. You can only imagine what it will look like full of people. But it’s not full when you show up at 10 o’clock in the morning. And when that place is full, it’s really one of the most special experiences getting on stage for me ever. Hands down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had!
One of my other favorite times ever was playing on Jam Cruise. To play in the middle of international waters under the blood moon was really cool. I think we played somewhere in between Belize and Mexico. That was a really cool experience. I actually used to take cruises with my mom when I was a kid, so to get back on a cruise but to be playing on it with more of a jam scene onboard was really quite an experience. The band got to go out and travel. The band got to go out on excursions in Belize. It was good to travel and just hang out.
DeWook: How did you end up in Prescott?
Brian Moss: I was in my early 20’s going through some changes in my life and I wound up in Prescott. I ended up going to college there. It was just a transition from the big city of Phoenix up to a small town. It was gorgeous. It has all 4 seasons. It was a really amazing creative space to be in and to really start Spafford. We used to play around all the bars on whisky row and that was a big jump start for us, to play 10 or 15 times a month on the same street! That’s the way it started. It was very conducive to the beginnings of Spafford.
DeWook: In May 2020, Spafford performed for Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival benefiting the COVID-19 Relief Fund that raised over $170,000 in proceeds. Can you tell us about that experience?
Brian Moss: Yep, and big hand to them for putting it all together. I think for us, doing the whole stream thing was just a little different but it was still a blast to do something from the inside of our studio and showcase that. We love playing in front of people, that’s why we do this. Nobody in their right mind would think to play in front of people sitting in front of their computers. But it was the next best thing when quarantine happened. It was great!
DeWook: I like to ask this question to everyone I’ve talked to during the shutdown — how was it personally for you after touring as hard as you were, did it change your motivation?
Brian Moss: Oh, god no. If this band had gotten bogged down by the obstacles that have been put in our way, we wouldn’t have made it this far. Life and being in a band is full of obstacles. You just have to continue overcoming them. And it seems that the bigger you are, the bigger the obstacles are as well as the upsets. As long as you have a good team behind you and the band is focused, and all on the same page with what we envision our futures to be like, we can push past every obstacle in our way. And we always end up stronger on the other side. Never give up.
DeWook: So are you all ready to hit the road in August?
Brian Moss: Yes. August starts out with a lot of fly dates. It will be a lot of flying for us, which is very typical. Flying here, flying there. It gets pretty crazy until the end of September. But we are very thankful to have the opportunity to go out there and play all over the country. It’s amazing. And once October starts, that’s when we jump into our band wagon and we drive around the country and do that thing. It’s a pretty heavy tour for 5-6 weeks.
DeWook: Typical question! Any new albums or anything significant?
Brian Moss: We’ve really focused on new music during the pandemic, as well as fixing some older music. Things we’ve always wanted to do. Yeah there’s plenty of new stuff coming out from the Spafford World. No saying when we’ll be releasing it just yet but, as a band, we are currently really focused on our live shows. So we want to use these opportunities to start unveiling some of the new stuff we’ve been working on.
DeWook: Thank you so much for meeting with me Brian, good luck on the tour.
Brian Moss: Thank you.
After the interview, I was in awe. He was such a nice guy. I realized how it all started on a new beginning. I went full circle in my personal life, just to come face-to-face with one of my favorite artists.
I can’t wait for the next Spafford show! Check to see if Spafford is heading to a city near you over at spafford.net/tour
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