The Orion

Q&A: Big Mo on children’s tales, blues

Michael Quiring

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Photo courtesy of Maurice Huffman

Local blues musician Maurice Huffman of Big Mo & The Full Moon Band dished about his upcoming children’s book, dream musical project and being part of the best blues band in Chico. The band’s next performance will be Dec. 19 at the Chico Women’s Club.

The Orion: How did Big Mo & The Full Moon Band come together?

Maurice Huffman, lead singer, guitarist: I came from Germany to America about 21 years ago. I was in a band that was traveling across Germany performing shows. I came to Paradise, had to first get a job and meet people in the music industry. I started putting up some ads, and then put together a three-man band. I started doing some shows here and there, just getting my feet wet. Then I started writing again soon after I got comfortable after the birth of my son, and I got some musicians together to put all the music together that was going on inside of my head.

The Orion: How long have you all been playing together?

Huffman: About 12 years with most of these guys. The guys that have been with me the longest are Eric Weber on the saxophone, Patrick Hilton on the trumpet and Steve Valine on the pedal steel.

The Orion: You won a battle of the bands at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, right?

Huffman: Yeah, that was awesome. I sent a tape to the festival and they immediately invited us to come in ’03. This was even before we had a CD released. We skipped it, and then they called us in ’04 to be a part of the battle of the bands. We got involved that year in ’04, went without a drummer, got one when we got there and performed while being strictly judged. … We won and I couldn’t believe it. To do your own stuff and get away with it is a satisfying feeling as a musician.

The Orion: Your band has won best blues band for the Chico Area Music Awards for six straight years. How does that feel?

Huffman: It’s really awesome that we have such a great fan base. It’s been fantastic; the people have just been awesome. The CAMMIES are a great organization, and it’s an honor to have been awarded that. This past year I told them to not include us in the competition because we’d love to help out other upcoming bands get recognized in the area.

The Orion: Are you working on anything new?

Huffman: We are trying to get a three or four day weekend with three shows planned, maybe somewhere along the coast or at Fort Bragg, and I want to take my Chico fans with me. It’s been my dream project. I just came back recently and just recorded two songs on a friend’s project in Germany. I’m just enjoying taking a breath. It’s been nonstop for the past 15 years, and it’s nice to just take a break. I’ve also been writing a book, so that’s been taking a lot of energy.

The Orion: Tell me about this book.

Huffman: It’s a children’s book. My son, (Miles Huffman, Chico State applied computer graphics major and guitarist for Astronaut) when he was 2 years old, always wanted to hear a story before going to bed. One night, I created and read a story about a kid with the theme of “Jake and the Hot Air Balloon.” Every night I would read him a story and there would always be a new adventure. I would make up new adventures for “Jake and the Hot Air Balloon” and their different traveling experiences around the world. I liked to tell stories from myself rather than a book, kind of like my music. My son enjoyed them so much growing up, and when he was 15, he told me to start writing them, so that’s what I did. It’s been a lot of work. It gets my brain steaming after about 10 pages. I’m almost finished with the book. Kids for years have been enjoying my stories and I would love for more to hear the stories.

Michael Quiring can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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