It's a whimsical package, given the 20 years and nearly $100,000 Moser sank into the music. When it came out in 1995, the Los Angeles Times' Mike Boehm gave it a positive review, but the paper's policy of not listing the sale price meant anyone interested in it had to write to Moser twice to get it, finally resulting in one sale to a guy who already knew him. Car and Driver reviewed it, and Moser sold 40 more copies through that.
He thought he had an in with Capitol Records, but just before the CD came out, his contacts there were canned. A prominent music-biz lawyer he knew had retired, and the one adventurous commercial station of the time had changed formats. He is still sitting on hundreds of copies of the kinda splendid, musically rambunctious CD.
Moser has occasionally gone back to engine design to support his artistic efforts, which for the past five years have focused less on the music and more on writing a book. The result, which he titled A Book: A Story With Some Facts, got its best rejection notice earlier this year on the same day that Moser realized he was flat broke and, coincidentally, began to suffer from what turned out to be a major heart problem. Mechanical engineer that he is, when he lungs filled with liquid, he'd invert himself for a couple of hours to drain himself. Thanks to the county's Medical Services for the Indigents program, he is now a literal Captain Beefheart, with genuine bovine aftermarket parts in his ticker.
His new valve is expected to last 10 years, during which time he plans to return to music after knocking out a rewrite of his book.
"I raced cars for a while, and it seemed like you'd put in 2,000 hours of work for 10 hours of actual racing, and out of that, you might get 10 minutes that made it all worthwhile—30 seconds here or a minute there when you're totally alive, usually when you're in the middle of a crash," he said. "It's those moments that are indelibly burned into my 60 years of life. That's what I also sometimes find in music, this mystical moment, and there's a lot less wear and tear."
You can get your very own copy ofFour Men, 32 Angels and a Princess by sending $12 to Moser Sound Productions, P.O. Box 6202, Santa Ana, CA 92706. Tell 'em the LA Times sent you.