While numerous bands have impressed psychedelic rock fans with
lengthy improvisations, few bands have influenced the jam band
scene as much as moe. since forming in 1991. Hardly any bands have
been able to launch jams from within a framework of such
high-quality songs as moe. has over the course of its career.

Janna Hutz
He who smelt it dealt it. (Courtesy of Fat Boy Records)

When asked what has been the highlight of his band’s last
year, moe. guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Al Schnier paused for a
moment before offering a response. In the past year moe. released
Wormwood, their most acclaimed record to date, appeared at
the Bonnaroo Festival and opened multiple dates for the Dead, Dave
Matthews Band and Robert Plant. Many musicians would take this
opportunity to flaunt any one of these major accomplishments, but
the modest and friendly Schnier was sincere when he said that the
band’s own moe.down festival in Upstate New York was his
personal highlight: “It’s the one time when we get
together with all of our fans and really just have a great weekend
together.”

This year marked the fourth moe.down, and perhaps the greatest
gift the band could have given back to its loyal fanbase —
besides six sets of moe. — were appearances by alternative
acts the Flaming Lips and They Might Be Giants. In fact, Schnier
himself has been credited with introducing the Flaming Lips into
the jam band scene where they have found a new and appreciative fan
base.

“Our fans don’t seem to have a limited spectrum of
the music they listen to. They’re open to quality music of
many different genres,” he said. “I’m a big fan
of the Flaming Lips and I had the opportunity to sit down with
(Lips frontman) Wayne Coyne and explain that I thought our fans
would be really receptive to what they do.”

Perhaps Schnier and moe.’s greatest contribution to the
jam band universe this year has been the release of its fifth
studio outing, Wormwood. Recreating a musical experience in
the studio as rewarding as a live show has eluded jam bands to
date.

With Wormwood, moe. has created what is widely regarded
as one of the best studio albums in jam band history. As Schnier
explains, it took a creative approach that combined the energy of
the live setting with the capabilities of the studio to produce the
desired result: “We recorded all of the songs during our
summer tour last year and used some of those live tracks as the
foundation for our studio album.”

When moe. is finished performing at the Michigan Theater tonight
fans can purchase and receive the show on CD immediately at the
venue as part of the InstantLive program.

This is the first full tour that Clear Channel’s new
technology has been available and Schnier is excited by the
opportunity to offer fans the instant gratification of each
night’s live recording.

“The possibilities for live music distribution are
changing dramatically and are quite exciting,” claims
Schnier, “We’ve been able to work together (with
InstantLive) as a team to get this thing done, and hopefully, at
the end of the day, we put out something that fans are really
psyched about.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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