True to jamband form, upstate New York’s moe. toured incessantly throughout 2006. They bounced across the country, road testing new material and hammering songs into shape for their eighth studio release, The Conch, that hit shelves on Jan. 23.
The Conch is a 17-track offering that includes 13 fully-developed songs and four short snippets or interludes. “The process of recording stretched out over the course of a year, as we were extremely busy, recording, working on the DVD, playing live and about 10 other things,” said Chuck Garvey (vocals, guitar, keyboards) in a recent interview with The Marquee. The result is a solid album that subtly discloses the maturity of the band and their rare ability to create intense hook-laden music as effortlessly in the studio as they do on stage.
Fortunately for fans, 2007 is looking to be another busy year for the five boys in moe. The festivities begin this month in Miami, Fla., when they board Norwegian Cruiselines’ newest ship The Jewel and throw a seven-night party on the high seas for their fans. The cruise will feature performances by moe. each night and Garvey even hinted that there may be a private show on a beach during the adventure.
In addition to their packed touring schedule, each year moe. ambitiously hosts two full-fledged festivals in upstate New York. Their winter festival, snoe.down is held in Lake Placid, New York and even featured an outdoor performance last year at the foot of Whiteface Mountain. “I am not sure we are going to do that again. It was fun but it got down to almost zero that day. While we were bundled up and fueled by hot coffee and a touch of whiskey we still had to keep warm by jumping around as much as we could,” said Garvey. “Kudos to the crowd of almost 2,000 that stuck with us for the entire set.”
With Phish calling it quits in 2004 and the recent news that The String Cheese Incident is only going to be around for a couple more months, moe. is advancing into a position as one of elder statesmen of the scene. Their festivals foster musical development within the scene and give fans the opportunity to get their moe. fix while being exposed to some of the best new bands out there. “We have invited bands like Dread Clampett, Tea Leaf Green, and Toubab Crewe and all of them have played the second stage at our festivals and made big impressions,” Garvey said.
All of the touring, festivals and recording has unfortunately had a physical effect on the band recently. “Al [Schnier] (vocals, guitar) had to take some time off from playing guitar due to a pretty severe bout with tendonitis a few months back,” said Garvey. “That caused me to play a little bigger role on the guitar lately, even though we had guests sitting in with us to fill the void. As a result, I am now the one battling the tendonitis. I have been going through physical therapy and other treatments to try to deal with the problem. Fortunately, Al seems to be doing much better and will be able to play on the upcoming tour.”
In April of 2005, before the battles with tendonitis, moe. held a two-night run at The Fillmore in Denver and recorded the second night for broadcast on HDNet as part of their “Sunday Night Concert Series.” By many accounts the show turned out to be one of the best of the year and on Oct. 3, 2006 the band released moe.: Live at The Fillmore on DVD for the world to experience.
When moe. pulls into Colorado this time they will be fresh from their seven-night Carribean cruise and ready to launch the record release tour in support The Conch. The Colorado run is booked in progressively larger venues from night to night. “We call it ‘the evolution,’” said Garvey. “We start off in a small venue and work our way up. We did it once in Atlanta and wanted to do it again. Colorado fit the model perfectly with the range of venue sizes available to us.” The band will start their run at Twist and Shout in Denver and then head to Boulder for a night at the Fox Theater, before returning to Denver for shows at The Gothic and then finally at The Fillmore with Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band, to round out the four nights. “It’s fun because you get familiar with the faces up front over the run. The hardcore fans come out all four nights and that leads to a really good vibe in the venues.”
While the vibe in the venue is critical to their fiery performances, without a good vibe on stage none of this would be possible. In their 16 year history, moe.’s line-up has remained largely the same and they have all managed to remain friends. Garvey is quick to emphasize that he and his bandmates are still close friends after all these years of touring and playing together. “We recognize that we have it pretty good. Doing something this cool with your friends is a really fun way to go through life.”
Check Out moe. If You Like:
- Umphey’s McGee
- Disco Biscuits