Welcome to Sound Bites, where we meet rock musicians at the crossroads between music and food.
If you don’t know moe., you’re missing out. period.
moe. mixes all the best qualities of the dankest jam bands, with the catchiness of FM rock/country radio and quirkiness of ‘90s alternative rock. In short, they’re all over the place in all the right ways.
To date, moe.’s never scored a No. 1 single — but just try seeing if any of the dizzying number of fans who show up at their annual moe.down festival care about that (attendance at the Snow Ridge-based event in Turin, New York, has topped 10,000). Think of moe. fans as a tiny, independent republic that any artist would die to have on its good side these days.
Formed in Buffalo, New York, in 1990, moe. is one of those rare bands who has a trio of original band members still at its core — Rob Derhak (bass, vocals), Chuck Garvey (guitar, vocals), and Al Schnier (guitar, keyboards, vocals). The band is rounded up by drummer Vinnie Amico, who’s been with moe. since 1998; and percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Jim Loughlin, a moe. vet who’s been in and out of the group since its inception.
We would suggest, if you’re not a jam band person, to start with either No Doy (1996) or Tin Cans and Car Tires (1998) — certainly the most “radio friendly” of their albums.
And well, if after that, you’re still not convinced at their greatness, just watch this video of moe. playing an entire song using only iPads. Watch it to the end.
CityEats had a chance to discuss upstate New York delicacies and the best food cities in the U.S. with the band’s Al Schnier.
You’ve been in the band for 20+ years. Who is the best cook in the band?
It’s funny. I think we all enjoy cooking, except for Jim. Vinnie definitely talks about it the most. His claim to fame is probably his “chicken riggies” — another Utica favorite.
What is your favorite U.S. food city to visit while on tour?
There are so many. For us, it often comes down to a special place we’ve discovered [called] Early Girl in Asheville, North Carolina; or Won Dee Siam in New York City. There are gems everywhere. San Francisco is always a great city for eating out. It has such a great showing when it comes to local, organic, grass-fed options — as well as ethnic and gourmet.
When you play live, jams often last quite awhile. What is your go-to pre-show meal for keeping up your energy onstage?
My wife is a holistic nutritionist. We eat very well at home. I also know a lot more about food than I ever thought I would. The ideal meal for me is going to be balanced (the right proteins and carbs), and not too heavy. I just started eating meat again after a 30-year hiatus. It’s been an adventure. I love a good organic grass-fed burger. The other key thing is for us to allow enough downtime to digest. Otherwise, I just go light — maybe some tapas or crudite, cheese, and fruit.
If you could describe moe. as a full-course meal, what food or beverage would each member be?
Jim – Chicken Nuggets and Fries
Vin – Chicken Fra Diavolo
Chuck – Eggs Benedict
Rob – Thanksgiving Feast
me – Organic Grass-fed Burger with Blue Cheese
Look out for a new Sound Bites story most every week. Until then: Let’s go juicin’ now, everybody’s learning how, come on to the juicer with me!