Not In Buffalo Any More: moe. Embrace Their Inner Jamband (Relix Revisited)
Different clothes (some fit, some don’t)
More than a decade later such musical pluralism also remains a moe. hallmark. The group further embodied this on its winter 2003 tour by dropping in new cover tunes each night. This practice evolved from Schnier’s suggestion the previous fall that the group learn all the songs on the first Cars album and play a different one at every show (“We ended up playing [Tori Amos’] ‘Cornflake Girl’ instead, that’s how things happen.”).The artists whose music the band interpreted during its four weeks of shows in January and February ranged from Sublime (“What I Got”) to Tammy Wynette (“Stand By Your Man”) to Radiohead (“Karma Police”) to the Eagles (“Hotel California,” in Los Angeles after Garvey’s “West LA Fadeaway” suggestion was tabled) to the Flaming Lips (“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (part I)”). The group is particularly proud of the Radiohead and Lips covers, two bands whose singular sounds elicit encomiums from the band.
The arrangements varied. Some, such as “Yoshimi” and “Karma Police,” remained faithful (“It’s real fun to try on those clothes for a little while and make believe we’re in a different band or something,” Garvey relates. “Out-of-band-experience is always fun, it’s like kinky role-playing.”). Others, such as “Stand By Your Man” or the Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” were looser attempts to evoke the essence of the songs. One or two others fell apart on stage nearly to the point of impiety, such as Kansas’s “Carry On Wayward Son.” This composition, picked in part for its location (much like Nirvana’s “All Apologies” or Hendrix’s “Manic Depression,” both of which moe. covered in Seattle) was a challenge to learn at soundcheck. “Rob didn’t want to do it,” Garvey explains, “because there are a lot of lyrics and a lot of sections but we felt the moment would be lost once you’re not in Kansas anymore.”
This of course is the kind of joke the band appreciates. Indeed, another of moe.’s defining traits is its humor, typically a self-aware chop-busting sarcasm that bridges the gap between band and fan as audience members correctly surmise that the banter on stage mirrors the group’s badinage off it. Drummer Vinnie Amico still signs autographs as “#5,” a throwback to the days when he first joined moe. as its fifth drummer in 1996 and the band repeatedly identified him solely by number. And then there’s “Bullet,” a Garvey song off Wormwood more commonly known as “Assfinger.” He reveals, “I wrote the song and I was having trouble coming up with a title. There was an incident where someone had a romantic rendezvous in a semi-public area and the details involved some strange romantic maneuvers, so we were calling this person Assfinger. One night we finished the song, everyone applauded and Rob walked up to the mike and said, ‘The name of that song is ‘Assfinger’, ha ha.’ Well the next night there were a bunch of dudes down front screaming for ‘Assfinger’ and of course within the moe. camp it caught on like wildfire, much to my dismay. At that point I couldn’t even think of a new title for it because no one would listen to me anyway. It’s like getting a nickname—you can’t choose your own. So the song was nicknamed and it stuck and it was a bummer. But for the record, I prefer to call it ‘Bullet.’” Indeed.
Back to the covers; not only did they offer an increasing contingent of touring moe.rons a certain taste of something new every night but they provided the band with an opportunity to examine these enduring compositions. This has long been an area of interest and emphasis, as the band honed its compositional skills apace with its improvisational development. It was a direct result of moe.’s song craft that the group signed with Sony’s 550 Music in 1996, becoming one of the jamband scene’s earliest emissaries to the mainstream. It was not a comfortable fit.
As with many young bands, the major label deal provided an immediate sense of legitimacy. But when asked how long it took for disillusionment to set in, Derhak snorts, “About ten minutes… I remember going to dinner with our A & R guy and everything seemed cool to me and then when we were walking back to Sony he took Al aside to tell him how he wanted the album to go. I looked back and realized how uncomfortable Al was with the conversation. When I found out what he had said, I thought it was bizarre, first that he was singling out someone when everything was completely democratic and also him telling us how he wanted it to go and not asking us how we wanted it to go. That was when he grew horns.” Over the next few years the band never quite seemed in accord with Sony, on issues from picking an initial song for 550 to get behind (the label pushed for “Guitar” which moe. began working on in the studio but ultimately scrapped though it ended up appearing on Schnier’s alt-country Transamericans album seven years later) to the word “fucking” in “Plane Crash” (Sony wanted the band to record an alternate version without the expletive or remix the lyric hip-hop style, playing it backwards but the band demurred). Despite two well-received discs (No Doy and especially Tin Cans and Car Tires ) the band never achieved the label’s artistic goals (defined rather narrowly as mid-six figure sales) and Sony dropped its option on the group.
Beth Hart shares the opening track from her latest album, Bang Bang Boom Boom, live at Relix.
Jamie Lidell sets up in the Relix boiler room and delivers a tune from his 2005 album Multiply
Duane Trucks is happy to announce his new project, King Lincoln. Watch them perform “Coffee” live and acoustic at Relix’s Online-Video Coordinator’s loft in Williamsburg.
Here’s another song from Crystal Bowersox’s new record All That For This, live at Relix.
WYATT share a song in the famed Relix boiler room.
Goodnight, Texas share a song from their latest studio album, A Long Life of Living, live at Relix.
Warren Haynes performs a solo, acoustic version of “Railroad Boy” and explains how he adapted the traditional Celtic song for Gov’t Mule, backstage at the Hangout Music Festival.
Australia’s Alpine recently made their NYC debut at the Relix office with this song from their new album A is for Alpine.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
- Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
- Visions of Bonnaroo Thursday (ALO, Jack Johnson, Polyphonic Spree, Allen Stone…)
- Deer Tick Share "The Rock"
- Win a pair of passes to The NINES Festival
- Robert Hunter Will Return to the Stage for Eight Shows
- Mumford & Sons’ Ted Dwane Shares Photo, Update
- Jack Johnson: Bonnaroo Song, Mumford Cover, "Mudfootball" with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
- The Making of Pretty Lights’ A Color Map of the Sun
- Interlocken Confirms Daily Lineups, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Punch Brothers, Keller & The Keels and More Added
- Mumford and Sons Cancel Bonnaroo Show, Summer Tour
- Ed Helms: Bonnaroo, Banjos and a Bit of Phish
- Robert Hunter Will Return to the Stage for Eight Shows
- Tedeschi Trucks Band Share New Song
- Warren Haynes to Play Jerry Garcia’s Wolf on Symphony Tour
- Patty Griffin in Boston
- Jack Is Back: Jack Johnson Talks Bonnaroo, ALO and New Album
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll