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Saturday, May 18, 2024

moe. to bring their jam-music prowess to Madison

The Daily Cardinal recently spoke with moe.’s bassist and vocalist, Rob Derhak, while the band prepared to set out on their 2013 winter tour.

Back in 1989, guitarist Chuck Garvey, Derhak and former band member Ray Schwartz formed moe. at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Currently, the band is made up of Derhak and Garvey, as well as guitarist Al Schnier, drummer Vinnie Amico and percussionist Jim Loughlin.

It was difficult for the band to find similar acts to perform along side in the Buffalo area.

“There was no jam scene at all [in Buffalo],” said Derhak. “It was a thriving eclectic music scene.”

The Wetlands Preserve, a nightclub in New York City, would end up being a very important place for moe. Derhak still regards it as one of his favorite venues.

“That place is where we kind of grew up as a band,” Derhak said. “Not really as people so much.”

In 2012, moe. released What Happened to the La La’s, the group’s tenth studio album. On the album, the band took a number of road-tested songs and brought them into the studio for the first time. One of these songs was “The Bones of Lazarus,” a reworked version of the fan-favorite, “Lazarus.”

“For the most part it was my idea to change it as we had been playing it for a while,” said Derhak. “If we we’re going to record it at that point, I would want it to have a different feel, and be a little bit of a different song.”

Though the band has been around since 1989, they remain at the cutting edge when it comes to using technology. At their moe.down festival, the band performed their song “Crab Eyes” on five iPads that were running GarageBand and Mallets software. This innovative move caught the attention of the people at Apple.

“We were trying to come up with new and interesting things to do,” said Derhak. “We had just met this one guy who worked for Apple backstage at a show in St. Louis and I want to say it was just when the iPad 2 came out … he showed us that it had GarageBand on it and he showed us how you play it. It was pretty intriguing and I said ‘What if we tried to play our instruments like that and play a song?’”

After a video of the band using the iPads went viral, moe. found themselves performing at MacWorld.

The band’s festival performances have also been a big part of their annual touring schedule as they have been able to capitalize on the burgeoning festival market.

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“It really comes from [being] out there playing other festivals and meeting other bands and meeting other promoters,” said Derhak. “The idea of doing a festival is appealing to everyone in the band, our fans [and] to fans [that] are fans of festivals, not just of moe.”

The band is known for their relentless touring schedule; however, it has been a few years since the band has played in Madison. Since the band’s most recent appearance in Madison was back in 2005, there is a palpable excitement for moe.’s upcoming return.

“We haven’t been to Madison in a while … but it’s such a great little town,” said Derhak. “I’m glad we are going back, a lot of good people, a lot of really good, solid moe. fans there and I am just really excited to be going back there.”

moe. will take the stage at the Capitol Theater at 8 p.m. Feb. 8.

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