moe

The jam-band vets show us their boutique pedals, rad amps, and silver-finished instruments built to commemorate their 25th anniversary.

moe.

Al Schnier’s main guitar for the current moe. tour is a silver-finished Les Paul that he commissioned from Gibson Custom to use in place of his ’56 goldtop during the 25th-anniversary dates. It’s essentially an R7 ’57 reissue with Seymour Duncan Antiquities humbuckers—which he also uses in his goldtop. Schnier’s other main guitar is a cherry-finished ’58 Gibson Les Paul Junior that still has a wraparound bridge and its stock “dog-ear” P-90.

Premier Guitar’s Perry Bean met with moe.’s Al Schnier, Chuck Garvey, and Rob Derhak before the band’s March 7, 2015, show at Marathon Music Works in Nashville. Among other things, the jam-band vets showed off their selection of silver-adorned instruments built to commemorate their current tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band.

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Jam-band vets Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier of moe. discuss the art of twin guitars, their lust-inducing gear collections, and how switching up their MOs led to the tonal extravaganza on their new LP, What Happened to the La Las.

Photo by James Paddock

Listen to "Bones of Lazarus" from What Happened to the La Las:

Whether the term “jam band” makes you think fondly of your dresser full of tie-dyed shirts, wool socks, and hacky sacks, or it conjures painful images of endless/aimless improvs at gigs swarming with hordes of tripping hippies, 2012 has brought you a ripping, stereotype-busting new album that’s a master class in the art of dual guitars. Formed in Buffalo, New York, in 1989, veteran jammers moe. just released What Happened to the La Las—a catchy set of 10 rocking tunes that finds guitarists Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey trading foot-stomping riffs, crystalline harmonic arpeggiations, wailing wah- and rotary-speaker-powered leads, bristling slide duels, and warm echo excursions.

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On their new album, What Happened to the La Las, the band balances the accessibility of sing-along choruses with fierce guitar playing from Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey.

moe.
What Happened to the La Las
Sugar Hill Records


It has always been a struggle for bands known for exploratory, unpredictable live shows to capture some of that intangible magic on studio recordings. Generally, these albums walk the line between lackluster, watered-down versions of road-worn tunes and a thrown-together collection of unknown, hit-or-miss songs. This isn’t the case with moe. On their new album, What Happened to the La Las, the band balances the accessibility of sing-along choruses with fierce guitar playing from Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey.

Unlike the prog-rock of, say, Umphrey’s McGee or the bluegrass-with-drums approach of Leftover Salmon, moe. is deeply rooted in classic rock, big guitars, and an improvisational spirit that keeps them ahead of the pack of modern (post-Phish) jam bands. The album opens with one of the band’s older compositions, “The Bones of Lazarus,” which for years was known as simply “Lazarus” before a reworking took place in the studio. The Edge-like opening riff sets the stage for the group’s combination of quirky lyrics, twisted Thin Lizzyesque guitar lines, and anthemic choruses.

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