Moe (band)

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Moe tuning their instruments between songs on March 3, 2007. Left to right: Jim Loughlin, Chuck Garvey, Rob Derhak, Vinnie Amico, Al Schnier.
Moe tuning their instruments between songs on March 3, 2007. Left to right: Jim Loughlin, Chuck Garvey, Rob Derhak, Vinnie Amico, Al Schnier.
Background information
OriginBuffalo, New York, United States
Years active1989–present
Associated acts
Past members
  • Ray Schwartz
  • Dave Kessler
  • Steve Hunter
  • Mike Strazza
  • Chris Mazur

Moe (stylized as moe.) is an American jam band, formed at the University at Buffalo in 1989. The band members are Rob Derhak (bass, vocals), Al Schnier (guitar, vocals, keyboard), Chuck Garvey (guitar, vocals), Vinnie Amico (drums), and Jim Loughlin (percussion).

The band's first record, Fatboy (1992), established the band as a favorite of the 1990s jam band and improvisational rock scene, which grew in popularity with the rise of bands such as Phish and Widespread Panic.

In 1997, Moe toured with the Furthur Festival, appeared at Woodstock '99, played Summerstage at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, opened for The Allman Brothers and The Who, performed at Radio City Music Hall on New Year's Eve 2006 and returned there for New Year's Eve 2007. They have also performed at Bonnaroo Music Festival five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2009).[2]


The origin of the band goes back as far as October 1989, when Chuck Garvey, Rob Derhak, and Ray Schwartz got together to play a Halloween show at a friend's behest. The band's first true form began in the winter of 1990. Chuck was joined by Dave Kessler on guitar and Steve Hunter joined on saxophone and vocals. They called themselves "Five Guys named Moe," the name of a Louis Jordan song. They opened for a band named Monkey Wrench at Broadway Joe's in Buffalo, New York. Monkey Wrench would later be mentioned in Moe's song "Y.O.Y.," where Garvey sings "I wish I could suck like Monkey Wrench."

In the Fall of 1990, Hunter exited. Also, the band's name evolved first into "Haggis" (for one week) before settling to be simply "Moe", noticeably without the period. Derhak pushed for the "m" to be capitalized, but a Brooklyn band had that name already.

Al Schnier sat in with the band for a show in 1991 in Buffalo when Kessler was absent. After this show, Schnier was a frequent guest. They became known as the moe guitar army because of the three guitarists. It was around this time that the band also officially adopted the period at the end of its name. Schnier joined Moe full-time in early 1992 and in the spring, Kessler left due to a lack of interest.

After recording a series of cassette-only releases in 1991 (all of which are impossible to find), in June 1992, the band recorded Fatboy, after which Schwartz left the band to go to graduate school. Jim Loughlin joined Moe in September, on drums. During the summer of 1993, Chuck quit the band due to personal issues, but returned two months later and "begged for re-admittance and more abuse."[3]

In the spring of 1994, Moe recorded Headseed, officially quitting their day jobs, and they all moved to Albany, New York. Loughlin left in June 1995 to pursue a band named Yolk, from Binghamton, New York. After Loughlin left, Mike Strazza joined on drums, but only from July until the end of 1995, though he officially quit in September. During their two nights over Thanksgiving weekend at the Wetlands in New York City, Moe recorded Loaf, their first official live release, on which Strazza appears. Chris Mazur joined the band on drums from late 1995 through November 1996, and appeared on the album, No Doy.

On November 21, 1996, at The Bayou, in Washington DC, Vinnie Amico made his debut behind the drumkit and has continued in that position ever since. In 1998 the band really hit their stride as a four-piece, playing nearly 100 shows and recording their fourth album, Tin Cans And Car Tires. In early 1999, Jim Loughlin returned to the lineup on percussion, vibraphone, xylophone, flute, backup bass, acoustic guitar, vocals, and washboard. Since January 23, 1999, the band Moe has officially been Al Schnier, Chuck Garvey, Rob Derhak, Vinnie Amico, and Jim Loughlin.[3]

Signing with Sony/550 Music, Moe released their third album, No Doy in 1996, and 1998 saw the release of Tin Cans And Car Tires, which featured Vinnie Amico's first recordings with the band. Upon leaving Sony in 2000, Moe revived Fatboy Records and issued its second live album, L. In 2001, Moe launched the Warts & All series of complete live performances, released as multi-CD sets. Six such volumes were released between 2001-2008, on Fatboy Records, before the series was retitled Dr. Stan's Prescription, for two further volumes.

2001 also saw the release of Dither, which featured several road-tested originals as well as a cover of "In a Big Country", by Scottish rockers Big Country, while 2002 brought forth the Christmas album, Season's Greetings From Moe., featuring two original seasonal songs as well as several holiday standards.

For 2003's Wormwood and 2007's The Conch Moe utilized several live recordings of new songs as the foundation for studio experimentation, with the results mimicking the band's freewheeling live performances. The ninth Moe album, 2008's Sticks & Stones, focused primarily on material that had never been performed live - a first for the band. Moe released their first "best-of" in 2010, Smash Hits Volume One, which features re-recordings of songs from the Sony era, as well as tracks from their more recent albums.[4] 2012 found Moe inking a deal with Sugar Hill Records and releasing their tenth album, What Happened To The La Las, while No Guts No Glory followed in 2014.

Moe announced an indefinite hiatus beginning August 1, 2017,[5] while bassist Rob Derhak underwent treatment for oropharyngeal cancer. Derhak was declared cancer-free in December 2017 which coincided with Moe announcing a 2018 return to live performance.

Moe returned to the stage, at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, on February 2, 2018, and have since resumed a regular touring schedule.[6] Schnier has said that Derhak has brought a new perspective to the band in light of his life-threatening illness since his return.[7]


The band has taken part in a number of fundraising efforts. Moe held a tsunami benefit concert at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City on February 10, 2005. Sharing the stage were Sam Bush; John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood; Trey Anastasio; and Anastasio collaborator Jennifer Hartswick. All proceeds from the event were matched by the Dave Matthews Band and his Bama Works Village Recovery Fund to assist rebuilding an east coast sea town in Sri Lanka. Bama Works, Dave's philanthropic brainchild, recorded a final tally of $155,000.[8] The performance garnered Moe an award for Live Performance of the Year at the 6th Annual Jammy Awards.

On January 22, 2006, Moe performed at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, New York. This concert raised $35,000 in support of the Kelberman Center, a comprehensive community resource for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families. The evenings proceeds brought Moe's charitable contributions to over $200,000 between January 2005 and January 2006.[9] Al Schnier said about the Kelberman Center:[10]

The Promise School is one of the leading resources for autistic preschoolers in the country. I was amazed, and grateful, to learn that one of the most highly regarded programs was right here in our community. As we learn more about autism, and as our kids grow older, we are finding that we as parents and our children need that same high quality and progressive resource beyond the Promise Program's objective. The Kelberman Center is fulfilling that need.

On April 11, 2006, Moe donated $38,000 to the Kelberman Center as part of The Face of Autism telethon.[11]

On January 22, 2010, Moe held another benefit concert at Roseland Ballroom in New York, raising funds for WHY (World Hunger Year). This show was also their first of 2010, and of the tour. Guests included Danny Barnes (banjo), Marco Benevento (keyboards), Jeff Austin (mandolin), Butch Trucks (drums), and David Sanborn (saxophone).



Moe rang in the new millennium with three nights at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, New York, December 29–31, 1999.


GenreJam band music
Location(s)Turin, New York
Years active2000-present
Founded byMoe

Moe hosts the semi annual festival "Moe.down" at Snow Ridge Ski Area in Turin, New York. Started in 2000, the festival runs for three days and occurs every Labor Day weekend. In 2017 and 2019 the festival occurred during the Fourth of July holiday. The festival has attracted a wide variety of musical talent. Acts range from newer bands just emerging onto the scene (such as Tea Leaf Green, Nellie McKay and Raq) to big-name acts and jam rock staples, such as Les Claypool, Blues Traveler, and Mike Gordon (of Phish fame), to pop rock icons such as Leo Kottke, The Flaming Lips, The Violent Femmes, and Perry Farrell. Each year, the amount of Moe.down attendees has steadily increased: The first Moe.down drew around 3,000 people while Moe.down VI in 2005 had close to 7,000, and 12,000 at Moedown 9.

After ten years in Turin, Moe.down moved to the Gelston Castle Estate in Mohawk, New York for two years. In 2012 the event moved back to Turin, with the dates changing to August 10–12. On January 19, 2015, Moe announced that after 15 years Moe.down would be postponed indefinitely.[12]

In 2017, the band announced the return of Moe.down, pared down into a less-bloated, "return to roots" format.[13]

On April 3, 2019, Moe announced the lineup for their 2019 moe.down running July 4–6 at the Snow Ridge Ski Resort in Turin, NY.[14]


Al Schnier of Moe playing guitar at snoe.down 2010

Moe hosted snoe.down II March 17, 2006 through March 19, 2006. This event, which kicked off the week-long Adirondack Almost Springfest celebration, took place at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York, and at nearby Whiteface. During the concerts (though not during Moe's sets) fans had the option of ice skating while listening to the show. Bands included Soulive, Everyone Orchestra, Assembly of Dust, and Tea Leaf Green.[15] Chuck said about snoe.down II:[16]

Our set outdoors (that's right, outdoors on a ski slope in 10 – 15 degree weather) was brisk and inspired by hot coffee and a touch of whiskey. The gloves that I cut up to "protect" my hands from the cold ended up looking like something from Pat Benatar's 1980s video wardrobe when I was done making field alterations onstage to accommodate playing with my slide ... ... .hmmmmm. A bad sign, usually, but a crowd of 2,000+ made it their business not to budge the whole time. Kudos all around! Completely worth it – especially if you get to ski right up to your workplace!!

Summer Camp Music Festival[edit]

The first Summer Camp Music Festival was held in 2001 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, Illinois. About 1,000 attended that year, and enjoyed over 20 bands on two stages over the course of 2twodays. Since then, the festival has grown to more than 15,000 attendees, hosting more than 100 bands on seven stages over three days. Almost tripling the population of Chillicothe for the weekend, Summer Camp creates a city within a city, and greatly impacts the local business economy. Past performers include Moe, Umphrey's McGee, The Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Bassnectar, Widespread Panic, Les Claypool, Keller Williams, Pretty Lights, Skrillex, The Roots, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Family Groove Company.

Moe cruise[edit]

From March 7, 2004 until March 14, 2004, Moe embarked on their first musical cruise aboard the Norwegian Sun through Les and Lynn Berger of Rhythms at Sea Cruises (formerly Rock the Boat Cruises). Setting out from Miami, the Norwegian Sun visited Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, Costa Maya, and Cozumel before returning to Florida. The band performed each day except for the 12th, on the pool deck, Stardust Lounge, and the Observation Lounge. The shows on the 10th in the Observation Lounge were acoustic sets featuring questions and answer sessions with the band.

In January 2007, the band returned for its second cruise, again through Les and Lynn Berger of Rhythms at Sea Cruises. The cruise took place January 7, 2007 through January 14, 2007 on the Norwegian Jewel. Fans were treated to a different itinerary this time: the ship headed east out of Miami and hit the ports of San Juan (Puerto Rico), St. John's (Antigua), and St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands). Unfortunately due to rough seas, the ship did not port at the Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas).

Other festivals[edit]

Moe has also played at a number of established festivals, including;

They received a Jammy for their Bonnaroo performance on June 22, 2002.


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 2010: Smash Hits Volume 1 – Fatboy Records

Promotional releases[edit]

  • 1996: meat. – 550 Music
    • Out of print. 10,000 made. The song clocks in at a little over 45 minutes. The liner notes said, "Lyric by Al Schnier."
  • 1998: Moe Sells Out – 550 Music
  • 2007: High and Congress – Fatboy Records

Limited edition releases[edit]

  • 1991: Codename: Weasleshark – independent cassette release
  • 1991: Spine Of A Dog – independent cassette release
  • 1991: Real Live, Nearly Free – independent cassette release
  • 1996: Loaf – Fatboy Records

Video and DVD releases[edit]

  • 2006: Moe: Live at the Fillmore – DVD – Fatboy Records

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Rob Derhak – bass, vocals (October 1989 – present)
  • Chuck Garvey – guitar, vocals (October 1989 – summer 1993; summer 1993 – present)
  • Al Schnier – guitar, keyboards, vocals, mandolin (1991 (guest); January 1992 – present)
  • Vinny Amico – drums (November 21, 1996 – present)
  • Jim Loughlin – drums (September 1992 – July 15, 1995), percussion, MalletKat, flute, acoustic guitar, drums, piccolo bass, washboard, etc. (January 23, 1999 – present)

Former members[edit]

  • Ray Schwartz – drums (October 1989 – summer 1992)
  • Dave Kessler – guitar (winter 1990 – spring 1992)
  • Steve Hunter – saxophone, vocals (fall 1990 – winter 1990)
  • Mike Strazza – drums (July 22, 1995 – December 9, 1995)
  • Chris Mazur – drums (December 29, 1995 – November 17, 1996)



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. "Moe". AllMusic. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "Bonnaroo Artists". Archived from the original on October 27, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Band history at". Archived from the original on July 13, 2006.
  4. ^ "moe. - Smash Hits - Glide Magazine". September 21, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 18, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Greenhaus, Mike The Core: moe.'s Al Schnier,
  8. ^ "Music News & Concert Reviews". March 15, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "moe. Raises $35,000".
  10. ^ "moe. to Host Autism Benefit". Archived from the original on March 26, 2009.
  11. ^ "Al Schnier's blog entry for April 12th, 2006". Archived from the original on August 4, 2006.
  12. ^ "moe.down to take a break in 2015". Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  13. ^ "moe.down RETURNS IN 2017! - moe". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  14. ^ "Lineup Announced for 2019 Moe.Down". Music News Net.
  15. ^ "snoe.down 2 Official Information". Archived from the original on February 22, 2006.
  16. ^ "Chuck Garvey comments on snoe.down II". Archived from the original on June 30, 2006.
  17. ^ Bernstein, Scottt (June 3, 2020). "moe. Announces New Album 'This Is Not, We Are & Shares Single". JamBase. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  18. ^ Shackleford, Tom (June 3, 2020). "moe. Announces New Album, 'This Is Not, We Are', Shares Lead Single "LL3"". Live for Live Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  19. ^ Goodwich, Dave (June 25, 2020). "moe. Remains Artistically Relevant on Guitar Driven & Eclectic Via 'This Is Not, We Are'". Glide Magazine. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  20. ^ Budnick, Dean (July 20, 2020). "Track by Track: moe. 'This Is Not, We Are'". Relix. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  21. ^ Shackleford, Tom (November 16, 2020). "moe. to Premiere 'Not Normal' Full-Album Performance from Albany's Palace Theatre Lobby". Live for Live Music. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "moe. to Premiere 'Not Normal' EP with Playthrough Broadcast". November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.

External links[edit]