The band moe. has been an ongoing concern since forming in Buffalo, NY, over 20 years ago. Guitarist/vocalist Al Schnier joined up in 1991, and the band has been busy on the road and releasing albums ever since, even putting on the excellent moe.down festival (#15 is in Turin, NY, August 29-31 this summer). I dropped Al a line as moe. were wrapping up their 11th album, No Guts, No Glory!.
What other kinds of projects have landed in your lap involving recording?
A friend of mine is working on this TV production thing. It's so crazy. Have you ever heard of Puppy Bowl?
Neither had I. It's this thing they do during the Super Bowl, maybe on Animal Planet, but they have puppies playing like a mock Super Bowl. They need music for that. This year is the tenth anniversary of Puppy Bowl, and the halftime show is Keyboard Cat, who's like this YouTube sensation, a cat that plays a Casio keyboard. So keyboard cat is going to be doing this Bruno Mars song for the halftime show at Puppy Bowl. I have a friend who's working on production for the show, and she kind of wound up in a pinch because the guy they had wasn't able to finish the job on time. She called me at the last minute and was like, "You can do this, right? This is the kind of work you do?" I said totally. She asked me if I was sitting down. I was like, "You've got to be kidding me!" She's like, oh no, it's totally real. I'd never heard of either of these things. Since it started, now there are four different things I have to do for them. There's like the "Puppy Fight Song" and all these other things. The meetings are so funny when we talk about things in the context of the role of the puppy who will be performing the song. It's pretty surreal. But it's nice to actually get paid for all the years of homework I've done learning how to use Pro Tools and email a track to somebody while I'm on the road.
Do you carry a rig with you all the time?
Yeah. I usually have a little MIDI keyboard. I've kind of gone back and forth about how serious it was, but now I'm putting together another lunchbox to bring on the road. I've got a decent pair of mics to take out on the road with me, so I'll have a good little mobile rig that I'll have access to at all times. Meanwhile, I also have a bluegrass group, Floodwood, that I play with. We made a record this year, and we're now in the middle of trying to put out a live record. We're combing through all our multitracks and trying to finish that at the same time. I've got a lot of different irons in the fire.
You sound busy.
Besides your [Vox] AC30, do you have any other favorite recording amps that you always bring to sessions?
I always end up bringing a [Fender] Tweed Deluxe with me, and I have several from different eras. I always end up using those. I actually have several Marshalls too, and I still use those. There's nothing better than a Marshall when it's pushing the envelope. I have a Bluesbreaker that I use and a 50-watt Plexi. They both sound great. In that context, you can put them right where you need to, and they're amazing. Other than that, there are probably other small combos or different things that I'll bring. I'll bring a Pignose amp with me. I have this little monitor amp that they used for editing films that was used in CBS Studios Hollywood. It's almost like an Auratone speaker with a little FET amp attached to it. It sounds so horrible, but it can be awesome at the same time. You can get these great Frank Zappa tones out of it. It's also great to put a keyboard or a vocal through. I don't go to the studio with quite as much as I used to, because I almost feel like I don't need to as long as I have a couple of those small Fenders and my Vox amp. A less is more approach has actually been a good thing. We get more work done.