I’ve held off on writing about moe. for a decade — or about the length of the average Recreational Chemistry— so as not to offend anyone. But enough is enough. Any growing interest in moe. can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.
• Individual achievement is not a big factor in jam bands. In a real jam band, players rock vacuums or fight bells — all in front of a crowd. When Trey Anastasio rip chords into Backwards Down The Number Line, he knows not to check his Twitter page. But there’s also individual glory in muumuu’s, solo projects, and being able to eat more buffalo wings than that one dude in Widespread Panic.
In moe., the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway. There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and only Topper’s self-esteem is bruised. There’s a reason perpetually alarmed fans are called “moe.rons,” not “close family and friends of the band.”
Do they even have MVPs in moe.? Everyone just runs up and down the fret board, every once in a while, Chuck kicks Al’s ass on a solo. That’s when we’re supposed to go wild. I’m already asleep.
• Liberal moms like moe. because it’s a band in which musical talent finds so little expression that their ex drummer is welcome to come back and beat on some bongos. No serious band has a bongo player, unless of course his name is Domingo and he is old enough to collect social security.
• No other jam band play the same exploratory jam over and over as much as moe. This was an actual marquee sign by the freeway in Long Beach, California, about a moe. show last week: “2nd set, 11 minutes left, still nothing interesting about a Seat of My Pants jam.” Two hours later, another moe. show was underway was on the same screen: “1st set, 8 minutes left, Rob looks bored during Buster once again. If Michael Jackson had treated his chronic insomnia with a tape of 6/22/2002 instead of Propofol, he’d still be alive, although bored.
Even in the Disco Biscuits, there are very few boring jams — and it’s a lot harder to see that band when a half the group is playing in a new band called Conspirator.
• The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as an improvisational jam. Most jams are sublimated warfare. As Lady Grace Potter reportedly said after moe. covered Ween some years ago: Don’t worry. After all, twice in this century Phish covered a far superior song from Chocolate and Cheese.
Phish and Umphrey’s McGee present a constant threat of personal disgrace. In String Cheese Incident, there are three or four times a set where you may get hit with a hula-hoop. — and it’s not a stroll on beach to be Kang with that tiny mandolin and a giant piece of plastic flying at your head. After an Avicii gig, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a moe. gig, all 75 fans in attendance get a ribbon and a juice box.
• You can’t sell out tiny venues when you are moe. (Thus eliminating the danger of having to order your tickets in advance.) What sets moe. apart from the other bands, besides talent, is that we have to fight scalpers just to get lawn tickets. Here’s a great idea: Let’s create a band so boring that there are always plenty of tickets available at the door during the night of the show.
• I resent the force-fed aspect of moe. The same people trying to push moe. on Americans are the ones demanding that we love the band Haim, the traffic getting into Lockn Festival isn’t that bad, the Washington Redskins name praises indigenous persons, and Michelle Bachmann’s husband looks manly wearing a salmon colored shirt. The number of Buffalo News articles claiming moe. is “catching on” is exceeded only by the ones pretending Michael Franti & Spearhead is fascinating.
I note that we don’t have to be endlessly told how exciting Phish is.
• moe. is foreign. Hell, they are almost from Canada. In fact, that’s the precise reason the Buffalo News is constantly hectoring Americans to love moe. One group of jam band fans with whom moe. is not “catching on” at all, is the Gov’t Mule fan base. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the fine folks of upstate New York like it.
• moe. is like the metric system, which East Coasters also adore because it’s European. Naturally, the metric system emerged from the French Revolution, during the brief intervals when they weren’t committing mass murder by guillotine. Speaking of mass murder by guillotine, that still sounds better than any version of St. Augustine.
Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to enjoy the album Tin Cans and Car Tires, ask any moe. fan for the temperature, and he’ll say something like “almost as hot as Mexico.” Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he’ll say it’s just far enough to not travel to the next moe. show.
moe. fans get angry and tell us that the bands jam style is more “rational” than the ones other jam bands employ. This is ridiculous. Meat makes Rob Derhak’s thumb far stronger than Meat has made Mike Gordon’s thumb, yet Rob is still rocking Mike Gordon’s hand me downs from the late 90’s. moe. fans claim it’s easy to visualize 32 Things, but how does one visualize STS9? Is that algebra or something?
• moe. is not “catching on.” Headlines this month proclaimed “moe. jams with Kate Hudson’s sperm donor” — again about the “growing popularity of moe. in the United States.”
The moe. vs. Umphrey’s garbage at Summer Camp was impressive, garnering 18.2 million dab hits during the weekend. This beat the second-most dabs at a show, which just so happened to be a Foster The People performance during the second weekend of Coachella.
Run-of-the-mill, regular summer Phish shows in places like Ohio average more than 20 million users of the popular Live Phish app the next day; while West Coast Phish gets get 30 to 40 million listeners the next day; and this year’s New Year’s gig had 111.5 million listeners. Yet you can’t even convince a homeless person at the end of the freeway off ramp to take your old CD-R’s of moe. 2/27/99 since most recycling plants just laugh and turn them away.
If more “Americans” are listening to moe. today, it’s only because of the demographic switch affected by Ronald Reagan’s anti-mental health policies of the early 1980’s. I promise you: No American whose mental health is fine is listening to moe. One can only hope that, in addition to getting the help they need, these mentally-ill Americans will drop their moe. fetish with time.