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'Dither' Gets moe. Back in the Groove



In the so-called "jam band" genre, the live show is, of course, the most important aspect of a group's career.

The ability to stretch songs in new and challenging ways is the key to a good show, and the key to attracting die-hard fans to a band's cause. Recording albums is often a secondary concern, but in the case of moe., recording their new album "Dither" was a means of re-establishing the group's momentum after parting ways with their old label, Sony 550.

Chuck Garvey, guitarist and one of three vocalists in the New York-based quintet, describes the process that resulted in "Dither" as a "long, strung-out labor of love."

moe. started recording demos shortly after splitting with Sony 550 in April 1999, intending the demos to serve as a resume of sorts for prospective new labels. Unsatisfied with the first few songs, the band decided to scrap them and start again.

"We did it kind of piecemeal," Garvey said, describing "Dither's" genesis. "We did basic tracks in New York City and San Francisco, and then this past summer we spent another month doing overdubs and rearranging stuff and all the production stuff on it."

Eventually, the members of moe. realized all the work they were doing on the songs was shaping up to be an actual album, instead of just demos. They re-started their own label, Fatboy Records, which they used to release their first three albums, and decided to put "Dither" out themselves. It's not exactly the easiest way to get an album out to the fans, but it beats having a bad deal with a record label.

"We're excited about having our own label [again], but at the same time, if we could have made a good deal, like where we still maintain a lot of power and influence over what's going to happen, we probably would have done that," Garvey said.

On "Dither," moe. spent more time recording than on any of its previous albums, and the effort pays off in the classic-rock grooves and vocal harmonies on songs like "Captain America" and "So Long." The band did not have any deadlines, Garvey said, but managed to stay on task for the most part during the recording sessions.

"When we are the producer, band and record label, it's hard to really be outside of everything and looking at this and saying 'Hey, we have a budget, you know,' " Garvey said. "When you're inside of it, you're like, 'I just want to do this right.' "

"Dither" is slated for release on Feb. 6.

At Harry O's
moe. will kick off its latest tour Thursday at Park City's Harry O's, 427 Main St. Call (435) 647-9494 for showtime and ticket information.


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