Bassist Rob Derhak of moe. on Colorado: "It's like the epicenter of hippie jamdom"
moe. returns to Denver this weekend for a two-night run at the Ogden Theatre, fresh from recording a brand-new album. These jam-band veterans will be celebrating their 25th anniversary next year, but they're still creating interesting new stuff while refreshing old classics. Bassist Rob Derhak spoke with us recently and said the band is excited to get back to the energetic Colorado crowds of moerons. The outfit doesn't rely on tons of lasers to excite an audience, just group communication and lots of improvisation to keep your ears tuned in to what's coming next.
See also: The best jam-band shows in December
We had a moment to speak with slap-happy bassist Rob Derhak as he finished up in the recording somewhere in Connecticut, where the band is "sequestered," and he candidly discussed what it takes to work one job for 25 years, as well as what's potentially in store for the future of the band, and the upcoming Colorado shows.
Westword: So you are in the studio right now?
Rob Derhak: I am. We actually just finished up recording the new album.
How did recording go?
It was good. It was a really easy sort of natural experience this time. A lot of times, it gets pretty tough. I don't know how to put it -- there's a lot of breaking down of songs that you don't really think about when you're writing them, and it gets a little too detail oriented, sometimes.
You can't see the forest for the trees?
Yeah, yeah, that's a good way to put it. This recording process has been a lot simpler and nicer, but we've been living here for a month; it's a bit much, enough. [laughs]
I'm assuming it's just you guys up there? No families?
Yeah, we are all away from home, holed up together and sequestered in a carriage house in Connecticut, just outside of New York.
So you're working on the new recording with Sugar Hill Records? That must have been a positive experience with the last album. How is it working with them again?
Sugar Hill's great. They're a nice extension of our family. They're not overbearing about what they want from us and what they expect us to do. They basically let us do what comes natural to us, and then take their team and do their thing with it. It's a lot easier, trying to get people who work for us, who aren't really record people or never have been, doing jobs they aren't prepared to do, and they are very easy to work with, so it's a nice fit.
Will you be putting out an accompanying acoustic album like you did with the last album?
We don't have any plans for that. I don't think that's going to be a serious "thing that we do," but you never know. I don't know. That's a good question! [laughs] We loved that acoustic album. We came close to just making this album acoustic, but when all was said and done, we just had way too much rock still in us to allow it to happen.
We'll probably come up with some promotional ideas that might be a little different. We still have a lot of time. We have to mix it, master it, make an album cover, all that crap. That's when it's in Sugar Hill's hands. You must know what it's like, interviews and all this lead up stuff that is required. Now, once I leave this place, it's out of my hands.
The jam band scene in Colorado is huge, and we look forward to having you here. Do you feel a special energy here?
Oh yeah, it's like the epicenter of hippie jamdom. It's a great, great place for us and our style of music. Just a really great energy.
Have you ever thought of having Snoe.down here?
We have. We've talked about it, and would love to. And we've actually been in talks with a couple different people about doing it. It's not out of the question. The other problem is taking it out of the Northeast, where we are from, and live, and traditionally had it. If there's a big enough calling for it, I'm sure that would outweigh any issues.
I'm sure you'd have a few vocal, angry East Coast fans.
Well, I wouldn't say angry [laughs] but...
Well, more just vocal. You read how critical your fans are. It's wild online in the jam band world.
Yeah, we take it with a grain of salt. You laugh it off most of the time, and sometimes some of the criticisms are 100 percent dead on, which is good for us. And then some of it is just completely out of left field, and you're all, "What the fuck are these people thinking?" Better to just laugh it off. You have to have a good sense of humor and maybe be highly medicated.
Hey, at least they are talking.
It's crazy. It's funny. One day, I will write something myself about it, but I'm not quite there yet.