When two UB students founded the jam band moe. in the early ’90s, they didn’t think they’d be professional musicians, let alone a genre leader. Bassist Rob Derhak and guitarist Chuck Garvey first met in their UB dorm, bonding over their mutual admiration for The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa. Together, they developed moe.’s “jam” sound—extended improvisations that draw from blues, rock, jazz, funk and psychedelia.
Their first real gig was a 1989 basement party, after which the boys started playing at Buffalo venues like Broadway Joe’s. Eventually they began touring nationally, and now moe. enjoys a reputation as one of America’s most popular jam bands. In 2007, Garvey and bandmate Al Schnier made Rolling Stone’s “Top 20 New Guitar Gods.” The band was also noted in Peter Conners’ 2013 book and documentary film, “JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Scene.” Moe. returned to Buffalo last September for a two-night gig before starting work on its 25th album, due out in May on Sugar Hill Records.