Moe.'s Jim Loughlin on Return Of the Jedi and the Vibraphone

Categories: Interview

Moe.jpg
Jay Blakesberg

Legendary jam band, moe. (originally Five Guys Named Moe) has been putting out albums for nearly three decades now, with a catalogue of 24 albums to show for it. The group consists of guitarists and vocalists Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier, bassist and vocalist Rob Derhak, Jim Loughlin on percussion and vibraphone, and drummer Vinnie Amico.

Moe.'s latest album No Guts No Glory came out late May, and its hilarious music video for its hit single "Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes" even premiered exclusively on Conan O'Brien's website TeamCoCo.com. The video follows the guys as they stick up for a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes and provide wet willies to any little boy who gets in her way.

We spoke with moe.'s Jim Loughlin before their date at Revolution Live about the video and how this rocker remembers the opening day of Return of the Jedi.

New Times: First of all I want to ask, how's the tour going?
Jim Loughlin: The tour's been going really well. We've been out for a while with some small breaks in between, but the shows have been really good.

Your video "Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes" premiered on Conan O'Brien's website. How did that come about?
We've been on the Conan [website] before, and you know we have an amount of contacts with them and his website hosts all kinds of stuff. He's a pretty hip dude. We had the opportunity to premiere it on the site which was really awesome.

That video looks like it was a lot of fun to make, what was it like shooting that?
(Laughs) It was a lot of fun. We did it basically all in a day. It was shot up in Maine. It was really good, some of the stuff was kind of hilarious. It wasn't that kind of shoot where we got to watch dailies of it or anything, so when we actually got to see it put all together it was very fun. I feel for the kid who got hit in the head with the ice cream though, he had to do that take twice so I kind of felt for him on that second one.

How did you guy settle on the name moe. for the band?
Originally there were five guys in the band so the original name of the band was actually Five Guys Named Moe. Then when the band got cut down to four people for a long time, and I was the actual drummer for the band, we cut it down to moe.

But where did moe. come from?
Well "Five Guys Named Moe" is a Louis Jordan song. So that's where we got the original name from and it just got shortened.

On your latest album you worked with producer Dave Arron who's worked with Tupac and Snoop Dogg and is probably best known for hip-hop. What was that like?
It was awesome, Dave is a great guy and we've actually known him for a long time. He's an old school classic rock guy at his roots. He was born in Jersey and went to college in Memphis. When he started working, he fell into that category of hip-hop and pop music.

He's worked with tons of artists. He's worked with Sublime, he's worked with Prince as well as the hip-hop stuff. And just knowing him for as long as we have, he'd seen us a lot live, he knew who we were and what we wanted to accomplish so it was really, really easy working with him. And he's just a really very talented engineer and a relaxed producer, but he knows what he wants so he was definitely a pleasure to work with.

I read that you got shot in the head by an arrow on the opening day of Return of the Jedi, I have to hear that story.
(Laughs) I grew up in Massapequa, I went to catholic school and we used to get out of school early. Me and a friend of mine got in line to see Return of the Jedi and when we came home, I went back to his house. I was messing around with his little brother. He had a couple of arrows and a small target bow, and this was inside and he just, joking around or whatever, the arrow slipped out of the bow and it caught me just above my eye, my right eye and it knocked my head backwards -- luckily, or else it would have went down into my eye. It actually hit just above it and grazed across my head.

And then, after I graduated high school my retina detached. I didn't catch it right away so what ended up happening was, when I got surgery on it, it just didn't take. But yeah that's how I'll always remember Return of the Jedi.

So how did you get into playing the vibraphone at 34?
When I was in high school, I played in band in high school. I was really the only percussionist that could read pitched music so they would put me on the bells or the marimba. But at that age it's a really difficult instrument to get into cause they're really expensive and it's hard to find a teacher.

When I auditioned for music school at the University of Buffalo, I had to learn again another marimba part, so I was lucky enough to have a marimba instructor at my high school. He played marimba, so I took some lessons from him for the summer just to get ready for this audition. And then I didn't touch it for the longest time, but I always had an interest in it.

I wanted to get into mallet percussion. My goal was a marimba, but in talking to the guys I ended up getting my hands on a malletkat which is midi controller set up for a mallet player and vibraphone was one of the sounds in it and it just worked better in the band. So I got heavy into the vibraphone and started listening to a lot of vibraphone players, and finally at 34, two years after having the electric one, I finally was able to afford an actual vibraphone and have it on the road. We built this huge case for it and everything and it's been in the rig ever since. It's an awesome, awesome instrument.

moe. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $23.50 in advance plus fees and $25 at the door. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.

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