HI-FI: What prompted you to start making records again after such a
long lay off?
MOE: Someone from Boston called me, they had somehow gotten hold of
a tape of me and Jonathan Richman doing Stickin With You
back in 74, so they called and asked if it was okay with me if
they released it. So I said Yeah. This was about 1980 I
think, then they called back a few days later to ask if I wanted to
record something for the other side, we had a four-track in the house
so I said Id try ..but I really dont think....
But as I plugged along it was fun and it was working okay so then I
decided I would keep it for myself and Id put it out. So we made
ourselves a little company, a little label, pressed up Will You
Still Love Me Tomorrow and had a real good time with it. I got
a lot, A LOT, of really nice letters from kids and it really was a nice
experience. It was so much fun I just kept working until I had enough
for an album, and that was Playin Possum.
HAIRY HI-FI: You played all the instruments on that didnt you,
not only drums and guitars but also synthesiser and saxophone?
MOE: Yeah, Id always wanted a saxophone. I saw an advert for a
used one for a hundred and a quarter, I think, so I got it and got a
little book How To Play Saxophone, Ha! and blatted away
for a day or two, then did my little solo.
HAIRY HI-FI: Meanwhile Varulven put out the duet with Jonathan Richman
and dubbed a different line over Soldiers fighting with the Cong.
MOE: They did?!
HAIRY HI-FI: Yeah. They replaced it with On adventures short and
long, presumably to make it more contemporary. You never heard
MOE: Uh huh! I never bothered playing it cause I knew it. Ive
got copies at home... Im going to have to check into that - how
HAIRY HI-FI: When did Jad Fair first get in touch with you, was that
after Playin Possum?
MOE: It was after Playin Possum or maybe about the same
time. The people who run the Velvet fan club from Florida knew me and
they knew Jad and they played me a tape of his and I just loved it immediately.
So I started writing to him and hed start sending tapes. Every
week Id get a tape, 90 minutes of these lunatics and I really
liked his music and his approach and him, so we did a little bit of
They made an album and he sent me a tape, they left the track empty
and I added drums to four or five songs. That was the first thing we
did together, then we did that little ep, that MoeJadKateBarry
thing. We did a real short, not even a tour, a week up in the North
East of America, two years ago, me and Jad and Kate, who runs the fan
club, and Penn Jillette, who has a comedy magic act.
HAIRY HI-FI: Penn & Teller.
MOE: Penn and Teller, yes, and there were another few guys. Out of the
week we played maybe four or five jobs, just for fun and to see how
it would go. And that went well, so ten months or so later we did that
again for two weeks, we had to keep it down because I had a job and
that was my vacation.
HAIRY HI-FI: Do you take the kids with you on these tours?
MOE: No, itd be too expensive. I was really wrestling with the
idea of flippin a coin and picking one of the kids to take here,
but its a good thing I didnt, its been pretty rough.
Weve been here [Europe], today its six weeks, and weve
had three nights off. Weve been doing six and eight hour drives
HI-FI: The group is basically you, Half Japanese [John Sluggett, Hank
Beckmeyer and Jad Fair, who had had to leave the tour with a throat
infection before they reached Britain] and whos the other guitarist?
MOE: Sonny. Sonny is from a Minneapolis group that I met called Shotgun
Rationale. I produced their record last December and I liked him and
I liked his guitar playing, so I asked him to join the tour.
HAIRY HI-FI: It struck me that the groups sound is so primal,
live Bo Diddley is just relentless, so devoid of embellishments.
MOE: Well, I had to fight with these guys, I had to tell them Dont!
Theres a five dollar fine if anyone plays anything but an E. Only
Im allowed to play something else.
HAIRY HI-FI: Great. I got hold of a video of The T.A.M.I, Show,
you know that?
MOE: Mmm hmm...
HAIRY HI-FI: With Bo Diddley and the Duchess, I think, on guitar.
MOE: The Duchess, yeah, I saw them once, that line-up, with Jerome Green
and, I dont remember the drummers name [probably Clifton
James], and Oh God, it was unreal! It was incredible.
HAIRY HI-FI: Its probably my favourite video clip, whenever theres
someone round Im going watch this, watch this...
Its the essence of rocknroll, your heart leaps up
in your throat as soon as you hear it.
MOE: Yeah, you cant beat it.