It’s been a year now since I asked the question: Who is @Moonalice, and a year later, I am equally excited about this band … The best part is that I finally get to see them!
I couldn’t be more excited: this weekend Moonalice is going to be at Hartford’s Arch Street Tavern (Sunday, April 1); how cool is that? I absolutely can’t wait to hear this band live. After all, I’ve seen them on what amounts to dozens of Webcasts / Couchtours, not to mention I frequently play their music on WHUS’ RustyString Café (Sunday mornings 0600 – 0900 ET); their cover of “Sugaree” happens to one of my favs. I often get calls when I play Moonalice, asking me, “Who is this band?” So, I will tell you:
Legend has it, it all started last year when I’d seen many of the people I follow on Twitter reference or quote profound lyrics or basic philosophy and attribute it to: @Moonalice. This had become a more and more common practice, so being the curious individual I am, one afternoon I tweeted, “Who is @Moonalice?” Which initiated a prompt reply:
Moonalice RT @crystalhayes917: Who is @Moonalice? ~SF's hottest jam band: John Molo, Pete Sears, Barry Sless. http://bit.ly/hbjEEg
So I decided to check them out. I’ve always loved the San Francisco sound, and though I’m not too fond of the term ‘jam band,’ (I prefer ‘hippie music’ myself), I get the connotation, and of course no matter what you call it, I love a band that performs live and jams freely. This band seemed right up my alley. I suppose one question that remained was, why had I never heard of them before?
According to their website, Legend has it: Moonalice is a band of hippie musicians from California with no label, no manager, no publicist, no problems, and lots of fans. With John Molo on drums, Barry Sless on lead guitar, Pete Sears on keyboards and bass, Ann McNamee on keyboards, and Chubby Wombat on guitar and bass, Moonalice is committed to taking the business out of music.
Moonalice invented Twittercast concerts, which are free broadcasts to fans over social networks. The band’s eponymous first album was produced by T Bone Burnett. Its second album, “Free,” is available only over the web and only for free. The first single from that album, "It's 4:20 Somewhere," has been downloaded almost 900,000 times. Recorded, mixed, and mastered for a mere $5,000, “It’s 4:20 Somewhere” is available only on the web and only for free. The FLAC version can be found at http://moonalice.bit.ly/2uZpcY
Moonalice invented the Twittercast concert, where it shares links to songs for an entire show, either live or after the fact. Moonalice has done 80 Twittercasts (and Facecasts, as the Facebook equivalent is known) and also broadcasts a song an hour over Twitter via Moonalice radio. Moonalice is also the first band to offer free LIVE videocasts of (nearly) every show. Live videocasts (and the archive) can be found at http://www.moonalicetv.com.
It seems to me, for Moonalice, it’s all about the music, and I love that! I remember hearing an interview with Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir once, and I believe it was Mickey that helped simplify it. He said, “We’re a band that loves music. We go places no one else ventures. We love playing off each other. It really is all about the music; we do it for and with each other. We just invite people to watch us…to enjoy us.” Perhaps this is why they were (and are) so successful. Success was never the catalyst for this band. It was the music. I see this in Moonalice. I feel like they’ve invited me to listen. I’m glad I got turned on to this band…even if it was via Twitter. Musically they are so in line with my tastes. They blend a sort of happiness to their music that is genuine and true. What more can you ask for?
Who is @Moonalice?
Moonalice is a San Francisco band featuring John Molo on drums, Barry Sless on lead guitar, Pete Sears on bass and keyboards, Ann McNamee on bass and keyboards, and Chubby Wombat Moonalice on bass and guitar. Moonalice is the band that formed from previous members of the Flying Other Brothers, which of course has a story all of their own. Individually I’ve known about these guys forever:
John Molo~ drummer and percussionist ~ He’s an east coast guy that’s played with Bruce Hornsby, The Other Ones, Phil and Friends, David Nelson, and Jemimah Puddleduck just to name a few.
Barry Sless~ guitar and pedal steel ~ Another east coast guy with talent and influences from the best around. Done work with the Flying Other Brothers, David Nelson Band, Phil and Friends, Kingfish and the Rowan Brothers.
Pete Sears~ keyboards and bass ~ Pete’s been playing for years with the best of the best. He’s one of the founding members of Jefferson Starship, but his resume goes so much deeper: he’s played with the likes of Rod Stewart, Hot Tuna, Phil and Friends, Steve Kimock, The Flying Other Brothers, just to name a few; jammed with anyone whose anyone, plus he’s done session work on over 100 albums.
Roger McNamee ~ bass and guitar ~ A founding partner of the venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, is well-known for making an unprecedented move by making venture capital investments in Electronic Arts. He was a founding member of Flying Other Brothers. Is the techie of the band.
Ann McNamee ~ bass, percussion, keyboards, vocals ~ Ten years ago, Ann retired as a Professor of Music Theory in order to pursue a new career as a songwriter and performer. Since then, her portfolio of over 200 songs offers a fresh perspective on relationships and the ever-changing world. She was a founding member of Flying Other Brothers, and with her band, Ann Atomic, has been part of Lilith Fair.
So, there you have it. I can’t wait to see this band. If you can’t make it to the show, hopefully there will be a Couchtour, and you can pick that up at Moonalice.com
Sure to be fun!