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The Moore Brothers

A Conversation with The Moore Brothers (continued)

PM: So what about gigging, Thom? What is the gigging scene for the brothers like at the moment? Do you get out of town a lot? Do you work straight jobs, or is it music all the time?

TM: Well, my brother has a job as an attendant for a disabled person. And I still have a year left of school. I'm getting my masters in U.S. History at SF State. And right now we're kind of in a transitional stage. I'm spending the summer up in Nevada City, where my girlfriend lives.

PM: What a beautiful town.

TM: And right now I'm house sitting for another day. That's the number you're calling, is the place where I'm house sitting.

PM: Oh, up in Nevada City?

TM: No, we're actually down in Oakland right now. But I've been up in Nevada City. It is a great town. You've been there?

PM: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I lived all the around the Bay Area, for sure, and just loved that. I love that area.

TM: Yeah, it's really nice. This summer is a little different than usual, we're playing less than usual. But we're going to do a West Coast tour the first week of August, and play everywhere from San Diego up to Vancouver.

PM: So who books you when you do that?

TM: We do.

PM: You do it yourselves.

TM: Yeah.

PM: That's hard.

TM: Yeah, it's hard. And we're getting some help from some friends of ours, a three-piece called Dream Date, a female--I don't know what to call it--punky poppy group.

PM: You're not going to do dates together though?

TM: We are. We're doing some dates together. So we split up the dates, and each booked four of them, so the load was lightened. But usually I'd say we play two to three times a month. It's just the guitar we bring. It's easy. We don't drive, so we usually take public transportation--

PM: It's amazing, because I've gigged a lot around Europe with my brother. And sometimes it would just be a couple of guitars, and we'd be on the train. It's a gas. So has radio caught onto the Moore Brothers, appreciably, in any format?

TM: This album more than any other. College radio will sometimes play us well. KCRW has played it a bit. KALX, we have so many friends who are DJs there, we can usually get on the top ten there, for the month after the album comes out. And then everybody forgets about it.

PM: Sure.

TM: But yeah, they play us at KALX. Where else? Just all over the country, I'll see playlists. I don't think we have any college radio hits. But they give us some time.

PM: Is the gigging approached more as a pop thing, or belonging to acoustic duo world?

TM: We're more likely to play in between a punk band and a pop band. But sometimes we'll play a night of acoustic music, of course. Often, I think we're in the pop world more than the folk world.

PM: Right. And I think that's a good strategy, for sure.

TM: Yeah.

PM: I loved that film that Greg did with Annie Heringer on the--

TM: Oh, good!

PM: Biggest Fan. [laughs]  [Check it out in the Audio/Video section of the MB website.]

TM: I'm so jealous that I missed that night. I had a date that night, and I missed that party.

PM: Imagine.

TM: I know, it's turned out to be a historic evening. You ask Greg about that. He probably could tell you more about it. I wasn't there. But I love the movie, too.

PM: But of the two brothers, you're more the Captain Beefheart fan, right?

TM: I'd say, yes, for sure.

PM: Because I was also that, as well. I mean, a consummate Beefheart fan. And so it's very interesting to me that half a pristine brother duo should be a Beefheart fan. Is there a certain period of his work that you like of his records?

TM: All of it. My favorite record might be Lick My Decals Off.

PM: Yeah. Ah, see, that's a real Beefheart fan.

TM: Yeah. But when I was 15, I used to shop at this record store called Poobah's in Pasadena. And the guy who worked there is this guy named Rick Snyder. It turned out he's Richard Midnight Hatsize Snyder from the last album and the last tour of the Magic Band. So he got me into it.

PM: Wow. What did he play?

TM: Bass.

PM: Yeah, because I jumped ship at a certain point. But to me, that golden period is Lick My Decals Off, Spotlight Kid, Clear Spot, right in there.

TM: Me, too.

PM: That's amazing stuff.

TM: I love it. Yeah, especially Clear Spot is just so beautiful, isn't it?

PM: Yeah. I mean, did you realize that Eric Bazilian lifted that whole intro off "Clear Spot" on the Joan Osborne record?

TM: I didn't hear it, no.

PM: It's like the beginning, that "dan-dune, dan-dune, dan-dune"--it's the beginning of this Joan Osborne song. And I went, "Oh, my God, he lifted a Beefheart thing." And then right in the songwriting credits it's like, "Oh, but he gave him credit. There it is."

TM: Oh, that's cool. Yeah, also Robyn Hitchcock, I was a big fan of his when I was a kid. And he had said in an interview that he wanted his music to be a hybrid between Abbey Road and Trout Mask Replica.

PM: Wow!

TM: I didn't know what Trout Mask Replica was. And so when I found that, it all hit me at the same time. It was at the record shop, and Rick told me he was in the band. And it kind of was this big--what do you call those moments.

PM: Epiphanic, or epiphanous.

TM: Epiphanic, right. Yeah, I like Beefheart. I think lyrically, occasionally, it might come out--more so, maybe, the Incredible String Band.

PM: I read in your bio somewhere that you had occasion to see them on a regular basis, or at least one of them, in L.A.

TM: Yeah, Robin Williamson, was, I think at the time, living half the time in L.A., and half the time in Scotland.

PM: Now, do you know what's become of those two characters today?

TM: Yeah, Mike Heron, he still tours around as the Incredible String Band, without Robin now.

PM: Ah.

TM: He did a tour with Joanna Newsom.

PM: Oh, the harpist? . [A songwriter harpist connected with what was once called the Freak Folk crowd.]

TM: Yeah, the Nevada City harpist.

PM: So is she a friend?

TM: Yeah, she's becoming a friend, definitely more and more all the time. Yeah, she's really nice.

PM: We've got to cover her.   continue

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