|Is it fair to assume that you have more to do with
Moonalice’s sound than, say, the band’s fictional
Right. The mythological part of Moonalice is mostly
Roger McNamee’s deal. I always say he’s the heart of
the band, not the muscle. My thing is to back him up
and make sure the arrangements are tight. I put my
influence on Moonalice’s loose, San Francisco thing,
and, in turn, they influence me to try new things. The
fun part with this band is that it’s notthe music I come
from. I bring my New York rock and blues thing, where
I’m used to soloing over 16 or 32 bars, and Barry Sless
does a more extended Jerry Garcia kind of thing. So
on the nights when it works, it’s a really cool experience.
With this kind of music, you can play as much as
you want—there’s always room for it.
Having Jack Casady in the band certainly must
be an asset in getting to the core of what Moonalice
is all about.
Oh yeah. When Jack isn’t out with Jorma Kaukonen,
he plays with us, and it’s amazing to have such a
great bass player who comes from that world. Jack
and I have a ball onstage. He came out of the R&B
thing growing up in Washington D.C., and I always
hear that in his playing. I grew up with blues and R&B
and was a folkie too, so we have a lot in common.
On this album you do a Steve Earle tune, as
well as an Irish tune that Bob Dylan has performed.
How did those songs come about?
One of the things I learned from playing with
Bob Dylan was about taking old songs and putting
your own arrangements on them, so that’s what I
did with the Irish tune “Eileen Aroon” and Steve
Earle’s “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied.” Steve and his band
were the opening act on one of the tours I did with
Dylan, and I went from hearing him play that song
every night to going to side of the stage to watch
him play it to jumping on stage one night to play it
with them. I’ve always thought that the more songs
you know, the better off you are. No matter who I
was playing with, it always helped if I knew their
stuff as well as a couple of thousand other things.