In the middle of their 25th anniversary celebration, L4LM’s very own Rex Thomson caught up with famed moe. percussionist Jim Loughlin for an extensive interview with all things moe. Rex has a special connection to the band, as he was voted the mayor of moe.down back in 2014: a title he still carries to this day (since there was no moe.down 2015).
The interview is more of a conversation between two old friends than anything else, as Loughlin talks about being in a band for 25 years, his Star Wars halloween costume, his World of Warcraft accounts, the pressure of writing setlists, and so much more. Enjoy this extensive in-depth with Jim Loughlin!
L4LM: Okay, well, we’re starting off with the, sort of the big, tough one. What does moe. mean to you?
JL: Well, that’s a philosophical question… I thought we were just dealing with facts and stuff. You know, it’s, it’s, that’s a really difficult question. It’s so long. Like, I could almost write a book about it. I’ve been either playing with or, well, friends with these guys for 24 years. At this point, it’s almost half my life, has been in some way involved with them. It’s, you know, it’s not just my job, it’s the main focus of my life, really. Or, it’s just three letters.
L4LM: (laughs) Don’t forget the period.
JL: The period. That’s right.
L4LM: I know you guys take that period really seriously.
JL: Well, you know, that’s the only thing that makes it somewhat original.
L4LM: So, you would say basically that moe. is your life at this point?
JL: I mean, yes, it’s what I put a majority of my work into, a majority of my time. You know, it’s the venue that I get to express myself in, so to speak. (Laughs) Yeah, it’s a huge part of everything, I mean, everything in my life is scheduled around it. You know, whether it’s practicing or working or writing or trying to get someone to babysit my dog. (Laughs) Just about everything that I do is sort of scheduled around moe.
L4LM: I didn’t know you had a dog. What kind of dog do you have?
JL: He’s a Chinook.
L4LM: Nice! So, did you ever think you would be part of a 25th anniversary with these guys?
JL: Not completely. I don’t know that I ever really thought about it. You know, I mean, I knew I’d be playing music by now, who with and whatnot, you know, way back then, I definitely did not give it this consideration. I’ve always been a more in-the-moment (Laughs) type of person. So, you know, when this all started, I didn’t think there was anything I could do for 25 years, let alone be a part of a band’s 25th anniversary. It’s kind of crazy when I think about it.
L4LM: Well, your silver anniversary year is almost over. Have the fans been showering you with silver gifts and throwing silver coins at you all year?
JL: Yeah, we’ve gotten nothing silver, really. (Laughs) In the beginning, like, the New Year’s show and stuff, I think I got a pin or two. It’s, you know, I don’t know that it’s even really been realized, the accomplishment of, not even, let alone, us, really, like…
L4LM: Well, that might be something you guys want to sit around and talk about the next time you’re on the bus.
JL: Yeah, you know, it’s crazy. I mean, honestly, I’m not 50 yet, and I’m having a 25-year anniversary of something. It’s weird when you think about it. (Laughs) You know, obviously, only half of any of our lifetimes, so…
L4LM: Well, this is just me talking, but it seems to have been a pretty good deal for you guys, though.
JL: Yeah, it’s crazy. You know, especially at our level. To be a band for 25 years when, in the first 5, or 10 years even, you’ve released gold records, you know, you’re a huge band, you’ve made tons of money and all this stuff… To do it at the level that we did it (Laughs) is, I think it’s very noteworthy. You know, it’s really a lot of hard work, and it just shows, you know, a great amount of faith that’s in the organization, and then the people that have worked for us and, you know, no one’s gotten rich. (Laughs) Not a single person. So, you know, that’s saying something, to me, at least.
L4LM: I did want to warn you, you know, the silver thing was this year. Next year’s anniversary is small, pointy rocks, so watch out.
JL: Oh! Well, I’m glad that no one threw anything this year, and hopefully that carries over, because I don’t want to get hit with small, pointy rocks. Unless they’re diamonds.
L4LM: You know, those are small, pointy rocks. I’ll give you that.
L4LM: How many years did you beg the band to do a Star Wars Halloween show before they finally broke down and did it?
JL: Yeah, I was psyched. (laughs) It was really funny. The other, you know, we wanted to do, we actually wanted to do something where people, the people coming could get into costume-wise and theme-wise and stuff like that, you know, the whole, that whole concept of, like, science fiction/fantasy, comic book kind of things, started getting thrown around, and Rob was the one who was like, “Why don’t we do Star Wars?” And you know, I’d never thought of it, sort of because of the Lucas machine. I sometimes feel glad that nothing happens for us having all the stuff on stage that we do and all that other stuff, so I was just psyched.
L4LM: You had never thought of this?
JL: I mean, not exactly doing a whole Star Wars show, no. Just because I never thought it was possible. You know, I had always kind of thought that if I had brought it up, the response would be like, “That would be great, but we can’t do it.”
L4LM: Gotcha. I just literally in my head envisioned you at every one of the annual Halloween “What-should-we-do?” meetings, going, “Star Wars! Star Wars! Star Wars!”
JL: (Laughs) I think a long time ago, I might have brought it up before, but I’m not good at that whole thing. I actually, this year, also, the Middle Earth thing was tossed around, I was all about that too. I’m like, “You’re making me choose between Star Wars and Tolkien, that’s not fair!”
L4LM: Well, there’s always next year.
JL: Mm-hm. Oh, believe me, I’m thinking about it. I will definitely bring it up again. (Laughs)
L4LM: Can you tell me who’s going to be wearing what costumes, what cool songs you’re going to do, and any of the other surprises?
JL: I think so. I don’t see why not… No one’s told me not to say anything. Well, we’re… I’m pretty sure of the costume. I know I’m gonna be ____________ from ___________, so… (Information redacted for fear of blowing your minds!)
L4LM: Will you be rocking _______ with a Yankees hat on?
JL: No, I can’t, you know, I need like a Rebel Alliance hat or something for this show.
L4LM: The other question is, are you going to go all out and get the ________ haircut?
JL: I’m gonna try, yeah. I don’t know if my hair will feather like that anymore.
L4LM: I personally am rooting for Rob [Derhak] as Slave Leia.
JL: (Laughs) Everyone’s been asking, “Who’s Slave Leia? Rob?” Like, that’s been the standard question. A lot of people want to see it for some reason. I don’t know why.
L4LM: Just between me and you, I kind of started that a while ago.
JL: (Laughs) That seems like it would be sadistic in thought process. Yeah, I want to see Rob in an outfit that will ruin every teenage fantasy I ever had.
L4LM: Oh, and you’ll have the best view. You’ll have Rob from the back.
JL: Yeah, see, I can’t, I can’t do that. That would just ruin Leia for me.
L4LM: (laughs) Okay, so, once again, moe.’s heading to Jamaica at the start of the year. How much do you dig that?
JL: Oh, last year was awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to it. It was just such a fun, fun time last year. It’s funny because I had a great time and the production end of it was fucking horrible. (laughs) The gear that we had, the congas that I had were just absolutely horrendous, and, like, nothing sounded right. The timbales were terrible. I don’t enjoy when I have to play only my MalletKAT, when that’s the only mallet thing I have, I’m kind of bummed a little bit, so I… but despite, like, all of that, it was such a great time. The snare drum that they gave Vin broke on the first song, the first night, and they didn’t have a backup one. Like, I don’t know if anyone (laughs) really was aware of the fact that what we were playing on was just horrible. It’s never, or, you know, if I went to a regular gig and that gear was brought to me, I would just be livid. But when you’re on the beach in Jamaica, it’s like, “Yeah, alright.”
L4LM: So, Jamaican Backline, maybe not the best in the world, is what you’re saying.
JL: (Laughs) Yeah, no, it wasn’t good at all. Hopefully, we’ll have a better Backline this year, because it’s tough there. There’s no reason for anyone on that island to have an amazing selection of Backline.
A lot of it gets brought over from, like, Florida or whatever. And then, you know, you go to a Backline company and you’re like, “Hey, I need a bunch of gear,” and they’re like, “Alright, that’s awesome, what do you need?” And you say, “I need this and this and this,” and then, “Where are you playing?” “On the beach in Jamaica.” “Oh, um, well, we have this and this,” you know, they’re not stupid. They don’t want to give vintage gear and let it sit, and salt water and sand, you know, so it’s always kind of interesting what you get on dedicated beach gigs. (lLughs)
L4LM: Florida has a lot of New York retirees, maybe they’re Mets fans, you know, just trying to screw you over a little bit.
JL: See? Because that keeps happening. (Laughs) You know, Vin [Amico] is a big Mets fan, a couple of my friends are Mets fans, so I… Terry Lynch is a Mets fan. When the Yankees played the Mets this weekend, I was like, “Just take it easy. You guys got first place. You know, you’re already at a magic number. We’re fighting for, to try to win the division. (Laughs) Take it easy on us.” And we took 2 out of 3, so I think they listened a little.
L4LM: So, down in Jamaica, you’re being joined by Medeski, Martin & Wood and, now, Little Feat. That’s not bad. You bringing anybody else down there with you?
JL: I don’t believe so. I think that’s it. You know, we had, we definitely had talks of who to bring for a while and stuff, and you know, we want to make it as enjoyable as last year, obviously. You know, last year, we did the side projects, and then sort of what happened was, it was a lot to do. (Laughs) It ended up being all us. You know, even if it was Floodwood or Ha Ha the Moose playing, it was still, you know, the guys in moe., so we sort of wanted to kind of share and spread the experience, and bring people over who our fanbase will enjoy, get into, and, you know, it will seem, or, not seem like, but it will be that extra bonus thing.
L4LM: Wait, are you saying that Ha Ha the Moose is actually members of moe.?
JL: I, you know, everyone seems to believe that.
L4LM: I mean, that’s a very popular fan theory…
JL: I, myself, have tried to disassociate myself from anything of such lowbrow comedy, but… I’m a high-falutin’ kind of guy.
L4LM: Anyway, I hope there’s at least a couple of times where you and Billy Martin get together. That seems like a natural fit.
JL: Yeah. Yeah, he’s amazing. I’d like to get him… You know, those three guys are unbelievable. We’ve had John (Medeski) play with us before, and it was just like, Wow. (laughs) That’s the only time I’ve ever had someone sit in, where I kind of had to stop playing for a second, and be like, “What the?” and just watch him play. So, yeah, I’d love to get Billy to come up and… I have a handful of his solo records, and that guy can get out there, man. So, I’d like to see what he could do. I think he’s the only one who’s never actually played with us, out of those three.
L4LM: So there you go. Plus, you know, they’re at your festival. It’s not like you can’t just make them.
JL: (laughs) We’ve tried that before, it doesn’t work.
L4LM: Yeah. You showed me through your amazing amount of toys and your musical do-dads in your percussion world a while back. If you had to pick just one thing to save from a fire, what would it be?
L4LM: Alright. That’s a big one to run away with, though.
JL: Yeah, that’s the problem. (laughs) I’d need someone to help me save it from a fire. You are just talking instruments, right?
L4LM: Yep. When you’re working on new songs, and the other guys bring a song to the table, do they have specific instruments or sounds they want from you? Or do you just try everything and see what fits?
JL: Most of the time, I just try something and see what fits. You know, on occasion, they’ll be like, “I wanted this here,” you know, “you to do this here and this other thing over here.” Sometimes as we work on a song, they’ll start to hear something in their head or whatever, and be like, “Hey, can you do this?” You know, “Can you double this guitar part,” or “Can you just play chords over here?” ” Can you just play congas and groove on this part?” But usually, it comes from me first. And then, you know, if they don’t like it, then I do something else. And if they don’t say anything, then that’s what happens. (Laughs)
L4LM: Are you writing any songs right now, yourself?
JL: I’m always writing songs. I don’t always bring a lot out. If they ask me if I have something, I usually have something that I’m working on. But most of the stuff I write is instrumental, and it’s not… I don’t… like, moe.-oriented, I guess? I don’t know how to describe it. But it’s, you know, and I write a lot with piano parts and just on paper. And then move it to an instrument that I enjoy. And most of the recordings that I make are all digital, so it’s hard to really know how it’s going to sound in a rock/jamband environment. And then Al and Rob are just incredibly prolific, so it’s hard to sort of keep up with those guys. (Laughs)
L4LM: Yeah, you know, I’ve wondered about that. Those guys, their names are on the credits a lot. I’ve never gotten the feeling that it was like they were dominating things on purpose, it just seemed like they wrote a lot of damn good songs.
JL: That’s really it. You know, they write and churn out a lot of stuff, and they have no concerns when they bring it to the band. Like, I guess I get a little more picky, and there’s a lot of stuff I won’t even bring, because I don’t think… you know, “This isn’t ready,” “This isn’t good,” “This isn’t right,” you know, so, delete, and then record something…delete. So I just throw it down and get it out. Those guys will bring everything in and then we, you know, some songs fall off, some songs stay, some songs we work on and rearrange, some songs it’s like, “Yeah, that’s not going to work,” like, right away. And some songs only get half done. I mean, those guys really, they’re really good songwriters, just as far as, they’re very prolific, and they’re very song-oriented. I don’t know… I’m not. I’m like all over the fucking place.
L4LM: It’s always been one of my favorite things about moe., is the strength of the songwriting. You know, there’s a lot of bands that can play incredibly well, but when it comes to things like lyrics and songs and stuff, they kind of just seem to whack something out so they can have something to jam to, but not moe.
JL: Yeah, we definitely write songs. And you know, the more we do this, the more song-y they get. Some of them still turn out to be that jam vehicle that a lot of people want to hear, but for us, it really starts at the song itself. Even songs like “Brent Black”, you know, when I used to, when we first wrote it and I was drumming, it was a song. Like, it wasn’t a 20-minute epic solo-fest thing. That just evolved over time.
And sometimes it takes a long time to get these songs to that jamming point, because, you know, you learn it, you know, you want to get your part down, so you learn your part, and then you want to learn the whole song as a band, so we all learn the whole song, and we play it over and over. And then we play it live a bunch of times, to check it out, in its, like, song form, and we keep doing that, and then it’s like, we get to this point where we sort of want to stretch it out, but you’re, in the back of your head, you’re still, like “song,” so you don’t really let go right away, and let it just happen, like, it takes time. Because we do so much stuff live, you know, some things have to be hashed out live for several years before any kind of solidity comes out of it. And I think that’s why we can still play older songs and kind of keep them interesting, so to speak.
L4LM: So, what’s your World of Warcraft online name?
JL: (laughs) At which server?
L4LM: Damn, you’re serious.
JL: I mean, I have, like, 20 characters, like, literally. It’s maximum on one server, and then spread out, there are a bunch of others. So, you have to be more specific, man. Alliance, Horde, like, what are we talkin’ here?
L4LM: I was just trying to sic the moe.rons on ya and have them all come to try and kill ya.
JL: (laughs) I don’t know that a lot of people… the game’s sort of dying, which is a shame, and it’s funny, like, no one ever asks me about it or anything. I’m not, like, shy about it, I’m a full blown geek, and I’m more than willing to take on challengers.
L4LM: Alright, well, you heard that, readers. Go after him.
JL: (laughs) Nothing, none of my characters are, like, moe.-related or anything, though. Or even like music related. Like, game-wise, you couldn’t be like, oh man, maybe that’s him.
L4LM: (laughs) So, last I heard, you dropped out of the setlist writing rotation. Any chance of you getting back into it?
JL: I don’t know. Probably not. It, you know, it causes me too much stress. I don’t, I guess I don’t need that stress in my life. Like, too many people are too focused on that, and I don’t want to be part of that. (laughs) You know, like, I hate that whole, “That’s terrible on paper,” or “It looks great on paper.” What does that mean? I don’t know what the fuck that means anymore. So, yeah. (Laughs)
L4LM: That wasn’t specifically the gist of my question, but I gotta tell you, you hit on something that really bugs me, is the people who weren’t at shows who complain about the setlists.
JL: Yeah. I don’t… that drives me crazy. Like, I don’t fucking get it, at all. You know, I think, in the last interview I did sort of touched on it, because I never, like I said, I’ve never been to a show and been like, “I can’t believe they played this song in that spot.”
No one’s ever come to me and told me a show or shown me a setlist and I’ve been like, “Ugh.” I’ve always been like, “Oh, cool, they played that? That’s awesome,” or, you know, “Nice, I’ve always wanted to hear that song live.” I don’t care where the fuck in the set it is. (laughs) It’s a good song. You know, I don’t know. I think it’s really weird. I, it’s, it’s one of those things, to me, it’s one of the small ways that the Internet and technology are just crushing this industry. At least in my point of view.
L4LM: So, when you guys get together after anyone writes the setlist, can anyone veto a song?
JL: Yeah, oh yeah. If there’s like a weird switch, you know, someone forgets the fact that Al’s playing a specifically tuned guitar in this song, and you’re trying to segue it into another song with another specifically tuned guitar, if there’s no way for Al to make the change, you know, it’s like, “I can’t do that.” Stuff like that.
Like, a lot of times, if we do backline gigs and someone writes a song that, you know, I predominantly play a specific instrument in, and if we didn’t get that specific instrument, I’ll be like, “Hey, I’d rather not do that song.” I mean, I can always go and have a smoke or something, but… (Laughs) I got nothing to do there, so, you know. There’s definitely, setlists get changed during the meeting a lot. Because it’s more, when whoever is writing it during the day, it’s more of a suggestion, “This is what I thought of.” “Okay, this is why we can and can’t do that.” Or someone will be like, “Hey, we had this request that you forgot to put in.” “Oh, okay, we’ll switch this and that.” And that drives the crew crazy because Nate will print up the setlists. They’re printed out, and it’s like, “Oh no, we gotta move this here and change that,” and Nate’s like, “Ugh, I’ll go and reprint another one,” and sometimes, we’re like, “Oh, yeah, but you forgot this,” so then some of our setlists you’ll see on stage have Sharpie with songs crossed out and other shit written in, and sometimes it gets pretty hilarious.
L4LM: I’ve learned my lesson. I don’t ask you guys to play songs, because it seems like you wait for me to ask for something to specifically not play it.
JL: (laughs) We have a really bad reputation as far as requests go. It seems like, you know, if we do a contest, or if someone writes us an email for a very specific reason, “Can you play this song?”, that usually works out. But when someone’s like, just at a show, “Hey, man, can you…” like, if I see someone at lunch, and they’re like, “Hey, can you put this on the setlist?” I’m like, “I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.” Like, you kind of have to hope it’s already on if I’m not the one writing it, so if I don’t get to them before it’s done, then I can’t say, “Hey, someone wanted to hear this, can we put it in?” At least, not until the meeting, and then who the hell knows. We’re horrible at requests.
L4LM: I just get the feeling that maybe y’all have an axe to grind against me or something when it comes to that, so…
JL: (laughs) I think everybody feels that way. “You never play…” You know, Marcy swears that Chuck [Garvey] specifically doesn’t put “Four” on the setlist when she’s going to be at a show. She’s even said she’d wear a Boston Red Sox hat if we did it, and she just keeps missing it. (laughs)
L4LM: I just recently went 12 shows without seeing a Buster. And I don’t even know how that’s mathematically possible, but…
JL: I’m always surprised when people talk about, “I’ve seen a song this many times, and I’ve never seen this song.” Like, “Wow, that is weird.” You need some mathematician to work on something like that, because I don’t even understand that.
L4LM: Well, I’m 5 shows away from seeing my 200th moe. show, so…
JL: That’s another thing that blows me away… That someone’s seen us 200 times. (laughs) You know, anyone. I think… James Paddock, he’s gotta be coming up on 300 something, just insane.
L4LM: My personal goal is 365 shows, so I can kind of think that I’ve seen a year’s worth of moe. shows.
JL: Ah! That’s a great number to shoot for.
L4LM: You know, and since I’m only almost at 200, that means I got a lot of moe. shows left to go. So come to the West Coast! You’re killing me.
JL: (laughs) Yeah… the West Coast is really hard for us. No one sort of understands that aspect either. It’s just not designed to tour, man. It’s just really hard. It’s like every drive is 8 hours. Every show is rushed. Every, you know, it’s just friggin’ tough, man. (laughs) L.A. to San Diego is like the only close thing.
L4LM: I’ll say that Seattle and Portland, Oregon, are 3 hours apart. Ahem.
JL: Yeah, those two are pretty close. But, see, then we run into the problem of, between Seattle and Portland, it’s almost the same exact crowd for us. So, do we do them like that? Do you do Seattle and Portland one night and then another night? Or do you do Seattle, then take some crazy ass drive down to California, then some crazy ass drive back up? You know? It’s a hard thing to figure out. That’s why I don’t do it. (laughs)
L4LM: Do you see yourself doing this another 25 years?
JL: Oh yeah. Definitely. I mean, I, I’ve never seen myself doing anything other than playing music. And because of that, it’s gotten to a point where I can’t. When I say I can’t do anything else, I don’t, there’s no negative connotation to that. I don’t want to. If I wanted to, sure. I could, you know, sell hats, or shoes or whatever. But I don’t. I have no desire to do anything else.
L4LM: That’s the best end to my questions possible. Okay, I’ve pretty much turned my question writing over to your fan groups, anyway, because two or three of those we just did were from them, but I have a few specific ones for you from the moe.rons. Do you mind a few more?
JL: Not at all.
L4LM: Cool. Leading the pack, like 9 people wanted this one. Are we ever going to see the piccolo bass again?
JL: I hope so. I’m trying to, I’ve been trying to figure out, I haven’t stopped playing it, I still play it at home all the time. It’s really kind of a logistical thing. I want to bring it back. You know, if I can get, I’m trying to tie it in with my sample pad and the MalletKat, so I eventually have a separate mixer for that, but that’s something I have to go out and buy, so it’s (laughs) it’s kind of like, if I can get the money for it, to set up a good rig again for the piccolo bass that isn’t all analog and huge, which the last one was, you know… The piccolo bass involves, the last one I had on the road, it involved, you know, the bass itself, and then this gigantically huge effects pedal board, plus a MIDI pickup that had a whole other output on it, half of it ran through a Marshall half-stack, and the other half ran into a Midas, like I had my own Midas console that was just mine, with all my shit. And it just got ridiculous, like, my drum riser is huge as it is now. When I had the piccolo bass, I had to add a complete other section on it at times, which was outlandish. So, we sort of pared down stuff, and I had to get everything to a reasonable logistical level, just to be able to set it up every night, which is the reason it got cut.
L4LM: You do seem like you have the biggest footprint of anybody in the band, except maybe Vinnie, but it would seem like you have more stuff.
JL: Mine’s bigger, yeah. Vin’s on an 8×8 riser, I’m on an 8×12. Yeah, so my riser’s the size of a good-sized bedroom in a house, so, you know, to set up, you know, it’s one of the reasons the quints get brought out front or I wear them on a harness. Like, I can’t, I’m trying to get those into the rig itself as well, so I might strike a conga trying to figure this all out. (Laughs)
L4LM: I think you need to go vertical, maybe a two-story riser.
JL: That’s what I was thinking, something with a spiral staircase, or maybe just a fireman’s pole and a ladder, you know.
L4LM: As the only single guy in the band, do you score all the backstage, um, single guy perks?
JL: (Laughs) I guess… if we had any. (Laughs) Yeah, it’s weird, yeah, it’s not, you know, we just hang out after the show sometimes and get drunk and make fun of each other and go pass out on the bus.
L4LM: Are there any bands you’re digging in particular right now?
JL: I just got, and this is actually a record from 2012, but, I shouldn’t say I just got it, I’ve had it, I just hadn’t listened to it as much until recently, which is Branford Marsalis’ “Four MFs Playin’ Tunes“… which is just amazing. There’s a lot of, I’ve been listening to mostly jazz, classical music, and there are some guys coming up in both those areas. I’m trying to think, Julian Lage, is like, he’s only like 28 now, guitar player, he played with Gary Burton for two records…
It’s just, holy crap. (Laughs) I’ve been listening to a lot of Jason Becker lately. I was always a fan of his, and I went back to that. That band, Moon Hooch, that’s like the newest thing I’ve heard, and they’re freaking amazing. They asked us, or someone got in touch with us about them sitting in, you know, two horn players sitting in with us at the Catskill Chill, you know, we’re like, “Sure, horn players are fun!” and then I went and saw a bunch of stuff with them on Youtube, and I was like, “h my god”! Like, they’re like Morphine almost, like that same… It’s just, they’re really good. I was completely blown away. I caught like a half hour of their set at Catskill Chill. But I tell ya, other than that, you know, I don’t listen to much from this century anymore. (laughs) It’s not even on purpose. It’s just how it’s been lately.
L4LM: It’s a valid answer. And I gotta tell you, you just name-dropped one of my all-time favorite bands, Morphine.
JL: Sure, I mean, everything, yeah, everything about that band was, they were way ahead of their time, to me. You know, if they were around now, with, like, the advancements in, you know, sort of, looping stuff, almost, the EDM stuff, the programming, I can’t even imagine what those guys would be doing now. And talk about a tragic ending to a band, you know.
L4LM: The most rock star death of all time.
JL: Yeah. And it just, that was it. It was, that’s it, Morphine’s done.
L4LM: Let’s see, when are you and Mike Dillon going to record an all-percussion face-off album?
JL: That’s, we’ve been talking about it for years. Honestly, it’s been over a year now that we’ve had the idea, and we definitely want to do it, but when is Mike home? You know, the guy is just…he plays, man. It’s hard to get him to, to stop. (laughs) It’s just, get out of the van, man. Even like, it seems like when they stop at a gig, it’s hard to get him out. Just get out of the van, dude. We’re here.
L4LM: Of all the people I’m friends with who are musicians, he seems to be the one who embraces being on the road the most.
JL: Yeah, he loves playing. It’s weird because, when I see him, you know, we always sit around and talk shop because there’s no other vibraphone players around to talk to. And he always has recordings. He’s always like, “Hey, man, check this out. You know, I just did this.” And I’m always like, “What? So you went home for like two days and that involved you going to a studio and recording three songs.” It’s amazing to me. And he practices every day! Like…how do you, how do you do that? When I’m home, I practice every day. On the road, I, my gear is being assembled and all that other crap, I don’t have anything backstage to work on. You know, he just always takes his stuff out, sets it up early, practices, you know, something. Marimba, vibraphone, tabla, whatever he’s working on, and it’s just amazing. His joy of playing is awesome and it’s just absolutely contagious.
L4LM: Okay I’ve got two more for ya. Who’s your favorite mayor?
JL: Giuliani. (Laughs) Of course you are.
L4LM: One last question. This one turned out to be kind of similar to the first thing I asked you, but it’s a really good question on its own. What does the creation of music mean to you?
JL: I… wow.
L4LM: I know! That’s why I had to ask it.
JL: Yeah, I mean, it means everything to me. I don’t, I have a huge interest in physics, so the music isn’t created, it’s there. It’s all there. It’s out there. (laughs) You know, bringing it to other people or just, bringing it together, channeling it, whatever you want to call it, is, I live for it. You know, it’s like breathing to me. I don’t, there’s nothing better in life to me than that. Being able to do it is a blessing and, you know, it’s why I practice so much, it’s why I, you know, play every day. Because, it’s, it’s a high thing to me, it’s being, you know, in touch with something that’s far greater than myself. And I think that’s something every human being does, that’s something that you want out of life, is to know that there’s something just way greater than you, and music is one of them. You know, and I guess, you know, part of my work ethic is to feel good enough or skilled enough or worldly enough or whatever you want to say, to actually be able to interpret this great, grand thing correctly, so to speak. Articulately, you know. To bring interest to other people of it. You don’t know you like something until you’ve heard it, and there’s so much to hear. (laughs) It’s just crazy
L4LM: Jim, thanks for talking to us. Congratulations on your 25th anniversary, and I hope you have a great rest of the year.
JL: Awesome, Rex. Thank you for doing the interview. I appreciate your inquisitive nature.
Special thanks to Andrea, moe.ron and unofficial Jim Loughlin Biographer for her help transcribing this interview.