Nate Wilson, multi-instrumentalist and newest member of jam band institution moe., is a busy, busy man. The longtime friend of the band was among the first called in to help fill in for the temporarily side-lined moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey. The versatile keyboardist/utility musician had been touring with the band before getting asked to make the arrangement permanent. Having been in the moe. orbit for more than two decades, Wilson was a logical choice during the short term, and after just a few shows together, Nate’s long-term value to the group was apparent to everyone from band to fan.

With an entire catalog of tunes to master while looking for ways to insert himself as seamlessly into the mix as possible, there were plenty of other things to consider beyond the mere practicality of the move. Things like Wilson’s other current bands, Ghosts Of Jupiter and moe. super-band side project BluestarRadiation (with moe. members bassist/vocalist Rob Derhakand drummer Vinnie Amico as well as the equally busy Tim Palmieri of Lotus), touring rigs, an introductory press tour, and, of course, the regular day-to-day stuff we all have to figure out like finding time to eat and sleep.

Live For Live Music‘s resident “moe.ron” Rex Thomson, a.k.a. Rex-A-Vision, tried his hardest to maximize the time the harried Wilson could spare to get some answers to the most asked questions on topics such as new guy hazing, what Wilson thinks he brings to the moe. sound, what he plans on bringing on the road, the odd anecdote or two, and just how much he is looking forward this exciting new opportunity. Check out highlights from their chat below.

On whether he had to undergo any vetting, hazing, or Mafia-style induction ceremonies:

Nate Wilson: No, there haven’t been any rites of passage or anything. I think it’s because I got eased in. They keep talking about hazing, but nothing crazy has happened yet.

On the very concept of moe. adding a keyboard player:

NW: I think it’s a matter of trying to fill spaces where spaces needed to be filled. Obviously, now it’s a six-piece band so there’s a lot going on. A lot of the studio recordings have keyboard parts already in them. I know Al [Schnier] was playing keyboards on a bit of stuff already, so some of it is already there. The clavinet part in “Captain America”, for example.

So far it’s been a blast for me. I’m so used to being in a band where I write a lot of the music, play, and sing. It’s nice to be just focusing on keyboards and the occasional “flute-tation.”

On how he intends on fitting in:

NW: Obviously it’s just a matter of listening to a song and seeing if there was a place for me and the keyboards there. After that, it’s a matter of staying true to the song and fitting in as part of an ensemble.

When asked how much of a multi-instrumentalist he is:

NW: Let’s see. Competently, I can play the piano and keyboard. I can fake it on the flute and the guitar a lil bit… and, y’know, sing. I got maybe four things I can do.

About the rumors he was previously being vetted to join moe. as long ago as the early aughts:

NW: It’s kinda a myth. I’ve never been offered [the chance] to join moe. until recently. There was a string of shows after Al had tendonitis. I sat in on a few shows around 2005. Later, they played a couple shows in Boston including the House Of Blues. I played on a few studio songs as well. On The Conch I think I’m on two songs.

I’ve definitely sat in with them a bunch. A couple years ago Rob [Derhak] and I were discussing it a little bit, but that was before he got cancer, and the pandemic derailed the idea of that happening until just recently. Rob and I have always gotten along really well and collaborated well on a few things, like Swamp Donkey. That said, I don’t know how far up the chain it ever made it before this.

On the topic of the moe.-related side projects he’s been involved with, past (Swamp Donkey) and present (Bluestar Radiation), and their respective futures:

NW: Well… first off, the reason I know Rob so well is he had a regular gig up there in Portland on Monday nights with drummer Andy Herrick, guitarist Adam Terrell, and myself from Assembly Of Dust. The four of us played up there every Monday night for a couple of years, almost every week. We made the mistake of letting the crowd name us so we ended up being called “Swamp Donkey.”

It was mostly just covers but we ended up playing a couple of Rob’s originals which went on to become moe. tunes. “Lazarus” was one. “Awesome Gary” was another. Anyway, we sorta workshopped those tunes that later became moe. tunes. We did that for like two years. We even played at moe.down. I think the end of that came when the club closed down. I think there’s some t-shirts left that Rob got printed up though.

On Bluestar Radiation’s future, now that Wilson has joined moe.:

NW: I don’t know how regular we will be but Bluestar Radiation is still a thing. We now have some original material, we’re still paying dates, and we have plans to go into the studio. We’re just at the mercy of our schedules. It’ll always be a thing of finding time between our schedules with moe. and Tim’s schedule with Lotus. We plan on more dates and a record so it’s exciting.

On a purely practical level, when asked where he wants to set up his gear and whether he would like his own riser:

NW: My first gigs were at Summer Camp Music Festival and they had a riser. I dunno what’s happened to that since. I kinda liked the riser so then I could get up on Vinnie and Jim [Loughlin]‘s level. I don’t know who determined it, but I’ve always gone in that little corner next to Al, and I’m cool with that.

On what his moe. road gear set-up will consist of:

NW: Well, for one thing I’m bringing my Hammond C3 and Leslie 145 out with moe. most likely starting with these February shows. My friend Tyler at Boss Organ in Somerville, MA is doing some modifications so it should be killer! C3 is same as a Hammond B3 with slightly different wood for those who don’t know. I just acquired a Moog Sub 37 that I plan to be using a bunch. For effects I use the Catalinbread Echorec and Topanga reverb with the Moog. For piano, clavinet, mellotron, and any other imaginable sound I’m using a Nord stage 3 HP76.

I play an Azumi flute…

On the fan debate as to whether he had an onstage side or whether he had a “nook”:

NH: I know about the “Chuck side” and “Al.side” thing. I don’t know if I’m supposed to have a side in that debate, or even have my thumb on the scale. That’s something for the fans to decide.

With that, the busy Wilson was on to the next check mark of a busy day plan getting ready for an even busier life to come on the road and in the studio with moe. When asked if he had any final thoughts to share, Wilson had his best and most enthusiastic response of all:”I’m looking forward to the adventure!”

On behalf of all the excited fans looking forward to hearing Wilson’s coming contributions to the band, we’ll echo that enthusiasm with, “So are we!”

Catch Nate and moe. live on tour as they and the returning Chuck Garvey barnstorm across the U.S. at the dates below and more! Tickets and additional dates are available here.