moe. is entering the heart of the summer concert season with a full head of steam and a take no prisoners attitude. With a record setting attendance Summer Camp Music Festival behind them, and a slate of special shows ahead at places like Red Rocks with Gov’t Mule, their home base area of the Northeast including Maine and their beloved birthplace in New York, it seemed like a perfect time to catch up with drummer Vinnie Amico about his thoughts on the Scamp that was and the fun yet to come this summer.

Our own Rex Thomson (The mayor of moe.down himself) sat down with Amico and talked about the amazing array of special guests and cover songs by artists like Prince, David Bowie, The Who and more from Summer Camp, their upcoming shows and his love of cooking. As a special bonus we’ve included several exclusive videos of the fun from the festival as well! Enjoy!

L4LM: First off, congratulations on the biggest Summer Camp ever!

Vinnie Amico: WOO HOO!  Thanks!

L4LM:  How did it feel seeing that sea of smiling faces?

VA: It was awesome, of course. I have such a blast at Summer Camp and I just love going back every year. And it seems like every year we get bigger and better bands and somehow we keep growing without all the hassles of the crap that usually goes along with that is awesome too, and a testament to the Goldbergs and the incredible organization they’ve put together.

L4LM: Summer Camp promoters Jay and Ian Goldberg have been working with you guys from the beginning. How has that relationship between moe. and that father and son team evolved over the years?

VA: It’s gone from friendship to family in a lot of ways. I definitely feel like Ian has become a brother to me, and I know the rest of the band feels the same way. That seems like the natural progression of how it’s gone.  I don’t really deal with the business side of things, but I feel like everyone who gets involved with Jay and Ian ends up feeling the same way.

L4LM: How much music do you actually get to see over the course of the four days?

VA: Well, to answer your question, this year I actually SAW some music. Every year I try to see some, but this year since I only played nine sets instead of like fourteen or wharever I usually play I got to see some stuff. I saw Jason Isbell, Mudcrutch with Tom Petty, Here Come The Mummies…some of The RootsAqueous, one of the younger acts I like. It was great.

L4LM: Speaking of seeing things, you’re the most isolated member of the band, hidden behind all your drums and cymbals.  How well are you able to see and make contact with the crowd while you’re playing?

VA: I can see the first couple rows, but that’s really about it. I’m kinda back and to the left. But, as you have probably noticed, I usually end up with my head down, focused on what I’m doing. I try and look up and make contact with folks, but the focus thing takes over and I go into my own little world of concentration.

L4LM: People are still buzzing about how tight the moe. sets were this year. How much planning and rehearsal went on before the first official note on Friday?

VA: Well, we always show up for Summer Camp the Sunday night before, and we practice Monday through Thursday. Then we go on and just pull stuff out of our asses! Actually, this year [Band Manager] Topper tried to get us to work stuff out early, but then we procrastinate and procrastinate as the year goes on and the time gets nearer we end up buckling down and figuring out what the hell we’re gonna do.

L4LM: One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the amazing array of covers moe. pulled out and the guests they had help them rock them out. First off…what was the band thinking behind the amount of covers?

VA: The quadraphonic sound that our sound engineer Steve Young and the crew set up, really. We wanted to find songs that would take full advantage of that, so we looked for some psychedelic stuff that would work well…and of course songs that everyone knows and likes. Plus, since we don’t do lots of covers like that too much, we thought it would make it cool.

L4LM: A couple of your cover choices were made to honor some of the many musicians who have left us these last few months. You’ve worked with Fishbone before, so bringing them out to honor Prince was an obvious choice. When did the idea to do that come about?

VA: Uhmmm…like an hour before the gig. (Laughs) That one was very last minute. They reached out to us about an hour before the set and asked us if we wanted to do anything, and we said “Hell Yeah!”

So they came up with some songs they could do and That was what got chosen. We rehearsed it a little bit and we thought it sounded pretty good. So we were happy to do it and it ended up sounding great!

Watch the fierce Fishbone “Purple Rain” sit in below:

L4LM: You also managed to pay tribute to David Bowie with a rendition of his classic tune “Fame.” Was it hard to pick one of his songs from all the classics?

VA: Actually, that was one of the songs that came up on the list of songs that would sound good with the quad sound. I love that tune…if it’s not my favorite David Bowie tunes it’s definitely in my top two. I was psyched..I wasn’t even thinking of it as a tribute. It was just a song we thought would sound great with the quad sound with all that “Fame! Fame! Fame! Fame!” stuff and the fact that it would be a good tribute was really just kind of a happy coincidence.

I think it’s one of all of our favorite songs and that fact that it turned out to be a way to honor one of the fathers of certainly a branch of modern music.

L4LM: Frequent collaborator, String Cheese keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth helped you guys make the most epic set of your covers for the weekend come alive…an epic 45 minute “Shine On>Opium>Making Flippy Floppy” jam session. Did you expect that run of tunes to go so long?

VA: Well, I don’t think Kyle even joined us during the “Shine On” until close to the end when we were getting into the “Opium.”  That was really Al [Schnier] on keyboards for most, if not all, of “Shine On.” I just wanted to clear that up. With moe. the songs are planned but the segues in-between and the jamming is not.  I mean…did we plan on having Kyle join us for a couple of tunes? Yep! Did we plan on the whole jam running 45 minutes…NOPE! It just happened because we were jamming and it worked! I can’t really give you a time period, but it’s definitely coming.

Check out the whole epic forty-five minutes of moe.’s monster trilogy of tunes including Pink Floyd‘s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” “Opium,” and Talking Heads classic “Making Flippy Floppy” below:

L4LM: Finally…the rap songs!  “Jump Around” and “Stressed Out?”  Are we gonna get that moe. rap album we’ve all been secretly wishing for?

VA: (Laughs) Well…I suppose if we write ourselves some rap songs…maybe get a couple guest DJs. I’m all for it! I love hip hop!

L4LM: Al has shown remarkable versatility…I figure you get him on turntables and bring Jim (Loughlin) out to front the band and bust mad rhymes you’ll be good to go!

VA: Yeah man, let’s do it! I’d love to! I love playing hip hop…don’t know that it’ll ever happen though…But it would definitely be fun!

Watch moe. figuratively and literally “Jump Around” while doing a House Of Pain cover in the video below:

And here’s moe. playing 21 Pilots smash hit “Stressed Out” after a stellar version of their own classic song “Billy Goat”:

L4LM: Speaking of new albums…any new material coming from you guys any time soon?

VA: It’s in discussions. And Al has written a song or two we’ve worked on. Everybody has stuff they’ve been working on. You know how it is…you can’t go too long without releasing new material.

L4LM: On the touring side of things you guys have some big shows in your home base of the north east coming up, starting with Maine next week, and shows at your beer brewing buddies the Saranac Brewery on the immediate horizon, and some just announced Buffalo shows later in the year.  How important is it to you guys to balance out the where and when of shows?

VA: The Northeast is where we started and cultivated our following and musical style and our personalities. I think we have to honor that and we all live there and love to play home town shows. We will always play there. It’s a very important part of our touring to us.

We will always play Maine, we’re always going to play Buffalo, we’re always going to play Utica, every year. It’s just a matter of fitting them in and scheduling around the fests and stuff we always do. It’s also a matter of timing. The Utica thing…they have the summer stage. We try and schedule ourselves in there when the weather is right. Same thing with Maine. The weather there right now is just amazing. Those shows are gonna be great.

The new place in Portland, Thompson’s Point, is supposed to be amazing and I know Rob [Derhak] is excited. It’s a close gig for us, but he lives there.

L4LM: moe. will be doing some shows with Yonder Mountain String Band in a couple of months. You’ve collaborated with Allie Kral frequently…any thoughts on more intensive band collaborations during those shows?

VA: That stuff gets sussed out the day of or a couple days before. So we’ll work that out when it gets closer to the gigs. But we love Yonder. We’ve been playing with those guys for years and grew up with them on the scene, so we always like when we get to go out with those guys. I’m sure something will end up happening though!

Watch Yonder Mountain String Band‘s Allie Kral sit in with moe. for an amazing rendition of The Who‘s “Baba O’Riley” from Summer Camp below:

L4LM: I’m gonna ask the two “No Comment” questions real quick, so the die hard fans don’t get mad I didn’t ask…Where is the “Unexpected and remote” New Years run going to happen?

VA: Can’t tell ya!

L4LM: Will there be a moe.down next year?

VA: Can’t tell ya!

L4LM: That should keep them off my back… for now.

VA: I’d love to tell you what I know, but I’d probably get in trouble! I will say the moe.down thing is definitely something we want to have happen, and if we find the right time and the right place, we will do what we can to make it happen next year.

L4LM: I totally understand. But I had to ask. Next question…since your gear is probably the hardest to practice on while touring, how do you spend your days on the road?

VA: Wasting time! I exercise a lot. I will go ahead and set up and practice as often as I can, I’ll talk to the wife and kids a couple times a day. Mostly exercise and rest up for the shows really.

L4LM: After watching yourself on your recent series of cooking videos, how tempted are you to chuck it all and start a restaurant?

VA: Believe me..I’ve wanted to open a restaurant. I’ve never worked in a restaurant though, so I’m not sure how good I would be at it.  Maybe some faraway day when I retire. Maybe I’ll just host a cable access cooking show…

L4LM: Thanks for taking a few moments to talk with us sir!  Look forward to a lot of fun in the months and years to come!

VA: You’re welcome! Any time, my friend!