Al Schnier was born in 1968. He grew up in New Hartford, an old mill town along the rust belt in upstate NY. It was a great place to grow up, according to Al. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and stuck with it until he picked up his first guitar around the age of 13. The rest is history.
Most of Al’s early guitar education was gleaned from classic rock albums and forays into punk rock. He spent most of his formative years following the Grateful Dead up and down the East Coast, which as he puts it, “surely informed my notions about live improvisational music.”
Al has been playing in bands ever since he could play a few chords. “Some of the best days of my youth were spent in basements and garages around Central New York.” In the fall of 1991, he moved to Buffalo and almost immediately began playing with Rob and Chuck. “I started merely as a sub, and I'm still here with them, twenty years later.” Since then, moe. has performed with various members of The Dead, The Allman Brothers, Robert Plant, The Who and many more. Al has engineered and produced several albums, in addition to the work with moe. and still keeps busy with studio work when not on the road with his 'day job'.
Al is also an avid gearhead and has been ever since he played with Erector sets as a little kid. “Erector sets led to Legos, which gave way to BMX bikes and eventually guitars and amps.” He explains. He has dissected tons of guitars, amps, and fx and spends a lot of his free time (if you can call it that!) tinkering in his shop. Al just recapped his first amp from the ground up (a vintage Hiwatt). Al can often be found lurking on a variety of gear pages (instead of practicing).
Along the same lines, Al loves hoarding vintage guitars, amps and FX - and hopes to have one of every kind (in every color) in his stash someday. “Half of the fun is the thrill of the chase and I often spend days off on tour hitting pawnshops and local used guitar shops!”
Check out Al's complete discography to date.
AL'S SIDE PROJECTS
Be sure to catch Floodwood at Snoe.down this year!
"Like" Floodwood on Facebook
Al will join Reed Mathis, Marco Benevento, Steve Kimock, Matt Butler, Jen Hartswick, Jamie Masefield, and John Morgan Kimock on Friday 6/15 and Saturday 6/16, and Reed Mathis, Steve Kimock, Matt Butler, Pete Wall, Jamie Masefield and John Morgan Kimock on Sunday 6/17 as the Everyone Orchestra performs 3 nights at Quixote's True Blue in Denver, CO! Tickets and more info can be found here.
Everyone Orchestra will also perform at Jomeokee Music and Arts Festival, September 14 – 16 in Pinnacle, NC and will feature Vinnie and Al of moe., along with conductor Matt Butler and also featuring Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic), Michael Kang (The String Cheese Incident), George Porter Jr. (Meters), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), and more!
On May 15th, The Everyone Orchestra released its new CD Brooklyn Sessions on Harmonized Records. The CD was recorded over two days in 2011 and you have never heard conducted improvisation like this! The album features Jon Fishman (Phish), Marco Benevento, Al Schnier (moe.), Jen Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band), Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis (Tea Leaf Green), Jans Ingber (Motet), Jamie Masefield (Jazz Mandolin Project) and EO conductor Matt Butler.
DiSGRACe: a Rob, Chuck and Al acoustic project
Check out Basemental Records website to order the new solo album from Diane Schnier, "Unadorned" - produced & engineered by Al Schnier.
CHECK OUT AL'S COMPLETE GEAR LIST.
Check out an interview with Al over at VOX
photo by Jay Blakesberg