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!”