Stanton Moore: M&M’s with Bonus M’s, Galactic and Trio Time
M&M’s in New York this past May – photo by Vernon Webb
Few drummers on the scene are more in-demand than Stanton Moore. The New Orleans-based virtuoso has his hand in a number of different projects, from Garage a Trois to the Stanton Moore Trio, a couple of residencies on both the West and Gulf Coasts as well as countless sit-ins and one-off projects. Then, of course, there’s his longtime jam-funk outfit Galactic, which he’ll be rocking with this weekend at Gathering of the Vibes before kicking off a four-night residency at the Brooklyn Bowl in early August.
Moore took some time to talk to us about some of these projects, as well as his upcoming performance with another group, the M&M’s. He’ll be joining the band, which features fellow allstars Maceo Parker, John Medeski, Marco Benevento, Papa Mali and Robert Mercurio, later this month. A smaller version of the group played a gig in New York City back in May, but the newly expanded lineup will be laying down the groove at this year’s Equifunk, a one-of-a-kind all-inclusive festival that takes place August 16-18 in Pennsylvania’s Poconos. It’s a unique band for a unique festival.
You’ll be playing with the M&M’s at Equifunk, which features John Medeski, Papa Mali, and your Galactic bandmate Robert Mercurio. The project debuted a few months ago in New York but this one will be a little different, can you talk a bit about that?
Yeah it was super fun. You know, always love playing with John and I’ve played a lot with Papa Mali over the years. I’ve played a little bit with John but not as much as I would like. So it’s great to get an opportunity to play with John in a different situation than what we would normally do. We kind of would only do instrumental stuff. So to do vocal stuff with John was really cool. So yeah, it gelled really well and that was exciting. And this line up at Equifunk will be an elaborated lineup. It was looking like John couldn’t make it, so we were gonna have Marco (Benevento), and then now John can make it so we’ll have both (laughs). So that’s cool. And then we’ll also have Maceo (Parker) so that’s really exciting.
How did that project come into being?
I’m pretty sure Eric [Kamen, Equifunk founder] had the idea and just contacted us. He wanted to get some different players who haven’t played together a lot and I guess he realized that we all had M’s in our names (laughs). So now when Medeski couldn’t make it, we had to find somebody with an M in their name and luckily Marco was around and has an M in his name. Then of course, Maceo. So, it’s kind of cool.
So festivals have been evolving a lot recently and Equifunk’s all-inclusive experience is something kind of new. Can you talk about what sets Equifunk apart from other festivals?
It’s really cool that it’s on those grounds and the guys throwing it have a lot of history with the grounds and kind of grew up there, so that’s cool. I dig being able to walk off stage and walk to your cabin, so that’s also cool. For us, usually we’re staying off site like in a hotel somewhere, so it’s cool to be able to just have a cabin like right there that’s walking distance from everything.
Speaking of festival evolution how have you seen the festival scene evolve over the last few years?
There seems like there’s a lot more of them. You would expect that there would be a lot of oversaturation and I guess there is. But there’s been some new festivals that pop up and it’s been interesting to watch them grow into very successful festivals, you know? I mean All Good seems to do really well every year now. Wakarusa seems to be doing pretty well. So it’s interesting to watch these festivals start and then they grow and then become these kind of destination festivals. That’s interesting as well.
So what’s in store for Galactic coming up soon? Do you guys have any studio material in the works?
Oh absolutely! We’ve been working on stuff. We’ve got four singles that we are about to release in succession a few months apart from each other. So yeah, that’s coming out and that’ll be exciting. Instead of doing a record we’ll be doing these four singles with different guests and all this so we’re excited about that. Looks like we’ll have some interesting songs, and we’ll be doing these four singles as opposed to trying to do a full record this time. That’s the idea for this next set of releases.