Al Schnier

Al Schnier

Al Schnier performing with moe. on June 11, 2009.
Background information
Born (1968-01-09) January 9, 1968
Origin New Hartford, NY
Genres progressive rock
rock music
folk rock
Occupation(s) musician
Instruments electric guitar
acoustic guitar
Moog synthesizer
Years active 1991–present
Labels Fatboy Records
Basemental Records
Associated acts moe.
Al and the Transamericans
Before Cowboys

Al Schnier (born January 9, 1968) is a musician most noted for being one of two guitarists for the American jam band moe.


Schnier was born on January 9, 1968 in Utica, New York. He attended New Hartford Central High School in Oneida County, New York before going to college at State University of New York at Oneonta (SUNY) in 1990. He graduated from SUNY with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Arts.

Music career

As found at his website, Schnier wrote his first original piece of music in 1978, of which a part would later appear on his solo musical release His first band was in 1982 during eighth grade and was named "Cuttin' Loose." It was a Neil Young and Rush tribute band that played only two shows. During high school and college he performed in various cover bands. In 1990, Schnier was playing in a psychedelic rock band in Oneonta, New York called Unclaimed Freight, when he discovered the first original recordings by moe (period absent until 1992), a band based in Buffalo, New York. “I heard that tape,” Al recalled, “and I thought, ‘This is the kind of band I want to play in.’ ... Of course, I never thought I’d be playing with moe., but six months later I ended up moving to Buffalo, and my next introduction to the band was actually sitting in with them." [1] In early 1991, Schnier filled in for Dave Kessler in moe, playing electric guitar and congas at Chicklets House in Buffalo, New York. After this time, Schnier would occasionally play with the band, adding a third guitar to Kessler and Chuck Garvey's mix. Schnier officially joined the band in January 1992 and Kessler left several months later due to lack of interest. To this day, Schnier is with the band moe. fulltime, adding instruments such as mandolin, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and Moog to his contributions.[1]

Schnier has also been a part of several side project bands. In 1999, he formed an Americana-influenced folk rock group called Al and the Transamericans. He released an album, "Analog", and continues to play sporadic shows with the group, usually in or around his current hometown of Utica.

In July 2001, Schnier began work on an electronica project he named The name is a play on the fact that Schnier performs all instruments and duties on the album. The self-titled album was released in October 2001 and he has performed a few solo shows in support of the release.

In 2003, Schnier joined with his wife, Diane, to create an album based on her musical talents. Over the course of a year, they recorded the album "Before Cowboys", with Diane playing piano and singing while Schnier performed all other musical duties. Since the release, Schnier has toured with his wife and a small group, dubbed Before Cowboys, and are currently working on a follow-up album.[2]

Schnier has also been a part of Phil Lesh and Friends during a number of shows, including in May 2005 for three shows in the San Francisco, California area. Schnier described collaborating with Lesh as follows: "I’m a big fan of the Dead, so it was a real treat for me to get to go to the Grateful Dead rehearsal facility and hang out with Phil. We rehearsed for like, I want to say four or five days, and then we did three shows. It was awesome." [3]

Schnier is an aspiring engineer & producer. He has produced & engineered all of his solo work, as well as both of his wife's albums, along w. several moe. projects (including some of the tracks on The Conch). He has also worked on projects for other bands including The Brakes & Okemah. Schnier owns his own studio, Basemental Studios, in upstate NY.[2]

Schnier is the parent of an autistic child, and an avid supporter & fundraiser for Autism developmental center, The Kelberman Center.[4]

Schnier is also a founding board member of the voter registration group, Headcount.[5]




  1. 1 2 "". Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  2. 1 2 "Basemental Records". Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  3. Brian D. Holland. (2007-05-16). "Al Schnier and Chuck Garvey of moe.". Modern Guitars. Archived from the original on 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  4. "moe. to host Autism benefit concert...". Phantasy Tour. Archived from the original on 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  5. "about Headcount". Archived from the original on January 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-26.

External links

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