Moe! is conductor and composer for the Moe! Staiano Ensemble, (formerly Moe!kestra!), a large-ensemble avant garde orchestra, which can feature over 30 musicians playing everything from violins, clarinets and cellos to drum kits, oscillators and electric guitars. Moe! Staiano Ensemble performances are high-energy, electrifying experiences that create unique and memorable soundscapes that intrigue and beguile. Moe!'s innovative solo percussion shows feature prepared drum kit, found objects, audio looping and the inventive use of a "percussion guitar" woven in with performance art, which always gets the audience involved and eagerly expectant of what might happen next. Moe! also fronts Surplus 1980, a post-punk band that continually evolves its journey of no-wave progressive and percussive musical exploration. Surplus 1980 features Moe!'s bracing guitar and wry wordplay and a wide palette of timbres from the multi-instrumentalist members of the group. Over the years, Moe! has worked with a veritable who's-who of the Bay Area creative music scene, including Ron Anderson (the Molecules, RonRuins, PAK), Tom Nunn, Vacuum Tree Head, Z'ev, Amy X Neuburg, Ava Mendoza, Nurse With Wound, David Slusser, Karen Stackpole, Ches Smith, Michael Evans (God Is My Co-Pilot), Caroline Kraabel & John Edwards (Shock Exchange), Gino Robair, William Hooker, Tom Dimuzio and has performed with all these plus Henry Kaiser, Mark Growden's Electric Pinata, Amy Denio, Cheer-Accident and sfSoundGroup among others.
When Moe! Staiano performs a solo percussion show, you can expect to see anything from pipes, food pans, pressure caps, sheet metal, knick knacks and intercoms being "played" along with a standard-looking (but not standard-sounding!) drum kit. Moe! uses a "prepared drum kit," which means you might find all sorts of odd objects laying on the drums--including his "percussion guitar" or aluminum baseball bat. These additions expand the spectrum of sounds that can be combined, and adds an element of surprise for the listener. Also a showman, Moe!'s solo percussion shows are a visual eye pleaser, as he hustles around the stage manipulating electronics, wanders into the audience or about the venue creating spontaneous sounds. His use of audio looping and found objects creates a driving musical undercurrent that one might not expect when you think of drums and percussion.