Some artists have their niche, while others transcend the usual. John Moyer is one of them. He’s an unstoppable bass player that slams through rock genres with passion and precision. I spoke with Moyer and found this musician inhales opportunity and exhales diversity.
John Moyer has created longstanding friendships exclusive to rock music. Collaborations are his fuel, while adaptability is his fire. I asked him what it takes to transition from one band to the next and got a taste of raw artistry.
They all have their own challenges. Coming from playing with Disturbed for 12 years straight, and then I jumped into Adrenaline Mob, it’s a very different animal. Disturbed is very machine-like and we play the songs a certain way. The show is paced exactly the same every night and if we make changes, the changes are very purposeful; that we know ahead of time what we are doing. Adrenaline Mob was like a jam-band. It was different every night. It wasn’t like we played the songs exactly the same, we played the essence of the song. I would ask Michael Orlando, the guitar player, “Hey what solo are you doing on the pre-chorus?” He’d be like, “Bro, it’s different every night.” I was like, “Okay,” trying to wrap my head around this whole idea of just taking the essence of the song and jamming it. The singer would do break-downs in the middle of the song, out of nowhere, and I’d be like, “Oh, I guess we’re doing a breakdown.” Then, it would be like, “John Moyer on bass, give us something John,” and I’d be like, “Oh, I guess I’m doing a bass solo now.” It was very random and crazy, but exciting. That was the point that Russell wanted to do. He wanted to have a band, a group of musicians backing him up, where at any time he could call out something and we could back him up. That was very exciting and that was definitely a new way of jamming that I had to wrap my head around.
This man can do anything, and generally does. In Dog Camp with Mike Portnoy, that he said “was a whole lot of fun,” to a continual growth of backing vocals with Geoff Tate’s influence,
In Mindcrime in particular, Geoff had me singing a lot. I was doing a lot of backup vocals with him. I sang some with deposits, but not as much as I did with Geoff. He liked my voice and every show he’d add on vocals for me. Like, “Oh, I’ve got another spot where I need you to sing. Oh, how about this?” “Okay, okay I’ll do my best.” So, there was a lot of that that happened in that band.
Moyer has skills sought after by the greats in music. Throughout the interview, it was almost difficult to keep up with the many projects of Moyer, but each one proved impressive. How does this man do it? Well, the answer is: it depends on the band. Moyer explained that each of his collaborations has their own message. With Art of Anarchy, what started with brainstorming ended with lyrics at the core.
Initially, I don’t think any of us knew what the message was going to be. Lyrically speaking, Scott had a lot on his mind he wanted to talk about. He had a lot of personal issues. I think every record for Scott is a form of therapy. I think this one in particular was a lot of that. He was coming off of an episode he had a year before. He was reinventing his life and his lifestyle. He was becoming a family-man again. That whole process came out in the lyrics tremendously. This record is about his descension and his time out of his issues, addictions, and all that kind of stuff. It’s powerful messages, it really is. I’ve been super proud of the lyrics he put together for this record and the message in general. On top of it, the order of the songs for the record. No one talks about the order of songs, because its such a single driven industry now. The arrangement of a record isn’t as important as it used to be. But, it was really important to Scott to have the songs in a certain order that told the story.
Singers bare their souls. Whoever is writing the lyrics, whether its Nikki Sixx or David Draiman, or Scott Stapp, people like the music and they do get sucked in to a song. But, they stick around with these bands because of the lyrics.
Moyer explained his input with Art of Anarchy has tickled his creative side. Art of Anarchy started without knowing exactly what their message was, but being a hardworking team resulted in their new record The Madness. This record may be titled with a hint of craze, but Moyer elaborated on the choices being thought out and specific to their purpose.
What I have right now is Art of Anarchy. It’s one of my more creative outlets. We write together as a band, and individually. I’ve got more than a few songs on this record that I can say came from me initially and we developed as a band. This band is interesting too, because its one of the first projects that I joined where, especially when Scott Stapp got involved, the identity of the band hadn’t been established yet. We didn’t know what we were going to sound like. When I joined Disturbed and they were already two records deep, they had a sound. They defined themselves. When I worked with Geoff Tate, he had a sound. The Art of Anarchy stuff is all new material. We don’t play anything from Creed, or any of the other members’ past stuff. We don’t play any covers. One of the challenges was figuring out, what is this band? Who are we? What do we sound like? What makes sense to us? Once we agreed to work together, it was a difficult process all day in the room, trying to write lyrics and ideas that everyone could get on board with. We all came from different sources. That was the biggest challenge initially. It was like, “Who are we?” Once we put together the first three songs, the rest came together a lot easier. It was like, “Ah, here we go. This is our sound.” Now, we knew where to explore.
Through it all, Moyer is a fan and for a very good reason. Music isn’t a job, or a hobby, or even just an outlet. It’s all of those, and much more. Music is the guide we need, and the keeper of memories.
A lot of times songs they define a time in their life. I’m a big Eagles fan. So, when I was back in high school there’s a lot of these Eagles’ songs that when I hear I can go back to being in high school again. Then, later on in life, my wife at the time was also an Eagles fan. So, now I have all these new memories. Now I have two points in my life. When I first met the mother of my child and high school. Years later, I can relive the songs again. A lot of times they define us one time in our life, but songs can reinvent themselves later on in your life and also become an important part of your time moving forward. The soundtrack of your life that people talk about.