By Michael Lester
moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey grew up in Whitesboro, N.Y., the son of music-teaching parents, and attended the same high school — New Hartford High School — as bandmate and fellow guitarist Al Schnier.
Garvey’s mother Trudy taught string instruments like the violin and cello. Father John was a band instructor.
Garvey, 44, moved to wife Amy’s hometown of Cincinnati about 15 years ago.
While they have no children, they do have two dogs — Memphis, a boxer-pit mix, and Wheels, a beagle-collie mix.
Garvey attended college at SUNY-Buffalo, where he enrolled as an architecture major, which would soon take a back seat to playing loud rock music.
Garvey spoke to us about his musical influences, attending a Phish show and relishing peace and quiet when he’s not on the road.
H81R: Which album did you wear out most in high school?
CG: Ooh, when I was, like 12 or 13, it was probably either Kiss “Rock and Roll Over” or “Destroyer.” Later on, it was probably The Police or David Bowie. But it was a lot. I would go on a rampage and collect vinyl, like one a week, and kind of digest it. David Bowie. The Who. The Police. King Crimson. Talking Heads. I listened to a lot of Steely Dan and a lot of Frank Zappa. I love just about every song(Steely Dan) recorded.
H81R: What was the last concert you attended that was not affiliated with your band?
CG: I just went and saw (comedian) Daniel Tosh (of “Tosh.O” fame), but that’s not music (laughs). You know, I can’t remember. I’ve been really thinking about going to see Paul McCartney because he’s been kicking so much ass, everyone says.”
(The next question is asked, yet Chuck pauses and consults with wife Amy, seemingly determined to answer the concert question. The couple pick each other’s brains momentarily.)
We saw Phish two summers ago at River Bend (Music Center in Cincinnati). We recently went to see a local band. My wife just remembered. This guy is a tattoo artist, and he has this band where he pretends to be like a musical Baptist minister. And it’s really horrible, and he insults everyone. He’s a fire and brimstone preacher. He’s spoofing one in a very vile and insulting way. And it was awesome. We were speechless.
H81R: Your most embarrassing moment on stage during a live performance?
CG: There’s plenty.
H81R: If you weren’t a rock star, what would you do for a living?
CG: I went to school for architecture for just a year. I switched to art and illustration and computer art and animation. Illustration was kind of where I was going. I don’t know where that would have gone. Maybe poster art. Maybe album art, because I like music. I’m also kind of a gearhead. I can also see building stuff like guitar amps or pedals or instruments because there’s the musical aspect, the aesthetic aspect. I say that now because I’m addicted to music. Architecture didn’t work out. I was a lot more into city planning and the artistic part. When I saw the engineering and math, and these aspects, it started to dissuade me from that. I’m still really interested in it. I guess I don’t want to know all the nuts and bolts. I just want to know the creative and cultural aspects. The real hard work and chemistry seemed like it was daunting. Playing loud electric guitar is a lot more fun.
H81R: What do you do on a weekend for fun when you don’t have a show?
CG: When I’m at home, the weekends don’t really exist for me. Days off are just days off. I just try to enjoy home life. I just enjoy the good things in life. I don’t feel the need to go out on weekends. I guess I do that so much it’s actually that I like the quiet stuff. I like hanging low.