With superhero and sci-fi imagery, Peter Prince's Moon Boot Lover was one of the early entries to the northeast's jam bands scene of the early '90s. Delivering a Jimi Hendrix-influenced funk, the rotating lineup fronted by Prince has managed to retain their sound, mostly thanks to the force of Prince's leadership.
Founded in Albany in 1990, the initial lineup of Moon Boot Lover featured guitarist and frontman Prince alongside brothers Neal and Alan Evans on organ and drums, respectively. Bass players rotated, but the most constant was soon Jon Hawes. This version of the band recorded two self-released albums -- Outer Space Action (1994) and Live Deep Down (1995) -- each featuring comic book-style cover art drawn by Prince. The band achieved some success on the jam bands circuit with contemporaries like moe., Schleigho, and others. In fall of 1996, they played a short Rock the Vote tour with moe., the Ominous Seapods, and Yolk, which featured a large amount of cross-pollination between the groups.
Soon after, though, Hawes and the Evans brothers left to pursue other projects. Hawes toured for a time with New Hampshire-based Latin-influenced jam band Percy Hill. Alan Evans played for a while in Karl Denson's jazz-funk unit, Tiny Universe, before reuniting with brother Neal and founding the wildly successful Soulive with former Lettuce guitarist Eric Krasno. Prince, meanwhile, participated in two collaborative acoustic tours with singer/songwriter David Gans, members of moe., and others titled the Merry Danksters, before putting together a new lineup of Moon Boot Lover.
With the transience of the lineup established, Prince firmly became the group's center of attention. His frenetic guitar playing on his trademark Flying V guitar, coupled with his maniacally comic stage persona and deeply soulful voice was simultaneously visually entertaining and exhilarating. Now touring as an elder of the jam band scene, the new lineup of Moon Boot also featured Andy Herrick on drums (formerly of Harpoon) along with Jeff Merrow on vocals. Soon, Hawes was back in the fold, too, as Percy Hill struggled with a high turnover rate.
The new lineup recorded Back on Earth in 2000, a well-balanced collection of funk, rock, and soul originals. Yet another lineup of the band soon took to the road -- this one featuring Nate Edgar on bass and Mike Dunkle on drums -- in support of the disc, with Hawes and Herrick signing on for selected dates. In the spring of 2001, Prince also undertook a solo acoustic tour playing colleges and theaters, opening for longtime Dave Matthews collaborator Tim Reynolds. ~ Jesse Jarnow