Like a tree with many branches, Moonalice’s members have collaborated with some of the most acclaimed artists in musical history and made an indelible impact on music. Vocalist Lester Chambers co-founded pioneering psychedelic soul group The Chambers Brothers and sang on groundbreaking ‘60s civil rights anthems. Bassist Pete Sears was a founding member of Jefferson Starship and played on Rod Stewart’s seminal albums Gasoline Alley and Every Picture Tells a Story. Guitarist Roger McNamee has been an advisor to the Grateful Dead and U2, wrote a best-selling book, and fights against entrenched power in the tech industry. This only scratches the surface of the band’s numerous collective accomplishments, so it’s safe to say Moonalice’s roots extend deep and wide.
The exuberant Bay Area ten-piece, whose members range in age from 35 to 81, delivers a unique brand of psychedelic soul and rock tinged with Americana. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover an unparalleled history of musicianship, activism, and a band ethos that’s more vital now than ever.
Moonalice formed in 2007 after acclaimed producer T Bone Burnett approached McNamee about creating a new band in the spirit of the San Francisco psychedelic era after hearing his previous band, Flying Other Brothers. Burnett suggested McNamee form a band with “new songs and a new legend,” and record an album as part of a series of Americana albums he was producing, including Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s Grammy-winning, platinum album, Raising Sand.
Along with Barry Sless (lead guitar and pedal steel) and Sears (bass), McNamee formed Moonalice and recorded their 2009 Burnett-produced self-titled debut album. The band later expanded to include John Molo (drums), Jason Crosby (keyboards), and newest members Lester Chambers and his son Dylan Chambers, and Erika, Rachel, and Chloe Tietjen of acclaimed Americana band the T Sisters on vocals.