MOTH: See Them TOMORROW / Read MT’s Music Scene Today


Planet Moth
Battle of the Band winners ready to soar toward the light

Thank your lucky little ear hairs you get to hear of Moth now. This duo has a vision— with some not-so-baby-steps planned to get there—and you’re going to want to stick around for the spectacle. Were Moth to meet the devil and be challenged to a dual, they would not only keep their souls but snag Satan’s too. Halfway through the interview, I catch myself sniggering a little, stoked that I’ve got the scoop on Rolling Stone. Seriously, I think that much of their all-senses-go sound.

“We like to play a lot of notes,” says drummer James Bowersox. “With just the two of us, we have the opportunity to play a lot of notes without stepping on anybody’s toes… I try to keep my arms and feet as busy as I want. Sometimes [the "other James"] says it’s too busy,” he grins.

When they launch into an original called “Old Faithful” (they’re all originals, by the way), all those opportunistic, mathematically mastered notes gush out—rolling around like a mouthful of magic jujubes. It’s been awhile since my personal taste-buds have been tickled, and like a glutton in a candy store (or in this case, band room), I only want more.

“I don’t know if we should let the cat out of the bag,” says the “other James,” a six-stringer who goes by “Cotton.”

“Our whole vision, people will see a taste of on Saturday… I’ll say that much,” says Bowersox, hinting to what he says will be as much a visual showcase as a musical one.

“Can’t a couple guys have a few secrets?” laughs Cotton.

A few secrets may be revealed at Moth’s upcoming shows—hitting Kapa’a, Kauai’s Lava Lounge on Friday, with the Saturday show Bowersox spoke of at Mulligan’s on the Blue, for the Summer Concert Tour with The Throwdowns, a benefit for the Surfrider Foundation—but mysteriousness surrounding Moth will likely crystallize.


The kind of band that earns my unabashed adoration is the kind of band that rolls up to their first official gig late—a little show called Battle of the Bands 2010—and after being squeezed into the last slot, walks out of Mulligan’s that May night as the overall winners.

Technically speaking, their skill is as much art as it is science. Weird science. Blow your mind science. Cotton strings up a Fret Land fantasy, as if Deaner of Ween woke up one morning and decided to be Dimebag Darrell. Weave this out-of-the-box shredding with they way Bowersox works his pure-energy beats, and it’s such a thorough—and thoroughly good—sound that if you’ve never witnessed it live, you’d never believe it was just a couple of guys.

Honing their big-sound artistry for what they aim to be career-long touring, Moth endeavors to create a concert experience and plans a European tour in the imminent future.

This total experience will be naught but natural for the pair of Jameses. They ooze as much style as they do skill, clever and creative in even their casual conversation. So, too, are their songs.

“It’s about castles,” Cotton says of the “Old Faithful” tune. “Everything is about castles.”

“When in doubt, always go back to the castles,” Bowersox adds of the song “Scimitar,” which apparently is some sort of Egyptian sword.

“Some words may not make sense in castle world,” says Bowersox, “but they’re still about castles.”

Bowersox’s current castle has a moat and everything. The band room is pristine, one accent wall painted a custom purple he says he “went crazy making.”

On the topic, they joke about giving away free cinderblocks with every CD purchase, part of a castle-building starter kit. Or, the fact that Cotton, an 11-year Mauian, speaks good Pidgin, and is also fluent in “cat, duck, penguin and yeti.”

I could go on; clearly these dudes warrant it. But really, this is a band you should see and hear for yourself.

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Written by Anu Yagi

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