This "5 and Dime" interview with Joetown was conducted on February 26, 2009, when vocalist/guitarist Joe Delaney phoned me from his car as he traveled home from Boston.
Thanks for the interview Joe, and best of luck with the release of the latest Joetown record "Pills and Ammo."
While researching this interview, I read an interview you did with a Los Angeles magazine that I occasionally submit material to: All Access Magazine. You mentioned a grassroots approach and sowing the seeds of success one fan at a time. With the "one -fan-at-a-time approach" in mind, my hope with this interview is that at least one person reading our chat takes the next step and links to your website or MySpace page to give your band a listen.
Exactly. That's why I do all of the media stuff. I'm trying to get all of the tentacles out there in every area.
Let's talk about your new record "Pills and Ammo" and how your sound has evolved since the 2000 release of "Rock 'n' Roll Man."
We definitely sit in the hard rock territory. Joetown is heavy hard rock on the verge of metal. The best spot and the place easiest to deal with to purchase my records is CDBaby.com. Amazon and i-Tunes.
"Rock 'n' Roll Man" was kind of like a party with its lyrical content. At times it gets deep, but it's not very deep. It has a 50s-style party rock and roll attitude. My new record is a lot more personal. The lyrics and music are no longer about slamming down whiskey and tearing the club apart. Yet, there's nothing wrong with that mind you. "Hole in My Soul" is the song I like to play live. It gets a great response, and it's a fan favorite. The talk box adds something different, and it has a driving mid-tempo. It's a song that's firing on all cylinders.
Given the years that elapsed between records, plus the fact that you self-produced "Pills and Ammo," was the sound pre-conceived or did you let it take shape once you started recording it? Did you give any thought to using a co-producer to get a second opinion as you recorded the tracks?
The sound was pre-conceived. One of the reasons that I'm so happy with this record is that I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound going in and that's how it came out. It doesn't always work out that way. The time lapse between records is because I was working with a band called American Trash when "Rock 'n' Roll Man" came out and American Trash got real busy. It ate up a few years. Steve, the vocalist from American Trash, plays in Trans-Siberian Orchestra now. We still do a few American Trash shows a year. I did think about a co-producer but before you knew it, I was halfway done with the record. There are people I'd like to work with, but at the time I couldn't lock them down.
Before I forget, introduce your band mates in Joetown and name their musical influences. Since chemistry is so important to a band, other than their chosen instrument, what other ingredients do your band mates add to the band's success formula?
My influences would be Ian Gillan as a vocalist and Ritchie Blackmore as a guitarist, Jimmy Page as a songwriter, and Tom Dowd as a producer. Keefer is our bass guitarist and he'd name Lemmy from Motorhead and Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler as his influences. Kerry Gollarney is Joetown's rhythm guitarist. He's very diverse and Stevie Ray Vaughn and Gary Moore would be his influences. Mat Reale just stepped in on drums and Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave is his primary influence. As far as chemistry, Keefer adds raw attitude. Mat provides foundation; he plays with a very simple groove and he doesn't stray. Kerry adds spice. I do the main guitar stuff, but I can back off on a few things so we can add guitar harmonies. Kerry's opened up a lot of doors for me.
Geography and location are not only important in the real estate market, they're important factors in the music market. To fans unfamiliar with the town of Wallingford, or even the state of Connecticut, your studio is centrally located. Within a four-hour drive, you can reach the live music markets of Boston, New York City, New Jersey, and even Philadelphia. Has Joetown taken advantage of that, or have you dropped the ball with regards to pounding the road, which is the old-fashioned approach of getting your music heard? Are the clubs in your area pay-to-play?
As far as touring, I'm doing on-air things now at college radio stations. Radio, in general, has treated Joetown very well. We also want to travel into the markets of bigger stations that are playing our music to do local shows or support shows for bigger bands. There's always the hope of hopping on with somebody and doing a proper tour. I've been a little lax but in lieu of pounding the pavement locally, we've done other stuff. We get out to California a couple times a year to do some high-profile gigs. I'm always traveling with the Brugera amplifier company where I'm constantly networking and playing my music to people all around the world. It's a trade-off yet 2009 and 2010 have to be years where we hit the pavement in the local areas you mentioned. The trailer and the vehicle are there, latched on, gassed up, and ready to roll. We've played in Baltimore, upstate New York, and Massachusetts. It's time to connect the dots and make the rounds.
As far as paying to play, I've been running into too many tour buy-ons or clubs with ticket consignments. I just won't do it. I'll find another place in town to play. The first time you drop your shorts for that type of stuff, you'll be doing it forever. I know it's part of the game but I'm philosophically opposed. I won't buy on to a tour. But if any of the labels we're talking with want to get involved and invest their dollar, now that the record is getting some traction, I'll look at it as much-appreciated tour support. I lay it on the line every night, and Joetown delivers a good show. If I have to pay to play, the money is flowing in the wrong direction. I'm not greedy, but we bust our asses to perform for the people. Asking me to pay you so I can play in your club is monumental disrespect.
What's the next logical step if you stay pro-active and try to move Joetown forward? Also, please close the interview with a message to music fans reading about you for the first time and a message for your existing fans?
The next logical step is putting together a leg of a tour that heads down the East Coast as far as Atlanta, across to St. Louis, then back up and around. We're getting commercial airplay in that corridor. They're eager for us to play some radio-sponsored shows. We have to support the people who have supported us by spinning our record. For music fans unfamiliar with Joetown, we're a band that's been around and has stayed true to what we want to do. We won't morph and change with the times. We are who we are. For my existing fans, thanks for supporting what we've been doing. I already have 7 or 8 songs started or demoed. Depending on how crazy the touring schedule gets, we may have new material out by the end of 2009.
Thank you Joe for taking the time to chat about Joetown. Please share a thought or a story that touches upon the life and legacy of the late great Dimebag Darrell.
When I was younger, I played in a band that was touring around Texas. The label we were on messed things up and some shows were cancelled. There was time in-between and the rest of the guys went home. I had nowhere to go so I stayed on and hung out with some people that owned a club in Arlington. Every person I met in Texas knew Dime and every girl I met was dating somebody involved with Pantera. I went to the strip club that Dimebag and Vinnie Paul owned. For a short time, I lived in a bubble that was their kingdom. I was already a fan, but I never got the chance to meet them. Dime was a great player, and I was really taken aback when I heard how it happened. I saw it on the news and it was bizarre and surreal. Everybody in the industry speaks so highly about Dimebag. I never heard a bad word.