We are so excited to kick off the week with an interview with Joe The Bluesman. This musician is blues songwriter based out of Las Vegas when he is not on the road in his RV. A bit older and a lot tamer, the wild-man of SoCal is now available for songwriting and performing, doing a one-man electric blues show. Join us today as we speak to Joe about the blues, lack of Olympics interest, living in an RV, and so much more!
@skopemag: Where are we talking from and what brings you to @skopemag.com?
Hello, good afternoon I’m based out of Las Vegas but today I’m actually talking to you from the Little Rock Arkansas area. I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak with skope magazine and look forward to the additional exposure that this will bring me. Thank you again.
@skopemag: How is 2018 treating you so far?
So far 2018 has been fantastic musically and otherwise. Getting more done musically this year than last year maybe it’s just because I’m actually putting out a little more effort. Traveling has exposed me to new things and I think this is reflected in my music this year.
@skopemag: The winter Olympics just closed in South Korea, did you watch or take any interest in the games?
No and no I have no interest in the Olympics really. I am a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and a fan of Ferrari formula 1. you can find me waking up early Sundays morning in formula one season to watch the race live from some exotic location around the world. The Chiefs actually bring me a lot of joy and heartbreak all in the same season!
@skopemag: When did you make music a priority and how did you take the alias Joe The Bluesman?
I have always had an interest in music but I had to put music as a side interest, like so many people I took the time to raise my family. Now that I have grandkids from two great kids I have the time to make music my priority. Three years ago I said goodbye to my day job to make music my number one priority. I actually started becoming much more interested in music again at the turn-of-the-century I went to see a King Crimson show in Las Vegas and within a week I had a strat and a Marshall half stack and was playing again, but that was about 15 years ago so I’ve been developing my chops up until the point that I decided to make this my priority.
Back in my youth in the San Diego and Los Angeles area, I played under the pseudonym of Joe E Melodee. But about 10 to 12 years ago I decided that was to Nuwave. I’ve always been concerned that people would not be able to pronounce my last name, Campobasso, of course, that was before Joe Bonamassa made along Italian name standard. So I started thinking of a catchy name and came up with Joe The Bluesman. I was looking to set up a website and checked to see if the domain was available, and it was! I expected it to be used, but now I have it! I do think it is a good name for folks to remember easily. But I have to confess it causes me a lot of trepidation since then. Because not everything I play it’s necessarily blues. But on the other hand the blues that’s a very wide genre that can range from country to highly produced orchestra pieces, so I feel like everything I play does fall within that range! I really consider myself a songwriter that performs his music and sometimes the songs are outside the typical blues envelope.
@skopemag: What was it that drew you to blues and name 1-2 highly influential musicians that you listen to & respect?
Interesting the blues that’s what my hands and heart play, it’s not necessarily what I listen to. The things I listen to in my developing years would fall more into the category of progressive glam thing like Roxy music, Brian Eno, more of that sort. I do listen to a lot of blues nowadays, for the last 20 years or so. But when I strap on the guitar and start playing the blues is what comes out! It is hard to determine my favorite blues players, who did I listen too most recently? That’s my fav, at the moment! But of course BB King and Buddy Guy are influences, but I think the most influential would be Johnny Winters I also am inspired by Walter Trout quite a bit. I think the blues is the most clever and most fun to listen to and play. The blues usually have a story hopped up with double entendre, things and hooks to make it more exciting. On a typical day, it would not be unusual for me to listen to some classical music and Jimi Hendrix and every possible thing in between. Visiting with my grandkids I’ve actually become quite familiar with nursery rhyme song in so many different fashions and even different languages it’s pretty cool how kids are exposed to songs in different languages. I like that very much.
@skopemag: You have loads of songs on your Reverbnation page @ Reverbnation.com/joethebluesman? Do you have an album/EP out now that readers should check out or are you about releasing singles?
Do I have a lot of songs on reverb? Maybe I have too many? Yeah, the idea was to give a different range of the styles of music I play. But unfortunately, I think the recording on reverb are poorly recorded most of them are live with poor recording quality. I will be in the studio in 3 days to complete the set of songs I plan to release as an EP. All originals. I plan to then complete a set of cover recordings and add them to the EP to create an LP. The cover songs take my money, as it is important to me that all the proper fees are paid. so the covers will lag a few weeks behind the original songs release. I consider myself a songwriter, so compensation to other songwriters is a very important issue for me. I do think a couple of songs that I plan to record would be good singles and I would like to issue on the singles to either be picked up by my recording or other artists to record my song.
@skopemag: What inspires you daily to write & record music and what producers/musicians do you work with?
Everything inspires me to write songs I wish that I had the fortitude to write down a record every tune and riff as it comes to my head with the lyrics it comes my head. There’s at least one or two new one every day, but, most of those disappear before the day is over. I call those songs of the moment but, every once a while one of those songs for the moment actually clicks and I think that it’s good enough that I will work with it and develop it into a song. I remember watching a movie about Dennis Wilson, where he diddled on the piano for his girlfriend, she thought it a wonderful song, and he responded, that it was over, gone… the song was for the moment. I really related to that. Currently, I’m working with Jason at Wolfman studios in Little Rock. Other than that I am doing my own productions and producing of my own tunes I do use a service to do notations I don’t bother to do that that, it would take too long so I do use of service for that. But hey, producers out there, give me a call!!!
@skopemag: I read in an interview with eprmuisc.com you travel the US in an RV. Offer us insight into that lifestyle and does being on the road help spread your music?
Traveling in the RV it’s been a fun experience, so far we’re only a half a year into this adventure! One of the things I love to do is play bars along the route. I can set up or schedule gigs along the way, but I love to just hit town find a bar that I can set up put out a jar and play. I don’t want to give the impression that that is my goal, I really like to have the reaction of people and hear the feedback good or bad from the people that I played for in all sorts of locations. The RV gives me a lot of flexibility and a lot of freedom on a personal scale but musically it limits me to doing my one-man show. I’m not in a position where I have a band that will follow me to a gig and is there to perform and just shows up at the next gig. I certainly don’t want band members to travel with the wife and me in the motorhome. Already travel with a shaggy dog and a fat cat! So once I knew that I was going to make this commitment I started developing my one-man show utilizing a looper. I don’t like to have canned music. I don’t like it when I going to see a performer singing or playing to background music. That just seems halfway or half-assed to me…no disrespect for people doing it it’s just not the way I wanted to go so I developed using a looper. I do use some drum tracks but that’s the only prerecorded sounds I use live.
@skopemag: When you are not making music what else do you enjoy to do?
Well, this is a pretty typical answer for a guy my age especially, but I like spending time with my grandkids and that actually reflects back to the previous question with the motorhome that was one of the main motivation to get in the motorhome. So wherever the grandkids are I can be there for a good period of the year catch their birthdays their music recitals the dance recital’s, it’s a lot of fun. But I have to admit I play my guitar and am thinking about songs most of my day. Even if I’m sitting and watching a movie or watching a television program I probably have my guitar in my hand strumming away, probably irritating the people around me. The RV keeps me busy with maintenance and repairs. But really, music occupies most of my day and nights.
@skopemag: Being you are an older man, how do you adapt to today’s music industry of streaming and downloads?
That is a great question. I am moderately capable, digitally. I think I am up to speed on streaming and downloads. I have avoided for as long as I could, I really think mp3 and the like has very poor sound quality. But the RV life has forced me to conform. I am very excited about how the digital world is,…well, really the whole world. I can get my music heard all around the world with just a few clicks. THAT IS COOL! I do need help as software changes and the like. I am moderately capable of social media. I have more fans outside of the USA than domestically. I think Europe is more in tune with the blues these days than the USA. A couple years ago I was involved with the Hard Rock and Reverbnation.com “contest” to get on the Hard Rock stage. The idea was to get enough votes to be in the top ten for your region. I hustled the hell out of social media and ended in 5th place. Was so very excited to get the exposure the Las Vegas Hard Rock would provide. BUT after I finished fifth, I was never contacted. The other local blues band that made the top ten was also dissed by Hard Rock and replaced with rappers. I am still not sure if this was a lesson about the venue manager’s preferences of the lack of interest in blues in the USA. Either way, I don’t do contests anymore! And I do think the blues get too little airplay or recondition in this country. Maybe someday I will get to Europe for a set of shows. I hope so.
@skopemag: What is coming up for Joe The Bluesman and where you @ online?
First and foremost is my EP. Look for it this summer! I am exploring and learning about the distribution for the EP right now. You can follow my antics at facebook.com/joethebluesman same at youtube.com/joethebluesman and currently I utilize Reverbnation.com/joethebluesman as my main page. I can be found on Twitter, but be warned, I tend to drift from music into social issues there, more than I should. I am concerned that my positions may alienate some folk, but I have to express myself. We are pulling out of the Little Rock area in the next couple weeks and will be in Memphis and then to Nashville. I am seeking venues in each city to play. Have one pro jam invite in Nashville and excited to play in Soultown and Music City!!! I will spend the summer in the Cincinnati area, a place I find is rather open to new music acts with a lot of venues. I will be attending Summer Namm, never been, have been to Winter Namm, but not the summer event. That should be fun. And you may find me, as an attendee at the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame induction ceremony. If not this year (really trying to make it) then the following year at the Tommy Bolin Festival. He was one of my big influences. I play a couple of his tunes in my live set.
Hey, thank you for this opportunity. And everyone, please take a listen to me at one of the websites. Even better yet check out where and when, so we can meet. I will, eventually, be coming to a town near you!