Joe - Guitar / Vocals

When you’re born with a music teacher for a mother, you’re not given much choice as to whether you’ll end up a musician. Ten years of forced classical training on violin and viola plus music camp, school orchestra, chamber orchestra, youth orchestra, and pit orchestra gave me the foundation to teach myself guitar, which meant I finally had something to do while I wasn’t doing my homework.

My mom was my music teacher not once, but twice, and you know she’s damn good because that should make any kid want to quit music. She first taught me in Suzuki violin class when I was 6 back when we lived in New York. There was a large Chinese population where we lived, and the parents of my mom’s Chinese students would bow to her as she passed them in the halls. When I was 8 we moved to a town in Connecticut whose schools had exceptional programs for orchestral music, choral groups, and musical theater. Exposure to these types of cultural reverence for music is not lost on a child.

I started playing guitar and writing music at age 13. My high school band, Protocol,
released 2 albums that no one bought. We weren’t bad for our age, and in retrospect
not everything we did was terrible. If all goes according to plan I will be releasing a
solo album of original songs in 2017.

In terms of my musical influences, my childhood included pretty much a constant
stream of The Beatles as well as all the great composers of the past, then I went
through all your Zeppelins, your Hendrices, your Whos, your Stoneses. But what
really broke my brain when I hit my teen years was Aerosmith, Queen, AC/DC, Guns
N’ Roses – the big, mind-blowing, undeniable arena rock.

I believe rock music should feature technical prowess, volume, and spectacle.
There’s something to be said for showmanship, and rock music should be at least a
little bit ridiculous about it. Rock music is Steven Tyler screaming and swinging
around a mic stand that has multicolored scarves hanging off it. It’s Meat Loaf
wearing bat wings and singing with an obscene amount of vibrato backed up by a
chorus of motorcycles. It’s Justin Hawkins of The Darkness apparently making love
to a furry alien in a spaceship or something. Give ‘em a show.

When I was 18, I turned down a music school scholarship to study TV writing and
do stand up comedy, which as you can guess was the happiest day of my parents’
lives. As I struggle in my comedy career it has become abundantly clear to me that I
should hold onto my backup plan – playing in a band. After a few years as a fill-in
member of Victoria Watts, another Shore Bets band, I saw fit to join up with the
88mph jokers and rock the tri-state area with a vengeance.

When I’m not with 88, you can catch me doing stand up at Helium Comedy Club in
Philly or playing with my fake country band Trigger Warning throughout the city.