Another Joe are a three-piece punk rock band from the 'burbs, Richmond and Langley to be exact, and while they're fairly young in age, they're wise beyond their years. Maybe it's the experience of touring and the hunger to create that gives them the ability to make good decisions -- that, coupled with a great attitude about their music.
The band has two releases, both of which capture their energy and verve, like smelling salts with your coffee: Pee Against the Wind on Positive, and Ass Seen On T.V. (a split CD with Gob) on LandSpeed. Listening to the discs, you can just picture Alison's hardcore domination of her bass, Richie's chaotic drum lunacy, and Jon cracking faces like a punk rock Red Skelton.
When I arrive at our meeting place, I find Richie and Jon, the band's unpretentious and articulate drummer and guitarist/vocalist, at a table fabricating spoon men from Ronald's vast plastic utensil universe.
Speaking of plastic utensils, does Another Joe drink a lot of coffee? "Yeah," says Jon, "on the road. Lots and lots of coffee to stay awake." "I use it as an upper to stay awake when I'm driving" agrees Richie, adding that he doesn't, however, drink any coffee after ten 'cause he throws up.
With the requisite coffee question out of the way, I inquire about how Another Joe came to play aggressive music. "I know when I first started the band, I was confused," states Jon. "I didn't know whether we were going to be a punk band or a rock band or whether we were. When we first started, we had another drummer and I booked a tour to California. The promoters all booked us with punk bands and they kept saying we were a punk band, so we came to the realization, 'Oh, we're a punk band.' The shows weren't that great. We came up here and played a show at the New York Theatre and there were like two to three hundred kids there and it was just like seeing feedback from the music, and I thought, 'This is the shit. This is what I want to do.'"
Richie tells of his humble beginnings: "Actually, it was funny. I started playing in alternative bands, and the bass player, who's now in Gob, decided to start a punk band and he asked me to play drums for them. A pure punk rock guy, like that's all he wanted to play and that started me off playing that. It's just high energy and it's good to get your aggressions out. I just never looked back after that. Got the chance to play in Another Joe and here I am now."
I've seen lots of drunk punk bands, bands who fall all over themselves trying to look polluted, those wastes of good electricity who are like winos with instruments. Another Joe are not one of the above. "I can't drink before I get on stage 'cause I get the pasties and I can't really sing," confesses Jon. "I get scared that I'm gonna screw up more if I drink, so I usually try not to drink at all," states Richie. Laughs Jon, "Alison usually drinks more than both of us. She's the drinker of the band."
One of the other things that elevate Another Joe above other like-sounding punk bands is their ability to turn screw-ups into something better than what they were supposed to play. "I love mistakes!" asserts Jon with noticeable glee. "I love making mistakes, it's fun. I think it's blatantly funny to fuck up a song, and you're like, 'I screwed up, look at me. Yeee!'"
Another Joe have done their fair share of touring, but, for some reason, haven't had the mechanical problems that seem to befall most bands: "Our van is so awesome," states Jon with pride. "If I had a video, I'd show you. It's a rusted-out two-tone green '77 Ford E-150. It is old and gross-looking. I bought it for five hundred dollars two years ago and it just keeps on trucking. Gob's van, an '88 Chevy, was farting and spitting and banging all over the place."
One of my favourite places to play is Winnipeg and, as luck would have it, their memories are positive as well. "Winnipeg was one of the few bar shows that I remember that people were really interested in. With bar shows, people are usually plastered and like [drunken sounds] 'Hyuh, there's a band playing,'" grunts Richie. "Nice tits!" interjects Jon, drunkenly. Richie continues: "But this place, a lot of them were watching the show. It was cool."
It wasn't all Neverneverland in Winnipeg, though: "Our van got broken into during soundcheck which put a tone on the show. If it had happened after the show, it wouldn't have been such a bummer," recalls Jon, still pissed off. "Luckily, all our equipment was inside [the club]. You know what they do? They'll sit there in a car outside waiting for people to go inside, run to the van, scoop it, and get back in the car."
What lies ahead for the future? "I just took a step back and I've been planning our year out, what we want to do and I kind of opted not to do a video for this record 'cause Gob's already done one for it," explains Jon. "We're thinking of releasing a flexi-disc in a magazine like Flipside. We're also doing another tour this summer, to Ontario and back. We have a new CD that we're writing for right now. Playing a lot of shows. I want to do a seven-inch. Maybe another video for the next album."
A band with a plan! So go catch Another Joe at a coffee (or ale) house soon and get yer dose of aural caffeine...
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