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Out of the Shadows… Joey Barnes releases new EP entitled “Always”

JOEY1-smallIf you don’t know who Joey Barnes is right off the cuff, it may be because for the past few years he’s been hiding. Not in a literal nor musical sense; as he’s been a member of and on tour with Chris Daughtry (Daughtry…for the people living in caves); which has taken him all over the world playing before tens of thousands. Barnes, who is fluent on an obscene number of instruments, just happens to be playing drums on his gig with Daughtry, an old friend from the musician trenches, a.k.a. “BAI” (Before American Idol).

Joey admits that sitting behind a kit affords him a “safe haven” from the traditional pressure of being front & center, but he’s no stranger to departures from his “drummer hidey hole”, and has played numerous roles in successful bands (Suicide Darlings & The Patrick Rock Band). Front & center is exactly where Barnes will be in very short order with the release this week of his new 5 song EP, entitled “Always”.

Barnes has been spreading himself a little thin these days, simultaneously recording “Always” and the upcoming Daughtry CD, which is due out this summer. “Always” was recorded and produced by his decade-long friend, Josh Seawell at Seawell Studios in North Carolina (www.seawellstudios.com) and is on Seawell’s indie label, Nascent Republic Records (www.nascentrepublic.com).

Although over 30 songs were recorded, the duo decided that the resulting five song EP highlighted the eclectic range of genre and sound that Joey can kick out. There is a lil something for everyone, and from what I heard…all are exceptional. My personal favorite is “Story of a Girl”, and reflects the influence of The Beatles on Joey. The EP is available right now on the Nascent Republic website, Joey’s website (www.joeybarnesofficial.com), and ITunes on Monday (March 23,2009).

At this moment in time, Joey’s long and winding road has led him to the doors of the
Dan McGinnis Bar in Nashville; where he’s been up all night shooting the premiere title video for “Always”; directed by his best friend, Matt Blair. I talked w/ Joey at length about where he’s been, where he’s going & how the hell he got here…

He is basically one of those musicians made in the womb. The kid really didn’t stand a chance coming from a completely musical family. His dad is a drummer for The Magnificents, mom plays and sings, aunts uncles, cousins…they all play some kind of instrument in varying genres (except for younger brothers Jason & Justin who must have eaten lead paint or something because they are all about hip hop & rap. Joey still claims them though, so that’s cool. Bro’s can forgive a lot – ha!).

While the other dad’s on the block were putting together pre-fab cribs, Barnes’ dad utilized the 9 month gestation period to design & build his unborn son a custom-made drum kit. Joey said, “There just is not a time that I don’t remember music going on in and around our house, and although there’s pictures and videos of me “playing” the drums at like age two; the first true cognitive memory of actually PLAYING and having a sense of what I was doing, was probably around age seven.” I naturally assumed that his dad gave him formal lessons/training, but Joey reflected, “Nah, it really wasn’t like that. There was never any pressure whatsoever from either of my parents. My dad is just a phenomenal drummer & I have always been a more visual learner. So, I’d watch and observe him jamming and then I’d try to duplicate him. Of course he gave me advice and help, but he understood as a musician himself, that I was learning at my own pace & in my own way. I still learn new instruments like that. Hey, it works for me (laughing).”

Yes, it is obviously working. Joey was known throughout the southeast (long before Daughtry) primarily as a drummer. But he plays, “just about anything I can get my hands on:” Bass/Harmony/Lead guitar, piano, organ, clarinet, harmonica, trumpet…well you get the idea…the dude can make some sweet sounds with a precision most musicians would kill for. He wrote all the songs on the EP and plays all the instruments. He plans to do an accoustical tour this summer (in between gigs w/ Daughtry). I asked him how he was gonna pull that off (since he did everything himself on Always). He said, “I already know exactly who I want to back me up & all of them are on board. It’s a group of some of the best musicians I’ve ever known.” TST will keep you posted on the schedule as soon as it becomes available.

joeybarnesTST: What is your songwriting process? For instance, do you write the lyrics first then the melody, and what instrument do you primarily use in the beginning stages?

JB: I always write the music first, and it is usually on the piano. I am a firm believer in letting the music speak for itself. The melody makes the song. Write lyrics around the melody. I’ve seen the process reversed, and in my opinion, lyrics can sometimes box up incredibly big songs into a small little corner. Before lyrics were added to songs, in the classical sense, it was the music that stood alone. It didn’t need words. I love things like that.. classical & instrumental music. I watch silent & foreign movies. Any art that doesn’t need to be explained with words is far more interesting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am awed by some of the lyrical masters past and present, but I personally look at lyrics as the icing on the cake. If you have a great melody, you can write anything around that.

TST: Who are your top three artists or bands?

JB: I only get three? Oh man…I think Evan Johannsen of the band Magnet (Norway) is one of the most incredible singers/songwriters & musicians of our time. Daniel Johns of Silver Chair and Bjork.

TST: I read that you are a Beatles fan. So am I … so the true Beatle’s fan quiz is … when you went to England, did you do it?

JB: Do it? Ahhh…yes I did it all! Went to Eleanor Rigbey’s grave, Abbey Road, Apple – hell yeah! What kind of self-respecting Beatles fan wouldn’t?
:
TST: Top three Beatles songs?

JB: That is NOT fair! That hurts my brain! O.k….if I must limit myself and follow your imposed rules…1) Your Mother Should Know; 2) In My Life; 3) Happiness is a Warm Gun

TST: O.k…you passed the test – ha! You have been pretty outspoken about the music industry. I am quoting you here, “The music industry has just become a stale state and the scene can be so ridiculous. Why does one person become famous because they are “marketable” in the eyes of some executive, while a truly talented musician gets passed over?” So, do you think shows like American Idol are good or bad for the music industry?

JB: (laughing) Can I plead the 5th on that one? Just kidding…I think AI has it’s place & is definitely a platform for discovery. But if you take the three artists that have become true “success stories” (Daughtry, Kelly Clarkston & Carrie Underwood) they all have one thing in common. They all pretty much stuck to their own style and genre of music & didn’t allow the machine to make them something that they aren’t. For instance, Chris already knew who he was long before he went on AI – as a person & musically – and he did not change or try to fit the mold.

TST: What can an undiscovered musician do to break out of the trenches in this corporate age of music BUSINESS?

JB: Well, for starters you need to get out of your basement or apartment and meet as many people as you can. Support other bands, go to shows, networking is the name of the game. You have to establish yourself if you want longevity and to evolve. You may be the greatest undiscovered musician of all time, but if no one knows who you are; if you don’t promote the hell out of yourself and your band – no one ever will know you you are. I’ve never heard of the head of a label knocking on someone’s door saying, “I was told that the best damn guitar player in the world lives in the basement at this address!” For example, I met Chris (Daughtry) years before at a Battle of the Bands. I was playing in three of the bands (laughs) and we just kind of hit it off because he thought I was a madman running from stage to stage. Then, whattaya know…a few years later who just happens to need a drummer? Granted, I had to audition because it was part of his AI contract, but Chris knew me from back in the day. He wasn’t some big label executive. Just a fellow musician who trusted in my abilities and brought me along for the ride of my life thus far. That means more to me than some suit saying I’m good.

TST: You are a little rebel, aren’t you?

JB: Yep. Proudly I am. “Fight the Power” (Public Enemy) & Rage Against the Machine – my mottos/mantras! That’s why I wanted to do this solo thing w/ people that I knew and trusted and keep it true and simple. Sometimes the best of intentions get all f’’d up when you start throwing too many people and “departments” into the mix. For right now, we are the “departments” and that’s so cool to have that control over my music. Between Josh (Seawell), Patrick (Rock) and Matt (Blair) we are having a blast and keeping it real. It’s great to be able to work with your best friends everyday.

TST: I am almost embarrassed to ask the next questions, but I shall be inundated with e-mails from our female readers if I don’t, so please accept my apologies in advance. You have quite the following of chicks, Mr. Barnes. All accounts say you are the only single member of Daughtry. Still true and if so, why?

JB: Yes I am still single, but not by choice. My life has been so crazy for the last three years. I’ve traveled all over the world. We worked over 300 days last year w/ a day or two off every couple of weeks. It wouldn’t be fair to try to start a new relationship under those circumstances, but I would love to find the kind of girl to share it with.

TST: O.k…I feel like an “E” reporter right now, but I CAN’T STOP MYSELF: What kind of girl would that be?

JB: Well, obviously someone that could either travel with me or could keep the home fires burning w/o going insane with jealousy. It would take an incredibly secure, trusting and patient person to be in my life right now. I am totally open to it, but just haven’t found that right mix yet. For now, it’s just me and my dog…

TST: So you hang w/ your dog in your down time. Hey, next best thing right? What kind of dog and what’s his or hers name?

JB: His name is Sugar Bear and is a ½ chow ½ lab mix.

TST: Dear God in Heaven…you named your male dog Sugar Bear? Do all the other dogs kick his ass? Tell me you rescued him so you can redeem yourself….

JB: You’re brutal! (laughing) … yes I rescued him from the Animal Shelter. And I call him Bear. He’s my bud.

TST: So you’ll be out on tour w/ Daughtry and trying to work in some dates for “Always”. Sounds like you are going to be a busy boy. Do you know if you’ll be coming to Atlanta?

JB: I don’t know for sure, but I hope so. I love Atlanta…the people, the music scene…it’s a great town to hang out and play in.

Overall, I liked this guy. Some musician’s that I’ve spoken with can be cocky to the point of irritation. What was supposed to be a 10 min. quick Q & A interview turned into an hour+ long conversation with an interesting, funny, grounded guy who insists on marching to the beat of a different drum – PUN INTENDED!

Alright, so there you have it folks. What are you waiting for…check out Joey’s new EP and all things Joey Barnes on the links below:

www.joeybarnesofficial.com, www.myspace.com/joeybarnesmusic, www.nascentrepublic.com

http://www.seawellstudios.com

Valerie King

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