'Jokomo' Joe Monroe, the main lead vocalist of
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan on Sunday, May 14th, 2006 (around 12:00 am) at The Beachcomber, Fort Myers Beach, Fl, USA.
Glenn: Who would you say influenced your style as a singer?
Joey: As a singer my influence is.. wow… they go way back to Ozzy first of all and obviously Kiss but before that I was into a little of the pop stuff, some mainstream stuff and a little country. A little bit of the 50’s and 60’s stuff and it helped me get my melodies and my voice going. Then when Metal came out, when Ozzy came out, Kiss, I mean Kiss Alive 2 ruled my world thereon (laughs).
Glenn: What were you doing in previous bands, I know you were a member of the covers band, The Howling Dogs with Stet Howland, what else were you a part of?
Joe: I had my own bands. When I moved down here to South Florida I had a band called ‘Engine Joe’ and I’m Joe and we had a record deal, so we were looking to do it - to do to it and things broke up. But I hooked up with Johnny Howsley and Bryce Barnes..
Glenn: And the rest is history.
Joe: Yeah, yeah.
Glenn: Why did you decide to be called ‘Jokomo Joe’ – where did that come from?
Joe: It’s a weird thing. I’m part Indian, an Abernake Indian and my Grandmother’s a full-blooded Indian. My Grandfather, who I never met, he died before my mother was born, he was full blooded French and the name is kind of a joke – it’s kind of a French/Indian sort of thing.
Glenn: With regards to Tribal Tongue, what would you say are the favourite gigs you have done?
Joe: Oh man, I love the last concert we did with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Glenn: Yeah, you were buzzing weren’t ya, all that ‘Hello, West Palm Beach’?
Joe: Oh, yeah, yeah. I was very excited at that and the cool part was, was that I was like, “We are in absolute South West Florida” and the wind was just whipping off the water and I was not hot at all. I had my pants on (laughs) and the thing was, was that I couldn’t even wear my cowboy hat as the wind was whippin’ that hard. But I mean, what a great gig, what a great time, what a wonderful time. That’s my favourite.
Glenn: Do you come from a musical background?
Joe: No. Well my peers encouraged me but when I was 2 years old, I knew I was gonna be one two things, I was either gonna be Batman or a musician. Well Batman was already taken so I figured I would…
Glenn: ... be a musician.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. I knew that right from birth (laughs).
Glenn: What made you decide to use the vocal harmony style that you’ve got in Tribal Tongue?
Joe: Well I’m a big Beatles fan and I an Eagles fan. I just think that our harmonies and vocals, I don’t know, think it makes people feel good – I know it makes me feel good. I enjoy people that can play really well. I enjoy people that play for melody rather than speed and things like that. They are just melody – it’s all about melody – it’s all about love baby – ha ha ha ha.
(Bryce and Joe doin' an acoustic thang)
Glenn: ha ha ha ha – cool. What would you say your favourite tracks are on your (Tribal Tongue’s) 7-track e.p. ‘One More Shot’ and why?
Joe: Oooh, that’s a hard one because I love them all. My favourite one is the one that Bryce (Barnes) sings, it’s called ‘Nothing stays the same’. I love ‘I feel’ but I gotta say ‘Nothing stays the same’ – this boy sings his arse of. I get to bring up the back-ups in there.
(Cover of the 'One More Shot' CD)
Glenn: What sorts of other interests do you have outside the band apart from women?
Joe: Well obviously, I’m always gonna have an interest in women but right now, I don’t really have, the only thing I have, is that I have my own studio and doing like radio jingles and stuff like that but other than that I used to be a mountain climber and I used to be a skydiver but I don’t have chance for that anymore because I am doing all of this. So my main interests are just music and girls.
Glenn: Do you have a certain way of keeping your voice in shape?
Joe: Well yes, keeping my voice in shape - the way I do that is to scream everyday all the time because as soon as I take like a day or two off it sort of ceases up and it takes me a day or two to get it back going on. I would rather work everyday, all day, all the time. I mean, I’m like a workhorse. I just wanna sing, sing, sing all the time. If I take a day off, it’s gonna take me a day to get it back.
Glenn: Because it’s a muscle.
Joe: Well I guess, it’s like as soon as I stop it relaxes and then I have to break it out again and it’s harder. I’d rather just keep going. Just keep singing everyday all the time.
Glenn: Do you enjoy singing all types if different styles of music?
Joe: Oh yes, of course. Oh man, I love, I’m a big fan of pop – old 70’s pop and so into metal – I mean I love screamin’ high notes and it’s so weird to be in a sort of rock band and have so many other influences. Everything, oh god damn from Air Supply to f*ck*n’ Skid Row – you run the gauntlet and here I am in a Southern Rock band.
Glenn: I was amazed myself – it was like ‘it’s Joe who I met at Top O’ Mast’. It’s like the guy who used to be in a band to a DJ to doing it all again and you’ve got a studio as well so you’ve got it all really.
Joe: I do all kinds of stuff.
Glenn: What do you most enjoy – do you like it in the studio most or in the live concept or is it both for different reasons?
Joe: Well I love my own studio – I own my own studio and I love my studio because I control what’s going on. I love moulding new acts. I have a lot of new bands coming into my place doing that and of live I love strutting out some sh*t man, I love singing – I love singing and having people… the best thing ever is looking at the crowd and having them sing back words that you wrote.
Glenn: Like me.
Joe: (Laughs). You know what I mean?
Joe: Your on stage singing those lyrics and they are looking at you singing those lyrics back at you and that’s the best thing in the world.
Glenn: We get a big buzz from it as well.
Joe: I wanna come over there and play in the UK. I want that sh*t so bad.
Glenn: I’d love to see you guys over as soon as possible.
Joe: Well we are selling a bunch of Cd’s over there, so it looks like we are gonna be there. I can’t wait.
(Joe and I Pictured at The Beachcomber)
Thanks Again Joe - You guys are awesome !!
Special Thanks to Bryce Barnes (of Tribal Tongue) for setting the interview up somewhat, JT Wilker - Tribal Tongue's Road Manager (who took the photo of Joe with yours truly), The Beachcomber Staff like Robin (Rosie) and of course Rick and Crystal Wilson for making it all happen in the 1st place.