Topic: Joe's current band

I'll admit to two things:

1) I am an unabashed Joe Bonamassa fan.

2) I am confused as to the status of "Joe's band".

I started following Joe about 6 years ago.  I first enjoyed his live performances when he was still touring with many of the international acoustic musicians featured from the Vienna Opera House concert.  Joe did a first half of acoustic music then intermission, then Joe did a second half of the show all electric.

I later jumped deeper onto the Joe Bandwagon, catching the Three Kings performance, the British Explosion performance at Red Rocks, two Keeping the Blues Alive cruises (V and VI and joined the live streaming from both the Ryman and Austin City Limits) and most recently his last visit to Red Rocks in his power Trio mode.  I have attended probably 6 or 7 other live shows scattered in different venues (primarily California) including a Ryman performance and a Royal Albert show. I own several lithographs and have attended my share of "meet and greets" and own a supply of "JB Merch"

I have grown to love all kinds of Joe related people and information.  I will admit my favorite Joe performances involved the big band stage productions common during the Three Kings Touring.  I am a nerd fan of Paulie Cerra, Lee Thornburg, Reece Wynans, Michael Rhodes and Anton Fig.  I am a fan of Mahalia Barnes, Jade MacRay and Juanita Tippons.

I realize Covid restrictions have made a dent in the "regular core band".  Joe has liberally substituted more local Nashville talent on newer recordings and tours.  I have just learned this is also going to be the case on the upcoming Keeping the Blues Alive VII performances.

My confusion comes in as to what is the actual status of "Joe's Band".  The website still lists Paulie, Lee, Reece, Michael and Anton.
To the best of my knowledge Joe hasn't played with that set band line-up for over two years. 

I will also admit, I am not on any social media save for a few places like this forum. 

Questions:
1) Has there been any formal announcement of a core band change?
2) Has there been any formal explanation as to why the core band isn't being used?
3) Have any of the core band members made any "here's why I am no longer playing with Joe" announcements?

If any of you have information around these questions I'd appreciate hearing about it.  Please don't speculate, I can do that on my own.  I am just seeking truthful facts.

I am "old school" enough to dislike being "kept in the dark".  I can handle reality.  I realize musicians and bands change and that's not a bad thing, I just don't like being surprised by it.  From what I understand, Joe does his share of social media content, including his Sirius show, etc.  Maybe he's been very communicative about all this and I'm just not connected enough.  I'd appreciate any direct source information as you can provide.

Finally,  just to be clear,  I am a straight-out Joe Bonamassa fan.  I am not taking shots at Joe.  Just looking for some honest clarity on what happened to the non-Nashville band members currently listed on the official Bonamassa website.
Thanks!

Re: Joe's current band

The USA takes a different view to covid than Canada .
We can't even sit in a restaurant still , no touring bands here in Canada at all. Barely doing NBA and NHL with no fans.

Think JaneH posted a Twitter from Anton just said he's not with Joe's band anymore.
No extra explanation.

I would suspect that Anton is an Anti-vax and probably Joe needs him vaxed to tour.

---------------

(If only I had 1% of Joe's guitar talent)

Re: Joe's current band

I don't know Stu41 but i will send a note to the office about the current website band info.
I've been a fan for 19 years now...the one thing i learned is don't get attached to any other band members. Its the Joe Bonamassa band.
It took me a long while to accept that after Kenny and Eric were no longer in the band.
Yes, I did see Anton posted this without any other explanation, back in November
https://twitter.com/TheAntonFig/status/ … 7435278341
I wouldn't assume he is anti vax though. I would assume the opposite but not wanting to assume.
Have fun on the cruise and please let us know any details!!!

Re: Joe's current band

Thanks Jane for the "experienced" feedback.  I guess I will have to try to let go of my fan appreciation of the "other band members".  It is still hard for me to accept without any explanation from Nerdville.  I get fussy about this because I feel it is part and parcel to what I buy into when I purchase tickets.  If some member of the band is not going to be there I feel someone should be very upfront about that.  It's not that hard to do.  Broadway plays announce when there are cast changes, I feel it lacks simple product honesty and it's seemingly unprofessional and maybe unethical. 

It's not that it is going to stop me from buying but at least I won't feel surprised, especially when the website lists "Joe's band" and only one member of that band is going to be with him on the upcoming cruise. No one announced that, I had to push one of the cruise folks to find that information. 

Why is it so hard to announce departures?  Maybe that's why Joe wrote, "Why Does It Take So Long to Say Goodbye"

Stu

Re: Joe's current band

about upcoming tour band: here is picture from today's band rehearsals posted by Joe's new guitar tech, Big D ( wink, wink... another surprise castling ) https://www.instagram.com/p/CZxsWTTOf2a/  - Reese on keys, Jade and Danielle on back up singing, Lemar Carter on drums, Josh Smith on rhythm, can't see who's on base but it ain't Michael. So, here you go. Probably a little insensitive for me to say it, but all I really care to see is JOE and that's why I am here.


  What I am about to wright here is my personal opinion based on nothing and probably wrong, but here it is anyway:


   As Joe keeps mentioning in his interviews, there two parts in music business: music and business. And Joe is genius expert in second part. So my guess the big part behind the changes is always money and it's distribution.
   There is the other characteristic that Joe started giving to himself recently - that he is not a musician, but an entertainer first. Thus constant changing horses with band members, music genres and outfits - just to keep it fresh for the broad fan base.

   Also recent trend in Joe's interviews is that he wants to keep the reasons behind his decisions unknown to public, meaning that we have no right to know anything behind the scenes, because we are only here for the end product , which are the music albums, and as long as we love it , we should not care what went into it and are free to spend as much time as we want guessing if any of us are involved deeply enough to care ( in the same line with it being Joe not publicly introducing his girlfriend(s) and forbidding her/them to post pictures with him on SM, which is in my understanding is another one of those money/profit decision ) I am sure there is always deep and sorrow market analysis involved before any business crossroads.

     Personally I am looking forward to any musical changes, and would like Joe to go a little out of his comfort zone with a set list, which became extraordinary rigid lately.

  Signed: Joe's fan, the lifer.

6 (edited by Lester 2022-02-10 05:26:29)

Re: Joe's current band

Anton just said he wasn’t touring with Joe, likely he could still appear on a studio album. He’s 69 and probably doesn’t fancy the long tours anymore.
As others have commented, It’s Joe’s name on the ticket, technically he’s a solo artist with a very talented backing band.
The covid situation doesn’t help, especially if certain band members are based outside of the USA.

7 (edited by DougH 2022-02-10 13:08:37)

Re: Joe's current band

Stu41 wrote:

.  Broadway plays announce when there are cast changes, I feel it lacks simple product honesty and it's seemingly unprofessional and maybe unethical. 


Stu

I can see if the Joe Bonamassa band changed lead guitarist. Then announcement
Or say David Lee Roth left Van Halen and brought is Sammy Hagar then sure needs an announcement

But this is Joe's band, check out the album discography and you'll see one common denominator... Joe (behind him Rory, )

Broadway will never tell you the actors "upstage" of the star has changed

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(If only I had 1% of Joe's guitar talent)

Re: Joe's current band

I think it is Steve Mackey on bass according to comments on Big D's picture

Re: Joe's current band

I wonder why Mike Hickey is no longer touring with Joe as his guitartech?

Re: Joe's current band

Joe confirmed in instagram comments that it is Steve Mackey on bass and when asked where greg was, he answered he is sitting out the first two weeks
also Josh will be on the UK tour

I don't know about Mile Hickey but its been some time now. I follow him on instagram. He posts some cool posts

Re: Joe's current band

I have also in the past formed a bit of attachment to some of the  band members.
But he always has top notch musicians and have yet to feel like there has been a drop off in the  music because of the changes.
   This isnt a situation like the early rock bands that all came together at a young age and wrote songs. This is as said here the Joe show. There is no reason to worry about the  supporting cast.

Your rock candy baby
Your hard sweet and sticky

12 (edited by DougH 2022-02-16 12:37:20)

Re: Joe's current band

I've always wondered though...

How "amicable " are the changes

Whether they're Gilmore vs Waters or Rik Emmett vs Triumph..
Or are they "still" friends

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(If only I had 1% of Joe's guitar talent)

Re: Joe's current band

Well, I know some are most definitely not still friends...
but also that some are, i just am saying that based on comments I see them make on Joe's instagram or seeing photos of them together.
Its curious to me too though. I think that now a days there is probably non disclosure agreements too.

Some things we just aren't supposed to know big_smile

Re: Joe's current band

I've struggled for years since the backup singers became full time but Lee and Paulie, and Anton and Reese, kept me going. Now they are gone. I saw the band last fall and there was no chemistry or fun being had on the stage that I could see. My bestie walked out before that show ended but I endured it till the end. I'm still scratching my head over Josh Smith and the return of the fricking Theremin. My friend invited me down to Greenville for the show there in early March. I'm going and trying to keep an open mind. Might be my last. But I've had a good run and a ton of fun over the last 10 years. If Joe's schtick now is to be an "entertainer" rather than a "musician," then so be it. Maybe he can be next year's Super Bowl half time show. roll

LIVE MUSIC IS BEST

Re: Joe's current band

Good to see a bit of activity on the Forum.
Interesting comments from BarbieD.

Lester

Re: Joe's current band

Boy I would  hate to see a JB show and think they are all mailing it in.
  I wasnt aware of Joe disbanding everyone he has been with for a while. But that seems to be the pattern of switching  band members  every few years. Maybe Kevin is behind it . Seems he likes to mix things  up.
  I know there has been alot of challenges since covid and maybe thats part of it.
   Hopefully whatever line up he has ends up
being a high quality musical experience.
   I think Joe should know enough about his career that being a top notch musician with other top not musicians is the entertainment  factor. So I hope that never changes.

Your rock candy baby
Your hard sweet and sticky

Re: Joe's current band

Interesting topic I have to say.
Well when I joined the world of JB some years ago it was Tal,Carmine and Lenny.
Then there was a change with Anton, Reese and Michael which I really enjoyed.
Loved Tal and Carmine but musically the Band from 2015 to 2020 was outstanding.
I am also very interested in knowing who is in his Band. For me it isn't just the JB & Band.
I would buy a ticket for every show here around but to know Joe comes with a super Band I would go to more shows.
Even to a foreign country.
Sad to see Anton leave but hopefully Lemar Carter comes in full time.
Super replacement. Where is Michael Rhodes? Just pauses because of Covid?
I mean Anton and Michael are both in their mid sixties.
Difficult to replace him. As Gary already said: Maybe Kevin is all behind it.
He also suggested Anton, Michael and now Greg Morrow.
I would really dig it when Josh and Joe would produce Joe's new album. Without Kevin.
Time for a change there also...

Re: Joe's current band

Well, I must admit some of the comments I have seen recently are making me feel a little less alone.  Steinei I agree strongly with your opinion that the band from 2015 to 2020 was at its musical peak. BarbieD, I can't tell you how insightful I found your comments. Bless your heart for expressing your distain for what I call Joe's "high school pranking" involving his insistence on pretending he's playing music when he dicks around that bloody Theremin.  I went to more than one show in the 2015-2016 time frame where Joe openly boasted to his adorning fans that "We are real @#$%^^&# musicians, that play real @#$%^^&# music!" "We don't do anything electronic or synthetic".  I wouldn't fully agree that Joe has totally gone to the dark side concerning his still wanting to be more "musician" than "entertainer" - but I did laugh over your Super Bowl comment - I feel Joe is much more distracted with all the production efforts he has made with several artists we all know and like (Taylor-Shaw, Connor, Gales).  And I feel the upheaval of the pandemic shutdowns really shook him up.  I feel the band member changes are the manifestation of that turmoil.

I don't know how I come out on blaming Kevin for any of these harsh changes.  I am not ready to do that. I have always felt Kevin was a positive "changer" in Joe's world.  Pushing our hero to keep growing and reaching.  I can't blame him for that kind of influence.

Very much like BarbieD, I am not ready to give up on attending but I'm discouraged.  I don't want to be negative on the band changes.  I trust Joe and Kevin that these are good moves for now, just wish they would honestly disclose these major changes and not sweep them under the rug.  Like BarbieD stated it was a great multi year run...and I really don't want to think it's toppling into a sad mediocrity.