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Non-Prog Interviews

Joey Stuckey

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Joey Stuckey from 2010
MSJ: Can you give the readers a bit of a look at some of your history?
Well, that's a deep subject. My mom realized I was blind from almost the moment I was born, but, the doctors just said, she worried too much. My parents found out that, in fact, I couldn't see after all when I walked off a flight of thirty stairs. They thought I had fallen to my death, but, it only proved that I had a hard head early on.

I had, it turns out, a brain tumor and had to have surgery around two years old. The tumor also took my sight and sense of smell, which I tell my wife Jennifer is a major selling point, because she always looks and smells perfect with me as her husband

I loved music from the moment I first heard my mom singing in the kitchen, but, I didn't really think I would make it a career until I was about thirteen. I was sick with pneumonia and had to be home schooled for about 5 months. It was at that time I fell in love with old radio shows, like the "Shadow", "the Lone Ranger", "Dimension X" and others. I thought, man who better than a blind guy to record this type of programming, and thus the sound engineer in me was born. For those of you that don't know what a radio show is, it is like a movie, but, the story is told with the narration, the actors voices and music and sound effects, you owe it to yourself to check one out, but, I digress! Later, when I started working for the planetarium as their sound tech in my home town of Macon, Georgia, people started asking me if I could record their bands, just little garage bands, in my attic and I said sure! So, then after hearing all of this original music from kids my own age, (this was about 17 years old), I realized I wanted to write and perform music. Eventually, I got so popular that I moved in to a professional studio facility and I am still recording for folks. I also tour, perform and make my own CD's and I teach at one of the local universities in town.

My influences are varied as is probably obvious if you listen to any of my albums. I love it all from jazz to rock and anything in-between!

My guitar style is reminiscent of rocker Jeff Beck and a jazzier Wes Montgomery, while my vocal influences range from Mel Torme to Gregg Allman.

I have had some success in my chosen field and have shared the stage with artist like Ted Nugent, Bad Company, Trisha Yearwood, James Brown, Clarence Carter, Wet Willie, the B-52's, Kevin Kinney from Drivin' N Cryin, and Smashmouth. In my other roles as either producer, composer, music columnist, and sound engineer or hired musician, I have worked with musical greats like Hughie Thomasson (from Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Outlaws) Huey Thomason from the Outlaws played on one track on my first CD Take A Walk In The Shadows. What a great player he is, he is missed. I was the second engineer on his last album, Diablo Canyon and got to know him well then. 
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Well, I am starting work on my next album and hope to have it out by the summer of this year, but, I work so much for others, who knows, one way or the other though, I will have something out this year. Late last year, I did release a Jazz EP called "Oceanside" and re-released my second studio rock album, Ironies, Pain and the Light that Guides on iTunes.
MSJ: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?
Oh yes, and I need to get super famous in a hurry so they will want to play with me because some of them aren't with us any more. I so wanted to perform with Les Paul and Oscar Peterson! But, I would love to work with Crowded House some time, Neal Finn is amazing! I would also love to work with Johnny Mar and maybe Morissey and since I am dreaming, how about John Paul Jones and Paul McCartney and my blind heroes, Ronny Milsap and Stevie Wonder
MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?
Well, anything in excess is usually damaging, but, I would say that downloads are just fine. I think that there has been some reduced sales of traditional CD's because of downloads, but, people are just buying their music and experiencing it differently. I don't think the industry is down in general because of that, it is this poor economy that is the problem.
MSJ: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
I don't mind if a fan wants to record the show on their cell phone, that is not really good enough quality for commercial sales. However, we work hard to make and provide you, the fan, with the music that you love and taking our live shows and trading or selling them will mean that we might not be able to make a living doing the music you and I love. I love my fans and want to give them every opportunity to enjoy my music, but, it really is like stealing, if you get my show for free, then how do I keep food on my family's table?
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?
That is such a good question and I don't really want to fight anyone, I am a lover not a fighter as Michael Jackson said to Paul McCartney on the Thriller CD, but, if I had to go after someone, I guess it would be P-Diddy or what ever he is calling himself this month. Why? Well, I feel like his music isn't very creative and it encourages people to just take a loop from someone else and rap or sing on top of it instead of doing something original. Also, from what I've seen on his reality show, the people that surround him are mostly ignorant and don't know what they are talking about musically. They wouldn't last one minute in my studio. Of course, not knowing Diddy personally, I don't know, he might be perfectly charming and a great guy, but, my impression thus far isn't good, though I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?
Dave Grohl on drums, Tony Levin on bass, Jordan Rudess on keys, Randall Bramblett on sax, Alan Vizutti on trumpet and Miguel Castro on auxillary percussion. 
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?
REM, Dave Matthews, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Dream Theater, Eric Johnson,Joe Satriani, The Smiths, Crowded House...just to name a few.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?
Last several CD’s I bought around Christmas 2009. Working my way slowly through the Led Zeppelin remastered box set which has all of their studio albums. Also enjoying the debut release of Them Crooked Vultures. Mixing it up with Mel Torme, The Best of the Concord Years. Also listening to the remastered Miles Davis Kind of Blue CD - not to mention all of the outstanding independent music I produce at my recording studio for Indie artists.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Star Wars Live. It was an amazing narration of the Star Wars story performed live by Anthony Daniels (C3PO) while clips of the movies were playing on the giant hi-def screen a 50 piece orchestra performed the sound track live. It was awesome!
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
I opened for Wet Willie back in the late 90s and when we started our version of “Whippin' Post” by the Allman Brothers someone in the audience yelled for me to turn my amp up to 11.
MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?
No matter how outrageous it may seem, never give up on your dream!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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