The new CD is called, "Sympathy and Criticism". Why that title-- is there a story behind it?

Joe Marini-- It's just a phrase dealing with the conditional response people have when others screw up.Sympathy  for damage control, and criticism when they wanna dump all over them.  Sad.Objectivity is gone, bro.

Interesting. How long have you played with this current lineup?

Joe Marini-- Off and on, gig by gig, for over 20 years.  34 years total.

I see it was engineered by Sean McDonald. Is this your first time recording with him?

Joe Marini-- Known him forever.  But this is the first real project with him.  We also used to record the guitar wars tracks too, in the Someplace Else days. Loved that club. Scott Anderson engineered/produced as well, a lot of it.

You have a lot of well known players on this-- did you do all the writing yourself or is it collaborative?

Joe Marini-- Collaborative.  I  wrote the drum solo 'song' with Scott.  And 'My little Sister' is also  original.  Everything else is a cover, or a big embellishment of a cover.

Vocalist Doug Khorey-- how long have you worked with him?

Joe Marini-- Since '92, I think.

How about Pete Hewlett?

Joe Marini-- Since '97... a lot of gigs with him.  Never sang flat once, dude. His singing on this album is NUTS. Wait until you hear it.  Insane.

Did you all just get together and jam, or did you call them each in with specific songs in mind?

Joe Marini-- Well, some of these tunes were actually recorded YEARS ago.  ‘96, 2001, 2006, and 2014.  So it's a retrospective as much as a solo album. Jazz Rock Blues Pop etc.

I'm sure you're proud of the whole thing, but are there any particular tracks that stand out for you?

Joe Marini-- Yes.  Freight train shuffle.  Anticipatory Deniability.  And Hold the Intangible.  That one has Maureen Budway on it.  And I'm blown away.  Moved!!!!

It's a pretty eclectic mix. What is your original musical background?

Joe Marini--  Prog rock, and jazz fusion.

How did you get started playing drums?

Joe Marini-- Babe Fabrizi in 1979.  I was 9.  started doing 'gigs' as a 12 year old,  then somehow I  got a gig when I was 14 opening a show for Talas, Billy Sheehan's old band.  Never stopped after that!!!

Wow-- how did that Talas show come about?

Joe Marini-- It was crazy.  A friend of a friend just recommended me.  That was it.  It was at Stage one, in Plum.  Jan of 1984.

The album title suggests you have become a bit jaded and cynical over the years (like myself). How has the music biz changed in your eyes?

Joe Marini-- Eddie Money told me......"I sold 30 million records, Joe....and I guess I shoulda saved some of the money." And then said, "You gotta mean shuffle, man'.   How do you respond to that?????
The biz has shifted to LIVE GIGS man, because you must.  So... I've been working on being a valuable musician, singing and drumming. TOUGH to sell music man.  It's not like the old days.

Does it bother that young people are not into music the way our generation is?

Joe Marini-- Yes.  But it's a sign of the times.  There's bands like the Zac Brown Band, that I really respect.  But they are the exception.   It's tougher for kids to like music the way we did, because  it's not  really there for them to like, know what I mean?  You almost can't blame them.  I think it's on US to turn them on to great music. That's why there is a straight ahead jazz tune on my album!

I was talking to a friend and we think the cost of instruments, etc., almost makes it impossible for young people to get started. Would you agree?

Joe Marini--Yes.  It is cheaper to record.  But that's good and bad.  Depending on the player. Right?

(laughs) Good point. But it's true that technology allows musicians to record at home with pretty decent quality-- is that something you do?

Joe Marini-- Well, I still like tracking drums in a place like Sean's.  The balance, I'll do  at  Scott Andersons, place, or Joe Munroe's.

Drummers always want that big sound. (laughs)

joemarini seanmcdonaldJoe Marini-- Yeah, plus Sean is really tough about that.  I mean in a great way.

He's a pretty darn good drummer himself so I'm not surprised.

Joe Marini-- I just want my tone to be there, and strong.  nothing worse than weak drums in the mix.  But - that's on me every bit as much as the gear, and the producer.

Who are some of your influences?

Joe Marini-- Dennis Chambers, Stewart Copeland, Dave Weckl, Jojo Mayer, Vinnie Colauita, Steve Smith, William Kennedy, Thomas Lang.  Those kinda players...

The songs sound great-- did you spend a lot of time in the studio?

Joe Marini--Thanks, buddy.  Yeah, Scott and I really took our time.  Honestly - I started this project in 2003.
I'm worse than Steely Dan. (laughs) I told Rege from the Trib though, ‘this album has a "LCF".’

The playing is stellar. Very impressed. The release is August 11-- where is the party?

joemarini stageJoe Marini-- Thanks man!!!  Im blessed to play with these players.  Erika Vasquez just sounds incredible.  I don't even hate my singing!!!  We will do a Jergels CD release, September 13th.  

Where can people find it when it's ready?

Joe Marini-- Best to buy it from ME!! (laughs) But itunes, cdbaby, and all the regular suspects.

Very cool. Anything you'd like to add?

Joe Marini-- Just that I'm blessed that I have the players on this thing that I have.  I think  that may mean that I play well, or well enough to be with THEM.  As you know, musicians can be our own worst critics.  On this album though, after 30+ years of doing gigs with a bunch of bands......I think we got it right.  It's got my name on the front, but it's OUR album.  A celebration of killer Pittsburgh musicians. 


Category: Spotlight