Joe’s Records — Cassettes, 8-tracks and other dead formats, pub-2427795083793513, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

1. Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Joe. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself, both personally and in terms of Joe’s Records.

Joe W. Smith, Jr.I’m an Aquarius.  I like long walks on the Beach.  My favorite color is Magenta…

Seriously though…I am 42 years old and Grew up in Mt. Carmel, IL.  When I was 19 I moved to Evansville and landed a part-time job at Coconuts here in town and nine months later they made me the manager.  I have to tell ya the competition at that store for advancement wasn’t exactly stellar at the time.  There were two other people up for the job:  A semi-retarded hair-lip named Miguel and some totally annoying chick named Debbie who had a floating eye and quoted the film “Valley Girl” ver batim.  Played in a million bands along the way and enjoyed 15 years of bliss running the Record Store.  Finally the powers that be decided they were tired of being very successful and weren’t willing to accommodate my avante garde management methods anymore. In my mind, a rockstar manager of my caliber just  could not be expected to perform mundane tasks like using a time clock or following the direct instruction of my superiors.  We parted ways amicably. (They told me to PHUCK off)  Funny, I still have a letter from the state of Indiana stating I had been wrongfully terminated after I filed unemployment.

The real story is I just couldn’t stand to be told what to do anymore.  I could go on and on about what I did for that company…how they phucked me…blah blah blah……who really gives a shit?  Truth is…it was an amazing run.  I managed to put EVERY OTHER RECORD STORE in Evansville out of business along the way…except the ones we actually acquired under the company umbrella.

So…completely driven by revenge I opened up two record stores here in town.  We just celebrated (Celebrated? I guess I got drunk? Like that never happens) our five year anniversary and are opening up our third store in Corydon, IN over the course of the next two months. We’ve had our ups and downs for sure but it’s pretty satisfying.   Nobody’s getting rich but it’s all good.  PLUS, it ‘s the only thing I know how to phucking do.

I’m viciously married to the hottest MILF in Southern Indian named Jennifer.  She totally kills in all aspects in life AND she laughs at all my stupid jokes. We’ve been together for 7 years and I STILL have the same enormous boner for her I had when we first got together.   I also have two sons Dylan, who is 3 1/2 and Danny, who will soon celebrate his own milestone: 365 consecutive days of pooping his pants.  They both have ENORMOUS ding-dongs and love their daddy.  We’re also tight with the paternal and maternal G-parents who surprisingly are all alive and still married.  One big happy fizz-amily. I am truly blessed and not just below the belt.  Seriously though.  I love my family.  It’s the best part of my life.

2. Your current musical project is a band called the Joe Smith Trio. Who else is in the band? Where can the readers find you playing next? Where can you be found online?

The Joe Smith Trio — The whole thing got started last April when me, Harvey and Brandon started doing this thing on Thursdays down at the TIME OUT LOUNGE called Acoustic Frank.  It was basically Mayor Frank without Mac, and me playing acoustic guitar.  Well…it was pretty heinous.  We practiced like once and my guitar playing was ULTRA clunky.

Crazy thing was…they didn’t seem interested in firing us.  We were there three months playing an “Eighties Night” to like NOBODY.  About half way through Brandon decided to bail so we called Kreitzer in as a temp type replacement.

The first night he came in we just started calling out older stuff.  “You know any Doobie Brothers?”  You know “Don’t Fear the Reaper?” and it just sort of transformed.  Steve’s an amazing high third harmony guy so Harvey, ever the pro, demoted himself down to low thirds.  The harmonies were instantly pretty solid.  So “Eighties Night” became “Seventies Night,” at least in our heads anyway.   Of course once we got it rolling pretty good they fired us. I’m pretty open minded about getting and losing gigs (Kreitzer:  “Every single gig you ever play…you’ll eventually get fired) but I will forever always wish ILL on Mr. Khan down there.  In the history of hard-ons towards a club owner/manager that dude is epic.  An excellent candidate for spontaneous human combustion.

Out of chronic neer-do-well circumstances we just called it the Joe Smith Trio because we were so lazy coming up with a name. Dan down at Fast Eddy’s suggested it just to get SOMETHING in NEWS4U and Acoustic Frank was (sadly) just too gay and didn’t even apply anymore anyway.

After a while Kreitzer talked me into going electric so Harvey and I put together a pleasant little rig.  It really motivated me big time to get my chops back up and I feel that what was once our biggest weakness (Joe Smith!!  Lead Guitar!! Shock Me!!) has slowly grown into a quiet little strength.  I got pretty lazy as a guitarist over the years in Mayor Frank.  It also notable that when you got phuckin Scott “Dave Gilmour” McEllhiney in the band……well what’s the point of playing guitar?

So I’m really enjoying the new role AND I really dig the material.  We do like six Doobie Brothers songs (NO MICHAEL MCDONALD).  Zeppelin, Queen, Sweet, shit like that.  We really pull it off too.  Of course being a three piece has a lot of pleasant advantages as well…small PA… more money… only two dudes to butt heads with. We’re gigging pretty hard right now although the Corydon store is going to slow that down quite a bit.

Good times. News4u can direct you to our next engagement. ALSO has our dates posted.

3. Do you now or have you ever done any original music or are you focused only on being a cover band that just has a good time.

I’d like to start writing again in some form.   We’ll see what happens.  Nothing going on now in a band context.  I’ve written about 10 million tunes and have scattered them about my musical history.  I was a founding member of the mighty Cornucopia of Death who released two albums and had moderate success, including the amazing opportunity of opening up for Pantera on the Cowboys from Hell tour.  Current drummer/producer Jeremy Heyde (Spencer… whatever… fucking rock star… changing his name)  from Five Finger Death Punch was our drummer for what I call our “classic” lineup.  I often reflect fondly on him lightly fingering Tony Cariota’s asshole.  Fun phucking band.  It was a passion that I’ve never really been able to recapture.  I’ve had a lot of fun playing music over the years and STILL love it but that shit was serious!!  It’s BAND SEASON BITCH!!  Good times.  We played ALL OVER THE PLACE.  I was a rawk gawd.

Had a pretty solid run with a local Metal Band called Nine Stitches who released two albums.  We ended up in the Miller Band Network and got to open for LIVE at Deer Creek.  It was gay.  Me and some other guys recorded some EPIC metal shit several years ago (Me and Scott McEllhiney on Guitar, Brandon Osborne on Drums and Scott Dale on Bass) that had a lot of potential but I’m too phucking lazy to finish it.  That’s pretty gay too.

I was in a duo with Matt Potter from Five O’clock Charlie called Skippy’s Boyz (don’t ask) that wrote about 16 completely retarded comedy songs about limp cocks and crystal meth abuse.  Never recorded though.

4. Who are some of the musical folks around here you’ve worked with and what have you learned from them?

Well, if we’re rating dudes…I got to give mad props again to the aforementioned Jeremy Heyde.  And not for the reasons people might expect.  Of course he’s an amazing drummer who is extremely musical (anybody else here got co-production credits on a CD gettin’ ready to scan it’s 400,000th copy?) and radically well versed in the industry.  What people don’t realize is that the dude has been phucking starving to death in Hollywood for 15 years AND managed to persevere through several other key near misses with success.

1.  Played with Mick Sweda from Bulletboys.  Lived together and recorded under the band name “Brain Stem Babies.”  Played a few shows.  Never got signed.

2.  In another project with current FFDP Jason Hook signed a production deal with Atlantic.  Recorded the album.  It got shelved.

3.  Played drums for the extremely successful LA theatrical band POWDER whose CD was released on Capitol Records…but only in Europe and Japan.  Weird.

4.  Played drums for W.A.S.P.  Phucking WASP?!?  That totally rules.

Here’s the hard truth.  There’s definitely a lot of amazing talent in this market and most people truly understand their role in the Evansville Musical Landscape.  Many times though I hear musicians dog out this town implying that it’s scene or lack thereof is what’s impairing their original “career.”  Now I bringeth the Gospel:  If you’re not willing to put it all on the line and get the phuck out of dodge, then shut the phuck up.  If you really want to make it you HAVE to do what Heyde did, not form a garage band and bitch and moan about the nefarious spectres here in Evansville squashing your dream.  You know it IS OK to just play music on your own terms that DON’T involve all that silly ego shit.  I just like to play in cover bands right now and make some extra money and have a few drinks in the process.  Please don’t judge me because I’m beautiful.

I could have went with Heyde.  I’m sure he would have let me ride shotgun.  I just didn’t have the same drive for it he had.  Most people don’t.  It’s an amazing accomplishment and I couldn’t be prouder of my friend.  That guy is the real phucking deal.  He’s given up more then any of us will ever know to TRULY pursue his dream.

We actually have remained super close and my wife and I just visited him and checked out his new pad in Vegas.  The house that Metal built.  It was nice.  Motherphucker’s got it goin’ on.  He always sends me shit and calls me all the time.  Actually asks my opinion and pretends to give a rat’s ass what I think.  Makes me feel good.  PLUS he’s the only dude who’s ever been to hang with my METAL SPEAK jargon and really rap down about music in general.  He’s my best friend, which is pretty phuckin’ sad seein as how we only see each other 3 or 4 times a year. — Ok…I’m done swinging from his nutz.

Other kewl notables:  (Please do not read if you do NOT have a sense of humor.)

Scott McEllhiney – Amazing guitarist – Best Tone guy in town.  Yeah, I said it…phuck off.  Cool stage vibe.  Awesome guy too. My total band bro. Mayor Frank had an amazing run during the last stretch.  I really miss that dude.  I’m sure we’ll cross musical paths again and when it happens, lock up the cuervo.

Brandon Osborne – Killer drummer and super attractive b-boy

Lindsey Williams – Phuck that guy for being so talented!!  That shit gets on my nerves!!  Good guy.  Very gifted.

Tony “Basszilla” Cariota – Still the best bass player I’ve ever played with PLUS he can knock over skyscrapers and shit.

Brian Mullins – Plucky little drummer who has impeccable timing and talks really really fast.  “Phuckyoujoesmith!”

Kerry Shelton – Amazing Rhythm guitarist and winner of several Danny Devito look alike contests.  My favorite drunk guy.  Besides myself of course.

Mike VanBibber – Great Metal guitarist and hands down one of the funniest motherphuckers on the planet.  We lived together for a year during the Nine Stitches run and it was UGLY.  Also the best air drummer I’ve ever seen.

Mike Stepps – Awesome guitarist and amazing songwriter.  KILLER stage vibe.  Funny as hell too.  What the phuck happened to that guy?

Brad Wireman – Super gifted drummer who is unusually tall and walks like a girl.  Extremely well versed in metal lore.  Successfully predicted an earthquake AND my first marriage’s imminent demise. Likes to get in fistfights with his brother Chad.  His mother just hit on me Saturday night.   Smartest guy I know.  Besides myself of course.

Kevin Book – People always try to pit us against each other and I guess we had our petty tiffs back in the day (I honestly can’t remember what the hub-bub was all about) but I ALWAYS respected his abilities as a singer and learned a lot from observing him. His crimes against the female gender will go down in history for their brutality and brash explicitness.  Probably my favorite local singer.  Besides myself of course.

TJ Tanoos – Back in the day a rampant cassanova that even rivals Kevin Book.  A total machine.

Brian Sollomon – Very underated singer.  Only reason he hasn’t been more successful is because he looks like a Disney Villian

Chet Harger – Geez…need I say more?

Brian Hoeche – Taught me how to sweep.  LOOK OUT!

Tim Smith – My brother from another mother.  Weirdo west sider who masterbates to me and my wife’s wedding photo.

Greg Smitha –  Metrosexual monster ladies man.  Christ…I ran wingman for this dude for years back in the day and he left THOUSANDS of sexually satisfied yet emotionally destroyed females in his wake.  A true American Hero. Without a doubt the most attractive man in the Midwest.  Oh yeah…very very good bass player as well.  Nice jazzy little walky style.  Can smoke just about anybody in an all-out licks war.

John Gauer – Fun loving neer-do-well who refuses to mow his yard or finish his deck.  You gotta love that guy.

Derek Demaree – AKA MC Poops a Lot – Greatest Rapper to every grace a Mike In Indiana.  His madd skillz are quite remarkable

Dwayne Bradshaw –  Gotta put one black guy on here right?  Seriously though…this guy has always been kind to me.  Smoothest speaking voice I’ve ever heard in my life.  We both have a Glen Hughes fixation.

Scott Dale AKA Show N Tell – Great Metal bassist who is my biggest fan. Has large hand callouses from swinging from my nutz.  Solid production guy as well.  Total phucking sweetheart and sexual weirdo who makes his wife do weird shit in bed.

Eric and Brett Elder – The Laurel and Hardy of the local music scene.  A brash, big mouthed drunken know it all who likes gay stuff like the Dallas Cowboys and Metallica AND a slow talking monotone neanderthal who humps Harvey’s gear for money.   I FEEL MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF.  Dave and Byrd get honorable mention just for puttin’ up with these jagoffs.   Just kiddin……cool dudes and solid solid players.  Eric can cover just about any solo and Brett has really come into his own.  True working musicians.

Blaine Henry –  Great Songwriter who hates to spend money

Jon Warren – RIP

Those two fags I’m playing with right now.  Harvey and Kreitzer.  Seriously though…best harmony singers I’ve ever played with.  Total characters.  Steve makes John Gauer look like an overachiever and Harvey………well you know Harvey.  We’re like that old married couple.  We just can’t seem to quit making easy money together whoring ourselves out musically.  Mac’s a close second but I’ve logged more paying gigs with Harvey then ANYONE.  He’s a good friend AND he serves me up rim on demand.

5. Tell us all there is to know about Joe’s Records and what’s the worst part about it. Surely you’ve had someone come in and want to sell you an absolutely horrible album for an outrageous price. Anyone try to cash in on his death and ask sell you a Michael Jackson vinyl record for a gold mine?

Joe's first baby pictureThe worst thing about the stores?  Well…of course, there’s all kind of major annoyances that go with owning and operating the giant retail juggernaut of Joe’s Records, but I can really boil the BIG pain in the ass type issues down to two:

1.Worry.  The roller coaster topsy turvy retail model can be a mind blower at times.  In 2007 I got sick and was on this crazy medication to help with my condition.  All of the sudden business goes to shit.  The combination of stress and medication just about made me go nuts.  I was (for the first and only time in my life) truly depressed.  It was a rough few months.  Of course (as usual) my wife was able to get me back to normal and (as usual) the business righted itself.  A wise man once said “All of the things I’ve truly worried about never happened.”  In some ways worry is a good thing.  I mean if you didn’t give a shit about adversity you sure wouldn’t react to it.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  I’m MUCH better now because I know it will always work out (it always does) AND I know what’s really important:  Drinking and doing drugs.  Just kiddin…I know every day ends with me going home to my beautiful boys and my wonderful wife.  THAT is true wealth my friends.  I am so wise.

2.  I have found that the most difficult thing about running a business isn’t necessarily making sure you’re on the ball, but  being able to constantly react to everyone else’s mistakes.  Vendors, insurance companies, banks, utility providers, etc…these people could phuck up a cop of coffee.  It’s truly amazing how many times I’ve had to show my ass just to get a business associate to honor some sort of simple agreement.  Also, EVERYONE     will try to phuck you any way they can.  I can’t tell you how many times people have threatened litigation against us over some bullshit only to have them back off later when they realize I have my shit together and will fight them in court if necessary.  I hate that shit.  ALSO….since we buy used merchandise from the public we’re constantly finding ourselves in the most bizarre situations.

I can’t tell you how many times people have left the store FURIOUS because I won’t hand them over a stack of loot for their shit.  Crazy.  I always tell people I “might” be interested and “don’t be disappointed if our price comes in low” or “I understand it’s not what you were hoping for.  You might want to consider just keeping these items and finding the money you need another way.  I REALLY appreciate you bringing them in though.”  People still get all butt-hurt.  “So you mean to tell me you’re gonna give me a dollar for this and then you’re gonna sell it for five?”  Uh…yeah…if I’m lucky that is.

Of course this isn’t ALL the time but some people really don’t understand that this 20 bucks out of my till is 20 bucks I DON’T HAVE ANYMORE.  Maybe your shit will sell…maybe not.  Geez…you’re coming into my house and asking me for money…then you’re pissed because I won’t give you what you want.

Other than that I’m truly in love with what I do.  Of course I love music (every single dollar I have earned my entire adult life is music/media related) and enjoy the business part of it.  Mostly though…I just love the contact.  I love to sell music, movies and games and it’s really fun to share that passion with our customers.  It’s a stupid cliché but (for the most part) I really do love people and have been blessed with the fellowship of many regular customers over the years.

The cool thing about Joe’s Records now is that our balance sheet is actually really solid.

A profitable entity with solid assets and a very favorable (whew!) debt ratio.  We weathered our little storm and came out pretty slick.  Lots of haters ran their mouth when we opened our first store.  Just because an industry might be struggling as a whole doesn’t mean you can’t be successful.  Independent stores are actually doing pretty well.  Of course the media paints us as dinosaurs but what can I do?  We sure didn’t have any trouble getting our money for the Corydon store.  If a bank will throw you a commercial loan THESE DAYS…you’re not in too bad a shape.

A big part of why we’ve been successful was our investment in the vinyl configuration and how (thank god) it’s made this GIGANTIC comeback.  Told ya so Bitches!!!

Aw hell…it might explode in my face tomorrow.  Today…I still love it.

I refuse to take any questions about Michael Jackson.

6. Do you think that downloading music is a help or hindrance to musicians? The major labels say that it’s essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales –– would you agree, disagree, or maybe a little bit of both?

Everything the record industry is suffering is self inflicted.  I can sum it up into two major phuckups.  Number one:  High Cd prices.  Number two:  The absolution of the single.

Downloading only reared its ugly head when people were getting frustrated at shelling out 18 bucks a pop for some broke dick cd with one good song on it.  In the old days you could opt for a cassette or even a single.

When I was a kid I heard “The Night Chicago Died” by Paper Lace on American Bandstand.  My mom took me up to Risley’s in Mt. Carmel the next day and we bought the 45.  (I drove her nutz with that song…over and over and over!)  Today, A kid hears the new Kelly Clarkson and goes to the mall with her dad and Voila…18 bucks.  That’s kids record buying culture is frigged from the start.  So phuck yeah she’s gonna download.

Crazy thing is …… hard goods sales last year were nearly 4 billion dollars.  By comparison…Major League Baseball is a 5 billion dollar industry.  Nobody thinks baseball’s going away.

The big problem is there’s a lot less record stores and the ones that are still around have to deal with the phucking BEAST BUYS and Targets selling shit at or below cost.  It’s tough.

If these stores (the ones that have closed) had been proactive and diversified with lifestyle products, used media, movies, games, an ebay culture, etc. they might have made it through.

Downloading’s bad M…kay?  But the labels only have themselves to blame and any retailer who can’t figure it out and wants to blame their failure(s) solely on downloading didn’t try hard enough to fix the problem.  You can’t download a T-shirt you dolt!!

As far as being a help or hindrance to musicians…that’s an interesting debate.  My bottom line on this topic is as follows:  If you wanna give away your shit for free.  Fine.  No problem.  That’s your decision and in many instances bands have made this work for them in the long run.

If you DON’T want to give away your shit for free…then NO computer noodler prick in the world has the right to steal it from you. That giant bag of hot air, Lars Ulrich might be the most over-rated drummer (great ideas…TERRIBLE execution live) on the planet. But on this…we agree.  Nuff said.

Besides…those compressed files SOUND LIKE SHIT.  If you really want to hear a pure audio signal…buy the vinyl.

7. You hate Walmart as much as I do when it comes to the music side of things and the exclusive deals. Please give the readers your ten cents on this topic.

Phuck Wal-mart.  Seriously.  You sell your soul to the devil each time you give those corporate gargoyles your hard earned.  AC/DC (My alltime favorite band) broke my heart with their exclusive deal with them on Black Ice.  I felt like Mel Gibson on Braveheart when that Scottish noble all took his helmet off after Mel was all lying there bleeding and shit.  Complete and total betrayal.  I got about five hundred phone calls on that deal.  Everyone laughing at my pain.

Best Buy too..same deal.  Their practices (selling shit below cost and advertising it…isn’t that illegal…what the phuck?) have been a big part of what ails the business…and it doesn’t even help lower prices.   The labels love that shit……cause they’re gonna get theirs anyway…so there’s no incentive to restructure price.  Gay.

My 3 year old is totally brainwashed he always says “Wal-Mart is Icky.”  He truly believes that there are “monsters in there” and that there is “poop all over the floor.”  If you ever have to babysit Dylan just TRY to take that kid into a Wal-Mart…he will fire your ass up.  That’s my boy.

8. Besides Joe’s Records and the Joe Smith Trio, what else do you do for fun?

Who said that shit was fun?  Just kiddin…Well, like I said before I stay home as much as possible and prefer the fun that comes from hanging with the Fam, chillin’ in the pool, grilling out, watching terrible cartoons.

I have been known to take a drink or two.  Does that count as fun.  We’re all sports nuts, particularly the NFL, fucking Raiders…THIS IS OUR YEAR BOYEEEZZZ!!  We get the NFL ticket every year…Jen’s a big Giants fan.  We actually went to a Giants Cowboy game in New York a couple of seasons ago and then a month later went to a Raiders Broncos game out in Oakland.  The Giants tickets were like three hundred bucks.  The Raiders Tickets were like twelve.  Oh well.

We like to go camping and we dig water parks.  I enjoy eating cockroaches by the handful.  Just checking to make sure you’re paying attention.  Mostly we’re just homebodies.  Much love.

9. What ever happened to the old Mayor Frank website where you parodied anything and everything? Do you still have that archived or is it lost to history. Tell us some old MF stories.

The Mayor Frank Website.  For about a year and a half that thing was an intense obsession for me.  I friggin updated it almost every day!!!  I spent HOURS on it.  It was pretty crazy popular.  I basically made up fake news stories about local musicians (with the emphasis on Mayor Frank) and dogged out everybody.  The great thing about it was almost EVERYBODY GOT THE JOKE.  People were calling me all saying “Do Me!!  Do Me!!”  It was like a compliment.

My good friend Metal Matt helped me out big time on that thing.  I’m pretty sure he has it stored somewhere.  I’d LOVE to write more again…I really enjoy it…it just takes up so much time.

Some of my favorite stories were “Pre-pubescent Satanic Band Targets Never Been Caught,” “Scott Winzinger’s Stalking Me,” and “Pat Moore Find’s Nickel.”  HA HA HA HA HA  That Pat Moore article still cracks me up.

When I said “almost” everybody got it Pat was one of the exceptions!!  He was up late one night all jacked up on being Pat I guess…did a google search for his name and that article popped up!!!  HA HA HA HA HA  That shit still makes me laugh.  He all told Chris Cochram he was pissed off and that he could sue me for slander.  Slander?!?!  I never said anything negative or even used any curse words on that piece.  Chris tried to explain the subtle art of satire to Pat but he just never got it.  HA HA HA HA I am literally laughing uncontrollably right now!!  The inset photo was Pat all holding up this GIANT nickel with the subtitle “Moore, Embracing the Root of All Evil.”  HA HA HA HA HA HA…Pat…I ain’t mad at cha bro!!  Much love!! Good times.

Mayor Frank Stories?  Well there’s the insane irony of getting pulled over one night after a gig.  The only gig I every played in that band stone sober.  Pretty wild.

Other than that……not really sure.  Just a lot of drinking really.  I mostly just remember the last few years with the “classic” lineup of me, Mac, Harvey and Brandon.  We were a good band that had a lot of fun.  Mac is still my favorite band bro ever.  Every time I say his name I taste tequila.  We had a great song list.  It took us seven years but in the end we really had the perfect 50 songs for that whole 80’s metal thing and there’s nothing more surreal then watching 500 20 somethings at Fast Eddy’s sing along to “Cherry Pie.”

I’m sure we’ll get back together someday for at least a show or two.  Me and Harvey are busy with our thing and Mac’s band Pieces of the Day is giggin’ their asses off.  Everything that dude touches turns to gold.  Brandon ran away from home and is in a very popular road band called the Poptart Monkeys.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

10. Finally, are there any closing thoughts you’d like to get out there? We call this segment SHOUT IT OUT LOUD.

The Joe Smith Trio with a special guestWell the night’s begun and you want some fun……

Man Tate you just can’t escape your KISS nerdisms can you?  If you dig classic rock with big harmony vocals and lots of improvised self indulgent guitar noodling come out and check out the Joe Smith Trio.  Come buy a record you broke dicks!!