Investigative journalism or Keith Goldhanger simply just going out on the lash for the day with his favourite new band ?
Louder Than War would like to introduce you to Average Joe.
October 13th 2018 ; – Leytonstone & Finsbury Park, London.
Do we care how music is constructed as long as it sounds great ?
Of course not.
Those that do are usually blokes (and it mainly is blokes) in guitar shops brushing up daily on perfecting Stairway to Heaven whilst they wait for the next scruffy kid with acne to walk through the door to buy half a dozen new plectrums.
Today we’re down to the bare minimum.
Average Joe are simply two blokes and some sampled loops played from their mobile phone.
And it’s brilliant.
That’s all there is to it. End of.
Although it isn’t.
Some of us, probably most of us didn’t notice or don’t care about Eminem or Kanye’s backing music. One or two jumped for joy on hearing Professor Green singing over a Flux of Pink Indian’s Tube Disasters bass line and many feel The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony wouldn’t have had the same impact if it wasn’t for using The Rolling Stones The Last Time sample (played by The Andrew Oldman Orchestra – The Wigan band ended up giving away all of the royalties for this top five selling single according to some reports).
Everyone’s been looping small bits of their record collection for ages now. Some we know are fab, others not so, some get released somehow and some may cause publishing companies to shuffle their paperwork and wag a disproving finger at.
This behaviour won’t go away, you can’t undo technology. Bedroom’s around the world nowadays are inhabited by people forever toying with the same idea. It’s not a cop out, its a cheeky effective and cheap way of producing music that can often have the listener reaching out for the laptop in order to discover (or rediscover) a samples origin. It can be exciting and surprising and the experience felt on hearing a track made this way will often have different people experiencing different feelings depending on their own natural built in music recognition capabilities. If a classic tune such as MIA’s Paper Planes can be constructed in a similar way then the only thing worth disapproving of is probably the thousands of other tunes that fail miserably (for example the Eminem and Kanye ones).
It’s not unhealthy to encourage this.
It’s what we’re here for.
Average Joe’s Cross my Heart is a tune that lifts an introduction from Al Green’s How can you mend a broken heart. A tune that some will recognise from the first five seconds and others may not even register with for the first few months after hearing it. It’s a passionate love song, directed one would like to believe towards a loved one gone walkabout or a relationship fall out that needs chronicling. Self medication maybe ? -We didn’t ask the question, we just kept the tune on repeat for six weeks.
The aim of today is to learn more about the people that have given us this tune and to find out what else Average Joe can serve up. Instinct and curiosity have brought us here and we’re aware that what is experienced during this day may come back to either haunt us or have us directing you back here in a few years time as a way of explaining how much the band would have changed by then and why.
And it will change, because what we’re seeing and hearing here may not even be the same in two years time. The use of these backing tracks in a commercial sense may not be possible in the long run. Will this hamper what the future holds for Average Joe? We don’t think it will because these two men can sing, their personalities are enough to captivate the audience in waiting and already we have learnt by the time we find our beds at the end of this day that they have a bunch of songs that the listener will want to hear on repeat with whatever backing track they’ll end up creating. Cross my Heart is great. The others we hear over the day sound equally as impressive. One or two of us have faith in these people already.
It’s an unusual scenario but stay tuned.
We meet Average Joe (who really is called Joe thank heavens) outside our local supermarket on a hot sunny Saturday afternoon. He’s with his side kick Jim and a small group of pals that have travelled down to the capital from Stoke to see the two shows planned for the day. Most of the entourage have stories to tell of previous bands featuring Joe and Jim. In fact Joe tells us he first did a short tour of Eastern Europe as a fifteen year old and one or two others tell us tales of local punk rock bands, Japanese tours and the odd visit to hospital following a Sleaford Mods support slot that meant seeing that particular headline act is still something they’ve not experienced yet even though they still have the posters of the gig with both band names printed on it stuck on their bedroom walls. Two people still in their twenties who the locals that have headed to the capital on a (half used) cheap day return will speak highly of in terms of what they’ve achieved already in different musical circumstances. Band names get thrown at us called Control, Werewolves on Motorcyles, Exit Pupils and a band that has since caught our ears called Fat Mess- bands that we’ve never heard of and sound nothing like what we will hear today but we are slowly learning as the day goes by that a few people from their home town will have heard them and seen them in the past. During the day discussions take place about our favourite punk rock bands that these people are too young to have witnessed live however the music we’re all getting excited about under the banner of Average Joe is nothing like our matching record collections. When it was mentioned a while ago that it’s quite possible that Sleaford Mods audience will probably enjoy seeing Idles it’s the opposite with Average Joe even though all our record collections may be slightly similar. The band and their entourage hold recognised attitudes that we’ve seen previously over the years but this isn’t shouty aggressive punk rock, or cheeky indie or hands in the air throbbing bass drum based music for kids chewing disco biscuits. This is soulful, at times humorous, at times seriously sincere and enough to have those of us in attendance not caring about the dodgy lead from the mobile phone or the fact there isn’t eleven other people up on stage with them.
A local band made good then ? – Well not yet, lets not get too carried away.
We’re in a basement bar at the end of my road watching two blokes from Stoke showing us what they can do before we pop next door to do our weekly shopping. They’re playing in front of a dozen people and we’re chatting shit about about the weather, the Eurovision Song Contest and the location of the local charity shops.
Show one then, it’s half past two, just after breakfast for some of us. After six minutes we still haven’t heard anything else by the duo apart from Cross my Heart. A tune of the year for those with YouTube stuck on our favourites bar and a great way of beginning our acquaintance. What follows next is magnificent. Basic loops of other peoples music played through a mobile phone and songs sung with passion, lots of pointing, ducking and diving and a bit of shadow boxing that have some of us that are still holding full pints wondering if it’s too early to be holding back the tears as we happily realise what we’re going to get with Average Joe is more of the same.
For the time being.
Half an hour of tunes we’ve never heard before that match that of what we know already.
That one tune we can’t stop listening to.
At the present time you’ll have to visit a show or play this You Tube video below to get an idea of what we’re on about. Radio shows have sneaked the odd play on the stations we love to listen to but an unease exists in regards to the backing tracks, the publishing companies that may start being interested once the rest of world discovers these songs and what would happen if slabs of vinyl for a tenner a throw suddenly became available (there are no plans to release this). Average Joe are making music that can’t be played on the radio at the moment, can’t be sold commercially and one tune with a set of disgusting lyrics lyrics we hear today apparently called Pink Rabbit will never get played over the airwaves regardless of the tune in the background – debates about that astonishing set of lyrics we’ll leave for another day.
Second show of the day is at North London’s Finsbury pub. It’s a free show with two other bands boasting conventional line ups. A decent size crowd (including most of the audience from show number one) are here either for the other bands or out of habit (we don’t know for sure). Technical issues mean the first two songs of the evening are Cross My Heart and looking around the room one can see that those here are here to stay until the end. They’re not leaving this room for a while yet. The words Karaoke are banded about but this is more than a karaoke double act. This is the start of something that will change into something different but just as fabulous as time goes on.
‘The Streets with Alex Turner’s voice’, ‘The Rhythm Method with Northern accents’.
The smiling mouths of strangers we’ll probably never see again are forming their opinions already.
Average Joe is good enough and interesting enough for one or two of us to stick our heads on the line already at this early stage.
Two blokes, both sharing the vocals, a phone and one or two of us are already loving this slightly more than the results being produced currently by people having to cram drum kits, guitar amps and sound engineers soldering irons into their hired Toyota Highlander.
Early days for sure but stick with this as one of us plan to be back with further updates in future months (or years). One of us will look quite daft if this is the last you ever hear of Average Joe so if you’d like to hear the complete works of Average Joe then click the play button on this below.
One song, more to follow and what we heard today indicates this is simply the start of something quite wonderful. Something those of us here are all agreed on at the end of this long day.
This is a good place to start and an easy way to catch up with something we’ve sat down to tell you about already (twice). Give this a listen if you haven’t yet already done so and then be as patient as the rest of us for further updates.
Average Joe. Easy Brother.