photo by DeWook
Father’s Day has become a special day for me, watching my kids grow and become young adults. Raising three boys on my own can be challenging. Even more challenging when I’m scheduled to photo Bodhicitta in Elburn, Illinois then photo and interview Joe Marcinek in McHenry, Illinois on the same night. Ugh.
Back at the Miramar Theatre in 2014 was the first time I worked with Joe Marcinek. His unique blend of music has always captured my attention. From the first time I heard “Both Sides” I immediately was a fan. Through the years I’ve worked with Joe at festivals such as Down On The Farm and Summer Stomp, to shows at The Rave and Fire On Water in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His sound has remained true and pure. I was able to sit down with Joe Marcinek prior to his performance at Mackey’s Hideout in McHenry, Illinois and talk about his new album “JMB4”, tours, and future plans.
DeWook: DeWook here with Joe Marcinek. Joe, Welcome! Thanks for sitting down with me today. I’ve been a personal fan since [the album] “Both Sides’’ so let’s move forward. So, the new album, tell us about it.
Joe Marcinek: Alright so “JMB4”. The original concept [of a new album] was going into 2019. I was gonna work on my 4th album. The goal was to do a different line up on each song for this album. So my live show is a different band every time. That was the goal. I recorded the first song on the album in Atlanta. With the George Porter Trio in December. Then in February, I got Melvin Seals from the Jerry Garcia Band to do the second track. So super excited, projects off and rolling, then of course Covid happens. So now, a complete change of pace. But honestly, for me it was a blessing in disguise. I had been burning hard since 2008 with [band] “Fresh Hops” and then 2011 with the Joe Marcinek Band goin’ real hard. So honestly, it was really good for me. One of the blessings was being able to write. As a musician when you’re always on the road, you never have time to write music. So being home all day, What are you going to do? I’m going to write tunes. I wrote more music this past year than I have in my whole life. So a lot of this music was composed since the pandemic started. I was lucky to work with Ola Timothy and Andy Sutton.
Local guys in NW Indiana. We got together once a week to just flush these ideas out. It then became all of the songs on JMB4. I knew I wanted the name JMB4 for this album [before the pandemic]; And the name took on some special significance after the fact, which I didn’t realize. JMB4 , the last 2 letters being,” B4“ now meaning before the pandemic and keeping the energy and the spirit of what we had before [the shutdown]. The tree on the album cover is coming out of the concrete. So it’s the music coming back to life. Bringing that energy together. I pivoted on my original idea, and just went with these new songs. We went to Orlando Florida and I got Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk & Dave Matthews and Friends) on bass, Nikki Glaspie (the Nth Power) on drums, and Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy and Kirk Franklin) on keyboards. Three of my most favorite musicians alive. Basically, my dream lineup. We went to work and made it happen. I think it’s my best record so far. It’s the most true to my musical identity to what I love about music.
DW: How long did it take you to record?
JM: I had four days booked. Nikki and Shaun live in Texas. And they went through a rare snowstorm [in Texas] in February! It never snows in Texas! Both their flights were delayed and we only could record for two days. So we packed what we needed to do in four days into two. The magic happened. We got everything down. We had a couple of really special artists for the album, Eric Gales, who’s one of the best blues guitarists alive today. Roosevelt Collier played Steel, Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce) played trumpet, Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident/ EOTO) on percussion. It all came together.
DW: How would you compare this to other albums?
JM: So I’ve been realizing my long term vision of what I really love about music. A blend of Chicago Blues, New Orleans Funk, the Grateful Dead jam band era and Jazz Fusion and advanced harmony. If you blend those things, you really get what I love about music. My albums before “Both Sides” [album] was a jazz fusion thing. “Slink” [album] was more New Orleans Funk, and then “JM3”[album] was an organ trio blues. So this album combines the concepts of all 3 [albums] into one fully realized vision.
DW Yes! [on the JMB4 album] is a personal favorite of mine. Can you expand on that song and how it came to be?
JM: That’s also a personal favorite of mine! It’s funny, someone came up to me and said it was theirs as well. And said “ I didn’t think artists had favorite songs!” Not always but once in a while, if you listen to that song you hear the Meters, Grateful Dead, some Allman Brothers. And that’s my core. That’s what I really love. I was sitting down one night and that’s just what came out. The chord progression, the melodies. This was actually started a year ago, and it’s neat to have seen it evolve to what it is now. It’s probably one of my favorite live songs to play.
DW: Have you considered a permanent lineup in the future?
JM: I have! The bass player we have tonight, Tony Hall, would be on the top of my list. Pete Coopmans of Family Groove Company. Pete was the reason I started this band. So I’d like him to be there. I don’t know if I’ve found a keyboardist yet. I always go back and forth with this. The tricky thing is that I love what I do so much. I get so much joy for it. It’s chaos. And I try to organize it. And every night, we’re going to the last minute to figure it out. So if I had a set lineup I wonder if I will lose that element of what I really love. I’m not opposed to it. It hasn’t happened yet. I would definitely be open to it for sure.
DW: Where can we find the album?
JM: The best place to start is at my website. https://www.joemarcinekband.com/
The only way to get a physical copy is to come to a show or email me directly and I’ll send you one. I’m going to do vinyl but it’s going to take about 6-8 weeks. And of course it’s on Spotify, apple music and YouTube. It’s everywhere.
DW: Anything you want to say to your fans?
JM: Thank you so much! We’ve really known each other a long time now and it’s cool to see you! Keep spreading the joy of music and keep finding the joy in what you do!
After the interview, Joe along with Joe RE of Mungion, Ola Timothy, & Kevin Mardirosian took the stage and played a great set which included many new tracks off his new album plus some old favorites. To watch him develop over the years has been amazing.
We all get older and become wiser. Thank you Joe for taking the time to let me interview you. Between developing images from last night and this write up. It has been a very busy Father’s Day.
Which reminds me, I got to call my Dad.
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