JOE THALMAN, the interview.

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I heard of Joe Thalman (http://joethalmanmusic.com/) a few years back. And although I didn’t truly know his music, or even heard a show of his at that time — I knew the name, and there was a buzz surrounding him (even if he didn’t know it yet). I got to truly experience Joe’s style and gift of music sometime afterword when a friend of mine joined his band. To attend a show (or just give a listen to Joe’s music), it’s nearly impossible to deny he has been blessed with a musical talent for songwriting and play.

Joe Thalman – Tonight

I find Joe’s lyrics and music truly paint a mood. Although that mood may intend to be dark when he first builds a song, there is ‘brightside’ to it that drips through cracks by the time he masters it. No one can listen to “Tonight” and not feel they’ve been in a similar situation. On another extreme, you have “Down” which can bring the ladies out the seat and dancing on the tables. It’s seems to be becoming an instant classic amongst the LA indie rock scene with anyone who takes a listen.

Joe Thalman – Down

As many artist tend to shy away from to much spotlight, Joe is no exception. But I was finally able to track him down and force him to answer a few questions. Minus a few personal notes that Joe dodged, here is what he had to say…

LL: Joe, you recently played a part in the “1st Annual Red Xmas Charity Bash” here in Los Angeles, which benefited St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Was it a success? How was the night in general, and the vibe of everyone when they know it’s for a good cause?

JT: Our First Annual Red Christmas Charity Bash was a success. This was something I have been wanting to get involved with for awhile now. I along with Nico Stai and Frankel each performed acoustic sets. The total feeling of the room was definitely positive. All the ticket sales and all merch went to the St Judes Children Research Hospital. Its really important to me to try to do a few charities a year to give a little something back. Its easy to live in L.A. and get to play music and take things for granted. Sometimes its necessary to get some perspective on how lucky some of us are and do what we can to help out those less fortunate.

LL: Nico Stai played the show as well. I’ve seen your names listed together many times at various joints… what’s the connection between you two?

JT: Nico Stai is an outstanding musician that I met while living here in L.A. and has become a good friend of mine. I highly recommend everyone to pick up his new record “Park Los Angeles. I havn’t taken it out of my stereo since the first time I’ve heard it. People will be hearing his name alot soon you can bet on that.

LL: Can you tell us a little about your past? I know you just didn’t wake up one day in New Jersey and say ‘I’m moving to LA to be a rock-star’. What has been the journey and the stops along the way?

JT: Yeah, well I eventually made LA my home by way of Nashville, through Philly, before leaving New Jersey. My route had to have been the most indirect way and was completely well beyond my means. But no, I didnt wake up one day and make the decision to move. It took many mornings, after even more sleepless nights to finally wake up and develop, play, and produce my songs. Los Angeles to me was and is the perfect place to do that. Oh and the weather aint too bad either.

LL: Speaking of the LA Indie band scene, how did you meet and form a team with actor-drummer, Tommy Villafranca (your drummer when you play with the 99’s)?

JT: Tommy Villafranca is one of those guys that everyone should have the pleasure to know. He always has a smile on his face and exudes passion and determination in everything his does. I met him shortly after moving to L.A. at some crazy drunken downtown L.A. New Years Eve party. He was the only person other than me wearing cowboy boots…after talking for about 30 seconds I knew he was the drummner I wanted.

LL: The “These Days” EP is great by the way. I recommend it to everyone out there to purchase a copy (available through cdbaby.com). Are there plans for a full-length album maybe in the next year? What’s your plans for 2007? Do you plan to tour? Is the plan to do more solo or full-band performances?

JT: So far this year has been pretty hectic but right now I have one more show this Tuesday (1/30/07) at the Knittingfactory in L.A. (Hollywood) before I go back in the studio to record my new solo acoustic record with producer Jeaux Messacappa of the band “Lady Sinatra” and formally of the Symptoms fame. I have a new collection of songs that I need to put out there before I can begin the new record with the full band. These songs are extremely personal to me and I found that I cant begin work on a new record with the full band until I put these songs to bed and give them there place.

LL: Sticking with talking about the music for a few minutes. I’ve heard you compared with various alternative, rock, and alt-country bands and names. Who do you see as some of your strongest influences?

JT: There really are an unlimited amount of influences out there that really got to me over the years. Beginning with Motown artists like Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke, to Bruce Springsteen, to the Cure, all the way up to the Deftones.

LL: Is there a modern day band or two that you find yourself listening to recently? Or who would you go see live if there were in town tomorrow?

JT: Lately I have been into alot of Cat Power…and there’s always time for the Stones, Gram Parsons, and some Whiskeytown. As far as local acts that I am really in to right now…well I have already mentioned Nico Stai. So how could I not mention Fontaine. She is incredible as well. We played a few gigs back in New York and Philly together and continue to play shows out here in L.A. as well. She actually performed vocals on the song “Tonight” off my EP “These Days.” Her record “The Chemistry Between Us” is truely touching and beautiful, a must have.

LL: Last, but not least. We’ve heard rumors of a time when you were living in former Orson Welles’ mansion in the Hollywood Hills. How did you pull that off? Do you have any stories (maybe ghost stories) to go along with amazing parties?

JT: Yeah its true I did live up in Orselle Welles old home in the Hollywood Hills for the majority time that I have been here in L.A. As you can imagine I do have plently of ghost stories. Too much to tell now but defintely for another time. The house is currently owned by a good friend of mine and he took me in as an up and coming songwriter shortly after I moved here. I saw more than my fair share of debauchery over the time there and consequently wrote the majority of the new record while living (recovering) between those walls. If you listen closely to the new songs you just might hear a few ghosts and lost souls coming through… 🙂

LL: Thanks for the time, Joe. We look forward to catching you live again in 2007!

Joe Thalman – 12th & Porter

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/10/4/260725/04%2012th%20

Hopefully everyone in the Los Angeles area who has a chance, can catch Joe Thalman (http://www.myspace.com/joethalmanthebrightside) at The Knitting Factory this Tuesday (8:45pm). You won’t be disappointed you did. — fearless23.

Editors Note: Apparently they’ve gone mad over at Stones Throw records, and they’re giving away another free album on their website. Chrome Children vol. 2 just went up last night for free download (That’s the second full album already this year). I haven’t listened to it yet myself but initial reports are telling me it’s niiiiice. Go check it out.

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