JO JO and the Teeth
JO JO O'DONOGHUE
Hi Jo Jo thanks for joining us today. OK now we are totally loving all your output up to date (much more of that later) but let us get into the mindset that spat forth that output so, take us if you to the point in your life when rock n roll first grabbed you. When, where and which artist(s) tripped that initial trigger in you?
Jo Jo O’Donoghue; Hey! Thanks so much! Well, I am the fifth of six children so between my siblings & my parents I had quite a varied exposure to music growing up. My parents record collection was AMAZING- everything Sixties, Seventies and Eighties all in one big box for me to discover. Things like Carly Simon, Janis Joplin, Zeppelin, The Beatles, Sonny & Cher, John Denver, Bruce Springsteen, The Stones, The Animals, The Everly Brothers, Pink Floyd…but I must blame Wayne’s World for Rock’n’roll. We had Wayne’s World on VHS, it must have been my oldest sisters, I used to watch it all the time & I just loved that scene where they’re all rocking out in that little car to “Bohemian Rhapsody”! That song blew my mind! I was probably six the first time I watched it. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it- Wayne’s World was my introduction to a lot of music, Queen, Alice Cooper, Sweet, even Hendrix. What a soundtrack!! Queen for me is the pinnacle! Freddie is the best, no question. Queen was so multi-dimensional, they took turns writing, utilizing so many voices in the band, they didn’t take themselves too seriously- I mean some of their songs are actually hilarious, and so, so good. After Queen, it was David Bowie. My oldest sister is thirteen years older and used to babysit me when mom was at work on the weekends and we’d always watch scary Eighties movies, one of her go-to’s was “The Labyrinth”, and when The Goblin King came out in those pants, and with that hair and that flouncy blouse & those boots- I was just like “man I want to be that f**kin guy!!”
Wow with all that glorious music floating around it is no wonder you are doing what you are doing now and also all the bands you mentioned have that stereo effect going on a) sounding amazing but, b) also looking amazing which, I would say is your whole mantra both personally and professionally. OK so you have an Irish last name so were you bought up in Ireland and then moved to Canada or were you born in Canada from Irish parents? Also, Jo Jo your name is it just short for Joanne or is there more to it? Takes us a little more into your history.
J . J ; Yeah, I mean, I am a very visual person, I would say design, drawing, fashion, hair, make up and aesthetics came to me even before music or performing. I have always expressed myself that way, so it was never this big deliberate thing with this band, it's just how I am. If I wasn't in music, I'd likely be in costuming or fashion... God I love clothes & big shoes & a BIG RED LIP! Yes! I am both Irish & Canadian - My Mother is from Dublin City, along with everyone else in her lineage. My Father is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, born to mixed French & Irish parents. All us kids were born and raised in Alberta. I would call Ireland my second home, I love spending time there and I try to get back as often as I can. My Mom baked Irishness into to everything growing up, let's just say (and without getting too political) that she made it VERY CLEAR where we came from, how it went down and what side we were on, and I love her for that. My full legal name is Jo-Anna Erin O'Donoghue - Legend has it I was named after our neighbour lady in the house I was born in, an elderly Dutch woman my mother was very fond of named 'Johanna' whose sons kept trying to put her in a home and take over her land...in the end she outlived and buried them all, and lived out the rest of her hundred years happy as a clam in her family home. As for how Jo-Jo came along, I guess when I started to speak, I just called myself 'Jo-Jo' and corrected everyone to do the same, I obviously do not remember this, but I have never gone by anything else. I only use Jo-Anna when at the doctors or some kind of legal proceeding, two things I do try to avoid at all costs. My middle name Erin is the anglicized poetic name for Ireland, another wee nod to the Motherland.
OK cool so now we know the history of Jo Jo and your interests so let's move on. You say the image and design wasn't for this band it was there already which I thought it was because unlike many bands that take an aesthetic but none of the background to it, it comes across one dimensional and fake were as with you and the band this is just not the case and it is plain for everyone to see and I think that sets you apart from many others at this point and is certainly something to celebrate! OK so now let's move on to you as a singer. Did you always just sing for as long as you can remember without thinking much about it? I.e.. It was just part of your make up or was there a light bulb moment that made you start to sing?
J . J ; Yeah, image is a funny thing in music, people get really arsey about it and build it into this big try hard thing, but we’re just being ourselves, albeit a bigger, sparklier version of ourselves that you probably couldn’t get away with it you were mechanic, a teacher or an accountant. Yes, I always sang, but like… only in private. Very contradictory to my being a front person & my life’s work being loud, colourful, and commanding, I am very private, very internal and have never liked being the centre of attention. My father played and sang, so music was always in our home, I don’t remember not singing & dancing, music was always in me & moved me. You’ll love this. I started an all-girl pop band called FOURSAKEN (there was four of us) with my two best friends and older sister Chelsea, we wrote all our own material. My friends & I were nine or ten… my sister would have been twelve or thirteen. This is when I realized that not everyone could sing HAHAHA oh god those were the days, but I remember being really confused why the rest of them didn’t sound very good! (Sorry Ladies!! … but what they lacked in pitch and tone they more than made up for in sass and commitment) The first time I sang in public I was Fourteen. My best friend Darian (She was of course a founding member of FOURSAKEN) signed me up for the talent show, because in a million years would I have signed myself up. No one, not even my mother had heard me sing up to that point. That’s when Rylan (rhythm guitarist) had the bright idea to harass me until I agreed to join his band… a year later. You could say that that was the true beginning of Jo-Jo & The Teeth. So, I guess there was no lightbulb moment, I feel more like a victim of my career path than it was a choice. I was always going to do this, I was born doing this, I mean I used to use the TV antenna as a microphone!! I was on this path before I even understood it. BUT- if there was an A- HA! moment… it was my first rehearsal with a band… Rylan Woods on Guitar & Nich Davies on Drums. I understood in that moment that I was a Front Woman of a rock band, and this was going to be a painful, gruelling, long, hard road, and a fucking hell of a ride!
Jo Jo and Rylan. The early years....
Well if you have the Ying of the introvert on one side then the Yang must be the show person. A classic of front people the world over, quiet, and then fucking loud!!! Hahaha. OK well to say you were young, Forsaken was a great name, very goth and deep even I'd the music was not haha. A local talent show! Now before we get to you and The teeth can you take us into the preparation and manifestation of such an ordeal? Your introvert personality thrust forward on a stage on your own, geez...take us into that situation, was it sink or swim or a bit both?
J . J ; Well, I wouldn't say that I'm quiet, and I am definitely not shy, I am just to myself off the stage. I think it's a hard one for people to accept about me. Ok- I'm thirteen years old, and I'm back stage (in the school toilets outside the gym) and I'm freaking the fuck out because I have never done this before, my mouth is so dry that my throats sticking to itself when I swallow, and I'm doing shots of olive oil to keep my voice working (because I read somewhere that that is meant to help... IT DOES NOT-DO NOT DO THIS. EVER!!) I'm wearing a shiny taffeta dress that changes colours when you move from Red to Blue, I have dyed my hair to match my dress for the occasion (OBVIOUSLY) I'm wearing black & white and rainbow striped thigh high socks that I made by sewing a bunch of sock tubes together... my nails are blue, my lips are red... They call my name.... and suddenly I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE READY FOR ANYTHING. I really don't know how to explain that haha... up to the second I was pushed onto the stage I was freaking out... and then one foot on that stage, and suddenly Jo-Jo's in her element. All the nerves, all the thoughts, all the anxiety, GONE!! Like magic. The stage is home, but the anticipation leading up to it can still get to me. I don't think much about it honestly, I just get on stage and let the music take over-whatever happens happens. That's where the magic is, in the unknown, I think that's what's scary about as well.
OK so you conquered your fear and turned that energy into a positive situation and that was a turning point for you and a blessing for us! OK so Foursaken end, what and who came next?
J . J ; haha... FOURSAKEN was but a brief moment in my nine-year-old life... but a poignant one I suppose. After I sang at the talent show, technically it was our Grade nine Graduation, Rylan (Teeth co-founder, co-songwriter & rhythm guitarist) started asking me every single day to join his band. They were short a singer... and very many other things. I initially brushed it off, they were a punk band, and I was a big, belting blues rock singer, or so I figured. Rylan asked me every day for what felt like a year, I would have caved earlier but I spent the majority of my childhood being grounded due to poor grades (haha), so I actually wasn't allowed to go to band practice until the next autumn. I was fourteen and I finally made it to my first band practice, Me, Rylan and Nich on drums. Rylan had just recently taught Nich to play, and Nich was the type that could learn anything- And then there were the three of us, AND I LOVED BEING THE THREE OF US. We were like Harry Potter, Hermoine & Ron or something. I loved us. I have very warm teenage memories with those two boys in that basement, getting slushies, and making lots of noise. We played The Ramones, Rancid & The Distillers at first, we went through a couple bass players and lead guitarists... then we started writing. We were called Jo-Jo & The Rent-A-Band, but we never played any shows under that name. At fifteen we started gigging, and we were called Tripping Stilts, I truly hated that name- but I couldn't come up with a better one, so we rolled with it for a couple years. After High School. I went to Theatre School, Nich went to Music School, the Lead guitarist Aaron and I had a falling out (well, more like an ongoing personality clash.) Trevor, the Bassist, was a year below us and was still in school, and Rylan went to work. In the Autumn, while still at college the 4 of us reformed without Aaron. We were called New Art Night. We had a clear vision. Or at least I did. We were art focused, creative, theatrical, giving into all my influences, I wanted big red boots, big red lips and big black hair. I wanted to be like Queen, but dark, creepy even, I wanted to create a space in this world where I could be myself. But we were seventeen years old, and many things would get in our way- but God Damn did we go for it.
That's very cool the core kept together, and I am sure that almost mythical co joining set you in good stead for where you are now. OK so you get back together, and you wanted to be Queen but darker under the moniker of New Art Night. I feel this, was the foundation to where you are now, so take us to New Art Night (great name again) and the road that took you on.....
J . J ; Yeah definitely, we are the grown-up version of New Art Night with better suited players and people. A better understanding of what we bring to the table, and how to achieve what we always imagined. We toured around the best we could for a bunch of very young adults living in rural Canada, with no fucking idea what we were doing - We bought the tour van, we bought the trailer, we did the whole thing. We built a studio in my mother’s double car garage, we were ALL IN. That band lasted about three years; I think. Rylan & I had begun writing songs just the two of us and bringing them to the band instead of writing all together, which was always what we had done in the past, I think that started the seeds of resentment, like it was becoming the “Jo-Jo & Rylan show” but Ry & I are kindreds. I can't explain it, we are the perfect creative team. We approach song writing from completely different angles and our contributions to each other's songs only elevates the piece. We always meet perfectly in the middle. I don't have that with anyone else. It was getting painfully clear we were the songwriters, and we no longer wanted to collaborate with the band during the song writing process, and that our focus was making great songs- not cool parts, do you know what I mean? While our partnership was getting stronger and more defined as a song writing unit, we were losing the other guys to girlfriends and university and other normal life distractions. When our band finally broke up, I swear a part of me died (lol it sounds so dramatic, but I mean it, still to this day, that one hurts) Rylan and I had never played without a band, we had never even imagined paying music without a band... it was a really sad and aimless time. I’ve never seen myself as an acoustic guitar playing, stool sitting, sing songing kind of a woman - I was a frontwoman, and we were writing big ass rock songs, and we didn't have a band to play them. We knew we had to leave Alberta, there was not much happening in the way of music. We left for Toronto, about four thousand kilometers east of where we grew up. We grafted a bit there, wrote some good songs, tried out some drummers to no avail, never found a musical home, never found something I felt a part of. We decided to finally accept our fate. It was just us. We came home to Alberta and recorded an EP as Jo-Jo O' & The WOODS (Just our names Jo-Jo O'Donoghue & Rylan Woods) a rage-folk duo. We then hit the road, moved to Dublin Ireland, played in pubs all over the country and the North, wrote some more tunes, met some amazing artists, made some lifelong friends but still failed to get a band together. We then came back to Alberta to record our second EP effort as a duo. Miserably unhappy with the recordings and the production, we took a break and went on a summer tour, five dates in the UK, and I think ten is Spain. Our second gig of the tour was at The Hope & Anchor, Islington, London. We were headlining but truly not sure why. The main support was a band called Confed. Fred, a trio from the Isle of Wight, they certainly had no draw in London either. They were an hour late for sound check. We were waiting by the window when three of the most glorious heads of hair walked through the door… one blonde, one dark, and one the most glorious orange, like liquid sunshine. Confed Fred was hands down, no contest the best live band with the best hair we had ever seen. Great sound, great songs, they looked amazing, they had such soul in what they were doing. This is exactly what we had been looking for, I felt it in my bones. I didn’t really know how we were supposed to just go on without them, so we didn’t. No Atlantic Ocean was going to stop us… We never saw ourselves in Alberta anyway. I emailed them and offered them a job as our backing band for our next record, because I thought to myself it was less weird if we threw money at them haha. We arrived on the Isle of Wight on April 1st, 2018, for what was meant to be the summer.
Wow ups, downs, break ups, roundabouts, travelling the world and meeting your future in the world-famous Hope & Anchor. Hair was noted, fates were sealed. So, they played on your record are these the recordings we know and love that are out there or was this different music?
J. J ; I think Rylan and I have always just been very clear on who we are, what we're about, and what we want...not that we have ever had any idea what to do about it or how to achieve it all. But since we were kids, we both knew that we were going to be running this one down until it ate us alive, or we found what we were looking for. I'm not sure where we're at on that spectrum currently, lol... but we're closer than we have ever been before.
Wow so you really are wandering gypsies searching for that musical four-leaf clover and it seems you have found it and then some. OK let's get into those first two singles, “Moonchild” sees Rylan singing and it is a very dark and brooding piece, and the video looks like a darker Roxy Music “Siren” era video. Take us into this track and the video please
J . J ; I really love “MoonChild”, I'm very proud of that song. Rylan hates singing, so he is always trying to avoid playing it haha. “MoonChild” came from the idea of the Moon and the Earth being lovers forever destined to orbit each other for an eternity and never able to be together, cursed to forever be constant, and every night she comes out to taunt him, to draw out his tides and his wildness, every night she lights up his darkness and then at dawn she leaves him for her own purpose. A metaphor for a lot of relationships I would think. One wanting too much from you, but you are the Moon, and you don't belong to them, you belong to yourself. For the video we mashed together some studio performance footage we had filmed before Covid with a filmmaker, and then filmed the rest ourselves at a friend of ours' cottage up on Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Ireland. We wanted to capture the loneliness of both characters, but the knowing of each other's separate purposes... Hopefully we achieved that! It was a hilarious and trying experience. It was September... and that was the actual ocean, so it was frickin COLD! Covid was in FULL SWING - when the restrictions opened up enough for us to travel from England to Ireland, Rylan & I bought a big red van, named her WILMA (The Fat Bottomed Girl Who Keeps The Rocking World Goin' Round), and we drove to Ireland with Max in tow to build our van into a tiny home/tour van on a friends property down south in Waterford...(that's a whole other story as well, Jesus maybe I do need to write a book after all) While working on the van we took a little weekend away and drove up to Donegal to film for a few days at our friends place. Max and I were chest deep in the water with Rylan getting those shots... honestly, we all must be mad. BUT - I think the video turned out great considering it's a Frankenstein creation haha, so were the recordings to be fair.
Meet the band left to right; Andy Barker (Drums), Max Battista (Bass), Jo Jo, Keir Hicks (Guitar) and Rylan Woods (Guitar)
And why the Isle of Wight and what happened to those songs from that time?
J . J ; All I knew about the Isle of Wight was its mention in a Beatles song! haha the guys are Islanders; we came right to their door. Rylan and I lived in an Air B ‘N’ B in Newport for a couple months while we tried to sort out WTF, we were doing here, musically things were going amazingly, too good to question, too good to go home, too good to not dig deeper. So, Max's (Bass player) then girlfriend's parents invited us to stay with them for as long as we needed, I think that was another four months. We actually never ended up making that record. They were a little (perhaps a lot) less experienced than us and had sights on touring... of course Rylan and I knew better than to book an independent UK & Ireland tour as a five piece, but we played along. We did a little tour, I think around twelve to fifteen dates, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. We merged sets, I sang backup vocals on their songs, Ry played rhythm, they learned ours and we had a lot of fun trying each other on. We learned quickly that they had some band dynamic issues going on that we kind of got stuck in the middle of. After Keir, Ry and I moved to Wales together at the end of that summer (That's a whole other story) Keir & Max made the decision to officially join our band, and part ways with their drummer, the one with the beautiful orange hair, Ollie. Of course, that was two weeks before we were set to embark on our Western Canadian tour together. Enter the Era of Andy. Keir had played with Andy in a function band in the past and he came highly recommended. After a quick phone call Andy was in. He learned the songs and joined us on tour. He was a breath of fresh air, a very energetic player, but tasteful. We smashed the tour and came back to the UK with a new sense of this band that we were creating. Rylan and I finally made our way to London, it took a great deal of convincing to get the rest of them to join us... they are Island boys after all. They all moved into our one-bedroom flat in Lewisham. We played every open mic, every shitty little gig. We were becoming a real band. It was time to change our name and be reborn. Our first gig as Jo-Jo & The Teeth was on February 1st, 2020...and then... COVID! Haha. It goes without saying it's been a very UPHILL JOURNEY. Our first two singles we released, 'We're Just Animals' & 'MoonChild' were recorded from five different quarantines during the first & second lockdown. The latest two, 'Don't Get Too Heavy' & 'No More Good News' are the first singles off our full-length album we recorded at The Albion Rooms, The Libertines HQ in Margate. We FINALLY made it to the studio to record that record last November. At the end of this month, we finish the final touches and SHE'S FINALLY DONE. Set to release before the end of this year.
Yes I do feel with all your songs there Is a very clear narrative. Do you set out with a clear view when you both write or is it more of a informal jam or a bit of both?
J . J ; I think we both naturally write as storytellers. For me it's usually lyrics and melody at the same time. Sometimes just the words in my brain over and over and then my mission is to find them a melody. The odd time a melody slips into my mind with no words, but that's not very often, we're a very lyric driven band. I have lots to say. Rylan will write a part on guitar, a cool riff or something, he will usually come to me with lyrics written for it, or at the very least a clear direction or energy in mind. I wouldn't say we ever plan to write a song- it ALWAYS starts with a random gift from the ethers that plops into one of our heads, then we dig it out. I actually don't think that I have ever purposely written a song with an agenda. I have to be inspired, and then it just flows.
Rylan and Jo Jo on the cusp of greatness....
Now let us get to the next song you released “We’re Just Animals”. Now if there was ever a song that displays your mastering of the vocal performance this is it. I love it! Take us into this track
J . J ; Thank you, I appreciate you saying so, I love singing 'We're Just Animals' and it does seem to be a crowd favourite too, I hope that means we've done a decent job, and shared a story people needed to hear, and that's what it's all about for us. (And big ass drums and screeching guitars... of course) You know, life is so messy, and people are so messy, and growing is so messy, and it's all so painful and beautiful, and just really brutal, isn't it? I have witnessed so much unnecessary pain that people cause each other, so much heartbreak, so much misunderstanding, such lack of empathy and compassion. People have such a hard time seeing past their own pain, to see the pain of others. I mean we (as in human beings) are just horrible to one another, aren't we? And most of the time I don't think we mean to be. I think everyone is having a human experience, and is on their own journey, you know, we all have different lessons to learn here on earth, and I think that tears a lot of people apart. I think it tears a lot of families apart. Pain is synonymous with being alive, none of us are escaping it. 'We're Just Animals' came out of the idea that if we could all just accept that no one belonged to us, not our parents, not our children, and definitely not our partners, there would be a lot less hurt, you know what I mean? If we could love without condition, if we could just accept people when and how they came to us, and also accept when that changes and let each other go when it's time. I think we could save ourselves a lot of anguish. It's the holding onto something that isn't yours that hurts so much. I mean, it's you who is breaking your own heart with unrealistic expectations of another human being. It's in the title, we are just animals, we are all wild and just trying to figure it out. We wrote the song from the perspective of the observer and of the mother/wife - a couple tearing each other apart trying to find themselves, the family dynamic, the ripple effect of pain and how it manifests. I guess it's also about how disappointing growing up is and shattering the illusion of "happiness" or what a "happy" life looks like really. This is such an enormous topic haha, but to sum up, I think it's about destroying the idea that the people we love owe us anything, including their love in return.
So eloquently put what else is there to say there but, again a beautiful song and performance. As an aside we got a little into your influences but I so here a lot of Suede here, do you too?
J . J ; You know, I'm not going to lie to you Darren, I hadn't actually heard of Suede until quite recently because radio DJ's keep putting us in the same category and mentioning Suede to me that I finally looked them up and downloaded all their albums!! haha - Literally this week, they came up again in a Louder Than War interview. I did recognise one of the songs though, “Metal Mickey” I have definitely heard, maybe it was their big single in North America? They're really great though- really distinct vocals, great lyrics, great songs, really moody, so I will take that as a wonderful compliment! Thank You! ...I have always thought that 'We're Just Animals' had a nineties vibe to it though. There's actually just so much great British music that didn't make it all the way over to my little ear holes growing up in the Canadian prairies, but I'm making up for lost time and listening to all these great bands that I had never before.
I hear Ya Jo Jo, music is a timeline, and nobody was at the start, and nobody will be at the end so, everyday there is new stuff to find and that is just glorious yano.
J . J ; Yeah, it's actually been really interesting getting told by musicologist type people (which I certainly am not by the way) who and what we sound like or who people think we're inspired by and not having any clue who they're on about and then getting to look them up and discovering great music, like it must be the ultimate personalised recommendation haha.
OK next up “Don't Get Too Heavy”. A very popular song and a killer song too. I think it's kind of auto biographical for you and the band? Tell us about this one
J , J ; 'Don't Get Too Heavy'.... hmmmm... I started writing this one on the flight from Calgary to Dublin for a little Irish tour we did once upon a time, we had not met the guys at this point. Most of our songs are autobiographical though, writing what you know I think is important, because you really have to feel what you're singing, you have to understand what story you're telling, otherwise it's just kinda a bit of fluff isn't it? I think at the time Rylan, and I were in a place where we were really fighting to keep the dream alive, like continuing to choose this incredibly difficult path was getting really exhausting, and I could feel the child in me dying if you know I mean. And I just felt compelled to remind myself to keep dreaming, because that's really all there is, once we stop dreaming of something better or once we stop fighting for ourselves, well Jesus, that's just the end, isn't it? I remember when we were recording this one at The Albion Rooms last autumn and the five of us in the control room, hearing it all back the first time and I think everyone was getting a little bit emotional over it, because anybody who grew up playing in bands and dreaming of rock'n'roll can identify with this one. It's an anthem for US types. I had been thinking a lot about Oscar Wilde's quote, 'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars'... and I really wanted to stay being that person, bloodied and bruised, exhausted and overwhelmed, but whose eyes are forever fixed on the stars, on the beauty and the possibilities. I work hard to keep that little girl with big dreams alive.
Oh, indeed we should never let the child inside die it is what keeps most people going in this day and age. OK I think the tinderbox of rebellion is ready to be ignited again and I think you are the cats to do this. Music needs some gloriously glamorous misfits to wake people up out of this auto tune daze we are in and you are geared and primed for sure. This kind of comes across in your last single “No More Good News” ....tell us about this one and also the video looks like the Plasmatics “Beyond the Class of ‘84” cover come to life!
J . J ; Haha Totally -Lots of visual similarities there- we were going for a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max sort of vibe, looks like they probably were too! Rylan started writing 'No More Good News' after hearing that Tom Petty had died, the year before we lost David Bowie - two of our absolute heroes. It was starting to feel like all the great music legends are aging & dying out (which of course is inevitable, no one lives forever, no matter how cool you are) and every time you turn on the radio it's all bad songs and all bad news.
I mean, I have to agree with you there, music and the people we see making music has gotten very stale... I'm thinking money and where it's coming from and who it's going to likely has a lot to do with that.
"On the street" but, soon to be "On your stereo!"
J . J ; There's this ENORMOUS gap in music... it's like there has been a genocide on guitar music in the mainstream or something... like WHERE THE FUCK ARE ALL THE BANDS??? Isn’t everyone sick of hearing the same person sing the same song? Isn't everyone sonically bored to death for the last twenty years or so?? Man... I'd give anything to be like thirty years older, the musical landscape and industry seems a lot more appealing to me then. It seems like the deeper you get into it, like the closer we get to "the industry" the farther away you realize it is... like, I'm convinced that absolutely no one knows what's going on anymore lol... and I can't help but notice that a lot of artists coming up are from wealthy families now... so ... has the music industry just turned into a giant playground for rich kids? Maybe it always was, like I don't know. But - how often my band is met with disbelief and utter shock that money is an obstacle or that earning money is a priority and a necessity for us is VERY telling of who is populating this industry, even at our level. I don't know, I don’t have the answers, or the full picture. All I have is my perspective and my lived experience. And from where I'm standing, it's all pretty bleak for us regular people, or "working class people" as they say here in England... To be honest, it all feels a bit like the Titanic hahaha.... there's a lot of great artists drowning in the freezing cold ocean and not being let on those damn lifeboats. And what's even more offensive is the number of artists dressed up like us, hanging out with us, playing shows with us, acting like us and then you realize that they have had a first-class golden ticket in their back pocket the whole time and their "independent band" is actually bank rolled by their very successful parents. Anyways, we definitely tackle that a bit on 'No More Good News'...it's another really big topic or conservation, and I expect there's a lot of points of view on it, depending on where you're standing.
Oh lord, yes we hear ya. I think it has always been like that but every once in a while, something comes along to shake it up and let's hope that is you cats! It's time for some real rock n roll, dressed to kill and over brimming with talent and attitude. Enter Jo Jo and the Teeth. OK so that's the music that is out there and you touched on my next question in your previous answer. You have always put out top drawer quality product whether that is image, video, gig, music. So what is the business model for you? I.e., management, label interest, ideas or is it just all you and what you and the band feel like doing? Take us into the behind the scenes of how you work and in turn get things done.
J . J ; Well, I hope you are right!! Haha It's rough out here!! Thank you for saying so- Me as a person, and our whole bands' belief system is just to go all out all the time, tastefully of course, we just try to do the absolute best job possible with what we can afford and what tools we have available to us. We are very pragmatic that way, we have to be. The five of us live together to cut down on living costs, we agreed early on that there's no way to make a real go at this if we are not all ALL IN. So, our business model is relatively simple, we have one goal, GET THIS BAND OFF THE GROUND, we try not waste our time, we are not available for everyone and everything, we are frugal with our money, so there's a lot of personal sacrifice, we do not have lives outside of Jo-Jo & The Teeth. That is something we are working towards, but it is just not a possibility, there is only twenty-four hours in a day! We take risks to find out what's what and when we find people we believe in, we reinvest in them, like our sound engineer, our pr agent, our online marketing manager, our videographer, our photographer, the designers we work with. These people are part of the team that we have built around us, other passionate, hardworking independent artists and entrepreneurs. We are one hundred per cent independent at this time, and we are basically running this whole thing from sheer will power Haha. Budgeting is key, we have a monthly budget we work within to accomplish everything that needs done, whilst eating and keeping a roof over our heads, so things take time, but all good things take time I like to think!
Organic and awesome that is great to hear! OK we have the whole story of past and present so let's go into your future. What plans do you have in place right now and for the rest of the year?
J . J ; Well, our main priority is getting this album wrapped up and released this year. We are pushing really hard to release Dec the second... so the race is on!! Our third single 'My Babe' comes out on October 21st, so we're really excited about that! Then I think taking time out, getting away and writing some new stuff is priority, I'd like to see us back in the studio in the winter and spring, maybe a couple singles in the works and definitely the next record.
Lots to look forward to then. Any clues to the album title or formats?
J . J ; Yes! Our first full length album is called 'No More Good News'... It felt fitting hahaha ... this record has been a very long time in the making, we re-recorded old songs that we felt never really got to live, it's a real amalgamation of mine and Ry's journey as songwriters and our triumphant merge with these amazing musicians who brought to life what we had always imagined, so it's a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster in that sense- the end of a long journey, and the beginning of another. I CAN'T WAIT TO HAVE THIS OUT!! It will be available to stream and download everywhere, we will be making CD's like it 1999 (they still sell at gigs!) And we are really hoping to press a limited-edition vinyl, but we will see how it all develops!
Well no more good news should turn into good news for us all and we can't wait. So hopefully tour dates will be planned around this time also.
J . J ; Yeah, we're hustling all the time so gigs and baby tours a plenty you can be sure!
So, to finish for now, do you have any parting words for the readers and fans?
J . J ; If anyone wants to keep up with the adventures of Jo-Jo & The Teeth you can do so by going to our website www.jojoandtheteeth.com - there you will find links to tickets, tour dates, all socials and news! I'd just love to thank you so much Darren for taking the time to talk to me! This was such a great interview.
The pleasure was all mine. Thank you and we shall catch up when the record is out but, until then we wish you nothing but good luck and fortune! Keep it glam Jo Jo!
First prize will be A Signed T shirt (size m), Sealed CD and two stickers
Second prize will be A Signed CD and a Sticker
Third prize will be a Sealed CD and a Sticker
Just answer this question.....
What was the name of Jo Jo's first band?
Just email your answer to us HERE.
Closing date for the competition will be announced on our social media (check us out HERE ) so keep an eye open!
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY EMAIL AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2022
Photographs courtesy of Jo Jo, Kamila J and the Suits vaults.