Joe Bonamassa has two very important anniversaries to celebrate this week. The first is the anniversary of his birth, 39 years ago this Sunday, May 8th. The other cause for celebration is the 25th anniversary of when Joe truly started out in the music industry, a journey that would take him from small city New York wunderkind to international guitar hero.
It all began when a young Joe Bonamassa, already a master of his instrument and who at the age of 12 opened for blues icon B.B. King, was featured on the NBC show Real Life with Jane Pauley. Jane Pauley had seen Joe’s story on the AP wire and was blown away by what he was accomplishing. NBC’s Real Life with Jane Pauley aired a story on Joe that included coverage of Joe’s experience with B.B. King, who touted Joe as something truly special. This was the moment that his career would change forever – the real official start of his music industry career was born!
By being featured on the NBC program, the guitar prodigy was seen around the country and sought after by the music industry. He was soon signed by an ecstatic management company. Joe’s new business partners shopped his music to labels, but the recording labels didn’t see the commercial viability of Joe due to the fact that Joe didn’t sing or write.
So Joe’s management company decided to build a band around Joe to package him amidst a musical environment that was currently enamored with teenage bands.
Joe met Berry Oakley Jr., a bass player who was 18, and who was also friends with Waylon Krieger, son of Robby Krieger. Erin Davis, son of Miles Davis, was brought on board to play drums.
Thus, the band Bloodline was born to feature Joe and help him take his career to the next level. EMI signed Bloodline to a record deal, and Joe made his first record with Bloodline. The Bloodline project lasted for five years but then the band broke up.
At this point, Joe decided to pursue a solo career. Realizing he needed to be able to sing too, he spent two years taking vocal lessons ever before pursuing another record deal.
He was then signed by N2K Records but that company folded, leaving Joe in limbo. A year later he was signed by Epic Records, who helped him record A New Day Yesterday with legendary producer Tom Dowd. Unfortunately, Sony Music was faced with bad earnings at that time, and they pulled the plug on the Joe Bonamassa project.
Instead of seeking a new label, Joe and his manager Roy Weisman formed their own label, J&R Adventures. They bought back the rights to A New Day Yesterday and released the album independently. Joe has been releasing albums that way since that time in 2000, which has given Joe the creative freedom he desired to put out records his way and create the best music possible. In 2006, Joe and Roy Weisman took Joe’s destiny even further into their own hands by promoting their own shows, elevating Joe from the club circuit that he’d been limited to, to much larger theaters.
By 2009, Joe’s career was becoming an unstoppable force, and that year culminated in a sold out show at Royal Albert Hall where Joe was joined by his hero Eric Clapton. Joe has an unbelievable fan base that truly loves and understands the music, and Joe knows that without the fans, this entire venture would have been impossible. He is humbled and extremely grateful for their passionate interest in his music. Since that time, Joe’s fans have continued to help his career become a true phenomenon, and the rest of this incredible journey is still in the making.
Check out Joe’s entire catalog now!