Joey Sykes Interview with The Social Magazine, by Amy Dren
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and musician. Those are just a few of the words that can be used to describe Joey Sykes, as well as to describe what he spends most of his time doing. And, he does it all very well.
Sykes has logged over a thousand live shows ranging from the Staples Center to Madison Square Garden and around the world, sharing the stage and making music with the likes of Collective Soul, Don Henley, Jeff Pilson (Dokken), Paul Stanley, Meredith Brooks and many more. Joey got his first real taste of the music industry as a member of the band Boystown, and then as lead guitarist and co-writer for the band Coward. After moving to California, Sykes served as guitarist and musical director for Capitol recording artists Tommy Henriksen, whose first single was used in the motion picture “Blast From the Past”, and Meredith Brooks (“I’m a Bitch”), before he went on to create his first solo album under the name New English. With the release of his latest, the self-titled “Joey Sykes”, he has embarked on a solo journey that is proving to be one of his greatest achievements so far. The song “Human, Being Human” from the “Joey
Sykes” release is featured on the Soundtrack for the movie “Daddy Day Camp”. Social The Magazine had a chance to sit down for a chat with Joey Sykes about his music and his new record.
SM: You have a unique sound that some have coined as “pleasing to any ear”. How would you describe your music?
JS: I would describe my music as Classic, Power Pop, meaning that it is influenced by classic rock influenced, but, contemporarily speaking.....Power Pop.
SM: Is there anyone that has influenced your music and/or sound?
JS: My influences are mainly British groups. At the top of the list is The Beatles, then The Who, Badfinger, U2, The Cars, Coldplay, the Eagles, Cheap Trick...and mostly, I’m a fan of a great song - whatever genre.
SM: Back in the mid-90’s you formed and found success with the band, Coward, which was very well received. Can you tell me more about that project and why it disbanded?
JS: Coward was basically my first big break. In 1996, I teamed up with a singer named Shep Goodman and we formed Coward. Six months later, after playing around Manhattan, we had about five major record companies in a bidding war. We ended up signing with Elektra Records. Unbeknownst to us, they also signed a group called Third Eye Blind, and the way that major labels are structured, when one group starts to do well on radio they key on that group, and put all other bands on the back burner. We put out our album, made a video, toured a lot with Third Eye Blind, but we could never get the proper attention needed to break a band in the right way.
SM: You’ve shared the stage with some of my favorites! Who did you get most excited about? Was there anyone you weren’t a big fan of, prior to playing or touring with that you are now?
JS: As far as sharing a stage with the different artists and bands, at the time, when I was around nineteen years old, Paul Stanley from KISS was at this place my band at the time was playing in Puerto Rico, and came up on stage and played “Strutter”. That was big! Other than that, I auditioned for Don Henley, and played like 8 songs with him, and sang with him. I opened for the Eurythmics at Madison Square Garden, and the Staples Center, when I played guitar for Meredith (Brooks). That was huge, because, growing up in New York, we would joke around “someday I’m gonna play the Garden” The response was always, “Yeah Right” and there I was, with Mom front row center. It really happened!
SM: I would assume you prefer performing your own material, but what do you enjoy doing most? Writing, performing?
JS: Well, I would say I love anything that involves music, but if I had to prioritize, writing is a real passion. In the last five years, I’ve been writing in Nashville about every three months, and have written songs with some of Nashville’s elite. Some of the more notable names are James Otto, Don Rollins, Marcel Chagnon, Jessica Andrews, James Slater, Chris Dubois. I own a recording studio, called Purple Virgo Studio, and I love being in the studio, and performing is what I’ve done my whole life, so I’m very comfortable on stage.
SM: Are you currently working on any new material, or is that an ongoing process for you?
JS: New Material is an ongoing process, I am always writing. I would even love to find a young rock star to develop and produce, as I have many great contacts in the music industry, So, if anyone reading this feel like they have what it takes, or knows someone, hit me up! There is an amazing singer/entertainer that I’m working with, and I have high hopes for him. His name is Dezmond Meeks. Check him out, he’s a rare talent. Also Frankee Razor is another artist that I am working with.
SM: I really enjoy this new record. How did this solo project come about for you? Was there any inspiration for your writing?
JS: My inspiration for my first true solo album was just do it. I tend to get sidetracked by producing other artists, or playing guitar for them, that I forget to promote myself. I had what I thought was material for a strong album, and Viola’!
SM: Any favorite tracks?
JS: My favorite tracks are “Human, Being Human” which was in the movie “Daddy Day Camp”. Other tracks that stand out to me are “Loveless Crowd”, “I Love the Love We’re In”, and “Where Did Everyone Go”. Honestly, I like ‘em all!
We at Social The Magazine like them all, as well! I think my own personal favorite is “Try and Love Again” For all of you budding musicians reading this, remember what Joey said – he’s looking for fresh talent to work with, so don’t be shy! He’s an amazing talent, and he knows good music.
Joey Sykes will announce plans to tour in support of his own solo record in the very near future. For right now he’s on the road as a guitarist with Louis Prima Jr.’s band, appearing on stages all over the country, spreading the Prima gospel of ‘Jump, Jive & Wail.’
For tour dates, weblog, to download the new album and more, you can visit the Joey Sykes website at JoeySykes.com.
By Amy Dren