What is your name?I’m Joe Rhinewine.
What is your genre of music?
Well someone recently called my music “melodic grunge,” but that was about one track… and another track was characterized as “Utterly bizarre, almost bonkers.” Yet another said I had an “English voice, Scottish melody.” So, you know, typical commercial pablum.
Give us a little bio about you.
I grew up in New York City and was a rock and roll fan from age 5 or so. I was always very intense about the music I loved. When we were kids we played Kiss really loudly and jumped around acting like we were playing guitars. I never really outgrew that. I got very into “prog” rock in my teens, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and so forth. By 16 I wanted to be a professional guitar player and prog rock composer but I basically chickened out, took a meandering academic path that eventually led me to my current profession of psychology. I like it well enough and have been successful but music has always been my first passion and so now in my mid-40s I’ve come back to it as best I can.
Are you signed?
No. That might be interesting. I’ve read enough biographies and such about musicians to know that that might not be what one imagines it to be, and may not even right for me.
Tell us more about ‘ In The Box’.
I tend to satirize everything in my mind, even my own songs. I like humor in music and am a big fan of Frank Zappa as well as “Weird Al” Yankovic and such. I had had a couple of different jokey blues songs in my head, nonsensical songs about nothing that made me laugh. I wasn’t sure anyone else would find it funny, but the song gave me an excuse to test my chops with blues, which I guess I have a hard time doing when I’m trying to be serious. It can feel too much like recycling licks I mastered when I was 16 or so. “In The Box” was meant as a joke, but may be the most initially accessible of the songs it seems, being in a familiar, 12-bar blues format, and with some hotdogging guitar and zany vocal behavior on my part.
Will we see a full length Album soon?
“Soon” might be an overstatement but I’d like my next release to be ‘LP’ length. I was always into the concept-prog album. I don’t think I’ll ever release music in that vein because it was of-an-era (namely the 70s), but I draw my inspiration from those albums, ones that affected me deeply early in life like “Tommy” by The Who and “The Wall” by Pink Floyd. Most of the stuff I listen to has what Frank Zappa called “Conceptual continuity,” a subtler kind of unity than the rock-opera model that Pete Townshend and Roger Waters had with the two I mentioned. I’d like to offer 40 minutes or so of music that holds together well and makes you want to hear the whole thing from beginning to end. My impression is that’s becoming a rarer and rarer thing these days with Mp3s and such. I’d like to recapture that sustained, compelling structure in some form.
Do you have any gigs coming up?
No, I have not performed my current material live at all yet. It will be difficult material to perform to my satisfaction as it’s rather studio-based. That said once I have more time (I have two younger children), I’d like to put together a band capable of capturing the sound live. The tracks that I am happiest with, which I consider most original (such as “Two Mirrors” and “I Am The Spirit”) might not come across well unless they are performed with a competent keyboardist, sound engineer, etc.
I have played out a bit as a lead guitarist for other folks, so maybe I’ll do some more of that. It’s fun and good practice.
What made you go in to music?
Music has always moved me more than any other art form. I laugh and cry more listening to music than I do in the movies, and I get tingles down my spine often from music. Nothing could be more satisfying to me than to create original music and put it out there.
Do you have any festivals you will be playing this year?
‘Twould be nice. For now I’m a studio guy.
Do you play any instruments?
Yep I’m my own lead and rhythm guitarist and I play a little keyboards and drums. I also play recorder but I haven’t worked that into anything yet. That was my first instrument from age 4, and I got pretty good at it by the time I was 12.
Who are your influences?
In order of springing to my mind: King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, The Who and Pete Townshend solo, some electronica like Aphex Twin and Tangerine Dream, lots of others. Mostly all pretty dang old. There are some newer bands I’ve liked but they’re already not “current” I suppose. I Like a lot of Celtic folk music and other “world” music as well.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I listen to music. I live my life and suffer and triumph and get bored, make friends, explore new worlds and seek out new life-forms. I work. Mostly, I listen to music. I’ve gotten a chance to meet some great musicians in the past couple years who have been pretty inspiring.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Probably right here in Portland Oregon with my wife and tween-to-teenage kids doing what I always do, except more music. I hope to have released a couple of full-length CDs by then. Who knows, some people might actually listen to them! It would be fun if something more happens with my music career, but the main thing is I want to be happy with the music I create.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I’m a full-time clinical psychologist and a parent as I mentioned so those account for the majority of my time. Outside those core activities and music, I have scant time. I try to devote part of it to my Buddhist meditation practice. Otherwise the usual suspects that might defile an otherwise interesting interview.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Great question! There are many songs I could list but I’m going to think and try to really answer the question as you’ve asked it.
“Red” by King Crimson may be the best instrumental piece ever recorded by a rock band. It rips the top off of my skull. I’m not a big Nirvana fan but apparently Kurt Cobain agreed with me about that album in general. “Red” makes me want to go practice my guitar and figure out how the hell to make it do things like that. There are other King Crimson and Robert Fripp tunes that have a similar effect on me but I think “Red” takes the biscuit.
“Cleetus Awreetus Awrightus” by Frank Zappa, also an instrumental, has long been one of my muses in life. It is a couple of minutes of pure, unadulterated, no-holds-barred FUN. It’s like eating a sacher torte through your ears.
Recently, “Pure Morning” by Placebo grabbed my attention and really riveted me as a song that got me moving more toward music. That’s a song that you listen to in the car, really loudly, and it makes you go YEAH!!!! I thought to myself recently, “I want to make music that makes people do THAT.”
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Antoher difficult but interesting question. Obviously “best” would depend on the context, as I’ve gotten shite-tons of advice about all sorts of things at this point. However…
This wasn’t advice, but it was better than advice. Someone once said to me, “I wish you TURMOIL.” They did explain that they meant that in the best way possible. From great turnoil comes many possibilites. I have thought often of that statement in difficult times, and then in good times. It holds up. Turmoil is not bad if you can weather the storm.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
One piece of advice I was given a couple years ago that helped me a great deal: Set a deadline. I probably would never have completed my CD if I had not been offered that advice. Set a deadline for the release of your CD, even if you have NO MATERIAL WHATSOEVER. Then everything gets started. Without deadlines, we die. They should be called lifelines.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Frank Zappa: “In a struggle between you and the world, side with the world.”
Robert Fripp: “It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering.”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
1. Have some idea what songs we’ll be playing and how I’ll be playing them.
2. Know where the gig is and arrive early.
3. Get the drink voucher and use it because you might not be getting paid.
4. Respect the audience if you can. They have come to have a good time.
5. See if you can have a good time. If you do, then the audience might.
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?