We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Normal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
Our family lived in the shadows of New York City, in the port town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, surrounded by the docks, the factories and the Bayway Refinery. My dad and most of our parents worked those blue collar jobs. Elizabethtown was a tough place in the 70’s and 80’s when I was coming up, and it seemed everybody had some kind of hustle going, some kind of scam or scheme to get over so they could get outta there. Mine was to make it in a rock band. I had a job delivering machinery parts to many of those factories and others all over New Jersey, and those scenes and faces have stayed with me. The scars and struggles of our parents and family and experiences have never left. My songs and stories are often informed by them, as well as the many working class themes and characters I’ve seen and learned from.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a singer songwriter I’ve learned that it’s not just about writing and singing songs, and playing in a band and kicking ass. It’s about telling your own story, about putting your own unique voice and story into the world. You’ve got to be vulnerable and accessible, you gotta be a voice for others who cannot express themselves. You’ve gotta put yourself out there, no holding back. I’m a late bloomer. I’ve been in bands my whole life, but I feel I am only in the last four years coming into my own. A big challenge has been overcoming the ageism and youth focused trendiness of the music business. I’ve learned to say “screw that” and just focus on being my authentic self. I’ve discovered there is a huge audience for my music and work who are in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s. Rock and Roll is universal, and if you are honest in your writing and about who you are, that will translate in a way that will appeal to all ages.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people I’d like to give a Shoutout to regarding lighting the way and encouraging me along my path, either directly or indirectly. I’ve devoured autobiographies on my favorite rock stars, wanting to learn from them about their journeys and gain from their wisdom. Artists like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Neil Young, Gene Simmons, Pete Townshend. These men, their music, and stories have mentored me all through the years. On a more practical level, I want to give credit to loved ones and friends who have supported and had a direct impact on my development and success. My wife, my parents, my brother and my former bandmates and manager. My current bandmates in The Anytown’rs. Everyone of these people are a part of my success story.
Other: Bandcamp https://joenormal.bandcamp.com/album/stuck-in-a-job-b-w-living-in-the-borough