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The ever humble Joe Martin

Renowned previously as the enigmatic, hip-shakin’ frontman of punk-rock group, The Mobbs, Joe Martin, aka Joe Go Loco, has adorned a Chuck Berry stance, and formed new musical outlet, GOGO LOCO, alongside previous Mobbs drummer Glen Foster – now under the alias of Cheadle A Gogo. The pair describe their new venture as a “maraca-driven trash Rattle and Roll Blues band”, writes Rachel Thomas.

RT: I was raised on a Rhythm and Blues and a Ska diet myself. Anyone familiar with The Mobbs and now GOGO LOCO will know all of your music has an element of the blues running through it, it obviously has an influence on your writing.

JM: “I’ve always been inspired by rhythm and blues, it’s the backbone of everything I write, absolutely”.

RT: The last year has been a successful first year for GOGO LOCO, who only formed in early 2018. The duo have had international success after travelling around Europe, performing at garage rock festivals particularly, including dates in Denmark and Spain. One looked particularly cool. The Funtastic Dracula Carnival.

JM: “It was held in Penelope Disco, on the outskirts of Benidorm, it is is one of the oldest discos there. Built in the 60’s. It’s like a proper sort of James Bond type club. It was outdoor and indoor. Very late 60’s so right on the cusp of disco in Spain, I suppose. Including a swimming pool. There was easily over a 1000 people there. Being only two of us we were quite small fish in a very big pond”.

RT: Despite there being only two of you, you still have a rather a full sound.

JM: “It’s all done by smoke and mirrors really! We just reflect it all back. Without a bass player you have to compensate a little bit. So more rumbling on the floor tom’s, a bit more rumbling on the bass strings on the guitar and the maracas fill a hole that some other bands don’t have, as well as, that normal cymbal sound”.

RT: If need be you can even do it all yourself. I saw you back in August of last year at The Garibaldi Hotel – if you ever end up there, I recommend the Rattler cider, look out for the snake on the pump.

JM: “I’ve tried when [Cheadle] tries to run away from me. Which hasn’t happened recently. It’s me with a kick drum on my right foot and a hi-hat on my left and a guitar”.

RT: A one man band. Like Burt from Mary Poppins. We may well see you busking on Abington Street next week! A particular musical influence of Joe’s is Bo Diddley. The iconically acclaimed Bo Diddley beat is recognised the world over. It was picked up and replicated by the likes of The Rolling Stones, with their cover of Buddy Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’. There are distinct remnants of the Bo Diddley beat that permeate through and constitute towards GOGO LOCO’s unique, signature sound. The track ‘Go Loco’ does this particular justice.

JM: “Bo Diddley was set to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, in 1955, and was told he couldn’t play his own songs. When he got to the studio, he went in and played his song ‘Bo Diddley’. Ed Sullivan was very angry that Bo hadn’t done what he said they should do, and banned him from ever performing on the show again. But according to Bo Diddley he says in his dressing room there was a piece of paper saying, Bo Diddley and then ‘Sixteen Tons’. As he was supposed to be playing the song by Tennessee Ernie Ford. So Bo Diddley says, he took that to mean he could play the song ‘Bo Diddley’, as well as the song ‘Sixteen Tons. The cheeky whatsit!”

RT: Chuck Berry is a favourite of mine, they were good friends – Berry obviously iconic for his particular riff, we’ve all heard ‘Johnny B Goode’. Bo and Chuck once swapped styles, so on a Chuck Berry album you have Bo’s Beat and likewise Bo did a song using Chuck’s beat. They’re a musical treat if you ever track them down. It reminds me of the anecdote when Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were billed to perform on the same night and were arguing as to who should top the bill. Berry won obviously and so Lewis, who was on first, set fire to the piano before Chuck could do his set,  with the words “Follow that Killer!”. Check out the biopic film, Great Balls of Fire.

JM: “I’d like to set fire to a piano. Whilst my brother was playing it, just to see the look on his face”.

RT: Joe’s brother, John Martin is a pianist, he plays keys on the ‘Gogo Loco Twist’. John is also part of local Stalkers Studio, where The Keepers and most shoetown bands produce their records and rent practice rooms.  I saw GOGO LOCO most recently performing with The Keepers in the intimate venue of the barn, at The Pomfret Arms. GOGO LOCO have also just performed at the Bedlam Breakout, biannual psychobilly festival, held at Roadmender on the 15th-17th March. The event showcases both local and international bands, some from the US and Germany. Bedlam Breakout, that’s not one I’ve heard of before now.

JM: “Northampton’s longest running psychobilly festival. In fact,  Northampton’s only psychobilly festival come to mention it! We opened on the Friday night. There was a load of bands there garage bands, psychobilly bands”.

RT: Joe, you are soon to be hosting your own night, the ‘Tutti Frutti Rock n Roll Club’ at The Lab.

JM: “The first night is the 27th April. I’m hoping it will become a regular thing. This time round we have, The Snake Rattlers from York. They’re an amazing band, a two-piece husband and wife team. The Shakin’ Nightmares, a four piece. They’re incredible as well, a kind of dark, Joe Strummer-ish, type rockabilly thing. They’re very entertaining to see live and The Hurricanes, who we’ve performed with as The Mobbs”.

The Snake Rattlers:

The duo from York, describe their music as “a hellbound voyage of death-punk, rockabilly, country, and traditional greaser rock and roll”. Their dynamic drumming, reverb-drenched, double-amped guitar and bittersweet vocals combine to become rattlerock, offering a brand new take on the rockabilly genre.

The Shakin’ Nightmares:

Who hail from Redcar in the Tees Valley, describe their music as “rock ‘n’ roll for the haunted soul. Dramatic, dark yet catchy songs delivered with passion – music to chase the demons from our lives in three minute bursts”.

The Hurricanes:

A local band, influenced by Northern Soul and bands such as The Who and The Creation. The Hurricanes will play original material off their debut album ‘Let’s Go!’.

JM: “I’m looking forward to it because I’m booking bands I want to see on my own night, and obviously Cheadle will help me as well”.

RT: Catch these bands whilst they are local and you have the chance. So besides Bo Diddley are there any other artists who have a definitive influence on your music?

JM: The Black Keys.

RT: My favourite album was thickfreakness, the one with the tin on the front. It was a really bluesy one. You’d like it Joe.

JM: “That was the first Black Keys record I ever bought. Do you know why I bought that record? It was because Thom Yorke from Radiohead said he liked the Black Keys and I was mad into Radiohead at the time. So I walked into Virgin Megastore, as it used to be in Northampton, and I bought thickfreakness. And that was my introduction to the Black Keys and I still love the Black Keys even now. Seen them live twice. I’m a big fan of Dan Auerbach”.  

RT: Joe has recently released some solo material, under the name of Joe B. Humbled. There are certainly no holes barred in Joe’s solo project, a demonstration of his vast musical knowledge and array of talent. His sound can be likened to that of another of Joe’s influences, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Is it you playing every instrument in each track, the drums, the lot?

JM: “Yes! For the first time in a while I’m in a position where I’m able to multitrack successfully. I have an arsenal of instruments to choose from so it’s like a teenage dream come true. It’s all me sat in my room, twiddling knobs and trying to make everything sound like it was recorded in 1966!”

RT: ‘To Be True’ demonstrates the funkier side of the blues and has a very psychedelic, Doors-esque feel. With its intricate layers and depth, it is reminiscent of the velvety ambiance and vintage twang of their classic, ‘Soul Kitchen’.  ‘The Straight & Narrow’ is a more upbeat track, with a catchy, rolling blues rhythm that will have you whistling along. Joe will be releasing some more tracks over the next few months. Follow Joe B. Humbled on Facebook to be sure you don’t miss any. Joe also paints. A jack of all trades and a master of many it seems.

Upcoming Gigs:

27th April: Tutti Frutti Rock and Roll Night – The Lab, Northampton

28th April: The Vauxhall Takeover Weekend – Santa Pod Raceway for NLive Radio

24th – 25th May: Surforama RnR Festival – Valencia, Spain

31st May – 2nd June: Cosmic Trip Festival – Bourges, France

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