Joe Sib is a one-man wrecking machine with boundless energy and enthusiasm. It’s this internal motor and a healthy dose of punk rock that’s propelled him to various areas of the entertainment industry. Music saved his life and opened doors. In the early 90’s he spent his time touring the country as the front man of the punk band, WAX (ever see the Spike Jonze video with the guy on fire? That was WAX!) He is also co-founder of the record label, Side One Dummy Records. A label that released the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly, and Gogol Bordello. When others would decide to take a nap Sib then goes and hosts the syndicated radio show “Complete Control.” In late 2009 Sib decided to start writing and performing his one-man show, “California Calling,” a story about him growing up in the shadow of punk rock. “California Calling” appeared at 2011 San Francisco’s Sketch Fest, Fun Fun Fun Festival in Austin and comedy clubs around the US. We caught up with Sib to find out what he has in store for this Thursday’s New York performance of “California Calling.”
How does it feel to have “California Calling” coming to the East Coast and invade New York for a night?
I can’t wait! I have always loved New York. Since I was a kid I always loved the feeling I got when I walking around the streets of the city. I still walk as much I can when I visit. Seriously, I will walk everywhere. I love the energy, the noise, the people. Also, the music history of New York and all the great east coast bands have had such a huge impact on my life. Especially The Ramones! How can you not eat a slice of pizza in the city and not think of Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee? I remember, as a kid, seeing all the Bob Gruien photographs of The Clash in New York and being blown away at how “cool” they looked and reading about the CBGB “hardcore matinee” shows in Maximum Rock and Roll with bands like the Cro Mags, Agnostic Front, Bad Brains, and Murphy’s Law. Over the years I have been real lucky to have made some amazing friends in New York, so to be able to come out there this week and see all of them as well as perform my show is the best.
It’s pitch time: How would you describe “California Calling” to someone to get them to check it out?
My show is about how music saved my life. It’s all about how one day changed my life forever and put me on the same path for the next 30 years. Sounds heavy right? Don’t worry it’s not. Its fun, fast and people seem to enjoy it. Here is a theory I have…I believe that at one point in everyone’s life they loved a song or a band so much that it was all they cared about. For normal people this experience lasts a few weeks or a few months and then they move on to the next thing. For me, I didn’t move on. Instead I went deeper and my love of music became an obsession. This obsession is what the core of “California Calling” is all about.
Describe the creative process you put into putting the show together. How long did it take?
I always had an idea about doing a one-man show but I never thought I would actually do it. I had some ideas, some stories, and a stack if photographs…but no real plan. The show came together when I met Sydney Walsh. Syd is an actress and director. Before I met Syd, I had this idea of what I thought a “one-man” show was all about and how I wanted mine to be. But after spending time with Syd I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was getting into. We spent the summer of 2009 writing the show in her living room while our kids would play in the backyard. I would come over with my idea of a story I thought would be perfect for the show and Syd would listen and then ask questions. For about 3 months we just wrote and talked the show out. This eventually lead to rehearsing the show in Syd’s living room for her husband, friends and anyone else we could get to sit down and listen. In October of 2009 I did my first show in the basement of The Key Club on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA.
Since you also perform in bands are there any pre-show rituals you perform to get ready? Do they differ from one-man show prep?
When you are in a band you can have a few beers and a couple of tequilas and you are ready to ROCK. But this is a whole different ball game. I feel like I am the “designated” driver for the show. I have to take the audience to a number of different places that involve detail and precise timing. If you throw booze in the mix it can spell disaster real quick. I use my 2 beer “theory”. I usually have 2 beers before the show to balance out the caffeine from the coffee I have when I get to the venue.
Are there any particular influences you eyed when creating the show? Musical or comical/entertainment.
I wanted my show to be more like a rock show at a club or when you got a keg at a house party. I didn’t want the show to become a rant from a 40 year old man doing the, “Back when I was a kid” speech. Fuck that! I wanted people to walk out of the show and be full of energy with the desire to do something exciting and meaningful of their own. The music and 70+ photographs I use help me accomplish that… At least that’s what people tell me!
Have you given any thought to the ultimate goal for “California Calling”? The obligatory “where you see it in 5 years”?
I just love being on stage, and if I can do that then I’m happy. I already have ideas for another show, but right now it is all about telling this one.
Any parting Shout-outs!?
If you are in NYC, come out to the show this Thursday at The Bowery Electric! You’ll have a great time and you won’t be disappointed!