By Carson Ralston
Join us on Thursday, January 20th from 5:30-7:00 pm in Camp Verde Community Library’s Fireside Room for a special performance by Joe’s Garage.
Joe’s Garage (Band) is the creation of Joe Newnam. Joe’s passion for music led him on a quest to search for musicians with a common interest and good chemistry to play rock, pop, and blues music. Many musicians have passed through Joe’s garage over the years (Jeff, ‘Guitar’ Johnny, ‘Pedal Steel’ Steve, John T, Kathy, Ed & Markham, to name but a few). All have a passion and energy for the music and have shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with those of us who followed after and those who remain.
The band’s name came about during the time of a conscious shift by the members to bring more blues tunes into the repertoire. At that time, guitarist & co-lead vocalist, Ken Simeral, was listening to Frank Zappa’s album, Joe’s Garage. He mentioned hearing the song, by the same name, and being struck by the humorous similarity of the storyline to the yet-to-be-renamed band’s situation. The song was Zappa’s reminiscence of his early teenage years, where he recalls jamming with other budding musicians in the garage of his friend, Joe. (To be clear, this author does in no way compare himself to Mr. Zappa, or is anywhere near the age of 16.) After hearing the story, our Joe matter-of-factly suggested using the name for the band, and so, in homage to the guitar genius, we are Joe’s Garage.
Joe’s Garage consists of Joe Newnam – Percussion, acoustic guitar, and lead and harmony vocals, Alan Williams – Lead guitar, Lincoln Thomasson – Bass, Ken Simeral – Electric & acoustic guitars and lead and harmony vocals.
Joe Newnam – Drum, acoustic guitar, and vocals
It was the Beatles in 1964, then Jimi Hendrix, that piqued my interest in music. In the 4th grade, I joined the school orchestra as a drummer and started taking private lessons. After high school, I played on and off with working bands. Things got a bit more serious when I moved to New Mexico (about 12 years ago) and started playing drums with a fine R&B group at the local venues. Upon moving to Prescott, I played gigs with other musicians. After a time, I decided to pick up the guitar. I began reaching out to other local musicians with common interests. My love of rock music kept me in the game and eventually evolved into the present-day Joe’s Garage.
Alan Williams – Lead Guitar
I purchased my first guitar at 19. My influences were Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, SRV, and Mark Knopfler, along with so many of the old blues greats like the three Kings, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson to name but a few. In the late 80’s I began playing in bands in the Fresno area. I moved to San Louis Obispo in 2000 and played at area blues jams and was a founding member of the Back Pages Band and played lead for The Pickled Beats. I moved to Prescott in 2018 and joined the band in 2019. This band has evolved to play the music I always dreamed of playing. Great guys, great chemistry, great music.
Lincoln Thomasson – Bass
I’ve been toting a bass for a while. When people ask how long I’ve been playing, my standard response is “Some nights it feels like 30 years, some nights 30 minutes.” That is the nature of playing music live. I have had, throughout the years, the good fortune to surround myself with “A” list players, and have been humbled by them many, many times. I played with a “Margaritaville” group for some time and It really taught me to be “true to the music,” and I’ve never forgotten that mantra. Once again, with Joe’s Garage, I’ve been fortunate to find a group of mates from very different parts of the country with varying degrees of experience, both in life and music. However, when we start to play, it’s like we have been doing this together for a very long time. Do what you can, as well as you can and your music will provide all the accolades you will ever need.
Ken Simeral – Rhythm guitar and vocals
I grew up in St. Louis, MO during the 50s and 60s. I “played” in garage bands at 16. My motivation was girls. I wanted to be George. In college, I played for pizza, beer, and women (The order was always changing depending upon my appetite.). From 1987-2015, I focused on my marriage, my 3 sons, and my career, while my guitar ‘gently wept’, in the closet. I retired [from the US Forest Service] in 2015 and decided to dust off my guitar and wipe off the tears. Playing with Joe, Alan, and Lincoln has been a real learning experience, not to mention, a lot of fun. It has been very satisfying to arrive at that place, with fellow musicians, where everything gels.
Camp Verde Community Library is located just off of Montezuma Castle Highway at 130 Black Bridge Road, Camp Verde AZ. For more information about this or any other library program, visit the library’s website at www.cvlibrary.org or call 554-8391.