You Won’t Believe the Things Cactus Joe Has in Store for the Rest of the Year

I haven’t updated you here for a while, so here’s a quick summation of what’s up.

SKOOLNITE BENDER (90s hard rock cover band) is a new project I’m in with guitarist Derek Reynolds (the project’s brain child) and drummer Cody Smalley. The unbelievable thing about this band is that we have already performed three small shows that were amazing and we have yet to have an actual rehearsal (we call the shows “live practices” and do all our individual song learning at home based on a Youtube playlist maintained by Cody that ensures we are all working off the same versions of songs). Another amazing aspect of this band is that we are pulling off some pretty challenging cover songs by the likes of RHCP, Foo Fighters, and Green Day. As the old guy in the band (I have more years on Earth than Derek and Cody combined), I front on a couple classic rock tunes by Ozzy and David Bowie, respectively, and I’ll be singing lead on some newer rock going forward. This band is insanely good, so check out SKOOLNITE BENDER when you can. As of this writing, we are playing a benefit show at Knuckledown Saloon in Madison WI next Sunday September 18 (2-6 pm) and we’ll be part of the Holla Ween show at Funks Pub in Fitchburg WI on Saturday Rocktober 29.

I auditioned for the bass player slot in Kelsey Miles’ rock cover band, FIGHTING FOR. I think there’s a solid likelihood that I’ll get it. Kelsey is restructuring some of the song repertoire for greater crowd pleasing potential and, assuming I’m “in,” we will probably spend most of the fall and winter honing a hot rockin’ set of tunes before emerging in the spring, when both snow and faces will melt.

I’m subbing on bass occasionally with jock rock cover band YOUR MOM (“was great last night”) fronted by guitarist Phil “Why Does My” Dickert. I’ll be performing with them at Knuckleheads (not to be confused with Knuckledown mentioned above) in Eagle WI this coming Saturday September 17 and again on Saturday September 24 at the Headquarters Bar in Oregon WI. I also might be rocking with them on Rocktober 1 at the Badger Bowl in Madison WI, but I need to confirm that.

Those are the big projects currently. On the lighter side, I’m holding down the grooves for Wisconsin’s principle Wilco tribute band, WILCONSIN. I will be doing a CACTUS JOE solo acoustic show at the Bos Meadery in Madison some time in the next couple months (TBD). I am still attending the Funks Pub open jams most Sundays, but with football season firing up, that is less compelling for me because the owner often cancels the jam for Sunday night Packer games. I will probably begin more regular attendance at the Thursday night open jam at Christy’s Landing on Lake Waubesa, hosted by hard rock cover band PILOT. SKOOLNITE BENDER rocked it hard last Thursday, my first time at that jam. We even hooked up some possible future shows at that performance…but I digress.

Punk rock band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE is on hold for some personnel restructuring and who knows what else. GUPPY EFFECT has gone on indefinite hiatus as we all await the arrival of guitarist Stefan and his wife Kat’s baby. Once Stefan adapts to fatherhood, we’ll discuss plans to rock again. HIATVS is of course still on hiatus but I will let you know as soon as this fun rock cover band takes a hiatus from hiatus. You would think a band that travels time writing songs for other bands would be able to schedule a house party…

Other than that, I am living my awesome life, working on books and music and driving for Uber for scratch beer money. I’m always available for lifestyle coaching if anyone wants to learn how to have an awesome life too, or just make their pretty good one more awesome. Free consultation and my rates are low.

Anyway, that’s my update. If you read all of that, thanks. But I think you might get more benefit from, like, reading a novel or watching TV or something. That being said, make use of the above info and I hope to see you at a show soon. Leave a question, comment, criticism, or concern below and I’ll surely respond to each and every one of them (except spammers and trolls).

Happy Holidys and Whatnot

Hi Friends.

Have a jolly and jovial holiday, if you’re celebrating something, and a fun, safe New Years Eve.

Tell me about your New Years Resolutions, if any, in the Comments section.

I hope one of them is to get out and enjoy more local live music. There’s so much talent out there that you’ll never hear on commercial radio.



Happy Rockin’ Holidaze!

Dear Friends, Family, and Fans,

Joe (from GUPPY EFFECT) here, wishing you all happy holidaze.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect and look back and forward on things. But where to begin?

I guess I’ll start by just posting the video of GUPPY EFFECT’s cult classic rock-n-roll holiday hit GINGERBREAD (ZOMBIE) ARMY. Play it judiciously throughout the holiday season.

I have been playing a few shows as my solo acoustic singer/songwriter alter ego, CACTUS JOE, while my main bands (GUPPY EFFECT and EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE) on are on brief winter hiatus. Drummer Frank (aka Dano) from EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE got the awesome opportunity to be European tour manager for DIY singer/songwriter Brett Newski, and it was totally understood that he could not pass up the opportunity to take a few months off to see Europe and smash p@ssy hard. His Crusty Adventures videos are a hilarious travelog of his shenanigans with Newski. You should definitely watch them with your whole family for a good laugh this Channukah or Christmas. Here’s a clip.

The weekly Sunday open jam stage at Funks Pub is still going strong, almost two years now. I’ve been attending regularly, playing bass with various mixed and matched groups of musicians and running a video live stream all over the Intarwebz for people who can’t make it down to this fun extension of the weekend. With my bands on hiatus, it’s nice to be able to partially feed my need for rocking weekly. Here’s a sample featuring yours truly covering some David Bowie (at 16:16).

Just last week GUPPY EFFECT recruited a new awesome drummer, one Verge Manyan, a regular attendee of the Funks jam. Stefan (guitar) and I are rapidly training him on our original rock-n-roll songs before I lose access to the Rock Cave at my house (which sells at the end of December). I moved in with my GF Deborah, which is awesome, but her house is a duplex and doesn’t have a viable jam space. On the bright side, after I get the cash winnings from selling my house, I can afford to rent practice space at the Madison Music Foundry for a while until a better (and freer) option comes along. Former GUPPY EFFECT drummer Jonny Thunder was happy to relinquish the drum throne to Verge to focus on his country band project DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS (whose bass player slot I held for a year or so a while back). My goal is to have Verge up to speed and GUPPY EFFECT out rocking shows by St. Patrick’s Day, my official rock season kickoff date.

I still shun winter gigs, unless they are really close to home (ain’t nobody got time for snow!). That said, I (as CACTUS JOE) am hosting my birthday party show on Friday January 8th, 2016 at the Bos Meadery in Madison, from 6-9 PM (and free!). If you are around, please join me for a tankard or two of mead (honey based alcoholic beverage, sort of a cross between beer and wine).


EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE fires up the classy punk rock biodiesel engine around the end of February, after Frank (Dano) is back, by way of a CD release party. Then we will be back to punk rocking hard until Dano leaves again for more world touring with Newski (down under, this time, I think).

I’m dabbling in a few other project ideas, most notably and recently a BEN FOLDS tribute band with Funks jam keyboardist Chris Wellner and a drummer TBD (me on bass and some vocals). If that gets off the ground, it will be both challenging and awesome, and should just about round out my rock-n-roll bandwidth for 2016. But even if it doesn’t, it could be fodder for adding a few BEN FOLDS songs to the open jam repertoire at Funks on Sundays.

So anyway, have a great last few weeks of the year.

If you are partying hard this holiday, don’t forget to take an Uber if you drink too much. I want to see you all in the New Year (and not through chickenwire reinforced glass!).

Ciao for now!


CLICK HERE to send me some holiday cheer!


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