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An Interview with Joe Queer

Photo Cred: Andrew Risch

The Queers recently performed a fantastic show at the legendary Southgate House Revival as part of their 40th anniversary tour. Despite not feeling 100% and battling a scratchy throat, Joe Queer and company soildered on. A few days later the band had to postpone the few remaining shows of the tour due to illness. The band will make of these dates in September

I was set to interview Joe King, better known to the world as Joe Queer at the venue before the show. I was both extremely excited and nervous to interview one of my punk rock heroes in person. I grew up listening to the Queers and their album, Love Song for the Retarded, is one of my favorite albums of all time. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet up. In interest of the show, Joe decided to rest his voice and we agreed to set up an interview by email. Hey, the show must go on, right?

CincyMusic: How was this tour for you? How have the shows been? I've noticed you've sold out a few dates.

Joe Queer: Yeah actually most of them sold out. All were well attended, so yeah the tour went great. We had a blast. The Dwarves did their thing and The Jasons really acquitted themselves well. A lot of people were seeing them (The Jasons) for the first time, so we were really psyched how well they went over.

CM: The show at The Southgate House Revival was great as usual. You've played this venue a few times. Anything that you look forward to checking out or doing while you're in the Cincy area if you have downtime?

JQ: Mike's Music is one place we love going though I haven't been in a few years due to covid. I've been to the ballpark a few times. Cincy we usually hit Sam Ash Music. Panera Bread up on High Street. We used to hit Tee Jayes at Morse and High but I noticed that's closed now. Since we stopped drinking on tour our carousing around town has gotten quite boring!

CM: This was your 40th anniversary tour, did you ever imagine you would still be doing this all these years later? Any thoughts of slowing down? You're a touring machine!

JQ: Well honestly when we started I never thought it was possible to tour and make a living. Once we started that I just kind of adopted that way of living. I always worked for a living. I worked in construction, owned a restaurant, worked commercial fishing; so touring is like a day at the Playboy Mansion compared to all that. I get a kick out of reading interviews with bands that get big-the interviewer will invariably say 'you used to tour in a van' as if that's like climbing Mount Everest. Compared to working on a fishing boat, sitting in a van and pulling into the next Starbucks around the corner is quite easy. I get a kick out of it. Plus I'm like a tour manager so I get the flights and organize shit so that's a big adrenaline rush there too. Even at our level there's a ton of planning that goes on behind the scenes. It's a lot of laughs-a few headaches too of course but nothing too bad. It drives some people crazy but I've learned to roll with it. When you run your own band you have a bullseye on your back but my guys get paid good and the backstabbers have been weeded out at this point. All in all, tour's a lot of fun and something a lot of people just never get to experience.

CM: I've noticed at the last 2 shows I've seen you haven't been playing guitar live. Any reason for the change?

JQ: Not really. I was playing guitar for the first half of the shows and then Ginger would jump up. For this last Euro tour we decided to just have him play guitar and I'd sing. I can sing way better not playing guitar and I can also pay more attention to leading the band as far as tempo and what songs we go into next. We don't use a setlist, so we ad lib a few songs each show so all in all we're playing better with me just on vocals. A lot of people are reading way too much into it but I'll probably play guitar again next tour for a few songs. We'll see. It's been fun and easier to get the crowd going when I'm just singing. When I'm home I practice guitar every day pretty much. Not really practice but rehearse the set on guitar or I'll play a Ramones' set straight from start to finish to keep my chops up to snuff.

CM: How are things going with All Star Records? You seem to have been taking on more producing gigs.

JQ: Great. With my studio I only go by word of mouth and don't really advertise so I'm not super busy, but we have a lot of fun. Rarely do we have a session that I don't enjoy. As word gets out, I get more bands wanting to come in so that's cool.

CM: Very cool to see The Jasons on this tour. I feel like they have a lot of Queers influence much like you have with the Ramones. How does it feel seeing newer bands carrying the punk rock torch for a new generation?

JQ: Yeah they're one of the few newer bands that have that good old 'who gives a shit attitude'. So many bands I thought had some balls turned out to be woke/pc losers. I can't believe it. The Jasons have balls.

CM: I read an interview where you mentioned most of your "setlists" depend on what the crowd is feeling that night. Are there certain songs that go over in other cities better than others?

JQ: Not cities really. It just depends on how the crowd is reacting. Some nights "Mirage" and "Janelle, Janelle" go down like lead balloons but others they go over gangbusters. I like being able to yell out different songs night to night. Keeps it fresh and keeps us on our toes. It's a challenge but it makes us a better band for sure. Most bands use the same setlist night after night but not us.

CM:Now that your 40th tour is wrapping up, what are you planning on doing next?

JQ: Let's see-ok we're making up the 3 shows we had to cancel-as well as playing Muddy Roots Festival. I need to listen to some live shows cos we're going to do a live album. We recorded a few shows in Europe so I need to see how those came out. I have a new console I'm installing in my studio. I'm slowly working on new songs for the next album. We're hoping to record a Best Of album-I want to re-record 14 of our 'hits' (such as they are) as if it was 1966 and Phil Spector was producing them for radio airplay. I have a ton of work around the house-painting-building a new shed etc. So I plan on doing that. Eh we'll see what happens...

CM: I always let my 5-year-old ask a question. He wants to know, "Do you like robots?"

JQ: Growing up I loved the Robot on Lost in Space. Might be a little over your tyke's head as that show was ages ago. If you know that show I always thought Will Robinson-the Robot-and Dr Smith would have made a great rock band.

CM: And finally, Did you ever stop farting?

JQ: Thankfully yes. That song was written one morning in my restaurant when I was hungover. Ben Weasel wrote the lyrics actually.

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REVIEW: The Queers

It’s hard to believe that long running pop punk veterans The Queers are currently finishing their 40th anniversary tour. Luckily one of their last stops was at one of the best venues the Cincinnati area has to offer, the legendary Southgate House Revival.