Joe Haze is one of the world’s finest and most accomplished artists and producers. His prowess as a guitarist has earned him some of the most prestigious gigs in the world. He recently just got off tour with Lords of Acid and granted Scorpius the opportunity to catch up with him.
What was your earliest memory of music in your life?
My earliest memory of music would be my parents listing to classic rock. We always had music playing in the house on the weekends while doing chores. But it was MTV (when they still played music videos) that introduced me to the idea of “doing music for a living”. It all looked so amazing on TV.
What experiences shaped your life to inspire you to dive so hard and furious into the music business?
The first instrument I learned was the guitar. I became obsessed with playing 8 plus hours a day. I never do anything small. When I want to achieve something I put everything into it and never give up!
My drive probably comes from my parents’ solid work ethic growing up, but a large component of my “drive” comes from my peers not supporting or believing in me. I finally realized they did me a favor because when you have to fight hard for something you appreciate it more and don’t squander opportunities.
Who are the most influential guitarists and producers who inspired you as an axe man?
George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob, KXM), had the biggest influence on my playing, I would jam to Lynch Mob albums all the time! At that point, I was into rock music and didn’t even know what an audio engineer was, but I did have a 4-Track so I could record and demo songs.
When I was around 17, I heard Closer by NIN on MTV. I didn’t understand the song or style of music, yet something compelled me to purchase the album (The Downward Spiral). I was used to listing to rock music that was simple by comparison, it took me months to wrap my head around that album!
Without knowing it my obsession to learn how NIN made those sounds would be my introduction to audio engineering and later producing and remixing. To this day The Downward Spiral is my favorite album.
Years later I used some drum loops I made when I was 18 on a remix Sean Beaven (NIN, Manson, G&R) and I teamed up on for Chris Vrenna’s album. Things sometimes come full circle.
What was it like working with Sylvia Massy?
Working with Sylvia was intense; we worked 6 days a week and had to be on point every day! We developed a very interesting relationship I would take on the most challenging clients and she would always challenge me in the same ways Prince or Rick (Rubin) challenged her. The biggest thing I learned from Sylvia was how to build great sounding albums while being creative and make it look easy!
Sylvia and I worked with many artists including Sublime, 81dB, Kid Savant, and KingDoom. Since leaving Sylvia I have worked with George Lynch, Sean Beaven, Chris Vrenna, 8MM, David Archuleta, Primitive Race, David Osmond, and PIG.
How was your experience with George Lynch?
Working with George was great; we became fast friends and had good energy in the studio. We would spend 15 hours a day writing and being creative with guitar pedals, amps etc… George is a NIN fan and has wanted to do an industrial rock project since the ’90s. Right now we have about ten songs we are working on and Tommy (Prong, Ministry) is singing on the project.
Tell me about the tour with Lords of Acid, how did that come about?
In 2013 I did a remix for the Tweaker album (And Then There’s Nothing “digital release”) on Metropolis Records, which got the attention of both Chris Vrenna and his management at the time, (I have since done several remixes for Metropolis artists.) Lords of Acid is on Metropolis, so management reached out and asked me if I wanted to join.
The tour was insane; we only got 3 days off and played nearly 50 shows! Combichrist was our direct support, all the bands on tour were great it was like summer camp.
When we played in Indianapolis I almost got arrested, Praga Khan had to talk the cops out of hauling me to jail! I have zero clues what happened that night, but I was told it involved nudity and a beautiful lady. Our Facebook live streams got crazy a few times, nudity on the bus, sex toys and tons of alcohol!
What are your future plans as an artist and as a producer?
Days before going on tour with Lords I finished mixing the new Primitive Race album, featuring the late Chuck Mosely (Faith No More, Bad Brains) and Dale Coven (Melvin’s). Producer Matt Wallace (Faith No More, Maroon 5) and I were both working on Chuck’s new album.
Two days after getting off tour I learned Chuck had passed, our whole camp is still in shock. It was nice to see Chuck get the recognition he deserved, Rolling Stone did a piece on him, even Korn and Faith No More paid tribute.
Currently working on the tracks I started with chuck then doing a remix for the band 3Teeth. I also have a few side projects, The Banishment with George Lynch and Tommy Victor from Prong, also working on a dance-rock project called Solid State Soul with Canadian artist Steve Comeau (Starbass).