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Artist Spotlight: Joe Boult

Updated: Jun 8

This artist spotlight is on a good friend of mine, and a talented musician I have had the pleasure of working with for many years - Joe Boult. Joe describes himself as a “working professional musician and teacher” and it has been something he has done for a while. 


Before we discuss Joe’s thoughts on musicianship and being judged prematurely, let us get to know him a bit better first - for the sake of transparency, I have included some direct quotes, and paraphrased others to fit the context of this blog post in a more appropriate way.


Biography

Joe grew up in the north of England, and started playing the guitar around 20 years ago. Like many people, there was always an appreciation for music, though there was a catalyst that inspired him to pick up the guitar.


“- the movie ‘School of Rock’ infected me with the guitar bug. I bought a Chinese  [Gibson] Flying V Copy on eBay - here I am now!”


Most beginners start off learning with a cheap guitar that, in retrospect, was a terrible instrument. It is the desire that pushes us forward, and not the gear (see my blog post on expensive equipment here).


It is safe to say that big rock sounds were a contributing factor to his musical identity as he was growing up, with bands like KISS and Airbourne inspiring him to always put on an energetic show (I can attest to this, as I struggled to keep up when we played in a band together!). 


Having matured as a person as well as a musician, Joe likes to listen to a varied selection of songs which help shape his unique songwriting style (more on that later!). 


What Kind of Music Do You Not Like?

I posed this question to all five of the musicians featured in this round of artist spotlights. I also ask this of every student, but the tricky part is always figuring out why they don’t like it. This is one way that you can tell a professional apart from someone who is learning without hearing them play - see if you spot the pattern amongst this answer as I write the other blog posts. 


“There is not a lot of music I don't like to be honest, I genuinely listen to everything from James Blunt to Cannibal Corpse”

 

If you are even remotely familiar with these two artists, you will know how different they are. Blunts music is very simplistic due to the mainstream media’s proclivity to play simple, pop tunes - this is not to say that the music isn’t good. Cannibal Corpse is a ‘grindcore’ band, using very distorted guitars, dissonant riffs and gruesome lyrical content - I should add that these songs are incredibly difficult to play, and require some special attention if you wish to try and play them.


Something Joe doesn’t like is drill music (a subgenre of rap popular in the UK and the USA, not about power tools!) - I asked him why and he hasn’t come across any drill songs that really captivate his attention - “ - it just hasn’t taken me yet”.


Working as a Musician

As well as teaching many students the guitar and ukulele, in a group and individual setting, Joe performs every weekend across the UK. 


“I’ve performed in many tribute and cover bands covering many styles and genres. One of the more demanding being a Level 42 tribute, which required the ability to improvise Holdsworth-esque fusion lines”



I would like to point out the tribute bands mentioned in the above quote. This is something that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. A tribute band is essentially a homage to an artist or band, playing only their music. Some of them even go as far as using the same gear and dressing/acting like the original - why are tribute bands a thing? Often, it is because the original band either doesn’t exist anymore or that the tickets for their shows are beyond extortionate. People like to save a little money and watch a show in a more intimate setting, perhaps closer to home. 


This goes back to a point I have made in the past about being versatile as a musician, and being prepared to play in varying styles and different scenarios. At the very least, you should have the ability to learn something new quickly - this will become a theme, try and notice it in other blog posts.


Equipment

You will recall from my preliminary post that sometimes one's equipment can cause judgments in others. I know that for most live scenarios, Joe uses a Line 6 Helix system and a rotation of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, with the occasional use of a Gibson Les Paul - to me this already screams versatility and functionality, as any tone required can be used in almost any situation.


Has Your Playing Ever Been Judged Prematurely?


“I can’t really recall a time this happened to me – that I know of at least - my response now would be total indifference”


It is an unfortunate truth that many people would be dishonest, or perhaps uninformed when it comes to their opinions regarding guitar playing ability. I believe that those whose opinions matter, the ones that will be hiring you, will simply move on if they don’t like what they hear, or if they have no opinion based on the recommendation of others. The only exception would be when there is a visual imperative. For example, a seven foot person with a giant pink mohawk would not make the best fit for an Angus Young part, from an aesthetic perspective. 


The final point made in the quote above, being indifferent to the opinions of others, is a very important piece of advice for all. Who cares what someone else thinks, as long as you’re enjoying yourself? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. 


Appearance should not be something to disregard. When playing as many wedding shows as Joe does, how you present yourself will help ensure work in the future - no one will hire you again if you turn up to any show, let alone a wedding, in scruffy clothes and being disheveled. This is also relevant to another point I have made in the past - sometimes the music industry is about everything but the playing. 



Advice for Beginners

I have asked each artist to give some advice that they think would benefit a beginner guitarist. I shall present the quote as I received it for you, the reader, to interpret however you see fit.


“You lose nothing by practicing, and you have nothing to fear from trying anything. The only people who fail at music are the ones that give up.”

These are definitely some wise words that we could all benefit from paying attention to. You are allowed, and I actively encourage it, to try anything that takes your fancy. If it doesn’t go to plan, there is always another time and something different for you to try. Not succeeding with something is not necessarily failure, that happens when you deny yourself the chance for success.

Remember to set goals that are realistic - if your goal is to play ‘Frere Jacques’ on the high E string for ten thousand people at Budokan, that is unlikely in this universe. However, if you want to start a band with a group of your friends and play there one day… it could happen to anyone!


What is New?

“Currently I’m focusing on my own music as an original artist, blending funk, rock, and pop and enjoying the creative process again, while getting to experiment with arrangements and instrumentation.”


Currently Joe is working on writing, recording and releasing his own original music. The music video for the first single ‘Cold Feet’ can be viewed at the link below - it quickly amassed nearly twenty thousand views, an amazing result for an independent with a small public following.


Joe Boult - Cold Feet


As a teacher, Joe is always planning and delivering high-quality lessons in the south of the UK, however, he also runs a Patreon campaign called ‘Jamjitsu’ - this is aimed at the guitarist who struggles with weekly practice and features some great ideas for keeping your chops up - check it out!       


Keep an eye out for future releases and other content on Joe’s social media pages - links below:


Alex

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