Guitarist / Singer / Songwriter
Getting ready to hit the
stage at 27 Bar & Lounge
Joel Da Silva "Shake Me"
It’s 9 O’clock on a Saturday, as the old Billy Joel song goes. I’m sitting on a bar stool at the 27 Bar & Lounge in Ft. Lauderdale. On this night, I’m not here to see Billy Joel. I’m here to see another Joel…Joel Dasilva.
The 27 Bar & Lounge is hidden away by the railroad tracks in East Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a small bar with big appeal (and might I add, great drinks, food and service) and has plenty of room for a power rock trio like the one I’m here to see tonight. From the outside it looks like a hole in the wall but inside it's surprisingly quaint with a Martini bar kind of feel and outdoor biergarten. Clean and very art deco. I'm digging the vibe and the place.
Once inside, I casually walk to the end of the expansive bar and grab a stool. The bartender, a girl named Melissa or Sandy, I really can’t remember, asks if I’d like a drink. I order a Stella and strike up a conversation with a guy named Rick. He’s sitting next to me with his wife Cathy. They’re both from Plantation. From the sound system blares Amy Winehouse, singing that rehab song. She was one heck of a singer. It’s a shame she joined the 27 year-old club and died too soon. Rick said he was originally going to another bar to watch some MMA but heard Joel was performing here tonight so he changed locations. “I’ve seen Joel a couple times before and the guy is incredibly talented. He’s a fantastic guitar player.” The General Manager, John Chiari, agrees. “We’ve had Joel here before and he’s incredible and one heck of a nice guy. I love his playing.”
On the TV is the Orange Bowl Classic, Miami vs Wisconsin. The Wisconsin quarterback is supposed to be a gunslinger but on this night, I’m here to see another gunslinger, Joel Da Silva.
Waiting on the first set, Joel warms up with a bit of Hendrix, Foxy Lady. Sound check done and he’s ready to go.
Halfway through his first set, a rocking blues jam, I can't help but say to myself, "what's this guy doing at a place like this?" No offense to the 27 Bar. His style is very Bonamassa and in my opinion, just as good.
First cover, “Ain't No Rest For The Wicked” by Cage the Elephant. It might as well have been Joel's song. Cage's original needs a lot of work to catch up. By the third song, the onlookers were paying close attention to Joel’s guitar prowess. A scorching rendition of “Along the Watchtower”, the Hendrix version. If Jimi had walked in, he would have held up a lighter; that good.
The only thing missing here tonight is a huge crowd. Ft. Lauderdale has no clue what they’re missing. Maybe because it's a day before New Year's Eve. And most of those here have no clue what musical genius is right in front of them. I’m hoping that changes tonight.
FM: Great set tonight Joel. I appreciate you taking the time for this interview. I'm sure you're exhausted so we'll try to get this thing over as soon as possible. So, tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? When did you move to South Florida?
JDS: Hello , my name is Joel. I enjoy long walks on the beach, Pollock Paintings, a nice Chianti from time to time....
FM: Hmmm? Fretboard After Midnight….The Da Silva Sessions. Ladies and Gentlemen, you heard it first here.
JDS: Lol. I was born in Rockford, IL (Home of Cheap Trick), then moved to Chicago (Home of the Blues) when my father passed away when I was 3 years old from Chagas Disease.
FM: Wow. Chagas Disease. That's rough. You were just a baby. Man, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m actually pretty familiar with that disease. It's generally transmitted from the “Kissing Bug”, as they’re called. There's been a lot of talk about those bugs in South Florida the past couple years.
JDS: Yeah. Most people don’t know what that is. Yeah, it was rough. As a kid, I was immersed in all genres of music from an early age as my parents were traveling musicians/artists in Brazil (I’m Brazilian and Ukrainian) so Music and Art were all around us. We moved to Florida in my teens, where I was traveling the "chitlin’ circuit" learning music from the greats (local and national) at various venues throughout the state.
FM: When did you first pick up a guitar?
JDS: I’d say around 15/16 years old, I think.
FM: Is this something you decided to do on your own or did your parents get you interested in playing the guitar?
JDS: I started out actually painting and drawing (which I still do) but the guitar and its ghosts called out to me shortly thereafter.
FM: I’m gonna give a big thank you to those ghosts! Do you play any other instruments?
JDS: Oh yes! Bass, Piano, Drums , Tip Jar, Etc etc.
FM: Tip jar! I love that. You know, you should nix that tip jar and just set up a credit card swiping machine next to the stage. Go for the big $.
FM: What do you think about the South Florida music scene?
JDS: We have a huge pool of talent down here, that is for sure, and it’s a wonderful eclectic and vibrant scene. But I do wish there were more venues that hosted and appreciate original music and cater towards that. Also, TV’s and other distractions are taking away the spirit of the live music too.
FM: You know, I'm in 100% agreement with you. There’s not enough places that just want the artist to come in and play their originals. Just a few that I can think of off-hand. I’m glad you mixed in some of your originals tonight though. The audience needs to hear that stuff. Before getting together here with you, I spent some time listening to your stuff on YouTube and SoundCloud. Man, you are one talented dude.
FM: So, let me ask. Who’s your audience?
JDS: I’d say anyone who’s soul I can touch through my music.
FM: I think you touched some souls tonight. Your opening song, “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” was awesome. If Cage the Elephant ever hears your version, they may just go back in the studio and try to give it another go.
FM: What got you interested in the Blues?
JDS: Oh I love all genres, really, not just blues. ...Rock, Country, Surf, ... I love everything.
It’s all blues and good music if you really think about it. Blues is second nature to me. I just love it and live it. It’s what I’m good at. My brother, Lionel, got me into the genre through records that he would bring home and what we played in the House. It’s a family affair.
FM: Gotta love family. Your Influences. Who are they?
JDS: My Familia, Friends, Fans, Albert King, Buddy Guy, U2, Cash, Waylon, Willie, Beethoven, Django, Tarantino, Coppola, Kubrick, Pollock, Monk, Magic Sam, King’s X, Zep, Billy Lee Riley….its a growing list lol.
FM: That’s quite a list. Some big names in all genres. I like that you threw King’s X in there. I’m a huge fan of their’s.
FM: In your playing style, we hear some Stevie Ray, some Clapton, Buddy Guy, even some Mississippi John Hurt. What do you feel about these legends?
JDS: Wow. I’m humbled and honored that you said that! I love everyone you just mentioned dearly. SRV...insane tone, spirit, feel. Everything is glorious about him. Buddy Guy is a sweetheart and a monster. The Last legend. The Last Jedi. The real deal. He sat in with my band for a few songs in July while we were on tour at his venue in Chicago, and that just floored me ...a def wow moment.
FM: Damn! Now that is a story for your grand kids. I like how you describe him. He really is one of the last greats. It’s a shame we all have to get older. Sorry I interrupted. Go on.
JDS: What I try and take from each musician and artist that I meet is their essence or spirit and use it. I’ve never been one to copy someone’s tone or notes or whatever .... It’s all about someone’s soul. That’s “their “ notes/tones …..to me.
FM: Speaking of Tone.....Who had the best?
JDS: Albert F’ng King.
FM: I don't know if you've ever heard this but there’s a version of Albert King doing “Born Under A Bad Sign” with Stevie Ray Vaughan that is just smoking. I’m pretty sure you can still see it on YouTube. Two of the all timers right there. I love that version.
FM: So, let me ask, what projects you are currently working on?
JDS: The next album’s batch of songs, some drawings, painting, some benefit concert ideas, next tour(s), my mind is always spinning.
FM: Sounds like you’ve got a lot going on. Keep that plate full! Tell us about your gear. What guitar are you playing? What effects do you use? Amps? Recording?
JDS: Sure thing. Lately I’ve been using my USA Stratocaster’s (Rosewood and Maple Neck) Beat to S*=t, Feels like a Couch, great tone, feel. My Gold 295 Hollowbody which is excellent. A blue telecaster with Lollar pickups, a Taylor acoustic. Those are my main workhorses. I love em. 1964 Super Reverb. 1998 Tweed Deville
FM: That’s a heck of a setup. Very nice. What guitar do you use to record with?
JDS: Whew...just about them all. Lol.
FM: What about your stage set up?
JDS: Same as above really.
FM: What about new music? When was the last time you listened to a new artist, band or guitar player?
JDS: Just about every day. In constant inspiration seeking mode.
FM: In your music, do you aim for the never-ending pursuit of perfection or is it better to strive for completion?
JDS: I try not to get caught up in that. I go off of a feeling, vibes, the pursuit of it. The journey. Nothing in life is perfect. Wait…..a Strat Body…now that’s perfect! ;)
FM: Can’t disagree there. A Strat is pretty perfect. A classic that never gets old.
FM: Three seconds. Who are your top musical influences?
JDS: #1, My familia. #2, Albert King Albert King plus just about everyone else in the same genre. Lol. #3, Cash, Waylon, U2… #4, Too many to list.
FM: What musician impresses you? It can be anyone, not necessarily a guitarist.
JDS: There are 3. Monk, Pavarotti, and Beethoven.
FM: Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. I can appreciate all of them. I grew up on all of that. My dad was into classical music, jazz, blues, opera, Broadway musicals, you name it.
FM: Are you happy with your guitar and your sound?
JDS: Pretty much ….
FM: How do you spend your free time? Family?
JDS: Yes hanging with familia and friends, movies. I love cinema, and acting, comic books, the park, traveling.
FM: How did you meet your wife Kristina?
JDS: At a One of my concerts :-)
FM: I should have guessed that. Does she influence your song writing?
JDS: Of course she does :). Everything in my life does.
FM: With your musical accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
JDS: Opening and performing with Mr. BB King on a slew of shows on one of his tours when I was with the Hep Cat Boo Daddies.
FM: Now that's cool. What an experience that must have been. What was BB like?
JDS: Mr. King was a sweetheart.
FM: What else? What other accomplishments?
JDS: Playing festivals in Canada for 3000+ fans in 2017, performing with Mr. Buddy Guy in 2017, this new record, several tours, meeting new fans and friends.
FM: I'm sure you gained a lot of new fans in 2017. More to come in 2018. Tell us about your former band the Hep Cat Boo Daddies?
JDS: We were together for about 15 years. Played a ton of wonderful shows, met great people, had a ball, cranked it up, I learned a lot from being in that band. I love them dearly. It was a band of brothers. One in a million type of outfit and a highlight of my career indeed. Plus, the music is still great. Timeless. I still perform that music and it’s also on I-Tunes, etc.
FM: I listened to a lot of your stuff with those guys. Really great stuff. I love the musicianship and sound. What did you enjoy the most there?
JDS: You mean from HCBD?
FM: Yeah. The musicianship in that band was fantastic. What did you enjoy the most about being a part of that?
JDS: The open space of it, the friendship, the fights, the concerts, the disagreements, the love, it was all good :)
FM: That’s what family is all about. Tell us about your current band? Lineup?
JDS: I love to use all legendary local and national musicians in my lineup. You’re only as good as your band mates, you know. THEY make the sound, and it sounds good :)
FM: Well, you guys sounded great tonight. I know you haven't but it seemed like you guys have been together forever. Very tight. I don’t know if everyone in the crowd here at 27 realized just what they were witnessing. Great, great stuff. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing you perform live again when I’m not working, but just as a fan.
FM: Now, give yourself a plug. Music, videos, the new CD?
JDS: Sweet! Thank YOU Fretboard Magazine! You can pick up a copy of my new CD that I am real proud of, some of my best work, at one of my shows or online at I-Tunes, Spotify, or Tunecore. The new album is called “Everywhere From Here” by Joel DaSilva. Produced by Grammy Award winner Eddie Perez, Album Photos by Jo Lopez Photography in Nashville (Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr.) PLEASE get it. It’s good….not just saying that. My previous work (Joel DaSilva and The Midnight Howl and/or the Hep Cat Boo Daddies). You can find on Soundcloud, CD Baby, I-Tunes, and YouTube.
FM: You heard it right here people. Check out Joel DaSilva’s music and go buy his new CD. Trust me, you’re going to love this guy. Joel, thank you for taking the time to let us interview you for Fretboard. Good luck in 2018 and we look forward to seeing you again and hearing lots of great guitar from you in the future.
Craig Marks, Editor
December 30, 2017
For more information where you can hear and see Joel.
“Everywhere from Here” by Joel Dasilva
Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl by Joel DaSilva and the Midnight Howl
Hotrodsexgod by The Hep Cat Boo Daddies