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  • 11:45:06 am
  • Thursday
  • 23 November 2017

Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball

Tweed braved the cold Connecticut winter weather to meet up with Fairfield’s own Joe Beleznay at local establishment Penny’s Diner.

Bill: So Joe, you’re not originally from C. T.

Joe: Actually, I was born here but check this: my father was in the military so I was born here in Bridgeport, moved to New Hampshire, then we moved to Amsterdam...

Bill: How long were you there?

Joe: We definitely lived there when I was maybe seven for three years, two years—then we went to California.

Bill: Whereabouts?

Joe: Santa Barbara, around there. Then we went to Crete, Greece, I used to live off the island known as Greece. Then we went to Utah. Then we went back here.

Bill: Did your dad have a top-secret job?

Joe: Yea.

Stewart: When did you move back here?

Joe: When I was in seventh grade. Weird childhood, my childhood was all screwed up—and I was a fat-ass so I would always be the new fat kid like “Here’s Joe, the new fat kid.”

[Laugher]

Joe: I had a lot of friends but you had to lose them so you kinda like learn, kinda learn not to hold onto anything. I think we stayed here because we moved so much. Psychologically, you just don’t wanna go anywhere anymore. So I live in cave on the Jersey shore...

[Laugher]

Joe: But it’s definitely subliminal. You just don’t want to go anywhere.

Bill: I can imagine that.

Joe: But Fairfield’s all right, its boring.

Stewart: It’s kinda like a hibernation place.

Joe: It’s a place you go to see familiar faces.

Bill: And after a while you can’t wait to—to never see them again.

Joe: But then you don’t even know why. What are you running from?

Stewart: What inspired you to start playing?

Bill: Considering your upbringing...

Joe: I think I started playing ‘cause I wasn’t good at sports. And it was another outlet I could uh, I could develop. And then, uh, it wasn’t too bad. I caught on after lessons and now I’m a Grammy award winner and the rest is history. Ha ha! I don’t know, it was just one of those things. You know, it was the cool thing, I can’t deny. You wanna have a band and have all your friends in it. But you get past that point of dreaming about something and then you have to start doing it and you realize how hard it really is. I wanna be the innocent kid dreaming still.

Bill: Well, you’ve got the new Ep now so tell us a little a bit about that.

Joe: We released the Ep I think, three years too late. It was three years in the making, mentally maybe. We worked on it for four months sporadically and it came out nice but, with anything creative, you’re constantly looking back on it and wanting to do better.

Bill: So it was released in the summer...

Joe: It was released in late august 2004. It was received pretty well but I think there are misconceptions about how, when you release something, you believe that everybody feels the same way you do about it. Or at least, everyone will be excited about it. But then you realize it maybe just another blip on the radar sometimes and you just really need to promote the hell out of it.

Bill: How have you been promoting it? I see you have been playing out a lot...

Joe: Playing out a lot when we can. My percussionist, Tim Procaccini—we both work full time, we wear funny socks and we basically are just trying to juggle the two worlds but trying to believe that we could really get somewhere if we put our minds to it—but you know, reality kicks you in the ass a lot. You realize that you have to work and have to, you know...

Bill: So what role exactly does Tim play? He’s all over the artwork, all over the credits...

Joe: Tim is the percussionist, the mentor. Not so much mentor—he’s my best friend. He has been there from the beginning, wanting to do it.

Stewart: How did you guys meet?

Joe: Personal ads. No. School. At a point in middle school, I was doing the whole black thing. Skid Row T-shirts. It was a hot day and I didn’t have shorts and I was all dressed up and Tim was like “why are you dressed like an Eskimo”—and the rest is history

[Laughter]

Bill: A bond is born.

Joe: He has just been a steady, consistent force in my life, music and friendship-wise. And he shares the same values and ideals.

Bill: Such as?

Joe: We are gonna rock it and be famous! He’s one of the few people I could see myself going on tour with and not getting tired of and not drive me crazy. We had stopped playing for a bit ‘cause he did the whole college thing, got a job—pretty exciting. He quit for a little bit to find a job but kinda started back up when we were 24, 25.

Bill: So you write the music?

Joe: I primarily write it. I bring it to him. He throws a beat on.

Bill: I read that he helped out with some of the musical arrangements.

Joe: The arrangements, yea, how we wanted ... what we wanted to put where. Basically, I have the baby and Tim will dress it.

Stewart: Is that the “Giant Child?”

Joe: Yea. Tim called me that so that’s why I put it as “Giant Child Music” ‘Cause that’s what we are.

Bill: Giant children.

Joe: yea.

Bill: I took a look at where you have been playing. A lot of it has been local but more recently you took a trip to New Hampshire...

Joe: And Worchester, Mass.

Bill: Yea

Joe: We made some really good contacts. The show in New Hampshire was just excellent. Great money. Really nice atmosphere. They treated us like Kings. Like Latin Kings...

[Laugher]

Joe: We want to do it again. We are kinda incubating since that stint, which was very little. We had to take a break—it was getting crazy.

[Laugher]

Stewart: So do you remember Spring Jam at Fairfield High School, maybe 1995 or ‘94? We were young maybe in like eighth grade or something.

Joe: Oh yea, Spring Jam was like the quintessential, like, the big thing. Yea, we definitely wanted to win Spring Jam. We had a band: Villanova Junction. It was me, Tim, this guy Rich on bass and John Mayer on guitar.

Bill: John Mayer? Really?

Joe: You didn’t know that?

Bill: No.

Joe: I met him in Mr. Mill’s Satire class. But it’s hard to talk about John cause he’s a successful guy and he basically lives the dream. He’s a good guy. It’s undeniable that his style has rubbed off on me. Cause um, that’s when you learn to play—with someone else. You can’t deny that he taught me a lot and he showed me—is very helpful.

Bill: Does he continue to be helpful? Do you guys have a good relationship?

Joe: Yea. Definitely. Everyone has been really supportive. What makes me real sad—not sad but—did you ever just really want something and somebody is like doing more for it than you are. And you just feel like you aren’t doing enough? I’m a little stale and I need to just get back on the horse.

Bill: Do you think you will be starting up a tour or anything like that?

Joe: We really just have to start piggybacking, opening up for somebody, getting in on the inside. Work your fingers on in there...

Stewart: Wait—are we still talking about touring?

[Laughter]

Joe: We’re really just trying out the local scene, as we’ve been doing for about a year and a half, just trying to be realistic about everything and understand that it’s a lengthy process that may never have a payoff but you just have to keep doing it cause you enjoy it.

Bill: Right

Joe: There are times when it’s a job.

Bill: So let me ask you—your lyrics often center on the personal, on experience. Do any of them arise out of your childhood?

Joe: Oh, moving around...

Bill: Yea, does that play a part?

Joe: It probably does subconsciously. Just like they say you’ll become like your parents or meet a girl like your parents. It eventually becomes true. I broke up with my mom two years ago...

[Laughter]

Joe: But there are recurring themes in my songs—of how there’s this urgency. Like if you listen to “Through the Night” there’s one chance for the night—and about not capturing the best years of your life but wasting away. Like everybody wants to—it’s about New Years Eve actually. Like, me and my friends used to talk about how when the ball drops, you just want to be on the ball. The lyrics used to be when the lights go out, “I want to be the ball.” But it didn’t make any sense but to me it made sense and to my friends. Its kinda like you wanna be the nucleus of everything cool happening in that moment. There are a lot of those themes—not capturing the moment.

Bill: So you talk about this sense of urgency. In this Post-9/11 world, do you ever think about including more social or political lyrics?

Joe: I’m not extremely political. I guess what I write just kinda comes out- its usually situational or emotional. I guess I did get involved in the election a little bit. I actually voted for the first time in my life. And I lost. No, we lost. I say “we lost” as a country.

Stewart: You voted in Connecticut I assume.

Joe: Yea. I mean, Connecticut won but you know, that’s one of those feelings because its like, your vote doesn’t count. But politically and socially—I used to listen to a lot of Rage Against the Machine. I actually met them. I waited overnight at the Virgin MegaStore in New York.

Bill: Oh, I was there!

Joe: Really? We were actually the first ones in line. I went in at 11 the night before and we waited from 11 to 8 am. That was really cool. I was more aware—as every white kid that liked Rage was, like ” Yea, Mao Tse Dung—lets go Che.” But really a lot of them just wanna jump around and punch each other in the head— but they were amazing. But lately, I haven’t been really attached to politics other than the election. And I should but its just one of those things—you get lazy... People die in a tidal wave and I read the Yahoo news.

Bill: What do you think about the Election?

Joe: Its kinda like I know what I don’t want to happen but—my parents are Bush people...

Bill: Do you think that comes from the military background?

Joe: Maybe. I think when people get older, they are just not ready for change and not ready to do anything differently. They wake up, drive to the same places, eat the same foods and stuff. So they don’t take many risks. I think it’s partially that.

Stewart: Was that hard growing up?

Joe: Um, it wasn’t so tough. The military experience wasn’t bad—it was good. I have seen nine different kinds of people in different places, different countries... Makes you realize a lot about Connecticut very quickly. There’s a lot of selfishness in this state. Everyone’s focused—everyone’s got their own tunnel vision. I don’t know. It might be a Connecticut thing but it might be a world thing. There’s not a lot of good people left in this world. Not good people, but people with common sense. It’s spooky. Everybody’s doing their thing. Music-wise too. I have a lot of competition.

Stewart: How do you feel about hat?

Joe: Its like all those things I prayed for as a kid aren’t coming true. But you definitely have to work for them—nothing good comes without hard work. Like, all that cheesy stuff your parents told you starts to come true...

Bill: Yea.

Joe: But I’m not in a bad place. There’s good people around me and I’m trying to keep a good attitude around me. The lives around me are starting to change. So I am starting to get a little more anxious.

Bill: So where do you think you are headed next?

Joe: We are trying to flesh out the local circuit but also establish good contacts for future tour dates. We played with this guy, Brian Bonz. He’s a cool guy. You might even wanna check him out. Like check out his stuff. You know, we wanna set up a tour or do something and maybe go on some sort of New York tour or something. But you know, the future is what you make of it. That’s the truth. Your success is how hard you work for it—even in this business. There could be no reward so you have to make sure to keep it positive and understand that, as quickly as you get to the top, you can fall straight on your ass. It’s like a relationship—in the beginning part, everything’s awesome—you feel like you’re gonna get married. Then you start to learn the person. I mean, the end of a relationship is either break-up or get married.

Stewart: But there’s always divorce...

Joe: There’s always divorce...

Bill: But isn’t divorce like a one-hit wonder?

[Laughter]

Bill: So what’s one thing you want everyone to know? This is your one big chance here...

Joe: My one big chance.... I would just say that I’m honest. I dream the same dream everyone dreams when it comes to playing music. My reward is that somebody gets something out of the music. If someone gets something out of the music I make, my job is done. Will that buy me dinner? Hell no. Will it get me the next months rent? No. But at some kind of human level, that’s what you want. You want to bring people together. You want to relate to them and say, “I’m just as confused as you are.”

Visit Joe’s website at www.joebeleznay.com.



William Wallace, Stewart Smith
Saturday, 01 January 2005
Joe Beleznay. Running To Be Gone. Giant Child. 2004.

Joe Beleznay. Running To Be Gone. Giant Child. 2004.

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Joe Beleznay

Joe Beleznay
Tim Procaccini

Tim Procaccini
John Mayer and Joe perform at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport CT.

John Mayer and Joe perform at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport Ct.
Pennys Diner in Fairfield CT.

Penny’s Diner in Fairfield Ct.
Bill and Joe discuss coming of age in Fairfield.

Bill and Joe discuss coming of age in Fairfield.
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball
Joe Beleznay wants to be the ball

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Tweed Magazine content report:
2017-11-23 11:45:06
Mike Kinsella, congress, Everloving Records, Everloving Records, Mike Kinsella, Mike Kinsella, 4AD Records, antiwar, America, congress, End report.