Joe Pug


Texan alt-country star Joe Pug is in town as part of The Southern Fork Americana Fest, performing tonight at The Tuning Fork sharing the billing with Robert Ellis.

We had the chance to fire some questions Joe's way before the show.

Who were your early influences?

My early musical influences were Dylan, Squeeze, The Band, John Hiatt, Warren Zevon, Nirvana, Fugazi, John Prine, and Lucinda Williams.

How did you get into learning the guitar, harmonica and music in general?

My father played in bands in the 70s and 80s, he taught me to play guitar when I was coming of age.  The harmonica I learned when I moved to Chicago as a young man.  I was looking for a way to distinguish myself at all the open mics I was playing as a solo performer.

Do you remember your first performance?

I do indeed.  My first band formed to play our sixth grade dance in elementary school.  We rehearsed for six months to play one gig.  My mom drove us with all of our gear in her minivan.  I thought that we were Nirvana incarnate.  There's a healthy amount of delusion you can have as an artist.  I had it then and I've tried to maintain it until now, may years later.

You released your latest album Windfall last year. Where did you record it?

We recorded it in Lexington Kentucky at Shangri-La Studio with the great producer Duane Lundy.  That's a relatively small American city in the heart of Bourbon country.  The whole band lived in the studio and cooked and ate and played together like it was a firehouse.  

How long did the process take?

We did an initial session of 3 weeks with the band and then I returned myself for another week to do some separate tracking and mixing.  The writing process took over 3 years though.  Recording is a fairly straight-forward process which can be accomplished relatively quickly.  Especially with how far the digital realm has progressed in the last ten years.  The one thing that you can't buy a fancy computer program for though is the writing.  If you don't put in the time, if you don't find the inspiration, if you don't have something to say, no recording process can make the end result compelling.  For me the recording process starts years before it formally begins.

You’re heading to New Zealand soon as part of the Americana Fest. Have you been here before?

I never have and I am looking forward to it immensely.  I've traveled for many years with a native and he has swore up and down that the fish and chips from your country are unparalleled.  I will be on the hunt for a good chipper then.  But not before my set, because I don't want to fall asleep onstage.

What can we expect from your show?

I'll be playing songs from every album I've ever released.  Especially since it's my first time to NZ, I'll be playing the meat and potatoes of what I do.  Plus the show will be solo, so the emphasis will be on the songs and the odd story that I'll throw in between.

Joe Pug & Robert Ellis

Wednesday October 12th: The Tuning Fork, Auckland

Tickets via Ticketmaster