Interview With Joe Hoare Of Orange Goblin (Ramblin’ Man 2019)22nd July 2019
As the virtuoso blues rock of Richie Kotzen rang from the nearby Blues Stage, I sat down with Joe Hoare, guitarist of the iconic Orange Goblin, and chatted about playing the same guitar for 20 years, landing an accidental headline slot and collaborating with Ozzy just a couple of hours before their stunning GrooveRider Stage headline set.
- Have you been at Ramblin’ Man all weekend? Have you checked anyone out yet? We turned up about three hours ago so we haven’t really had a chance yet. We can see Richie [Kotzen] from here, which is pretty convenient because he’s the main one I was looking to see.
- Me too! Well shall we just cancel the interview and sit here and watch him then?
- This year is your first time at Ramblin’ Man, right?
Yeah, I’ve wanted to play this festival for a while now because I’m different to the other guys [in Orange Goblin] because I like all this bluesy stuff.
- It must be pretty special to land a headline slot your first time round. Well yeah, we’re kind of accidental headliners because Monster Magnet couldn’t make it unfortunately, but it’s still a real honor!
- Well yesterday it was the Prog In The Park Stage with Anathema headlining, so you’ve landed the same slot as them! Yeah exactly, excellent!
- I was going to say who’s the best band you’ve seen so far, but I’m going to assume its Richie Kotzen by default? I’m a massive Richie Kotzen fan, I love all of his stuff so yeah it was always going to be him but I also really wanna see Chris Robinson and The Obsessed.
- Which is your personal favourite track to play live? Blimey umm… There’s a song we’ve got called ‘Bloodzilla’ which is on Back From The Abyss which I love playing live. It’s not one of our most popular songs, but to play live it’s got a real punk rock vibe with lots of different stuff going on so I really love playing that.
- As you’ve said there’s a lot of blues influence in a lot of your playing. Do your shows ever end up in a big blues jam?
I’d love it to and if it was my choice then there’d be lots of jams and I’d pretend I was playing for Band Of Gypsies, but there’s three other guys who probably wouldn’t be too happy about it! We’re doing a song called ‘Ghost Of The Primitive’ and that has a little jammy bit in the middle which I wanted to extend but we don’t really extend it.
The thing with our band is that I’m obviously a blues guy, Chris is into punk rock stuff, Ben and Martin are more kind of heavy metal champions, so we blend everything together.
- Yeah it makes an interesting sound bringing all of those styles together. There’s a really clear blues influence on everything but then the metal thread runs through everything, it’s really unique. Will you be playing your signature white Gibson SG tonight? I will be yeah; it’s been a bit poorly actually. We got a gig in Italy a couple of weeks ago and for the third time we opened up the case and the headstock had snapped, which is every guitarist’s worst nightmare. Luckily, I’ve got a backup and it’s been fixed now, I’ve got a friend who is really good at fixing guitars so I took it to the hospital and fingers crossed it’ll hold up tonight.
- Is the backup an SG as well? Yeah it is.
- It’s quite rare for a guitarist to almost exclusively use the same guitar- how come you’ve stuck with the same one for all these years?
I’m not very materialistic. Back in 1994 when I got the guitar it just felt right. I’ve tried a lot of different guitars through the 20 odd years we’ve been doing this and I just like it, I always go back to it. It’s my baby, it’s beaten up and looks terrible.
We play shows and other guitarists want to play it and I see their faces and they’re like “oh my god how to you play this thing?” but it’s just my guitar and I’m comfortable with it. I’ve never been one of those guys who wants to look the part, I don’t really look the part I just play it.
- I suppose it helps to give you your tone, if you’re playing the same guitar on everything then everyone will always hear that exact sound. Yeah so they’ll know what to expect.
- It’s like David Gilmour’s Black Strat, everyone knows exactly what it’ll sound like. Well it’s not going to raise as much money as that one!
- I’ve seen Orange Goblin described as a number of genres, and your music doesn’t seem to fall directly into one style but it’s always recognizable. Have you ever considered releasing anything that sounds nothing like Orange Goblin?
Yeah but it’s always in the background. I’ve written probably hundreds of songs that aren’t Goblin songs and there will be an album coming out at some point that’ll be more blues, Beatles type stuff, more classic rock. One day I’ll get around to doing it, it’s just finding the time.
- Have you recorded anything for it? I’ve recorded a few demos, hopefully I’ll get to it properly next year.
- Is there anyone in particular that inspires that Orange Goblin sound? I guess its Black Sabbath and Motorhead. Led Zeppelin are my favourites, but I suppose those guys are the most obvious.
- Your latest album had guest solos from Phil Campbell. If you could invite one person to guest on the next album, who would it be?
That’s a really tricky question. It would be fun to have Ozzy. Just to say I’ve had Ozzy Osbourne on an album.
- And other than your set tonight, does Orange Goblin (or you personally) have anything exciting coming up that you’d like to mention? Not really! We’re working on some ideas; we’ve got a lot of new stuff that isn’t completed yet that we’re looking to release next year. As for an album there’s nothing in the pipeline but there may be a couple of EPs. There’s no set date for the bluesy album yet but it’ll happen one day!
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