Jo-Jo and Rylan from Jo-Jo & The Teeth answer a few questions for Rockaway
Singer - Jo-Jo O'Donoghue
Lead Guitar - Keir Hicks
Rhythm Guitar - Rylan Woods
Bass - Max Battista
Drums - Andy Barker
Jo: Rylan & I have been in a band together since we were kids, our bands eventually all broke up and we found ourselves writing, performing and touring as a duo for quite some time. We were on tour in the UK in 2017, when Keir & Max's then band, a trio, opened up for us at The Hope & Anchor, Islington. We watched them play and we were just truly blown away. I remember looking at Rylan, and my sister Chelsea (who was on tour with us at the time) and we all had the same thought... WE NEED THESE GUYS! like- THIS IS WHAT WE'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! We spent the rest of the tour lamenting about how we need to find a band like that, players like that... then it just occurred to me... like we found them. We don't have to look any farther! So when we got home to Canada we emailed them and suggested we spend the summer with them on the Isle of Wight (where the guys are from) . We hired them as session players and we went on tour in the UK & Ireland... and we never came back home.
We've had lots of growing pains, I mean we were perfect strangers - but there was this natural musical magic that we couldn't ignore. For the first time in my life, I was LOVING playing with these dudes, it was so easy, it just worked. We found ourselves without a drummer... that's when Keir suggested Andy, they had played in function bands together growing up. After a very brief phone conversation, Andy jumped on board as a session player for our Western Canadian tour with less than 2 weeks of rehearsal- He fucking slayed it. It was almost instant. We found our band. This was the beginning of Jo-Jo & The Teeth. The guys all moved up to London into mine & Ry's 1 bedroom flat in Lewisham and we just hit the city hard, taking any gig and every gig we could find. Our debut performance as Jo-Jo & the Teeth was opening up for Carl Barat at 93 Feet East! What a debut! Obviously Covid foiled all our plans... as it did everyone else on earth... but we've been clawing our way back ever since.
1. First Punk Rock band you ever saw Live? Where/when?
Jo: The first show I ever went to would have been a shitty DIY punk/rock show in my hometown, probably in a church basement or a community hall, local bands just tearing it up! Rylan and my then band were probably there with me, honestly those days and all those shows we went to all mash up in my memory now, there was a lot of them, and then we started playing them. I actually think it might have a been a really cool little punk scene we had out there in the middle of the prairies.
Ry: My first punk show was above a Dots Clothing store in Red Deer, Alberta. My big brother took me, I remember the drummer had paper mache newspapers stuck to his shells and it was flying off throughout the gig. You could actually see and feel the floor below you sagging with the crowd as they jumped and moshed... I definitely thought I was going to die. It was awesome.
2. First Punk Rock Record you bought? What made you buy it?
Jo: I think it might have been Appetite for Destruction - Guns & Roses... My oldest sister used to blast that record in her little purple car and drop me off at school when I was really little, I remember seeing it at HMV years later when I had my own paper route money and snatching it up.
Ry: I bought The Ramones Anthology from a monthly magazine music subscription scam - It was $2.00.
3. Favourite Venue to play in? UK or abroad.
Jo: We are new to London, and have MANY venues left to play, but I really love the Camden Assembly, good stage, good sound. I remember loving playing The Belfast Empire in Belfast as well.
Ry: I loved playing 93 Feet East, was fun to have the room to turn it up to 11.
Jo: EVERYTHING! I am no music snob, but what will always stick out to me are the great story tellers & wonderful songwriters like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, David Bowie, Kris Kristofferson. Voices like Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, Bessie Smith, Etta James. And bands that blew me away and stopped me in my tracks like Queen, Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Stones, My Chemical Romance, Fleetwood Mac, Avenged Sevenfold... I literally listen to everything. I fucking love Abba, and I fucking love Alice Cooper. It's complicated.
Ry: The early stuff I listened to was AFI, Rancid, Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedy, Dropkick Murphy's, Every time I Die.
I love the early punk stuff, and got into the hardcore scene as well. Later on I got more into songwriters like Tom Petty, The Weakerthans, Matt Mayes, the outlaw country boys like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt -
But at the end of the day those greasy blues rooted rockers like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Gn'R & AC/DC are what made me want to strap a guitar on, sling it low and rock out.
5. Any new bands impressed you and worth a shout out?
Jo: They're are not new, but we recently played a gig with The Healthy Junkies (London Based), we have worked with them before but had never actually seen them play. They were SHIT HOT live! loved their show & can't wait to see them again. We've seen Barns Courtney a couple times recently, I think he's got a lot going on, good songs, great voice, charismatic performer- he's on tour with My Chemical Romance right now - the bastard! (**teenage Jo-Jo dying of envy).
Ry: I seen Bad Nerves recently and thought they were great!
6. What's the future look like for Jo-Jo & The Teeth?
Jo: Well, as everything else in this business goes... WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!? But our goal is to just keep going as hard as we have been, and push even harder. More shows, more touring, more releases, more videos... there's definitely no slowing down that is for certain! We hope to release a full length album in the autumn or early 2023, and are looking at getting back into the studio to start the next record as soon as possible. No rest for the wicked.
7. Where does the name of the Band come from?
Jo: I think I came up with it, it was one in a very long list of possibilities... I HATE NAMING BANDS. We wanted something the felt real Rock'n'Roll, that you didn't have to repeat 5 times for people to get it. I love teeth haha... no really I'm really weird about dental hygiene, and I really liked how raw & visceral it is... like spit, blood, teeth, bones... gives you the feeling of grit and grind. I thought it fit our vibe, and it was the only one that all the guys agreed on.
8) What's the craziest thing that happened on tour/at a show?
Jo: Well the craziest thing that's ever happened to me on tour was when we met the guys actually. Ry & I were on tour as a duo and Keir & Max's then band opened up for us and it was this insane Ah-Ha moment of like OH SHIT! We need to these guys in our band! OMG we have to move to England! WTF are we doing?!? and then our entire lives changed.
Ry: The British guys in our band would say that the craziest thing was when we were on tour back in Canada and we played an outdoor gig at the end of September and our pint glasses of water froze over on stage and they were all freezing to death haha... Jo & I were fine.
9. Horror Movies or Science Fiction?
Jo: HORROR EVERYDAY ALL DAY.
Ry: Science Fiction.
10. What do you dislike?
Jo: Crooked winged eyeliner... bad sound... poor dental hygiene! haha.
Ry: The sound of chewing... having to poop after you shower...
11. Guilty pleasure?
Jo: I don't believe in guilty pleasures... if you like something you like it!! People tell me mines The Spice Girls, but I feel no guilt. Spice Girls FOREVER.
Ry: I love a cheese Romantic comedy!
12. Is Punk/Rock Dead?
Jo: Punk/Rock will never die because there will always be crazy fuckers keeping it alive on the ground floor. I fear it's dead in the mainstream though... maybe there will be a resurgence of epic proportions and big ass guitars on the radio will be a thing again... who knows, I'll be here for it though.
Ry: No. Definitely not. It's not being given the platform to reach the masses, but rockers exist everywhere and they always will.
All photos courtesy of Kick Down The Doors Promotion & PR.
Jo-Jo & The Teeth are having a Single Launch "No More Good News!" on the 15th July at The Camden Assembly with special guest Healthy Junkies.