Joe was born in Santurce, a barrio or section, of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He grew up listening to American music on the radio because it was all his uncle listened to. It was the late 50`s and early 60`s and his uncle was in the navy at the time. Joe remembers hearing rock and roll at the swimming pool at one of the naval bases in Puerto Rico where he spent many Saturdays. When Joe was nine years old, he saw the Beatles’ movie "A Hard Day’s Night" and got hooked on the electric guitar. At age eleven Joe joined his first band and played many house and school parties. At age twelve he acquired his first blues/rock record "Fresh Cream," with Eric Clapton on guitar. The first blues song Joe learned was "Rolling and Tumblin’" followed by "Sleepy Time." Shortly thereafter, he got Cream’s, "Disraeli Gears," and Albert King’s album, "Born Under a Bad Sign." It was then that Joe got hooked on the blues. In 1972, while he was in high school, Joe began playing every night at a place called the Hippopotamus Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He played covers of songs by many of the rock bands that, at that time, defined his generation's music. His band covered the Allman Brothers, Santana and Fleetwood Mac and also played covers of blues tunes by B.B. King, Albert King and Johnny Winter, to name a few. In 1976 Joe moved to New York City where he joined an 10-piece R&B group and traveled with them around the USA. Joe wound up in Chicago where he got his second dose of Real Blues, the real thing, the music that inspired many of the rock and blues rock bands he had initially listened to.
Joe eventually moved back to Puerto Rico and lived there until 1980. While back home he had the opportunity to play in many concerts in stadiums and arenas, sharing the stage with the likes of Peter Frampton, Rick Derringer, Pat Travers, Ronnie Montrose, Judas Priest and many other stars. Joe also played Country & Western music on weekends for a year with Marion Hite, a Kentucky native. Joe's musical spectrum was quickly widening.
In 1980 Joe moved to Florida and played in many blues and R&B bands, playing the "Chitlin" Circuit, and while there he shared stages with the likes of Johnny Winter, Jaco Pastorius, Robin Trower, Coco Taylor, John Mayall, Gregg Allman, Coco Montoya, Etta James, Carlos Santana, John Mayall, Pine Top Perkins, Huberet Sumlin, Johnny Depp, Cecil Taylor, John Scofield, Dion, Tinsley Ellis, Eddie Clearwater, Johnny Copeland, Alvin Lee, Ray Brown, Fania All Stars, Los Lobos and many others. For a period of time Joe's roommate was the legendary jazz bassist, Jaco Pastorius. Joe and Jaco shared many ideas and played together many times. Little did Joe know how precious this time in his life would be as the world lost Jaco too soon. Joe eventually moved back to New York City in 1989 and later to New Jersey, which he now calls home, and he has since played in just about every blues venue in the NY/NJ area. Joe has toured Europe, Japan, Central and South America on many occasions. He has recorded seven CDs under an indie label and for Provogue Records, in the Netherlands, and he collaborated on a New York Blues CD with Popa Chubby. Joe has been a direct inspiration to many including Popa Chubby, the Blues Travelers and the Spin Doctors. It's been a long, amazing journey and it's far from over - Joe still plays 3 to 4 nights a week and he's still going strong!
Joe has received several honors over the last decade; he was inducted into the NY Blues Hall of Fame in 2013, the NJ Blues Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Puerto Rico Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Joe is humbled by these honors but he admits, "I have definitely paid my dues!" But all in all, Joe's experiences and musical influences inform how he approaches the guitar. His much admired style blends blues, country and rockabilly, with R&B and complex jazz rhythms and voicings, "all with a twist of Latin flavor."
Joe revealed that he has been writing an autobiography and that it`s not finished. "I’ll need another 25 years for that!" says the legendary guitarist. Joe looks forward to many more shows and musical experiences with the fantastic musicians he has had the honor and pleasure of playing with, including bassists Phil Butler, Dave Post, Dan Mulvey, Art Zo, Tim Tindall, Josh November, Ivan Bodley, Neville Green, Nori Naraoka, Jerry Scaringe, Jerry Dugger and drummers Dave Moore, Andre Koribanics, Nick Fishman, George Morales, Rafael De Los Reyes, Patrick Carmichael, Ken Adessa and too many more to mention here.
VENUES AND TOURS
JOE HAS BEEN PLAYING NON-STOP FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS.
In New York City: Dan Lynch's, Albilene's, Chicago Blues, Mondo Cane, Mondo Perso, Fannie's Oyster Bar, Delta Grill, Manny's Car Wash, Terra Blues, Tramps, B.B. King's Blues Club, the Oyster Bar, Kenny's Castaways, the Back Fence, the Red Lion, CBGB's, Wetlands, Jules Bistro, the 55 Bar, Giuliettas Cantina Club, Iridium, and many more.
In New Jersey: the Stanhope House, Bernie's Hillside, Jason's in Belmar, Elysian Cafe, Scotland Yard, Mexicali Blues, the Boxcar Bar, the Great Notch Inn, Ruthie's BBQ, Maxfields, Trumpets, The Well & Grill, SuzyQue's BBQ & Bar, the Blue Moon, Kuhl's Tavern Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse Dunellen NJ, and more.
Joe has toured in various countries in Europe as well as Japan, Brazil, Puerto Rico and extensively in the United States.