Joe Bonamassa - Impressive Facts You Didn't Know

Joe Bonamassa – 18 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know

Joe Bonamassa is an American blues/rock guitarist, singer/songwriter. He was born on May 8th 1977 in New Hartford, New York and grew up in Utica, New York. He has earned 3 Grammy Awards nominations and is known among guitarists for his extensive collection of vintage guitars and amplifiers.

They are all facts you probably already knew, keep reading for 18 impressive facts about Joe Bonamassa you didn’t know.

He Opened For B.B. King When He Was 12 Years Old

Joe Bonamassa started playing guitar when he was 4 years old, encouraged by his dad who was a blues fan and introduced the young Joe to the sounds of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and other British blues artists.

When he was 11, Joe was trained by the “Redneck Jazz” maestro, Danny Gatton. The following year, Joe and his band “Smokin’ Joe Bonamassa”performed shows all round Western New York and Pennsylvania. But only on weekends because he had to go to school on weekdays.

Around this time, in 1989, Joe opened for B.B King for around 20 shows with the great bluesman saying of the 12 year old Joe,

This kid’s potential is unbelievable. He hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface. He’s one of a kind.

B.B King

He Was In A Band With Many Famous Artists Sons

Before his 18th birthday, Joe Bonamassa was playing in a band called “Bloodline” along with the sons of Miles Davis, Robby Krieger and Berry Oakley.

Gregg Allman Appeared As A Guest Artist On His Debut Album

Joe Bonamassa’s debut album “A New Day Yesterday” was released in 2000. It is a mix of original tunes and covers of work by artists including Rory Gallagher, Warren Haynes and Jethro Tull. The album also features a guest appearance by Gregg Allman on the song “If Heartaches Were Nickels”.

He Owns 400 Guitars

Joe Bonamassa has said that he has around 400 guitars and around the same amount of amplifiers. He said,

I have about 400 guitars and 400 amps, and it’s bad, it’s real bad. It’s not a good thing. And it shouldn’t be a good thing. It just, it is what it is, I’m a son of a guitar dealer and I got the bug.

Joe Bonamassa

SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Joe Bonamassa Use?

His First Five Solo Studio Albums Were All Top 10 Hits

Joe Bonamassa’s first five solo studio albums, “A New Day Yesterday” (2000), “So, It’s Like That” (2002), “Blues Deluxe” (2003), “Had to Cry Today” (2004) and “You & Me” (2006) all made the Top 10 of the Billboard Blues charts. With three reaching the number one spot.

Eric Clapton Played A Duet WIth Him

In 2009, Joe Bonamassa got to play with one of his earliest influences when he performed a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. At one point in the show, Eric Clapton came on stage and performed a duet with Joe.

One Of His Albums Made The Top Ten On Three Charts

Joe Bonamassa’s 2014 album “Different Shades Of Blue”, his first solo studio album since “So It’s Like That” to feature only original songs (with the exception of an instrumental Hendrix cover), charted at number 8 on the Billboard 200, number 1 on the Blues chart and number 1 on the Indie chart.

One Of His Shows Raised $32,000 For His Charity

On September 20th 2020, Joe performed a one night-only concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The show was live streamed and raised $32,000 for Bonamassa’s Fueling Musicians Program, which has been helping musicians who are struggling financially since the worldwide pandemic.

On June 11th 2021 he released the live album and film “Now Serving: Royal Tea Live from the Ryman”.

Beth Hart Agreed To Work With Him, Thinking She Was To Provide Backing Vocals

Joe Bonamassa first became aware of Beth Hart through watching TV shows that she appeared on. Their paths would often cross on the European circuit and then Joe caught her act at the Blue Balls Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.

When he decided to team up with a female vocalist, Beth Hart came to his mind. They met in a hotel bar in Dublin, Ireland and Joe put the idea to her. She accepted immediately even though she was under the impression that he wanted her to provide backing vocals on his next album. 

They have released four albums together at the time of writing which are; “Don’t Explain” (2011), “Seesaw” (2013), “Live In Amsterdam” (2014) and “Black Coffee” (2018).

He’s Also In A Jazz-Funk Band

Joe Bonamassa is also a member of the jazz-funk band “Rock Candy Funk Party”. They released their debut album “We Want Groove” in 2013 and have since released a further three albums; “Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York: Live At The Iridium” (2014), “Groove Is King” (2015) and “The Groove Cubed” (2017).

He Owns A Blues Record Label

Joe Bonamassa and his manager Roy Weisman have formed an independent record label called Keeping The Blues Alive (KTBA) Records. Which is an offshoot of “Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation”. The foundation is a non-profit organisation set up to conserve the art of music in schools and preserve the “rich culture and history of the blues”.

Artists signed to the label include Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dion, Chicago blues queen Joanna Connor , blues rock artist Joanne Shaw Taylor and legendary guitarist Larry McCray.

SEE ALSO: Blues Guitarists You Need To Listen To (right now!)

And He’s In A Hard Rock Supergroup

Started in 2009, the side project was the brainchild of Joe Bonamassa and former Deep Purple bassist, Glenn Hughes. They jammed together and then invited Jason Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s part time drummer and son of John Bonham, and Derek Sherinian, Alice Cooper’s keyboardist to finish their lineup.

They are called the “Black Country Communion” in reference to the area in the English West Midlands where Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham grew up. They have released four albums which are; “Black Country Communion” (2010), “Black Country Communion 2” (2011), “Afterglow” (2012) and “BCCIV” (2017).

He Played Guitar On Alan Parsons 2022 Album

Joe Bonamassa played lead guitar on two tracks on Alan Parsons 2022 album “From The New World”. Joe features on the tracks, “Give ‘Em My Love” and “I Won’t Be Led Astray”.

He Was A Contestant On To Tell The Truth

In August 2021, Joe Bonamassa appeared as a contestant on the TV show “To Tell The Truth”. He featured on the long running American TV show with Ray Buffer and Shaun Landry.

Most Of His Earliest Influences Were British Blues Artists

Unlike many modern blues guitarists, Joe Bonamassa was influenced by British and Irish blues artists. He listened to albums like  “The Beano Album” by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, “Goodbye” by Cream and “Irish Tour ‘74” by Rory Gallagher. He also said that “Texas Flood” by Stevie Ray Vaughan had a big influence on him when he was young.

Joe has also said he was influenced by Jethro Tull as well as Paul Kossoff, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Martin Barre, Mick Abrahams and Rory Gallagher.

He Played Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Stratocaster

At his show at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in October 2011, Joe Bonamassa got to play Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Stratocaster for his first three songs; A cover of Rory’s song “Cradle Rock”, a cover of Gary Moore’s “Midnight Blues” and one of Joe’s songs “When The Fire Hits The Sea”.

Joe’s then girlfriend Sandi Thom is friends with Rory’s brother Dónal and she arranged for the guitar to be brought to the show and loaned to Joe for both of his shows. Joe said of the guitar,

My head was rushing, Rory played a bunch of guitars in his time, but the ’61 is the guitar. There is no other. When it came out of the gig bag, I was floored. There I was, looking at a piece of history.

Joe Bonamassa

SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Rory Gallagher Use?

He Auditioned For UFO 

When he was 18 Joe Bonamassa went to Pete Way’s house in Columbus, Ohio to audition for the position of guitarist with the band UFO. Joe said,

I auditioned for UFO when I was 18 years old, ultimately it came down to me and Vinnie Moore. And Vinnie Moore is much better suited for that gig than I would’ve been at 18 years old. And he still has that gig. I auditioned at Pete Way’s house in Columbus, Ohio and they liked my tone, they liked my take on Rock Bottom, but I looked like Opie Taylor with a Flying V. It wasn’t quite the image they were looking for at the time.

Joe Bonamassa

He’s Impressed With Many Modern Blues Artists

Joe Bonamassa said in a recent interview that he’s not worried about the future of the blues genre in fact he said,

Gary Clark Jr. is doing good, Derek [Trucks] and Susan [Tedeschi] are doing good. There’s a kid named Marcus King that’s kicking some (@##*) at the moment. I think he really represents what the future looks like. There’s a lot of people participating.

Joe Bonamassa

SEE ALSO: Interesting Facts About Marcus King

Do You Know Any More?

That’s our 18 impressive facts about Joe Bonamassa you didn’t know. Do you know any more? We’d love to hear them, please let us know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the name of Joe Bonamassa’s first band?

The first band that Joe Bonamassa formed was called “Smokin’ Joe Bonamassa, they gigged all around Western New York and Pennsylvania but only at weekends because he had school during the week. He was 12 years old at the time.

Which famous blues artist took Joe Bonamassa on tour with him when Joe was 12 years old?

The famous blues artist that took Joe Bonamassa on tour with him when Joe was 12 years old was B.B king. Joe toured with B.B King for around 20 shows in 1989.

What was the name of the band whose members were Waylon Krieger, Berry Oakley jr., Erin Davis, Aaron Hagar, Lou Segreti and Joe Bonamassa?

The name of the band whose members were Waylon Krieger, Berry Oakley jr., Erin Davis, Aaron Hagar, Lou Segreti and Joe Bonamassa is “Bloodline”

Where was Joe Bonamassa born?

Joe Bonamassa was born in New Hartford, New York, USA and grew up in Utica, New York.

Which track from Joe Bonamassa’s debut album, “A New Day Yesterday” features Gregg Allman?

The track from Joe Bonamassa’s debut album, “A New Day Yesterday” That features Gregg Allman on vocals and organ is “If Heartaches Were Nickels”.

Which Joe Bonamassa song contains the lines “There’s a train that’s runnin’ and I’m tied to the tracks, the things you say it’s too late to take them back.”?

The Joe Bonamassa song that contains the lines “There’s a train that’s runnin’ and I’m tied to the tracks, the things you say it’s too late to take them back.” is “So It’s Like That” which is taken from the album of the same name.

Did Joe Bonamassa play Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Stratocaster at two shows in 2011?

Joe Bonamassa did play Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Stratocaster at two shows in 2011 at London’s Hammersmith Apollo.

Which female singer did Joe Bonamassa team up with on the album “Black Coffee”?

The female singer that Joe Bonamassa teamed up with on the album “Black Coffee” is Beth Hart.

What is the name of the Supergroup formed in 2009 which includes Joe Bonamassa on guitar?

The name of the Supergroup formed in 2009 which includes Joe Bonamassa on guitar is “Black Country Communion”.

What is the name of the jazz-funk band that Joe Bonamassa is a member of?

The name of the jazz-funk band that Joe Bonamassa is a member of is “Rock Candy Funk Party”. The band was formed in 2009 by drummer Tal Bergman and guitarist Ron DeJesus.

Which American TV show did Joe Bonamassa appear on in August 2021?

The American TV show that Joe Bonamassa appeared on in August 2021 was “To Tell The Truth”.

Which Joe Bonamassa song contains the lines”Mayday, Mayday I’ve been shot down over stormy sea”?

The Joe Bonamassa song that contains the lines”Mayday, Mayday I’ve been shot down over stormy sea” is “Sloe Gin” which is taken from the album of the same name.

Which Joe Bonamassa album topped the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart in 2007?

The Joe Bonamassa album that topped the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart in 2007 is “Sloe Gin” which was released on August 21st 2007.

What is the title of the solo album Joe Bonamassa released in 2020?

The solo album that Joe Bonamassa released in 2020 was “Royal Tea”.

Where was Joe Bonamassa performing when he dueted with Eric Clapton?

Joe Bonamassa was performing at The Royal Albert Hall when he dueted with Eric Clapton.

Which band or artist associated with Joe Bonamassa released an album in 2015 titled “Groove Is King”?

In 2015 the band associated with Joe Bonamassa that released the album “Groove Is King” is “Rock Candy Funk Party”.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *