headshot-on-white-1-smallJoe Beier got his start with a guitar, some lessons from his Dad, and a Fisher Price tape recorder. The life that followed has shaped itself around his passion for creating and performing music, from honing his guitar technique at McNally Smith College of Music to producing music for himself and others in his studio.  He has played in multiple bands, performed across Europe, and has opened for a number of high profile acts.

One piano lesson at age five was enough for Joe because the two note assignment was too simple and he wanted to move faster.  “The teacher wanted me to play back and forth between C and C sharp,” says Joe.  “I thought that was way too boring, so I never went back for another lesson.” Instead, he went on to learn songs on the piano by ear such as Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, and lots of his uncle’s music.

By age eight his dad was teaching him guitar technique and songs by Peter, Paul, and Mary and The Kingston Trio. Within the following year, he proceeded to record all the songs he could think of on his sister’s Fisher Price tape recorder. “I can remember my family making a lot of racket while I was trying to get a good, quiet recording. It got really frustrating and I had to do multiple takes until I got one without banging noises in it. I used a Washburn acoustic guitar my parents bought for me.”

The 1996 G3 concert with Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani was a turning point toward electric guitar. “I had never really been to a rock concert before nor had I ever seen any great guitarists. That night lit a fire in me to learn how to play an electric guitar. I have fond memories of that show.” Shorty after that night, Joe bought his first electric guitar—a G&L S-500.

By the Christmas of 1999, Joe was recording all the instrumentation on a nine song instrumental CD using his dad’s Tascam Portastudio 244. “I found every musical instrument in my house and included it in that album—guitars, piano, a Roland D-50, my saxophone, and a really crappy drum set a family friend had given to me. The bass was my guitar octaved down with a modeling amp. Mixing on a 4-track was difficult with all my instrumentation because I had to bounce several tracks to a single track multiple times to fit everything in the song. We didn’t have a digital camera back then to shoot the cover so my brother used our camcorder to take a still shot of me, and we got that into the computer with a cable to make the cover photo. Things have come a long way since then!”

While studying guitar in college, Joe began to play with an eighties show band to begin his professional music career. Through the next several years, his name got around, and he started to get more calls to play with numerous groups in the Minneapolis area. “Music quickly became my only source of income, and that added an interesting dynamic to my life,” says Joe. “I worked every single Friday and Saturday night for years, so I didn’t get to go out with my friends on weekends, and I missed lots of family events.” Despite those downsides, working on the weekends allowed Joe to have his weeks free to do what he is most passionate about—writing and recording his own music. “I didn’t have any recording gear, but I lived with a friend who was kind enough to let me use his equipment to record my demos.  I’m grateful for that.”
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In 2006, Joe began looking for a way to earn some more money so he could buy his own recording equipment. “I decided to flip a house in hopes of earning enough extra money to buy some high end recording equipment. I partnered with a friend and his buddy, and we bought a really nasty house in a great location that I lived in while we did the remodel. The only running water I had for two months was a hose out back, so it was a bit of a rough time. Luckily we sold the place right before the housing market really crashed, and we were able to make a little profit. I then got the studio equipment I needed to make professional sounding records.”

For the next couple years, Joe continued to write more music that would eventually end up on his self-titled debut album. “Many of the songs on the record were recorded by 2005, but the quality of the recordings was just not adequate to satisfy me,” says Joe.  “I continued to revise old versions of songs and to write new ones to give myself a list of songs to pick from that would fit on my first album.” Finally by early 2010 Joe was able to start recording the final versions of songs for his first album. “I am most passionate about creating art that hopefully will entertain, calm, evoke emotion, and bring joy and laughter to people.”

Joe draws musical inspiration from a variety of sources: life situations, the artists he looks up to, or simply the process of picking up a guitar and letting a melody or riff present itself.  “Not every song has a particular, deep meaning,” says Joe. “Sometimes while writing, I may get inspired to take the song over the top and see how wild I can make it. I also like to explore while writing to see if I can get back from a crazy place and return to the theme I was at. I hope the humor, fun, and adventure in my music come through to the listener. I don’t always take my songs as seriously as one might expect—especially the goofier or ultra dramatic ones. I do, however, take my craft and career seriously, which I hope will be evident in the music.”

During the summer of 2011, Joe began working on his second solo album–a Christmas album titled In The Light–which was released on November 23, 2011. The album features Joe’s original arrangements of popular Christmas songs along with his soulful guitar playing. “I believe memorable melodies are part of the key to good music, and they are my favorite part of music. There are many great Christmas songs with catchy melodies, and many people enjoy them–including me! That is why I made a Christmas album.”

The next couple years included another home remodel, building an ever-growing catalog of original music, and the the start of a new original rock project called BEIER–a duo project with Joe’s uncle. “BEIER began with casual jam sessions in my basement when my uncle was in town from Boston. We quickly realized how much fun we have writing music together and we decided to make a complete rock album.” Their debut album, Think Twice, was released June 9, 2017.