Lead Guitar and Background Vocals
Hailing from the Toledo, Ohio area, Joe Swora joined Sunset Junkies in late 2008 as the band’s lead guitarist, and brought a new dynamic to the group. Raised in a family that listened to a variety of music that ranged from classical to jazz to classic rock, he was bitten by the reggae bug when he was 19. Joe’s eclectic style blends rock, reggae, blues, and funk, all tools that he deploys with the Junkies. Joe also provides background vocals on many songs.
“I arrived in Lima in 2006, and honestly couldn’t get much of a feel for the music scene,” he said. “I wanted to start playing, and I ended up playing a cover band called SOL (with fellow future Junkie Mike Rogers!), and after I left that group, I wanted to keep doing … something. I answered a Craigslist ad from the Junkies, had two great auditions, and as far as I know, I’m still auditioning 8 years later!”
Joe’s weapons of choice: “I roll with a Gibson SG as my main axe, an Epiphone Bob Marley Les Paul as my backup, and all-tube Orange amplifiers. My effects/floor rig consists of a Line 6 wireless unit, a Seymour Duncan boost, an MXR overdrive, Behringer reverb, and a Dunlop Crybaby wah.”
Five things to know about me
My dream instrument:
Either a 1959 Gibson Les Paul or a 1963 Gibson ES-335. Most guitarists would probably mention these too, so I’m not unique in that regard, but so much of my favorite music has been recorded with these two instruments. I’m especially thinking of Clapton, who played a ’63 335 during Cream’s farewell concert—still gives me goosebumps.
Song that has influenced me the most:
I have to go with Led Zep’s live version of “Dazed and Confused” from The Song Remains the Same. About 4 minutes and 30 seconds into it, when Page/God begins his first extended solo, is when the epiphany hit me to play guitar.
My dream venue to play at:
Too many to answer. Besides, each venue and gig is unique, and playing out is always fun.
The rock and roll artist I’d love to meet the most:
First answer is Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin—he’s the reason I picked up a guitar. Honorable mention to Michael Hampton from P-Funk, as well as Muddy Waters.
First song I learned to play:
It was “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen on just the low E string of the guitar. This was followed shortly by “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, again just on the same string, once I realized they were essentially the same thing.