A Tropical Music Escape with Joe Moorhead

I received an email recently from a lady named Karla with a link to a video  she thought we might be interested in. The fresh island sound caught my attention and I quickly started singing along with the catchy lyrics “It’s a bad day in the islands”, bad day in the islands today, bad day in islands….today.” What the heck? A bad day in the islands? I began to wonder where this musician was going with the lyrics as the video played on and and as I watched, I began to spot some familiar places – Ivan’s, Foxy’s, White Bay and Saba Rock…

I emailed Karla to find out more about the band, the music and the video locations and found out a lot more. Joe Moorhead, who hails from the decidedly un-tropical city of Cleveland, has been around for a while and has amassed some serious fun loving music fans through his very busy tour schedule, his unique – but a bit Jack Johnson-ish sound and his original tropically flavored songs. Sounded like a great story for our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession”  Series, so we sent him some more interview questions.

Check out the video for Bad Day yourself and see what locations you can spot – then read more about Joe Moorhead and his band in our interview below.

1. Can you give us a little background about yourself such as where are you from and when started getting interested in music?
I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  Music has been a part of my life since I can remember.  Listening to music started as a hobby with my Dad sharing the music of his days.  That hobby has followed me all my life.

2. What is your musical background and are there other musicians that have been an inspiration to you? 

Growing up, I took guitar lessons as a teen.  I never looked at the guitar as something I would pursue professionally until I was in my early twenties.  I had written some songs and friends started to push me to record a demo.  After playing a few gigs and recording a demo, I fell in love with the business of music.  I have never looked back since.


3. Coming from Ohio, where does your island vibe come from? Where do you get the inspiration for your music?

Most people laugh when I tell them I grew up around Cleveland, Ohio as my music portrays “island living”.  I have spent a lot of time in the Caribbean islands and have traveled to island destinations across the world.  There is no place I have found as beautiful as the USVI and BVI.  That is were I truly get inspired and where I write most of the my music.


4. I love the video for both Bad Day and Ukalayme and see that some of the footage was shot on Jost Van Dyke and possibly Saba Rock?? Can you tell us more about the shoot locations and why you picked them?

Ukalayme was made from footage and pictures I had from years of traveling around the islands.  The “Bad Day” video was a more produced video.  After meeting the film director, Marcus Morelli, we talked about where we would travel to capture the story of the song “Bad Day”.  There was no question that we had to get down to the islands where the story had taken place.  We spent a week traveling the islands on my friend Brian’s boat.  We filmed on St. Thomas, St. John, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, etc.  Everytime we thought it was a “wrap” we found another location that we had to capture.  We really had no plan on exactly where we wanted to film, it all just came together as we bounced around the islands.


5. Is this a full time gig or do you do something else as well?
I feel very fortunate to say music is my only job.  The old saying, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is very true for me.  As music pays the bills, it also makes me happier then doing anything else.

6. Can you tell us about the rest of the band?

The band is more then just a group of musicians.  They are all family.  Jonny Morrow, lead guitar, has been my best friend since we were 10 years old.  Tyler Lovell, bass player, has been in the band since it’s start.  Justin Banks, drummer, is the newest member to the band but it feels like he has always been with us.  There is no hierarchy in this band.  Everyone has a voice and we make decisions as a whole on what are next steps are.  On top of that, there isn’t a group of people I would rather live in a bus with.

7. It looks like you’ve got a pretty extensive tour schedule. How many night a year are you on the road?
Our goal is to tour and spread the music.  We prefer to stay on the road as much as possible.  I couldn’t tell you how many dates we play a year because our tour schedule is always growing.  If we can get a gig we stay on the road.

8. Hopes for the future?
The only thing I can hope for the future is that we have the opportunity to still be playing music together as a band.  My dreams come true everyday I get to wake up and play music.  There isn’t much more I want than that.

9. What’s your favorite tropical destination and rum drink, or rum?
If I could be anywhere on this planet, it is Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, BVI, drinking a “pain killer” made with Pusser’s Rum.

10. What islands are on your must see list?
There is a group of British islands called Tristan Da Cunha.  They are considered the most remote islands in the world.  I would love to sail to them someday.  I guess the thought of that type of adventure is what intrigues me so much.

11. Is there anything else you’d like to let us know about you or your music?
We (the band) would just like to thank all our fans, friends, family, and Rum Therapy for the support. We all feel very lucky to have the opportunity to play music for a living.  We hope everyone enjoys our new album, Tides Are Rising, and the videos that we will be releasing this year.  Make sure to check out www.JoeMoorhead.com to see when we will be in a town near you.

Pictures courtesy of joemoorhead.com

Free download link for “Sunshine Driving”

Follow Joe on Facebook

Check out the tour schedule here


The video for Ukalayme by Joe Moorhead- recognize any of these spots?

Check out other posts in our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” series