Backstage News, Front Row Pics

FlashWounds Interview: Get to Know 7Horse’s Joie Calio

Joie at rehearsal, photo by Jim Pollock

Joie at rehearsal, photo by Jim Pollock


We introduced you to 7Horse back in May and thought that it would be great to get to know a little bit more about the band, this time in their own words.  Joie was brave enough to take us up on the offer of an interview and we’re very glad to now be able to share it with you.  When you’re done reading what Joie has to say, make sure to check out the band’s sites and their music.





Mr. Keith Richards himself

Keith Richards

FW: Which group or artist would you personally like to induct into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?  And if you were to earn the honor of being inducted next year, whom would you want to induct you?

JC:  I notice that Eric Clapton is in on his own but not Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. Both are massively influential outside of their groups and deserve individual recognition, as does Clapton. I would also say Sonny Boy Willimson ~ one listen to Bring It On Home at volume and you will see why.  Of course I would be honored to ever be considered for such an esteemed award ~ and  Keith Richards would be my choice to bring 7Horse up to the podium.


What’s the strangest gift any fan has given…or tried to give…you?

A matchbook full of long used fingernails with a different picture of me on each one.

joie photo_2Which do you find more difficult/intimidating ~ performing for a comparatively small audience (especially one that you know includes family and/or friends) in a more intimate venue or for a huge [faceless/anonymous] crowd at an enormous stadium?

I guess smaller is harder than bigger. But some small crowds can be great. Too large is tough to get everyone’s attention but it’s fun to try.


Do you have a collection of vinyl or cassettes?  If you have vinyl, which is your most cherished album?

I always hated cassettes. I do have some vinyl 12″ and 7″. Probably my original The Rolling Stones 7″ picture sleeve of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” on Decca is one of my favorites. Have some cool 12″ including Billy J. Kramer, Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.

If you ever decided to do an entire album of covers, which songs would make the cut?

“Train Kept a Rollin” (Johnny Burnette), “Before You Accuse Me (Bo Diddley),” “Baby Please Don’t Go” (Them), “Little Red Riding Hood” (Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs), “Sweet Little Rock ‘n Roller” (Rod Stewart), “On The Road Again” (Canned Heat), “Branded Man” (Merle Haggard)

Any musically inclined siblings?

7H-My siblings are all much smarter than me but I got the music gene. My father and grandfather both had musical talent. My mother had the art gene. I got a nice blend of the two. Don’t have a great grasp on quantum physics though. 

Do the two of you in the band have nicknames for each other?

They’re top secret. 

Are there any causes/organizations that are particularly close to your heart that you would encourage the public to support?

There are so many great causes but I am partial to fighting cancer and hunger.

Do you [pardon the phrase] have the balls to do what the Red Hot Chili Peppers did and perform wearing just tube socks?  And if your answer is yes, are you willing to have your photo taken in those “outfits” and shown to FlashWounds’ readers?

It doesn’t necessarily take “balls” per se, but it’s been done now and is sort of their trade mark. We took a chance and gave ourselves over to the fantastically imaginative Portland artist/photographer Smith Eliot for the cover art and package of our new record Songs For a Voodoo Wedding. We let it all go and when she said, “Take it off,” we went with it and showed a little skin. I love how it all turned out. Not quite Chili Pepper-esque, but it’s not like anyone else’s cover either. 

7 Horse album

Is either of you or Phil [Leavitt, the other half of the 7 Horse duo] a true foodie?

Phil is the foodie ~ I’m the wino. He was the first person I knew that watched the Food channel. He knows what he’s talking about re the culinary arts. 


What’s the one local place ~ restaurant, dive, pool hall, tattoo parlor, etc. ~ that you HAVE to visit ever time you’re back home in LA?

While the band is an LA band and I spent quite a few years in Hollywood, etc., I now live in Seattle. But I have to say I miss a lot of the restaurants in LA, and I crave Poquito Mas burritos whenever we are rehearsing! Love Sonny’s Hideaway as well ~ super cool bar.  


Are there any younger bands out there that you’ve sort of taken under your wing?

Not exactly, but we just met a very cool sort of modern Rock-a-billy brother and sister duo in VA named Hunter Wolfe & ARE  that I really liked and will be keeping my eye on.

Joie and Phil looking quite  dapper

Joie and Phil looking quite dapper

How difficult was it to come up with the names for your albums ~ Let the 7Horse Run and Songs for a Voodoo Wedding?

Both titles were easy for us. Let The 7Horse Run is a song Phil came up with and the title just seemed right for the record as well. Songs For a Voodoo Wedding came about at a cocktail party conversation post New Orleans Voodoo wedding. We were at the home of the happy voodoo-couple and I think I said those words, during a well-inebriated conversation, in response to a description of their wedding day. It kind of magically appeared, we all liked it as a record title, and we took it, thank you very much!

When you see a band that was huge in, say, the 80s, and that you really loved, make a bid for a comeback today, do you hope they’ll have kept their original style/playlist or do you want to see more mature band with new material?

That is an interesting question. I would have to ask what is the point of “coming back” if not to represent the sound and spirit of the original band? If the members want to come back and do something different and new- change the name and all new ideas are free to exist on their own and not get caught up in so much comparison of the past. Having said that bands who take the time to make good music should do, say, and call it whatever the hell they want. 

You’ve played all over the world in all sort of venues ~ assuming you got the chance to spend any time exploring the various countries you toured, was there one that struck some sort of deeper chord (no pun intended, I’m not that clever) with you than the others? 

I’ve been lucky enough to travel with bands into lots of great countries. I love traveling through Europe and have had great times throughout. Playing clubs that The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, and The Who played back in the day as well as ancient Coliseums in France and Portugal. But for me, nothing beats Italy.

Joie and Phile at rehearsal, photo by Jim Pollack

Joie and Phil at rehearsal, photo by Jim Pollack

Thoughts on musicians who can play their instruments really well and know how to break down/assemble their own drums, replace their own strings, etc., but always seem to rely on the one tech whiz in the band to deal with all the rest of the technical elements? Maybe advice for fledgling bands on the importance of knowing how to use/fix/read at least a good portion of the equipment the band uses?

The way I see it, if everyone actually does know all the things there are to know about their own instrument, that would be amazing! I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a band where everyone does know everything. That’s just not how it is for some musicians ~ some amazingly talented musicians by the way. In 7Horse, it’s pretty easy ~ I’m a guitar nerd and Phil is a percussion expert — done. But I don’t think either one of us is particularly gifted at FOH mixing.

Most important lesson you’ve learned from being in the music industry?

The incredible power that music has to touch people’s hearts and minds all over the world.

Where you all come from, musically speaking?  Have you both been musicians since you were kids?  Did you take lessons or are you self-taught?

We love all styles of music but at the core it’s really about classic Rock ‘n Roll, Blues, and vintage Country. Both of us started when we were about 6 years old.  Speaking for myself, I am both self taught and have taken lessons. I first started on drums at age 6 taking a few lessons at school. Then I started bass and guitar at age 13. I took bass lessons but taught myself out of a chord book how to play basic guitar chords. In recent years, I focused in on finger style guitar as well as slide guitar playing.

Horse for movieYour song Meth Lab Zoso Sticker was featured in The Wolf of Wall Street last year; if you could choose another soundtrack and film to be involved with, which would you choose?

The next Scorsese film ~  any song.

Any friendly sports team allegiance rivalries within the band?

SF Giants vs. LA Dodgers.

Is the music industry what you thought it would be when you were still a young band looking in from the outside?

No. No kid could have any idea of what the music business is really about. When you’re a kid it’s all about fantasy. In fact this is a tough and very cruel business that will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not prepared. It’s hard work, hard work, then more hard work. But if you love it, there’s nothing like it. 


Here's a sneak peek at the new 7Horse video for Flying High with No ID

Still from the new 7Horse video for “Flying High (with No ID)”

 Watch the official video for “Flying High (With No ID)” here.

Songs come to me in both ways. Sometimes it’s a riff. Sometimes a lyric. It’s important to LET everything come to you and not to create rules that will block what is right there in front if you. People like to tell you how to write music ~ but too much input into HOW can kill your flow. You must become a lightning rod ~ it’s always coming to you. It takes a while to get there but that’s when you start getting your best stuff I think. Be free.

Better to burn out than fade away?


Any last words for our readers?

Thanks, FlashWounds!


Joie, the pleasure was ours ~ thank you so much for your time!


7 Horse logo


7Horse is Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio; the duo recently release their sophomore album Songs For A Voodoo Wedding.

Grab some cool tunes from 7Horse here.  

Check for upcoming 7Horse shows here.

One Comment

  1. Fabulous interview!
    Love 7HORSE!