We had the good fortune of connecting with Joey Gutos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joey, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
Your goals don’t care about your feelings. This is my favorite quote as of late. On the surface it sounds a little harsh – and it kind of is – but I don’t think lasting quotes typically make you feel like life is perfect. I like the quotes that give me strength when life hits me in the gut, and as an artist who’s industry is largely built upon emotions and feelings, I have to remind myself of this one on a daily basis. Early this morning before I woke up, I had a dream where a close friend of mine asked me what I wanted to accomplish this year. I went into a grandiose explanation of it all, to which he replied “well, you aren’t going to make it happen sleeping in,” and I immediately woke up. I realized I had stopped my alarm and fallen back asleep, probably on the premise of “just five more minutes.” This is where it all starts. I feel tired, so I’m going to sleep in. Now I’m running a behind on my day, so I feel like I need to skip my morning journal. I feel a bit sore from yesterday’s workout, so I’m not going to do my morning workout. I don’t feel like eating a healthy breakfast, so I’m just going to hit a greasy drive-through… You get the picture and we’ve all been there. We’ve all been there in those times where instead of facing negative feelings with the courage that we would overcome them, we let them take control of our entire day, or turn away, thinking we can outrun them. The mindset that this quote helps me to harness is taking that gut checks with the acceptance that there’s nothing I could do about it in the moment, then following it up with the confidence that I’ll find a way persevere. Feelings matter – particularly how we face them. Being in control of how we handle our emotions and feelings is a lifelong craft that we must continuously hone in order to live our best lives. Because at the end of the day, our goals don’t care about our feelings.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make art for the generation that’s next in line to make things happen for the world. For people on the tight rope of their lives trying not to pay too much attention to what may happen if they fall. For people who are trying to hone their BS filters so they aren’t lead off course by the shouting and the screaming. For the people who want so badly to get to a place where they’re able to appreciate all the beauty of this world. For people who want to feel that their time here meant something, amongst so many people who don’t even believe that meaning exists. For people who have tried filling the void inside of themselves with so many things that never last, but aren’t afraid to keep searching. For the people who still don’t understand parts of their being but are ready to face what stands in the way. For people who are tired of making futile attempts to escape and instead are ready to face what is HERE, NOW. For people who know they aren’t perfect, but at times just need some reassurance that they aren’t alone in their faults. For people who have been scarred and are trying to trust their external and internal worlds again. For people who are up for a good ride. As long as my vision remains true, nothing will ever be easy, but nothing will ever keep me down.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to the Salt River for an afternoon of fly fishing, kayaking or tubing. There’s nothing like being in those canyons and gliding past a family of wild horses, catching a trout, or sipping a cold beer with nothing but the sound of cool water rolling by… Getting back to the city, we’d grab dinner at Pier 54 to watch the sunset next to the lake and by night, we’d be heading to downtown Phoenix for first Fridays (post you-know-what). We’d pop into Last Exit, Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar for some live music and end the night getting food and a whiskey flight at Seamus McCaffrey’s.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
From the start, my parents have nurtured and encouraged what drew my attention in as much as they possibly could. Painting and acting were initially my artistic outlets of choice, until one year we bought a tape recorder for my Dad to use for ideas (he’s a writer and a poet). Of course I ended up getting my hands on it and he never saw it again. I started writing songs and melodies for instruments that I would just record with my voice and they knew I needed to start playing an instrument to get my ideas out in a more effective way. I just didn’t know which instrument would be the right fit until I heard “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin on the radio for the first time and it felt like a bolt of lightning hit me. I’d never heard anything like it before and soon after that moment, my parents bought me my first guitar and I quickly developed a lifelong friendship. Bob Hermes was the next person who I owe so much to as my guitar/music teacher during the seminal years of my musical adolescence. In middle school, music was my new religion and Bob was my mentor who pushed me to be a better guitarist, songwriter and singer and to own as much of my artistic destiny as possible. Also in the context of music, I owe gratitude to Patrick Cunningham of AZ Music Project, who helped me discover my voice and my confidence as a frontman during my first few years performing live with Sunset Voodoo. I’m still uncovering new things about my voice thanks to the sonic palette of possibilities that Patrick gave to me. As an entrepreneur and lifelong student, I owe a huge shoutout to Arizona State University for opening the floodgates of my potential and giving me an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and progress. It gave me praise when I needed it, kicked my ass when I needed it and launched me off that springboard into the real world. Last but certainly not least, to all my friends and collaborators who have shown me so much love and inspired me to see beauty in the world, even through the bleakest of times. For this past year, direct shoutouts go to The Ryan King, Esteban Obregon, Bob Rabbit of Echo Coffee, Anthony Brant of Highland Recorders and above all, my girlfriend Jordan Ruditys (AKA Jordini) who has believed in me since the beginning.
Dylan Harris (profile picture looking at camera resting on guitar) Esteban Obregon (all pictures except live venue shot with purple light) Elaine Campbell (live venue shot with purple light)