RSR382 – Joe Armin – 4-Track Sessions, and Band Stories From the ’80s With Lij Shaw - Recording Studio Rockstars

RSR382 – Joe Armin – 4-Track Sessions, and Band Stories From the ’80s With Lij Shaw

Can you really get kicked off an island? Joe shared stories of early band memories with Lij Shaw, recording to a double cassette deck and microphone, capturing great drum, bass, and guitar sounds on a 4 track in a home studio and writing cool lyrics.

My guest today is Joe Armin, a drummer, guitarist, and songwriter and leader of the first band I ever got to play with in St Louis a college cover band called Ayatollah Joe And The Hostages.

“Joe grew up in Cincinnati, and started playing piano, drums and then guitar as a kid.  He started multitracking in his basement in 4th or 5th grade. Joe got addicted to playing in bands and recording one-off tunes. In college during the mid to late 80's at Washington University in St. Louis he played music in a handful of bands, one of his first that started doing paying gigs was a covers and originals 4-piece with yours truly, Elijah Shaw. 

Joe & Elijah got their first studio experience while taking a recording studio course together at college. Joe's focus quickly became writing originals. By senior year he was in a band, Dirt Cousin with friend David Gendelman, cowriting songs and starting to play dive bars and music clubs throughout the St. Louis area. 

After graduating then moving back and forth between San Francisco and St. Louis Joe finally settled in San Francisco for good in 1994 where he currently works as an architect, while still playing gigs and recording at home. He started recording with a handful of friends under the name, The Aerosols, self-releasing a self-titled CD in 1999.  The music was oftentimes noisy and spacey but pop was lurking in the darkness. 

It took several years for a band with a steady lineup to take form.  A trio version of The Aerosols played live in the San Francisco area and beyond from the mid-2000's until Joe's future wife, Amy Fowler joined in 2010, at first on keyboards, but eventually on second guitar and backing vocals also.  This 4-person lineup released an LP in 2014, Fake Mirror, containing angular psych songs which were less shy about embracing melody.  

Amy started her own 5-piece band, Latitude, in 2014 (with herself on guitar and vocals and with Joe on drums and backing vocals) Latitude has had a couple full-length releases, the latest, Mystic Hotline, coming out in 2020 on Emotional Response records.  Meanwhile during all this time The Aerosols have continued to play live and record.  They released their third full-length, the slightly more atmospheric LP, Room for Wrong, in late 2021.  Over the last 14 years Joe has recorded and mixed all of The Aerosols recordings at his and Amy's home studio, Boring Basement Studios, located in San Francisco.  He has also recently provided guest guitar tracks on recordings by James Goode and David Gendelman.  

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