Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show
Dark cabaret sensation, Mister Joe Black, takes time to discuss make-up, touring and being the king of Cabaret Noir…
You describe yourself as a ‘Real Life Disney villain’ and ‘Cartoon-Esque’ on your website, who was your earliest childhood influence?
I always loved villains from cartoons, their songs were always my favourites. The first villain I remember from anything… was the joker, I used to paint my face up like him and re-enact his death scene… From a very young age! I think everyone knew what I was going to turn out like….
Who amongst your contemporaries inspires you now?
I love singer songwriters… Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Tori Amos… that kind of thing, though content wise – the likes of Victoria Wood, The Tiger Lillies, Tom Lehrer! rude things.
Having had the pleasure of working with you a few weeks back, I got an up close and personal look at your stage make-up, it is wild! Tell me about it.
I love makeup!! I really get a kick out of how much you can change your face by using it a complete transformation is something that really appeals to me.
Do you have any backstage rituals you must perform before you take to the stage?
Lots of humming! I usually say the words to songs really quickly to go over them in my head, a few stretches… lots of gin or wine… I also stare at myself in the dressing room mirror, practicing faces! just to check what the nights make-up can do for expressions.
Tell me about your creative process, how does one of your songs get from the dark recesses of your brain to the spotlight of the stage?
Usually I will have one line, then build upon that. I write them like poems, then put music to them. I think I’ve only ever written one song that doesn’t have rhyme! Its an addiction.
What is your favourite song to cover at the moment?
Dolly Parton – Jolene.
No one expects it! Usually at the start, there’s laughter, then they realise that I am being completely serious… and often it will get the the biggest cheer of my sets.
You are about to embark on a tour with David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets. Tell me about it.
I’m very excited for it… very very excited! David J was one of the founding members of Bauhaus, who are widely considered to be the first ever Goth band! My 14 year old self is screaming in joy.
My present self is incredibly honoured and managing to keep all feelings contained. He’s a great person to be associated with… and I really think it will help spread the word about what I do.
You can catch Mister Joe Black all over the place!