Joe Sib (SideOneDummy Records / Stand Up Comedian)

Joe Sib

SideOneDummy Records / Stand Up Comedian - Joe Sib

  • April 12, 2022
  • via Phone
  • Matt Horowitz
  • SideOneDummy Records / Dry Bar Comedy

Joe Sib once famously claimed his vocabulary only consisted of seven words: “dude, bro, stoked, fuck yeah…” but I can attest Joe Sib knows far more than just seven words; trust me, he talked my ear off for almost a half-hour about a month ago! Sib is one of the co-founders of iconic Punk label SideOneDummy Records and helped sign everyone from Flogging Molly to Kill Your Idols. Sib was the front man for Front Line/Frontline, Lifeline, WAX with Loomis Fall (Jackass, CKY, Wildboyz) and 22 Jacks along with members of The Adolescents, The Breeders, No Use for A Name, Weezer, Joyride, Goldfinger, and Face to Face. Sib has been doing stand-up comedy since the dissolution of 22 Jacks and recently wrapped up a month-long stint serving as opener for Lars Frederickson‘s To Victory Tour. 

Joe & I have had all intentions of conducting an interview together since the top of 2022, but life happened, and one fateful night, it finally worked out. We finally managed to get on the phone before Joe & Lars’ April 26th show at Baltimore’s famed Ottobar. We covered everything from how he got into doing stand-up to what’s coming out next on SideOneDummy Records.

Joe Sib has a new 30-minute special coming out this summer on Dry Bar Comedy. Sib is actively doing stand-up gigs with dates to be found at his official website. Lars Frederickson & Joe Sib plan to announce more tour dates together scheduled for this October/November. This interview was conducted via phone, recorded, and later transcribed. It has been lightly edited for general clarity.

Joe SibHow and why did you decide to transition from playing in Punk/Hardcore bands, such as 22Jacks, WAX, Front Line/Frontline, Lifeline and co-founding SideOneDummy Records to doing stand-up comedy in recent years?

Joe Sib: The main reason that I got into doing stand-up was that I wanted to find out a way to get back on stage. When 22Jacks ended, that was the last band I was in playing music, and at that moment, I was like: well, you know what, a lot of the people that are my friends, my peers, you know, Joey [Cape] from Lagwagon and people like Chuck Ragan [Hot Water Music] and people like that that were in different bands and they all took out the acoustic guitar and started playing acoustic guitar and started their new projects and I realized that wasn’t gonna be the case for me.

You know, one, I’m not that good of a guitar player AT ALL and, two, it just didn’t feel like it would be the right platform for me or what I wanted to do. When I was a singer in a band, I really loved the idea of being on stage with a whole group of people. So, comedy, spoken word, and story-telling was just the best outlet for me to give it a shot and see if something like that would work.

Wow, that’s wild! So, how long were you in bands for, then, actively?

Sib: I mean, I was in bands from the time I was 15 until 22Jacks ended and that was… I was 33 years old.

Yeah, I’ve seen some pictures of you with liberty spikes and Mohawks and all that. That’s crazy! Who are some of the bands and artists you’ve been fortunate enough to serve as an “opening act” for doing your stand-up comedy routines?

Sib: Well, I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to open for different people. As far as music goes, you know, I was part of the opening act for Metallica. So, that was amazing!

As a comic, getting the chance to open up for Jim Breuer… I’ve opened up for Jim Breuer for the last three years. He’s a comic that is one of the most under-rated comedians out there. People really put him in a level up there will Bill Burr and Dave Chappelle and all those comedians. He’s really looked upon as one of those comics at that level. So, to get to watch him work has been amazing. Getting to tour with him has been amazing.

And, then, I would say as far as just opening for different comics, I’ve got to open for everyone from Eric Griffin to Jim Breuer and the best thing about comedy is a lot of times you’re on bills and shows with other comics that you admire; whether it’s Patton Oswald or someone like Whitney Cummings. I’ve been really fortunate to be on shows with those comics at those levels. You could be doing a show at The Improv in Hollywood and it could be six or seven different comedians. So, you get the opportunity to perform with a lot of different people. Whereas, when you’re in a band, you’re not necessarily opening up for that many bands in one night. With comedy, you get a lot of opportunity to perform with a lot of different people. I would say getting to be a part of that opening act for Jim with Metallica was definitely a huge, huge… that was one of the greatest parts of touring and being a part of any on-the-road touring thing I’ve done, that was definitely it.

What do you think makes it so “easy” going from playing Punk & Hardcore music to doing comedy? Like, do they kinda work hand-in-hand or why was it so “easy” for you?

Sib: Well… it definitely wasn’t “easy” because, you know, I’ve been doing stand-up for 12 years. With stand-up, there’s a lot of process that goes into getting “good” because you have to do it so much.

I’ve been doing stand-up every week for the last 12 years. You have to do it so much; that’s the thing. You can’t stay good at being a comedian and you can’t expect to get good unless you really give it your all and really hand over the time and the effort because if you try to just phone it in, like, “OK, I’m gonna do a little bit of comedy here and there,” you won’t be good. So, to get good at stand-up, you have to be doing it all the time. And for me, when I get into something, I really get into it. So when I started doing stand-up for the last 12 years, my goal from the beginning was to be good enough that when people saw me, if I was on a bill with other comedians, I would be just as good and be able to get by with getting laughs. I didn’t wanna be the guy that people would go, “oh, gosh, that guy’s not that good,” you know, “and you can tell he hasn’t been doing it.”

It really comes down to you putting in the time and doing all that. To go from a singer in a band to doing comedy, the only similarity and the only thing I felt that was useful was just the fact that when I was a singer in a band, I was on stage. So, I knew how to carry myself on stage. I had that confidence of knowing how to go out in front of people and do something that is out-of-the-box. I just didn’t have the material and getting the material, that’s the thing that happens over the years.

Joe Sib & Lars FrederiksenHow long have you known Lars Frederickson (Rancid, Lars Frederickson & The Bastards, Old Firm Casuals) and when did your working relationship start?

Sib: I’ve known Lars since we were kids. His brother and I both went to high school [together] and Lars is about three years younger than me. So, I’ve known him since I was, probably, gosh, 16 and he was 15,14, 13-years-old. Full circle! Full circle!!!

How does it feel to have been hand-selected as one of the openers for Lars Frederickson’s first proper solo tour behind his recent To Victory EP?

Sib: Lars has always been a great friend and he’s been so supportive of any band I was ever in. So, when I was in WAX, Rancid was super-super-supportive of WAX. When I was in 22Jacks, he was super-supportive of that. When I started doing comedy, he was one of the first guys that was supportive of what I was doing. And he came up with this idea about two years ago – before The Pandemic.

We were supposed to do it before The Pandemic. He’s like, “hey, I have this idea where I want you to do stand-up comedy and, then, I wanna play music afterwards and I’d love you to do it.” And we just kept going back-and-forth about it and he stuck to it. And when it was able to happen, we ended up doing it. And it’s been great! I feel super-grateful to have had that relationship with Lars for as long as we’ve had. It really has been working, like, people are really into it.

Last night, we were in Pittsburgh and the night before, Detroit, night before, Chicago and people are comin’ out early and they’re into it. They’re at the shows and I feel that what kinda happened during The Pandemic is everyone watched so many Netflix comedy specials that they really got into stand-up. So, I feel fortunate that I’m getting to do stand-up and people are understanding what I’m doing. And they’re ready for it, you know, they’re respecting a comic. So, it works really well!

Joe Sib ImprovWhere have yourself and Lars Frederickson been, so far, on the To Victory Tour and what has it been like touring together?

Sib: Well, first of all, it’s been great touring together. That’s been super-fun getting to see a friend that you’ve known your whole life every night. It’s been great. So far we’ve been in Arizona. Santa Ana, California, Oakland, California, San Diego, and, then, we came into Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburg. And tonight is… tonight, we are in Baltimore. We do about 10 days on, and, then, we take two weeks off, 10 days on. It works out perfect! 

Would you care to give us a little taste of what your stand-up set for your forthcoming trek with Lars might include? What kind of jokes are you telling, what’s your routine about currently?

Sib: I mean, the thing that’s great about going out and doing these shows with Lars is I get to talk about a lotta stuff that I normally wouldn’t talk about. And I would say my stand-up is all about my life; my stand-up’s about being a dad, my stand-up’s about being a father of a 17-year-old and a 21-year-old in the world that we’re living in. So, there’s a lot of comedy that comes out of that. And I would say on this particular tour with Lars, is I’m also able to talk about growing up in the Punk Rock scene and in the Punk Rock world that we all grew up in and share some stories about different bands, whether it be Social Distortion or The Ramones. And, you know, sharing those kind of stories where I normally wouldn’t do that in my set in a comedy club. So, it works really well. It’s fun to be able to do it. It’s like knowing Italian and, then, you go to an Italian restaurant here in America and you’re like, “oh, wow, I can speak Italian to everyone.” It feels like that, like this particular night’s a special night and we all share a lot of love and we all share the same common bond for Punk Rock and at these shows, I’m able to talk about that. It’s been great doing it, it’s been a lotta fun.

Do you have any immediate plans to record and release a follow-up to your 2017 comedy album, Nowhere Near The Top?

Sib: As of now, I got a special coming out on Dry Bar Comedy. It’s a label out of Salt Lake City and I recorded a 30-minute special that comes out at the end of this summer. So, that’s the next thing that gets released.

In addition to running SideOneDummy Records, touring the nation doing your stand-up comedy act, and being a dad… I know this may sound a bit silly… but do you have any aspirations to get back into recording, making, and releasing your own music ever?

Sib: You know, every once in a while, like, whenever I listen to The Bouncing Souls, I’m always like, ‘I wanna be in a band again.” And, then, by the time I’m done listening to The Bouncing Souls, I’m like, “I don’t wanna be in a band.” So, I don’t know. Every once in a while, the idea kinda goes through my brain. I’m not saying that I don’t wanna be in a band, but I’m also, you know, I’ll be honest, no one’s given me a call sayin’, “hey, dude, let’s jam.” I haven’t gotten a phone call from anyone to be a singer of their band. If I get a call from someone to sing for their band, I might do it.

You’ve gotta call The Bouncing Souls, it sounds like…

Sib: Haha, yeah, me and Greg [Attonito] can do it together. I love The Bouncing Souls. They just put me in a good mood.

Joe Sib StandupWhat are a few of your personal favorite releases from across SideOneDummy Records’ 27-year (and counting!) catalog and why for each?

Sib: Wow, I mean, honestly, that’s such a hard question because I love ‘em all. I wouldn’t have put ‘em out or had something to do with putting ‘em out unless I loved ‘em. I love every record we put out.

Sure, different bands, I had different relationships with. Some, you know, some stronger… but you know, I just like every release on SideOne. I’m so proud of every record I ever had anything to do with. It was a honor to put out. I don’t have one specific “favorite record.” I really love ‘em all in their unique way and I love all the people that were a part of ‘em. And I feel super-blessed that I had those relationships and that those people allowed my partner, Bill [Armstrong], and I to put those records out and it was great. I don’t have a “favorite record;” I love Flogging Molly as much as I love Gaslight [Anthem.] I love Gaslight Anthem as much as, you know KILL YOUR IDOLS. I love KILL YOUR IDOLS as much as I love 7Seconds. I love 7Seconds as much as I love Gogol Bordello. I just, I love ‘em all!

So, to kinds go off that last question: what do you think are some of the most slept-on/under-appreciated records you guys dropped on SideOneDummy over the years? What do you think needs to get more listens, shine, more attention?

Sib: Oh, you know, I’m a fan of it all, but there’s bands, like The Briggs. There’s bands, like D.C.R., Go Betty Go. You know, some of those bands, I think should all be re-visited. Great bands, great records.

What are some of the greatest, most long-lasting lessons you learned while managing Pressure 4-5, The Mighty Mighty BossToneS & MxPx between 2001-05?

Sib: I never managed MxPx; that was one thing, like, I never managed them. The only bands, I ever manager were – like you said, Mighty Mighty BossToneS & Pressure 4-5. Love those bands. You know, managing a band, it’s different than putting the record out. When you’re managing the band, you’re really a part of helping the vision of what the band wants to do come out. And I love managing bands. I really love that part of the business. I love working with bands that way.  I think the biggest take-away, you know, I don’t know… I wouldn’t say there was a take-away from managing bands. I would just say I always enjoyed managing bands and it’s a different muscle you’re working when you’re managing a band, [as] opposed to just being the label putting the record out.

I could only imagine! How do you feel about The Mighty Might BossToneS breaking up after all these years? I was definitely a sad day for Punk Rock, but I guess they had a good run.

Sib: Yeah, whatever a band of that caliber, that level, stops, it’s always sad. I was around when The Ramones called it a day… but we have their music to listen to and it never really goes away and that’s one of the best things about recordings.  

And I guess most bands don’t break up forever these days…

Sib: You can only hope!

Who would you readily cite as some of your favorite comedians and greatest sources of inspiration and influence on your style and delivery as a comic?

Joe Sib Sib: Definitely Greg Giraldo, love Greg Giraldo. I love the way he delivers his material. He was super-super-smart and I love that. I grew up with the comics that I loved as a kid: Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy. You know, those two were the people that I really loved. And I would also say Brian Regan. I love Bill Burr. Obviously, you know, I’m a huge fan of Jim Breuer… uh, who else? Dave Chappelle and, then, you know, there’s other comics, like Taylor Tomilson. I love her. Whitney Cummings, love her. Iliza Shlesinger, I like her. Who else? I would say, there’s a lot of those comics right there that I really admire. I love their material and I love how they’re always cranking out material. Especially, Taylor. I love Mark Normand. I like Mark Normand a lot. I’m trying to think who else… Helen Hong. Just a lotta great comics! Obviously, I grew up in that era, but Richard Pryor was definitely the comic that I could listen to… Redd Foxx. You know, obviously, George Carlin, as well.

Which band(s) or artist(s) are you most proud you were about to discover, find, etc. and sign to SideOneDummy Records?

Sib: All of them!

What’s next for SideOneDummy Records? What can long-time fans and supporters expect to see and hear from the beloved label this year?

Sib: Uh, Plasma Canvas’ new record and a new band called CLIFFDIVER.

And that’s really all I’ve got, Joe…

Sib: Awesome! I can’t believe we did it, Matt! We did it!

Anything I may have missed or you might wanna mention?

Sib: Nah, man… you killed it, bro! I loved it!

Thank you! I did my research the best I could. I tried to cover all the bases.

Sib: See, and I could tell you, it turned out soooo much better because, if I would’ve had to type it, I never would have given you the answers that you got!

Well, now, I’ve gotta type it… so, we’ll see how long it takes.

Sib: I KNOW! I KNOW, that’s the best part about it… dude, that’s the best part! Ha!

Check out Joe Sib’s Youtube Channel here.