It's no surprise Joe picked up music. It started when he could barely talk. His parents, both musicians and music teachers, were the heart of a musical family with Joe and his older sister, Kathy. His mother eventually stopped teaching to take care of the family but continued in her love of music. Joe's father began teaching in 1959 and retired after teaching 30 years in the Madison High School. Most, if not all of Madison, know Joe Sr. ("Mr. A."), if not as a former student, then certainly by reputation.
In fact, Chad Ely was taught alto sax by Mr. A. in the ninth grade. Joe played tenor sax in Jazz Band during high school, but he would also occasionally pick up the school's baritone sax and fell in love. He told his dad, "This is the one I feel!" Joe says now, "It was like I met my girlfriend!"
He went into the corporate world and gave up playing for about ten years because of job changes and relocations. But, when he landed in West Palm Beach, he started up again on a borrowed baritone sax with the Community Concert Band, which was directed by his brother-in-law, a well-known band director in Florida.
More recently, on his return to Madison, Joe played with local rock bands, often with his dad in the audience and his dad's borrowed sax on stage. "Mr. A." a little concerned about his vintage Selmer sax in bars, told Joe to get his own instrument. He did, and now performs with one selected, tested, and approved by Ian Early of The Cherry Poppin Daddys.
Joe is amazed how life comes full circle: With The Explosion, he's playing with his dad's former students, his own friends from high school, and other great people whom he never would have met if not for the band.