The JoCaine Interview - He’s a Tight End & the Girls Love it

In other words…. Bend Over & Hike the Damn Ball

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature,   From Issue 709   By: Robert 'Bo' White

12th August, 2010     0

JoCaine is a nickname that Joe Binki earned while he played tight end for his high school football team. He blew in like a Hurricane and wreaked havoc on the hapless defenders. He was already a legend when he quit football and switched to a music career.

So JoCaine is the alter ego of Joe Binki - it’s a “brand” that so many bands work tirelessly to achieve whether it is Alice Cooper or Kid Rock.  JoCaine is no slouch in the marketing department. He knows what he’s doing and he’s taking his time cultivating a vast fan base across Michigan. His music is variously described as country, country rock, southern rock and country rap. His vast influences run from Johnny Cash and George Jones to LL Cool J and Run-DMC.  This cat can do it all. He just needs to find an opening and run with the ball.

As a former Hazel Park footballer JoCaine is no slouch in the muscle-man department. At 6’4” and 245lbs he cuts a striking figure – a real man. He’s intimidating to people like me – you know, the pale white, shriveled up and emaciated girly man guy. I look at JoCaine, and then look in the mirror and I feel SO inadequate… I’m like Danny Devito to his Arnold Schwarzenegger. Damn… I gotta think of ten man words real quick. Hmm…pizza, beer, sports, beer, pizza. I got nothing, gimme some testosterone. Please.

All grousing aside this cat writes some great music. Check out Hillbilly Chick or Back Roads or even his hard rocking cover of Alice Cooper’s Be My Lover and you’ll know what I mean. Some call his music C-RAP, that is, Country Rap. Sure he does a bit of that – it’s the influence of his pals Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker.  But I see JoCaine as pure country with a capital ROCK. This guy can riff like the Deadstring Brothers doin’ the Faces and bring it home like Merle Haggard.

JoCaine is performing a shoehorn gig @ White’s Bar, squeezing it between gigs in Arkansas and Gaylord. He’s opening for country stars John Michael Montgomery, Eric Church and Keith Anderson @ DTE and other cool spots. JoCaine is rubbing shoulders with some of the top names in the BIZ and he’s poised for stardom. Come see him in person and learn the gospel.

Review: Welcome to Saginaw. I’ve listened to your CDs Piggy Back Ride and Can’t You Smell What’s Cookin’ and I have to say they are a sonic wonder, a full bodied blast of sound and energy that is at once unique and familiar. Who produced the discs? How much did he influence your sound?

Jocaine: I really didn’t get influenced by anyone when I was writing Piggy Back Ride. I had a big attitude back then - that was in 2000 when I started writing PBR, then released it in 2002.  I still think that CD could have been a platinum record if it got in the right hands.  I matured a lot with my writing and was sick of rap and that whole country rap thing or whatever you wanna call it. I started writing Can’t You Smell What’s Cooking!  I had Uncle Kracker lend his voice to a song called “Neck of the Woods” and Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet band played on a song called Under Privileged Baby.  Now I’m finishing a new CD called “Hellbilly Buffet” - I’m serving up a little bit of something for everyone. Summer Nights is on the new up and coming CD, which should be released, in mid-to-late August. It is available now on itunes.com/jocaine so everyone out there go and download it for .99 cents.

Review: The country/rapper persona is compelling. But I have to say you are a great singer first and a rapper second (unlike rappers who can rap but can’t sing like Kanye or Jay Z). How do you see yourself -  rapper or singer?

Jocaine: I hope a singer!  I know I’m not the best out there but I write all my own material and with the help of my band we put on one hell of a show and party.  I know we can stand on stage and hold our own with the biggest in the business.

Review: How would you describe your music? 

Jocaine: I think its homegrown music, things I’ve been through or someone out there has been through.  I write love songs… things that guys are afraid to say or feel, but don’t get it twisted - this boy knows how to throw a party and I have songs about drinking, late nights, and early mornings.  For an artist to say he has one hit song is an accomplishment. I feel I have a lot of radio hits and songs the people, fans, and friends can relate to.

Review: The members of your band are monster players. The guitarist is fluid and can bend and squeeze them notes like he’s making mad passionate love and the rhythm section is in the pocket superb. Where did you find them? How much do they contribute to your sound? the songs? 

Jocaine: Guys that played on the songs are absolutely awesome. My band can hold its own with anyone in the business. I can truly say we have an all-star team on that stage of professional players.  If you you’re reading this now, catch a show and see for yourself.

Review. There are a lot of great country bands in Detroit like the Forbes Brothers, Scarlet Oaks, the Deadstring Brothers, and Whitey Morgan. Are you close to any of your Detroit comrades?

Jocaine: Ya know, we’re all in the same business we all know of each other and yes I’ve played with everyone in Detroit and surrounding areas.  You hit it on the head - yes there’s a lot of undiscovered talent here in Michigan.  You don’t have to be from the south to write hit songs.

Review: Did anyone help you develop your unique perspective and musical vision? 

Jocaine: Ya know don’t wanna sound cliché but my mom and dad have always been musically inclined.  I’ve sung Motown since I was a little guy.  My dad taught me guitar at 7 or 8ish.  I’ve always loved music.  I love writing and having that vision before the songs done.  I can see it and hear it before I even record it. 

Review: I enjoyed your cover of Alice Cooper’s Be My Lover. Why did you pick that one?

Jocaine: We actually had permission to cover that song.   They loved the way we did it live and we rolled with it.  I love the part “I told her that I came from Detroit City” best part of song. This song seams to get the crowd going.  It’s not a country song but people love it.

Review: You are part of a long tradition of blue collar, high-energy rock & roll Detroit dreamers and misfits from Jack Scott and Mack Vickery and The Driving Band to Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, Kid Rock and Eminem. How do you see yourself in that historical lineage?

Jocaine: Up there with the best of them.  I deserve it, worked very hard, and so has my band and our supporters that helped me get as far as I have.   We have a huge Caine Family of hard workers, true friends and fans that helped this Caine train along.  Yes we’ve fell off track a few times but we always seem to get on track again and keep the fire stoked.   I truly believe a great song will stand on its own two feet and I’ve got a few, it’s up to the people to help spread the word

Review: You lived in Nashville for a time. Was the musical establishment helpful? Receptive? 

Jocaine: Nashville - ya know, the cab drivers are all waiting for their lucky break - to be a star - the cooks, the garbage men, grocery store clerks etc. There is a lot of great talent down there but only a few are built for this business - the few that will stand out, on stage, and writing.  I’m very thankful I had the chance to get down there and live, to see what it was all about, but my home is Detroit and I can live here and still handle what I have to handle.  I’m a proud Michigan boy and wanna be another great artist from Detroit to put us on the map with yet another top notch artist.   Nashville is wonderful but I like our summer nights better and Michigan is absolutely beautiful.

Review: There are quite a few people in Michigan who are saying that you are on the brink of stardom. How do you see your career at this point?

Jocaine: If I had a penny for every time I heard that I’d be one rich dude. I’ve been dubbed the “Next big thing” - “The next star out of Detroit” and so on.  Hey I’m pushing my ass off and trying to get this music in the right hands.  It takes that one person to take the chance on me, someone with some cash, or that name and pull, it takes that one Program director or Jock to start spinning a tune.  I’m a humble bro – you’ll still catch me in that corner bar knocking a few back and I’m approachable. I’m always ready to do a little bs’n and drinking, so you let me know.

Review: Why haven’t you gotten your lucky break? 

Jocaine: Who knows?  it is what it is.  I’m still in the game with the bat in hand so I’m not planning on quitting anytime soon.  Hey if everyone that’s reading this article actually takes a few minutes to head over to itunes.com/jocaine and pick up some songs I’d be doing alright.  

Review: Any last comments?

Jocaine: Ya know I have to thank everyone out there that truly support and believe in me, my music, and my band.  I won’t forget ya or let ya down.  It does take you guys the fans and friends to push this music down people’s throats for us.  I try to take the time to always answer everyone or take the time after shows to hang and BS a little.  One thing I do know, I’ll be the same person you see now whether I’m playing a corner bar or an arena.  Listen to the words in my songs - it’s all the truth.   I hope you guys hear that and pass it on.  I hope that I’m what you are listening to at them summer bra’s and panties parties.  Send me a message at facebook.com/jocainemusic

It’s part of a game an artist must play - to be marketed as a brand and lose your identity. At times Joe must wonder about JoCaine and how a nickname informs his sense “I” instead of “me”. The enigma that is JoCaine is a bit like John Lennon’s  central  dialectic in I Am the Walrus  (done in country rap style); PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM-BOOM, PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM, PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM-BOOM…EE-ee, EE-ee…EE-ee; I am – EE-ee-EE-ee, he as you are me,  EE-ee-EE-ee-EE-ee, and we are, PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM, PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM-BOOM, PHOOM-cha-cha-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM.  EXAMPLE  ___ EE-ee-EE-ee, all together, y’all.

Alright – I know. I suck at onomatopoeia.

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