Joe Mizzi
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Joe Mizzi

Band Rock Acoustic


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Stumped - Ten Ninety (Self Released)
This is Unity Music - Common Rider (Hopeless Records)



I fucking hate writing about myself, but here goes. I spent my younger years in a blue-collar town in Southeastern Michigan called Allen Park. When I was 7, my family moved to Livonia, another suburb of Detroit. I went to college for two years at Eastern Michigan University and for a semester made the debate over whether or not to pursue a Music degree or a Computer Science degree. Ultimately, I decided on music, but I was already becoming discouraged with the University music scene. After two years at Eastern, I was accepted at Michigan State University as a Music Composition major. I thought a new school would ease some of my growing disappointment with the University music setting, but it didn’t. I started playing a lot more guitar and practicing anything classical much much less. By the time I was 21, I was playing much bigger gigs than I ever thought I would with my band “Ten Ninety.”

For a short time, I considered dropping out of Michigan State, but stuck it out and finished all my coursework. During the early part of 2002, I moved back to the Detroit suburbs, and continued working for CompUSA, where I had worked through most of college. That spring, I went with a friend of mine in Detroit to record backing vocal tracks for the then new Common Rider record, a band fronted by Jesse Michaels of Operation Ivy fame, an idol of mine growing up. During the recording sessions, Jesse expressed interest in my vocal stylings and inquired about my interest in playing guitar on the road. I was shocked, baffled, befuddled, etc… After pushing through the summer at CompUSA and getting mixed messages from Jesse about their pending tour, in August I got an e-mail from Jesse asking me to come to Indiana to start practicing for the upcoming tour. I only had two weeks before I had to be in Indiana for practice. I told my boss the same day and was gone from CompUSA within the week. By the end of August, I was playing for a band with a history of members that included members of Operation Ivy, Screeching Weesel, and Green Day with a slew of guest appearances on the newest recording including members of one of my favorite bands at the time, The Alkaline Trio.

Jesse came to Livonia to teach me some of the songs, and I played the last gig with the full lineup of my band Ten Ninety at the State Theatre in Downtown Detroit. I spent three months on the road with Common Rider playing with a slew of great bands including The Lawrence Arms, The International Noise Conspiracy, The Donnas, Bouncing Souls, Jimmy Eat World, Hot Hot Heat, and many more. The tour was an amazing experience but was extremely taxing mentally and physically.

When I got home, the world seemed like a much different place. I took a job teaching music at the studio that I took lessons at as a kid, and spent the next couple of years trying to figure it all out. I played music periodically and recorded a few demos, but was having problems finding direction.

The early part of 2005 brought about one of the hardest periods of my life that I can remember. My fiance and I started having hard times once planning a wedding and moving in together came into the picture. In the spring of 2005, she moved out of our apartment, and I thought my world had come to an end. The next couple of years of my life, I pushed farther and farther away from music, only playing in a cover band called “That 90s Band.” However, I consider myself a late bloomer in regards to adulthood because in many ways, this is the period of my life where I started taking my life into my own hands. I became much more aware politically, and found myself much farther to the left of the spectrum than I grew up thinking I was. I had always been left socially, and had cast my first vote in 2004 for John Kerry, but didn’t really pay attention to much else until this time. My parents, being on the right, have never quite understood this. After mulling around and bouncing from one short relationship to another, I decided it was time to find some new scenery. I had been visiting Chicago for years, and loved the city, so I packed my bags, and headed to Chicago with plans to go to school and start a career in the non-profit world.

Two years later, I’m a working stiff battling between what I want to do and what I have to do to pay the bills, but finding myself once again drawn to writing and performing.