When is enough enough? As we all have experienced on social media, people free of any filter can state outrageous, false, misleading, hurtful, and downright mean things with no fear of repercussions hidden behind a fake log in name. Well, Joe Bonamassa has had enough on Instagram. Around Thanksgiving of 2022 (late November) while getting ready to go onstage, Joe passed the time by perusing Instagram where he often interacted with the users. (Which is pretty cool!) What he saw were a series of insulting comments including one about how he looks and his receding hairline!
His reported response (by Ultimate Guitar) the next morning was:
“So, after sleeping on this I have come to a conclusion. Last night I allowed a few clowns @rich_tones being one of them to cause me to go onstage angry. That is not fair to you the fans.
Also, This isn’t what I signed up for 8 years ago. Social media has become such a distraction for me. This place feels like it has the maturity of high school and I fear I am gonna be provoked one day into saying something i might regret.
So I’m leaving this wonderful place to the influencers and good looking. Enjoy it before it destroys your soul. I will see you in real life somewhere down the road and in Riverside tonight.
Any posts on this page going forward will not be from me. Thanks for the 8 years. 😎👍”
As I stated when it happened to Adele on social media over her weight, I don’t care whether an artist is tall or short, big or small, what their sexual orientation is, their race, or where they are from. I judge a roadhouse blues artist on how their music impacts me personally. Do they bring passion to their vocal and stage performances, is the musicianship engaging, do the lyrics resonate with me now or from some point in my life to date? In short do they move me to sing, dance, sway to the beat in my chair, party, drink, smoke, or recall some event or time in my life? That is what great music does! It can change your life, your way of thinking, and, in very special cases, impact a generation of listeners.
It is unclear to me whether Joe’s announcement applies to only his interactions on Instagram or social media in general. I hope it is only Instagram. During the Covid lockdown, Joe did a series of social media interview shows that were very entertaining. Joe is a guitar nerd at heart and it was fun to watch him discuss guitars and amps, as well as music, with a stellar list of blues and rock stars. He doesn’t come across as a blues super star but as just a guy who loves music and enjoys what he does best.
Joe Bonamassa is without a doubt a superstar of contemporary blues rock. And he has largely done it his way. He doesn’t use promoters; he books his own concert venues, takes the risks, and reaps the rewards. He has his own record label and now has established another non profit label, Keep the Blues Alive, to help give opportunity and visibility to other lesser known stars of the blues.
Joe has also always had a large number of detractors. They say “he doesn’t have soul in his music”, “he really doesn’t play the blues”, “he doesn’t looks like a bluesman” and “he drives up the prices of collectible guitars because he buys so many”…..to highlight just a few. And, over the years, Joe Bonamassa has largely been ignored by the Grammy Awards (a couple of nominations) and the Blues Music Foundation (a couple of awards).
In spite of it all, Joe continues to turn out some stellar blues and blues rock music. He is giving back to the blues community through his support of the Blues In the Schools initiative and now the KTBA record label. But when it comes to social media, enough is enough. Can’t say that I blame him. When it impacts your on stage performance, it’s time to move on!
Let me know what you think in the comments section. Is Joe being thin skinned? What would you do as an artist in a similar situation?
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