The Circus of Fun album drops Aug. 1 and is a follow-up to the Average Joes’ debut Play that Disco, a finalist in this year’s Na Hoku Hanohano “Rock Album Of The Year” category.
With no live shows booked in 2020, guitarist Ryan Sabate and bassist Scott Sayers began writing a follow-up record at the end of last year. By March 2021, they had 15-20 rough demos to work with for The Circus Of Fun. The album’s title is a catchphrase given by fans who describe their shows as being fun and high-energy. The band decided to make it a semi-conceptual record where all the song titles will be “circus” themed, not necessarily about circus things, but have some circus-related lines in all the songs. The new 12-track album also includes one bonus track.
Ryan Sabate is the primary songwriter for the band, and plays guitars, drums, keyboards, and sings while handling bass. Both members collaborated on lyrics. “We recorded the album the same way we did Play That Disco… over the internet, in our own homes, and sending tracks back and forth,” recalls Sabate. Sabate would write and record nearly completed demos and Sayers would then lay down his bass parts and suggest edits if needed. All the songs were engineered, mixed, and mastered by Sabate.
The title track “The Circus Of Fun” is about Average Joe’s shows being fun, high energy, and about politics on the music scene here on the Big Island. The song features the band’s roadie and security guy Kevin Sabate as the “ringmaster” in the intro. It is a unique, fun, and funky rocker with an ‘80s rock feel.
Other highlights on the album are “Cotton Candy” a song about life-long best friends. “Come One Come All” is a tune about coming to Average Joe’s shows and having a good time. “Tight rope” is a song about taking risks and dealing with consequences later.
“Cannonball” is about how the band feels after putting their 100% energy on stage and feeling beat up the day after the show. The bonus track is called “Perfect,” a tribute to Sayer’s parents whom he lost in 2020.
The album is heavily influenced by the style of guitarist Ritchie Kotzen and the 80s era rock. “We feel this album is a more focused and an overall better record than the previous album,” add Sabate.
The Average Joes are out playing live shows again along with new drummer Chris Randahl (aka “Randalite”) and guest vocalist Marcie Dasalla.