How did you get started in music?
I was writing songs before I bought my first guitar at the age of 13. With two older siblings who were totally into Top40 (Rock ‘n Roll), I was influenced by the beat (music) before any of my friends. I’d fall asleep with a big transistor radio (the size of a shoe box) under my pillow and hear music as far away as Windsor, Canada on CKLW. I knew there was a whole world of music waiting to be discovered and made out there. My parents loved music from Big Bands to Sinatra, from Mario Lanza-Student Prince to Gospel and Polkas. We were always listening to different kinds of music growing up.
Who were your influences?
All styles and genres of music swayed me, some more than others. I believe they all have something to offer. To say I’m just a Beatles fan or a Ventures fan or Led Zepplin fan, etc., wouldn’t be fair to all the different kinds of music I listen to—Jazz, Blues, Rock, Rock-a-Billy, Country, Big Band, etc. Each type of music has credited me with a variety of sounds. If I had to mention people in general who influenced me, it would be ALL the great musicians I had the privilege to work, watch, and play with in the last 50 years. I’ve learned a lot from them all.
How do you describe your style?
I try to incite, sway, impel, and stir.
Style? Hmmm. I voraciously attack my guitar and vocals, whether it’s a blistering, rockin’ song or a sweet ballad. Raw. Broad. Progressive. It has to be an eclectic sound of motion and music. Keep what works and disregard what doesn’t.
What is your favorite part of performing?
I'm the type of guy who likes to work a crowd. I love everything about performing. Beyond the smiles, the audience's body language gets to me. Whether it's their obvious enthusiasm by groovin' to the music, or their subtle awareness of a tune with swaying while socializing, being in that music moment with an audience is rewarding, and when they sing along with some of my originals, it’s extremely exciting!
What is something surprising about you?
A lot of people don’t know that I’m a professional actor. They have seen me on commercials, print work in magazines and billboards, television shows and movies, and have not known it was me, even when I was sitting right next to them.
DUKES & PEARLS
Group members: Joe Krowka (Guitar/Vocals), Tammy Value (Violin/Vocals), Cliff Killion (Guitar/Vocals), Maggie Dahlberg (Stand-Up Bass/Vocals), Danny Mayor (Drums)
How the group originated: Joe, Cliff, and Danny had already played together, and when their most recent band, the Blue Lincolns, went on hiatus, they asked another local musician, Tammy Value, to join them for a St. Paddy's Day gig in March 2015. Maggie soon joined the group, and DUKES & PEARLS was born.
Style: DUKES & PEARLS is a hot, exciting band that meshes the sounds of Rock-a-Billy, Country, Modern Retro Twang, Contemporary, and Good Ol' Rock 'n' Roll. Original songs are blended in with standards for a variety of grassroots music.