til tuesday

I had always wondered whatever happened to Joey after he left Til Tuesday. After Aimee, Robert was the most visible ex-member with Ultra Blue. Inspite of reading the Boston Phoenix every week and casually keeping up with the local scene, at that time to me, Joey seemed to just melt away quite mysteriously. Now however with the internet at hand and a few leads, I am finally able to shed some light on whatever happened to Joey Pesce!

There are two articles here and here which explain that Joey played on and off in a number of different bands as well as going solo and pursuing a career as a sculptor. An excerpt from the Herald article from 2004 explains:

A few lyrically haunting, subtly intricate songs into his solo acoustic set at the Lizard Lounge early Monday evening, Joey Pesce pauses to marvel that he spent the day carving a turtle shell. The contrast of day and night jobs is especially strking if you picture a big, goofy 3-foot-by-3-foot contraption designed for a child to crawl inside, one of a pair of turtle shells he's building on assignment for an interactive installation at the Winston-Salem Children's Museum.

To his friends and fellow musicians in the audience at this evening's Soul Low performance, Pesce's artistic intensity and self- effacing, guileless good nature are a well-known paradox. The former keyboardist for the '80s pop band 'Til Tuesday - who is Cary Grant-handsome but is more comfortable aping Jerry Lewis - has a habit of defying expectations. To our ears, he's evolved into a more compelling songwriter than his old bandmate, Aimee Mann, but he'd likely turn a few shades of red at the compliment. Basically, he's a nice Italian Catholic boy from New Jersey, with an extraordinary range of talent.

Pesce, who is a classically trained pianist with a degree from Berklee, has begun to allow the soaring complexities of classical composition to infiltrate his Nick Drake-inclined rock songwriting. The set builds to a stunning climax as the songs become more vivid and dense, without sacrificing their natural, alluring grooves. He's picked up more than guitar (now his instrument of choice), along with the artistic confidence that is a reward of getting older, since his new wave days.

When his son was an infant, too easily awakened by the sound of music, Pesce started teaching himself how to sculpt in clay and wood. With no formal artistic background, he has become an accomplished artist, working in media from marble to metal. His freelance work includes commercial jobs through Foam Props, for which he's made crafted codfish and Buddha figures for local restaurants, as well as a friendly green beast for Monster.com. He also works as a technician for the art conservator Rika Smith-McNalley, restoring and maintaining such works as the Samuel Adams statue at Faneuil Hall. But his original artwork is even more impressive, particularly his fluid, elongated wooden sculptures, which draw on the religious iconography of his background. Taking in the visual impact and technical execution of his artwork, it would seem impossible that Pesce picked this up through trial and error, guided by tips from books and the Internet.

Pesce at one point also performed with a group called "The Family Jewels" and a sometime group that was a gathering of friends called "Los Ritardos" and "The Lodge". One of the members of these informal gigs is Gabrielle Riley who says of the music and performance on her website:

"As no family seemed to present itself to me, and feeling at a complete loss as to my reason for existing, just in the nick of time, my old buddy Clark Goodpaster, and Joey Pesce (ex-til Tuesday), and I began hanging out together on Monday evenings. We call ourselves ‘THE LODGE’. We play a little music, wrote a few tunes, but mostly we talk about the sick state of the world, drInk whisky, pizza, and groove on each other’s company. It Is an incredibly healing experience, and so when the time came that I was ready to, needed to perform again, I was ready. "

You can see a lot of Joey's sculpture and recent work on his website here. Foam Props also has photos of his work on their website.

More to come!

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