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White Boys on Mopeds

By Staff | Jul 4, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Joe Holmes, circa 1971, playing guitar with a classmate in the gymnasium at Muncy High School.

BROOKLYN, NY-Music recorded nearly 40 years ago was recently made available to the general public, thanks to an area native.

“White Boys on Mopeds,” an album recorded in 1983, contains 14 songs and two bonus tracks written and performed by Joseph Holmes, formerly of Muncy and residing in Brooklyn for the last 20 years.

The album is available on Bandcamp, an online music company that allows artists to upload music and control its sale. In Holmes’ case, he opted to make the album free.

According to Joe, son of the late Delfred and Jean Holmes, all of the selections were written over a period of time, between 1968 and 1983. The musical influences drawn upon while a teen at Muncy High School reflect in the songs Holmes eventually recorded. Nuances of Lou Reed, James Taylor, Arlo Guthrie and Donovan filter through the tunes, taking its audience to a kinder and gentler musical era.

Performance art is something Holmes has always had an interest in. As a teen, he’d performed in high school dramas and musicals, and played guitar with a group of friends under the band names of ‘The Crab Society Band’ and ‘Ozone.’ When Holmes graduated in 1972, he set his sights on becoming an actor, but lasted only a college semester pursuing that focus. Dabbling in other vocations, Holmes eventually became a fine arts photographer based in New York. His photographs have been displayed in solo and group shows globally. Additionally, his prints remain in permanent museum collections in New York, St. Louis and Los Angeles.

During 1983, Holmes spent a week at a friend’s house in Rochester, NY, recording a batch of songs on a friend’s 4-track tape machine, performing all the vocals and instruments, with help on bass guitar from friend Don Yagel, also of Muncy. “After I recorded the last song, I never again wrote another,” he said.

White Boys on Mopeds was actually the second recording Holmes made. “A couple years earlier I recorded a dozen songs [at the same friend’s house] and titled the collection ‘The Blue Carpet,’ and gave cassette copies to friends and family,” he said. In the near future, Holmes also plans on releasing that album to download for free on Bandcamp.

The feedback he’s received with the release was unexpected. “It’s been really fun hearing people’s reactions,” Holmes said.

For more information, visit josephoholmes.bandcamp.com/