Joie Calio

Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Artist

Joie Calio is a Seattle based musician, singer, songwriter, and artist. He is a founding member of the Los Angeles based alt-rock trio dada, the two-man blues-rock band 7Horse, and has released several solo recordings.  









Photo: Kit Love Robertson



Joie Calio is an American musician-singer-songwriter born in San Francisco, CA presently living in Seattle, WA. He is best known as co-founder of Los Angeles based Alternative Rock trio dada and one-half of the two-man rock band 7Horse. Dada released 7 records from 1992-2006 including Puzzle produced by Ken Scott which included the Alt Rock hit “Dizz Knee Land”. Dada toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe throughout the 90's opening for Sting, Crowded House, Depeche Mode as well as headlining their own tours. Dada continues to tour and has a large and loyal fan base. 7Horse has released 3 records, the first (released in 2011) Let the 7Horse Run includes the song "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" which is featured in the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street. 7Horse has toured the U.S. opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd as well as headlining club dates.

Early life

Joie Calio was raised in Los Gatos and Saratoga in the late 60's and early 70's. He began playing bass and guitar at 13 years of age and joined his first band playing bass at 14. He frequently went to San Francisco's famed Winterland Ballroom where some of the world's best touring musical acts of the day were playing. After spending his teenage years in various cover bands playing bass and singing, he moved to Los Angeles at age 20 where he played in several original bands including a short stint on bass guitar with Knack frontman Doug Fieger’s solo band Taking Chances.

The mid-late 80's in Los Angeles

After spending time in a few short lived L.A. bands of various genres (Power Pop- Rockabilly- Mersey Beat- Rock 'n Roll), Calio reconnected with his musician friend from high school Michael Gurley. Gurley invited him to audition for his band Louis and Clark which included Louis Gutierrez, formerly of The Three O’Clock. He joined the band which lasted about a year, long enough to sign a deal with Posh Boy Records and release the EP Hollywood Capacity Maximum, which contained their version of The Bangles’ hit “Walking Down Your Street”, co-written by Gutierrez and Susanna Hoffs with producer David Kahne. After Louis and Clark disbanded, Calio and Gurley decided to become songwriting partners and spent the following year working on their writing skills, putting the idea of forming a new band on hold. Around the same time, Calio landed a job at Geffen Records working in the mailroom which would prove to be instrumental in helping his musical career.

Forming Dada

After focusing a year's worth of effort with Gurley solely on songwriting, the two felt they had reached a point where they could put a band together. At the same time they were offered an opening slot for local favorite's Mary’s Danish, (Louis Gutierrez's latest band), which they played as an acoustic duo. That performance led to other local gigs. The shows served a dual purpose; as they worked on new material they were also auditioning local drummers. Also at that time they began sending song demos to various record company A&R executives and music industry lawyers in Los Angeles under the name dada. Calio suggested the name, inspired by an art installation of early 20th Century German Expressionism at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that featured Dada artist's work. During a gig at the small Hollywood coffee shop Highland Grounds, famed British record producer Ken Scott (Beatles, Bowie) saw the duo play and offered up a demo deal that eventually led to the band getting signed to I.R.S. Records, with Ken Scott producing. It was around this time that Calio got a lead on an L.A. based drummer (from a friend at Geffen Records) named Phil Leavitt. The three got together at a Hollywood rehearsal studio and immediately hit it off. Although Leavitt at the time was committed to another band, he soon became a member of the now three-man band dada.

Dada in the 90's

After signing with I.R.S. Records in 1991 dada (usually but not always lower case spelling) released their first record Puzzle in 1992. The first single "Dizz Knee Land" was an Alternative Rock hit reaching #2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, #5 for 3 weeks on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, #27 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and reached #9 on Radio and Records' New Rock charts. "Dizz Knee Land" was in heavy rotation on many major Alternative rock radio stations across the United States, including KROQ in Los Angeles, WXRT in Chicago, and KTCL in Denver. "Dizz Knee Land" is included on the Album Billboard Top Modern Rock Tracks 1992 . They released a video for “Dizz Knee Land” which debuted on MTV’s 120 Minutes Show 11/29/1992 hosted that week by Suzanne Vega. Two other singles were subsequently released, the fan favorite "Dim" which hit #24 on Billboard's Alternative chart and “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”, which also had a video that was played on MTV. The album Puzzle reached #111 on the Billboard Top 200. On January 12, 1993 Dada performed live on The Arsenio Hall Show. Dada toured constantly from the end of summer 1992 through the fall of 1993. In addition to headlining club gigs, the band opened in the U.S. for Material Issue and Izze Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. Dada also toured internationally, opening for Sting’s tour in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, for a U.K. Crowded House tour, and opening shows in Portugal for Depeche Mode. In 1994 they recorded and released American Highway Flower produced by Jason Corsaro with dada co-producing. The single "All I Am" reached #27 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts and the album American Highway Flower peaked at #178 on the Top 200 chart. They performed "All I Am" on The Jon Stewart Show that same year. 1995 dada wrote, recorded (and produced with Steve Tyrell) the original song “I’m Feeling Nothing” for the feature film The Brady Bunch Movie. "I'm Feeling Nothing" (which was written, recorded, and mastered in three days) is featured in the opening scenes of the movie. In 1996, they released their third and final record for I.R.S. Records El Subliminoso produced by dada with Scott Gordon and Adam Weiner. The album was notably mixed by Tom Lord-Alge. While on tour in the U.S. dada received notice that their record company I.R.S. was going out of business. In 1998 dada signed a new record deal with MCA Records and released their self titled fourth studio record, produced by Danny Kortchmar with dada. The album hit #32 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Dada supported the release with a U.S. tour. Dada was asked to sing on Ringo Starr’s solo record Vertical Man at The Village Recorders where they sang back-up vocals along with many other musical notables including his bandmate from his early days in L.A. Doug Fieger.

A New Century

At the end of the fourth dada album tour the band took a break from recording and playing live. During this time Calio moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, WA where he worked as an A&R scout for MCA. He wrote a novel titled You Can't Hear It But You Know It's There, chronicling the stories of his youth and how he got started in music. Calio signed a publishing deal with EMI (his second with the publishing giant) and started working with various producers on demos, including a session with Portland based producer Rob Daiker (Dan Reed Network) which got the attention of MCA Records, but not before a major shake-up at the label killed any chance for a deal. In 2001 engineer Neil King (who worked on the dada record recorded at The Village Studios) connected him with the owner of In The Pocket Studio Gregory A. Haldan. Calio began writing and recording a new batch of songs that would become his first solo record The Complications of Glitter, released in 2003 and co-produced by Haldan. in late 2002 dada played their first live show of the new century and began to put the wheels in motion for the next few years of touring and recording. In 2003 dada released Live: Official Bootleg (Vol. 1) and started touring in the U.S. In 2004 they released a fifth studio record How To Be Found (composed of songs left-over from the MCA recording sessions in 1998) and continued touring in the States on and off through the following year. 2006 brought the band back into the studio and saw the release of the first new recordings from dada since Dada. A Friend of Pat Robertson (a 5 song EP) featured two songs produced by Jeff Trott (best known for performing, writing, and producing with Sheryl Crow). In 2007 Calio got word that a U.K. record label Baria Records had heard the solo songs recorded with Rob Daiker (demos for MCA), and was interested in releasing a full album of songs with the same sound. These sessions had a decidedly more edgy Power-Pop sound than his first solo recordings, due to the guitar style of Daiker who played most of the electric guitar on the album. In 2008 Calio released his second solo record under the moniker X Levitation Cult titled Happiness In Hell. In 2010 Calio recorded his third solo record Black Art of Blue (again at In the Pocket Studio), produced by Calio, Gregory A. Haldan, and Jon Chi. This record was different sounding than his previous efforts having a more stripped-down feel with Blues and Alt Rock elements, paving the way to the sound of his next musical project 7Horse.


2010 saw dada back in the recording studio, this time with Scott Gordon handling production duties at his studio in Los Angeles. These recording sessions stalled when complications regarding band member schedules became an issue. After taking a short break so producer Gordon could finish recording music for the television show Criminal Minds, Gordon suggested Calio and dada drummer Leavitt use the left over dada recording time to work on the side-project idea the two had been kicking around. They came in with a batch of rough ideas and started to record what would become the first 7Horse record Let the 7Horse Run. A second recording session at In the Pocket Studio finished work on the LP. 0n 11/11/11 the first 7Horse record was released (produced by Scott Gordon, Gregory A. Haldan, and Jon Chi) and the new two-man rock band started a U.S. tour. In 2013 dada toured the U.S. in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the release of their first album, with 7Horse opening the show. In July of 2013 7Horse received an email from the offices of Martin Scorsese stating that he wanted to use the 7Horse song "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" from their first album Let the 7Horse Run for his upcoming movie The Wolf of Wall Street. The song was used for a movie trailer and was included on the movie soundtrack released by Universal Music Group. When Leonardo DiCaprio won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for Musical or Comedy in 2013 he walked to the stage to "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker". 7Horse landed a licensing deal with Third Side Music, a Canadian sync Licensing and Music Copyright/Admin. Co. 2014 7Horse released their second record Songs for a Voodoo Wedding (produced by 7Horse with Gregory A. Haldan) which was followed by a U.S. tour opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd and a short run opening for Whisky Myers. In 2015 7Horse recorded their third studio album Livin' In a Bitch of a World (produced by 7Horse with Gregory A. Haldan and Jon Chi) which was released the following year. In 2016 7Horse toured, both playing their own shows in the spring and later opening for Canadian rockers The Trews. In 2017 dada toured the U.S. for their 25th Anniversary with 7Horse on the bill. 7Horse started writing, immediately after touring, for their 4th record in the fall and winter of 2017. In early 2018 they hired 4 time Grammy Award winner Dave Way to produce, engineer, and mix the new record. Summer 2018 7Horse opened for Nashville swamp-rock power-trio The Cadillac Three. In August 2018 they recorded a rock version of Johnny Cash’s “Man In Black” and released it as a single in the fall. The fourth 7Horse LP SUPERFECTA released December 2018.

Other notables

  • Played an extra musician in the audition scene for the movie Back to the Future 1985

  • Played bass for Joe Cocker on MTV New Years Eve 1987

  • Sang the National Anthem with dada for MLB S.F. Giants at Candlestick Park 1993

  • Asked by Absolut Vodka to produce an original art piece based on the famous bottle for a special musicians only magazine spread in Rolling Stone called Absolut Artists which also featured Tony Bennet, Notorious B.I.G., Rob Zombie, and Iggy Pop. Calio's piece is titled "Absolute DADA". All the art was auctioned off for charity in NYC at The Hard Rock Cafe with Jon Stewart hosting 1995

  • Sang back-up vocals on the Ringo Starr record Vertical Man on the track "La De Da" 1997

  • Sang the National Anthem at MCI Center (now The Verizon Center) for NHL Washington Capitols 1998


                                                    Photo: Jim Pollock