International Guitar Month: JOE HOLMES

Joe Holmes

Born June 11th 1963 in New Jersey guitarist JOE HOLMES is best known for his 6 year run as the sideman of heavy metal icon OZZY OSBOURNE. What you may not know is that Joe recently experienced a resurgence to his career with his new band FARMIKOS. But more about FARMIKOS later. Let’s start at the beginning and travel the road with Joe that made him one of the best guitarists on the planet.

At a young age Joe and his family moved across country from New Jersey to California. As it turns out they couldn’t have made a better decision. In 1979 Joe began taking guitar lessons omaha at the MUSONIA SCHOOL OF MUSIC in Santa Monica, CA. His guitar teacher at the time would go on to be one of the greatest guitarist in rock history; the legendary RANDY RHOADS! In 1983 JOE HOLMES formed his first band called TERRIFF before leaving them in 1987 for a stint in LIZZY BORDEN. Joe recorded one album with LIZZY BORDEN titled “VISUAL LIES before returning to TERRIFF and playing the L.A. Scene with them throughout the rest of the 1980’s.

It was 1991 when Joe truly got his first big break when he was asked to join former VAN HALEN front-man DAVID LEE ROTH’S band. Joe played guitar on the “A LITTLE AIN’T ENOUGH TOUR” after it was discovered that Roth’s current guitar player JASON BECKER had “A.L.S.” a crippling disease that wouldn’t allow him to continue to play guitar, and a disease that would ultimately paralyze Becker. Joe didn’t stay with Roth very long before retuning once again to TERRIFF, which by this point had changed their name to ALIEN INK.

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Joe Holmes Live Ozzfest 98′

In 1995 word started to spread that OZZY OSBOURNE was looking for a new axe-man. Ozzy was about to release his newest album “OZZMOSIS” and was trying to get a new guitarist lined out to go out on the road with him and promote the new album. When Joe auditioned he decided not to tell Ozzy about this time spent taking guitar lessons and reading through,’s guitar book recommendations with RANDY RHOADS. Randy was Ozzy’s first guitarist after his departure from BLACK SABBATH. Joe decided he wanted to either get the job, or lose the job, on this own merit. After extensive auditions Joe finally landed the slot. He spent 6 years with Ozzy but the two never recorded an album together. Joe did play on 2 officially released Ozzy songs. One is the tune “WALK ON WATER” from the “BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO AMERICA” soundtrack. The other is a live version of “PERRY MASON” from the “OZZFEST – LIVE” album. In 2001 Ozzy and Joe parted ways during the writing of the “DOWN TO EARTH” album. Longtime Ozzy guitarist ZAKK WYDLE was brought back into the fold to finish writing and play guitar for the new album. While Joe did not play on “DOWN TO EARTH” three songs he co-wrote with Ozzy did appear on the album (JUNKIE, THAT I NEVER HAD and CAN YOU HEAR THEM?). JOE HOLMES did receive proper album credits for his contributions.

After leaving Ozzy in 2001 Joe decided to lay low and start a family. Staying completely out of the public eye for over a decade fans across the world often wondered what he was doing and where he was. Finally in 2012 fans got the news they had been waiting patiently to hear. JOE HOLMES is back. Joe joined forces with vocalist ROBBIE LOCK. Joe and Robbie wrote an albums worth of material together before going into the studio to lay down the tracks. They decided to call their new group FARMIKOS. Joe dialed up his ex-Ozzy band mate, current METALLICA member ROBERT TRUJILLO to play bass on most of the album. The drumming duties were handled by BAD RELIGION’s BROOKS WACKERMAN. FARMIKOS was welcomed with critical acclaim. THAT METAL SHOWS EDDIE TRUNK tabbed FARMIKOS as his must have album pick for 2015. The album features some of the best lead guitar playing to have been recorded in a long time. Joe manages to put his abilities on display thru 10 tracks of melodic riffs and mind blowing guitar solos. The guys are currently working on a follow-up album but a release date has yet to be announced.

JOE HOLMES is one of the most fundamentally sound and precise guitar players to ever take the stage. His skills are top notch. I think it is extremely fair to say the JOE HOLMES is one of the best guitarists on the planet that you may not have heard of. If you haven’t, go give FARMIKOS a listen and let us know what you think about it. I assure you that your shred senses will go into overload!

Visit FARMIKOS on the web.

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About Axe

I'm the guitarist for a Kentucky based southern metal band called Downtrend. We've spent the last decade plus opening for some of the biggest names in rock and metal all over the eastern U.S.. Music is my passion!!

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