Joel R.L. Phelps
from Vancouver BC
Instruments: Vocals, Guitar, Composition/Songwriting details
Contact DetailsJoel RL Phelps
Joel R.L. Phelps is from Billings, Montana and lives in Vancouver. He started playing music in around 1982, co-founding a regionally infamous post-punk group, Ein Heit, in Missoula in 1983. Ein Heit suspended operations in 1987, and bandmates Phelps and Andrew Cohen then formed rock ‘n’ roll ensemble Silkworm in 1988. After 3 LPs and many barnstorming national tours, Phelps left Silkworm in 1994, perhaps due to the pressures pressure of all the travel, and perhaps some unconscious musical prompt. In a split that can compared to a Buzzcocks/Magazine schism (except for the lack of fame, money or any musical similarities ), both parties would go on to their finest works — Silkworm, having staked a claim as one of the U.S.ís most important bands, Phelps, as the nationís most unique singer/songwriter. Joel struck out on his own in 1995 forming his own group, The Downer Trio. The Downer Trio feature Seattle residents William Herzog (formerly of Citizen's Utilities, Neko Case, Sunn O))),and Earth) and Robert Mercer (Zebra Hunt), musicians with a similar minimal sensibility who, in truth, make the music really work. With five albums, two EP’s and two singles and some compilation appearances to their collective credit, the group has assembled an accomplished and formidable body of work: no matter what the self-effacing Phelps might tell you to the contrary. The latest, GALA is available in Canada on Triple Crown Recordings of Canada, in the United States on 12XU and on Damnably in the UK/EU. The Downer Quartet features Vancouver's Scott Malin (Secret Three, Womankind).