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Witness - 2000 Joey Huffman interview

Heart Of The Rock - Flashback - Witness/Joey Huffman

Joey Huffman, the guitarist and keyboardist supplied HEART of the ROCK with an update of their whereabouts.
(submitted 28 September 2000)

How about an introduction Joey?
>My name is Joey Huffman. I played keyboards and guitar in the band Witness, which was basically mine and Debbie's (Debbie Davis) band. Eddie Boyd was there from the start as well but he was content just to play his drums and leave the business to Debbie and I. Damon Johnson and Eddie Usher were hired after the completion of the record and consequently did not play on any tracks. The guitar position was the only 'revolving door' position on the record. Debbie sang all the lead vocals and I played all the keyboards on this record. Being that this was our first record and we were young, we had nothing to compare the experience to.

A few hired guns filled out the guitar role, as well as many of the songs being written by outside writers.. I suppose there was a reason for all that?
When one works for most of one's life to obtain the elusive recording contract, there is a propensity not to rock the boat. This explains the over abundance of 'outside material'. Please don't misunderstand me...making this record was a positive experience and although I can't speak for Debbie, I was proud of it when it was released and I'm proud, if not outright nostalgic about it now. I have fond memories of this experience and the naive exuberance in which we approached not only our music but our lives. I enjoy playing and producing music now, but once the mystery is unraveled it loses some of it's shine forever. I suppose that this is true of any worthwhile endeavor...but enough of my embarrassing ramblings.

You do realise what an awesome record Witness was?
First, I'm honored and humbled by your glowing review of the record. I think we had all relegated it to the status of footnote in our careers. I have boxes of cassettes, records, pictures, posters and press releases of Witness and they are just gathering dust. If they can be put to better use I will support it.

So what happened after the album release?
After Witness we all went our separate ways. Debbie and I remain friends although she moved to Nashville in 1995 so I don't see her as often as I would like to. She performed in a local Atlanta club called Ruperts from 1989 until 1992. During this time she also recorded various national radio and television advertisements. At the end of 1992 she became one of the backing vocalists for Lynyrd Skynyrd. She toured with them until she tired of it. She married one of the guitar players and they stopped touring in order to raise a family. I haven't heard from her in about a year, but I heard she was singing background on a lot of hit country records coming out of Nashville these days. I'm sure a lot of people have wondered where Debbie ended up.

As for you Joey?
As for myself, I licked my wounds and took a job as the keyboard tech on Keith Richard's Talk is Cheap tour. I toured Europe in 1989 playing keyboards with Isaac Hayes. I came home and gave the 'band thing' one more try. Same label, different band...same result. The band was Michelle Malone and Drag the River. I'd be seriously surprised if you have actually heard it. From there, I started playing with the Georgia Satellites. This is what probably restored my faith in music. I went back to my roots, playing only piano and B-3 organ and finally, I enjoyed playing music again. This lasted through the summer of 1992 until Rick Richards left to play with Izzy Stradlin.

Again I went to work for Keith Richards, but this time it proved to be a pivotal point in my career. Opening for Keith on that tour was a little known band called Soul Asylum. Grave Dancer's Union had just been released. I started sitting in with them during their shows. At the end of the run, they gave me a job and I played live and recorded with them until 1997. In 1998 I hooked up with Matchbox 20 and toured with them until the spring of 1999. I think we played Auckland twice on that tour but don't hold me accountable.

After ten years of touring, I've decided to take a break. I, along with my partner Jesse Dupree (of the band Jackyl), formed a production company and built a recording studio. It seems that I'm working harder for less money but the grass is always greener... Besides engineering and playing on projects by Izzy Stradlin, Ceelo Green (of the Goodie Mob) and Jesse's new record at our facility, I've played on over forty records over the last eight years. Most notably, Soul Asylum, Meat Puppets, Drivin 'n' Cryin, Shawn Mullens, Indigo Girls, Mick Jagger...I forget everything and I'm tired of talking about me.

So, whatever became of Damon Johnson?
Well Damon Johnson has had a notable career as well. After Witness, he started the band Brother Cane. They've had several successful records in the states. I think one achieving platinum status and one gold. They released four albums total. The band folded this year when Damon replaced Tommy Shaw in the Damn Yankees. They are currently mixing the new record which will be out next year. I hope this brings you up to date. Now I've got to fingers are bleeding..


Well there we go. At least now we know where Joey and Debbie are and what they're up to.

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#1 | sabace on March 08 2008 16:38:59
Really brilliant LP. Guitar from the likes of Neal Schon and Brad Gillis, superb songs and wonderful vocals from Debbie. One of the all time classics.
#2 | jeffrey343 on March 09 2008 04:00:44
I got very lucky and found this for only $20 bucks from a seller on amazon back in November 2006. I've seen it for much higher since then. Definitely a great CD.

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