Joel Dobbins – Unreal

Written by Edward Applebee

As I pulled up to the venue, the dice felt hot in my hands…so I rolled them without a second to lose. Euphoria! Two cars were forfeiting prime real estate! Was the show over? Maybe these patrons were thrown out for disorderly conduct? Bloody henchmen! They paid their money, let them juggle flaming hot toilet paper rolls if they so desire! Maybe the real party was their next destination? Should I follow them? Never. Stick to the plan I thought, and resist the heat. This desert climate has a tenancy to dry up foresight.

As I pulled into one of the spots, a lowrider Toyota truck pulled into the other. I glanced at the motorist. He was on his phone, so I quickly exited my vehicle, believing haste was the best remedy of avoiding any verbal interaction. I quickly slammed the door on my seatbelt. The incorrect sound was immediately forgiven by the lingering cacti. “Nothing can disrupt us,” they chanted.

As I untangled the mess, a voice behind me spoke. “You here for the show?” Goodness, I thought. Is it 20 questions already? “Ah, ya,” I said, quickly stuffing my wallet down my pants. “Cool, man,” the voice responded. “Cool,” I thought? As I turned to face the verbal assassin, my eyes were deflected to the lowrider truck. It’s turquoise paint, chrome fender trim and bed cover were dated. The driver could tell I was disturbed. “It’s a rental,” he said.

“Well, they don’t rent’m like THAT anymore,” I replied, “It’s a shame, really.” My wallet began to fall down my pant leg. Brilliant I thought, no one ever checks your ankles. The kid stared at me like I was some kind of street performer. I smiled and nodded. You can never go wrong with the “nod.” It outwits most cops 2-1.

“Ok man, well I’ll see you in there,” he said. “I’m Joel by the way.” “Conrad,” I replied. The kid smiled and put on a cloth blazer. He rolled the sleeves up, popped the collar and walked into the venue. Was Conrad a real name or a communist party? I had blurted out the first fake name I could think of. I began to walk slowly behind Joel, as to not reveal my wallet. His lowrider rental had a bumper sticker on the back which read: Splatter Paint Is Quaint.

The air conditioning in the venue gave me a head rush. The contrast from desert sky to neon beer advertisements seem surprisingly similar. All of a sudden a bunch of cheers let out from the stage area. What’s happened? Is someone naked? The feedback from the microphone being picked up set the mood. I’ll be damned! The Joel character was up there! He had arrived in a lowrider Toyota truck and now he was on stage grinning at excited fans!

My mission was complete. The random show I had selected by covering my eyes and slamming my finger down on the weekly show listings had paid off. The credits began to roll as Joel played Hypocrite. Check him out this Pennsylvania musician at and when you get there also listen to Break the Locks.

Leave Some Comments

to “Joel Dobbins – Unreal”
  1. Stephanie says:

    Ha, he really is a great artist. I love his music, my little brother jams out to it all the time, too 🙂

  2. Rand says:

    Do you think people read CD reviews to find out how easy it was for you to park? Get over yourself.

  3. Jen says:

    uummmm ok. i was warned that the review was strange, but somehow i did not expect this… uh, … you know what, i’m at a loss for words…
    but anyway, Joel is awesome! once you hear him, you won’t wanna listen to anything else for a month! i’m hoping to get the CD with my next paycheck…. =)

  4. Joel says:

    Some little-known facts about Joel Dobbins that make this interview all the more humorous:

    I’ve never visited an area with a desert-like climate
    I’ve never driven a truck, or any kind of Toyota for that matter
    I’ve never driven a rental
    I’ve never met Carter/Edward Applebee
    I’ve never performed at a bar
    If I’ve ever worn a blazer, it has never been with the collar popped or the sleeves rolled
    I’ve never played “Hypocrite” live

    Other than that, the story is pretty much accurate… except that I’m not quite as outgoing as the story suggests.

    Carter, two things:
    1) Whatever you’ve got in your wallet, man, get rid of it. It seems to be causing you way too much stress.
    2) Thanks for the review which almost doubles as fan fiction, which is actually pretty cool when you think about it.

  5. Maureen says:

    I thought that this was supposed to be a CD review, not a high school creative writing assignment. You are doing a seriously talented artist a great disservice by not actually talking about his music. Or a real gig. Or the real guy. For shame.

  6. It was a dark and stormy night. This girl named MAUREEN heard a knock at the door. “Who could it be?” After all those years being secluded in a spooky house, she had become a bit jumpy. She held her cat Mr. Stubbs close in her arms. He’ll protect her!
    KA-BOOM! A large clap of thunder shook the room. The knocking continued. MAUREEN was not in high school anymore. She still maintained some of those relationships, but she had moved on. Her world had expanded and as well as her taste in music.
    BANG BANG BANG. The knocking was now louder and more aggressive. Mr. Stubbs jumped out of MAUREEN’S arms and ran out of the room. “Stubbs, wait,” she cried! But Mr. Stubbs knew better. Whatever was at that door had alerted his animal instincts. MAUREEN stared at Mr. Stubbs’ escape rout for a moment, contemplating it’s success.
    “No,” she said. She hadn’t burdened those many years of pain and isolation to be scared by a knock at the door. The rain began to pour immensely. MAUREEN immediately walked to the door and unlocked the bolt. She could barely hear the sounds of the deadbolt opening, as the rain added a heavy weight to the acoustics of the scary house.
    She didn’t care anymore. Her life was her own an she now knew this. As she opened the door, a gust of wind blew in her face, blinding her view. Wiping the mist from her face she saw the darkened figure in her presence. It was him.

  7. Nate says:

    How many cds reviews have been terrible … many. Its often a cd review is so bad that it makes me not want to buy the cd. This cd review made me actually go to myspace and listen to the songs. As i listened i wondered which place in Vegas would I be able to hear this Joel Dobbins at. I think creative writing should be implemented in all writings. As once prescribed by the great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson lets take some Gonzo and live with it.

  8. Meghan says:

    Great CD review! Actually made me want to go to the myspace of the man who drives the rented turquoise lowrider toyota truck!

  9. Georgia says:

    Clearly, this writer is a drunk.
    Or crazy.
    …or both.

    This may have been a nice story, but, when it’s not a true story, it bases his career on a lie.
    Let’s think of other creative, real ways to get his music listened to, hmm?

  10. Edward Applebee (a friend of a friend) says:

    Ok, so I listened to the new cd by Joel Dobbins called Unreal…It was really cool. Joel is a talented singer/songwriter. Also, the sky is blue and fish swim in water. I’m Edward Applebee, NOT YOU. I do all the big reviews for real labels in LA and NY. I need this review like I need a shotgun blast to the FACE!

  11. Joel says:

    The door was open just a crack, so I pushed it slightly and crept into the room. Thank God it was oiled recently, I thought to myself. I hate when a good sneak is ruined by a squeaky hinge. My thoughts recollected themselves as I found him attempting to aim the mouth of a gun at his head. I would have protested the action a half-minute sooner, but I was taken aback by the awkwardness of his struggle to reach the trigger of his long-barreled shotgun whilst keeping it aimed at his face. I watched as he reached around with both hands, while positioning the gun with his feet, and failed to get control of the heavy weapon. “I’ll have to pull this damn trigger with my pinky toe,” he said taking off his shoes. He took off one shoe and held it for a moment with a depressed chuckle; “Might as well throw it out the window. I won’t be here to fix the mess, and then they’ll have to bury me with better shoes than these.” He gave the shoe a forceful throw in the direction of the window and watched it bounce off with not even a fracture in the glass.

    “Save the shoe-chucking and suicides to the professionals, Conrad. Stick to what you do best – writing awesome CD reviews.”

    “My name isn’t Conrad,” he said raising the gun to the doorframe I was standing in.

    I stepped back for a moment and raised my hands in front of me. “Listen, Conrad… Carter… Edward… Whatever your name is – you need to seriously reconsider what you’re about to do.”

    “What’s that – shooting you?”

    “No, shooting yourself. Well, yeah, shooting me too. That would equally suck. But listen, it’s not worth it to put a bullet in your face just because you need my CD review so badly. Seriously, man, what you did was great. It was unorthodox, but great in an unorthodox way. The hataz be all hatin cuz you playin by ya own roolz. It be all wack in tha internizzles wit ma homedawg demonstratin tha powahz ah hiz imaginatin gettin messijiz ov angah from tha masses porrin they opinions on tha site like lemon juice on a open wound.”

    “Joel, when did you become gangster?”

    “Sorry, I do it because I can. What I’m trying to say is, don’t let it get you down. You’re just… groundbreaking. Unique. Special. Doin ya own thang.”

    “You really think so?”

    “I just really don’t want you to kill yourself.”

    He got up from his black leather lazy boy recliner and reached for his wallet in the back pocket of his blue levi jeans. There were a few small holes in the knees, but the kind you get from hard work, not from the mall. His pants were held up by a glossy black leather belt that reflected the pink light of the Gibson neon guitar clock hanging on the wall. Anyone who spends more than $20 on a belt must be crazy, I thought to myself. I mean, really, who is going to notice? Especially in a country where half the population has enough belly to hide the presence of a belt or lack of. In the same instant, I decided that my feelings on pointless spending applied to socks and underwear as well. I backed up another step as he began to walk toward me. He pulled out his wallet and opened it up. Inside, to my surprise there was… a tiny man juggling machetes. “He lives in my wallet. He showed up one day and I thought it was cool at first, but I mean, every time I go to grab some cash I end up bleeding for about half an hour. They’re just tiny cuts but they hurt like the dickens.” I wondered for a moment, how the dickens hurt. I couldn’t ever remember hurting my dickens, but then I didn’t quite know what a dickens was. Wait. Tiny man. Wallet. Machetes. Right, I was in the middle of a conversation still. I looked up and realized he had been talking to me for the last five minutes while I had been thinking about dickens. I had no idea where he was in the conversation, so I just began nodding my head and making a “I sincerely care” face. After another half an hour he finally stopped talking. And then he pushed me down the stairs. I got a small fracture in my skull, but fortunately there were no side-effects, except that every now and then I involuntarily kick people in the shins as hard as I can – involuntarily. Try explaining that to a 300 lb. bouncer outside a club you’re having difficulty entering. He didn’t believe it was involuntary, to say the least, and that was when I got my arms ripped off. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have followed Edward home from the bar. But at least I’ve learned from my mistakes.

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