Joel Tinnel

Photo © Laura S. Tinnel, used by permission.


I played in a large number of local garage bands in my native Knoxville, TN while attending college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Then I graduated and moved. Everyone’s got to live somewhere: I live in Manassas, VA. If you were married in Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland, or DC between 1995 and 2010, you might have hired The TomCats to play your reception; in that case, you might have heard me play. Otherwise, you likely have no idea who I am.

I started piano at age 9 and guitar at age 13. My dad was a fine musician who played guitar, bass, and mandolin -- he introduced me to a lot of the greats in big band, western swing, country, and rock. That influenced me a lot. Beyond that, the usual suspects (Beatles, Stones, Who), Charlie Christian, Django Reinhart, Joe Pass... everyone who ever picked up a guitar and made cool sounds, I listened. I've had lessons, but even after understanding the Hungarian Minor scale, I still don't sound like Ritchie Blackmore.

My job is to make as many sick guitar sounds per album as possible. When I'm not cooperating with the other Popsters, I'm playing jazz/funk/blues with some local friends.