PERSON OF INTEREST

Joe Bamford

Owner Of Haljoe Coach

POI-0414-JoeBamford

Entry into music: When I was in high school in New Brunswick, Canada, I was fat and never had a girlfriend. A friend of mine had a band and one day, I was helping band members haul equipment to one of their gigs. As I was unloading the equipment out of the van, a pretty blond girl came up and asked me if I was in the band. At that point I knew I needed to be involved in music. I started managing bands at age 19.

Have bus, will travel: In 1989, I realized there was a need for a tour bus company. I paid $100,000 for my first tour bus. I became the first person to start a rock and roll tour bus company in Canada.

Rolling along: I received a phone call from the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies and learned they were going to perform 200 shows in Canada. They wanted a second bus. Gerald Howell, who was my bus driver when I was on the road, also drove buses for Jerry and Jack Calhoun, twin country music singers from Leesburg. Gerald talked to Jerry and told him I was trying to get my tour bus company off the ground. Jerry financed me and wanted me to expand my company to the United States. Now, I live in Leesburg during the winter and in Canada during the summer.

Starstruck: Throughout the years, my bus company has carried entertainers such as Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Guess Who, Rush, and Nickleback.

Rock and roll royalty: One of my favorite bands is the Rolling Stones. One time, I was standing 10 feet from the band members but did not shake their hands. I did not want to take a chance of them being snobby and ruin the image I had.

Big heart: After my son-in-law died of cancer, my daughter raised $100,000 for cancer research. I started a program called “Get off the Bus” to raise money for charitable causes. I use my connections throughout the music industry to convince artists to be a part of these concerts. I raised $100,000 for the West Parry Sound Health Centre, which is in my hometown in Canada. The concerts in Florida raise money for autism.

Future plans: I would like to write a book about everything that has happened around me during my life. Every month, every year, there has been a story.

Musical aspirations: In January or February of 2015, I want to bring Merle Haggard to The Villages. I would also love to do a concert with Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, as well as one with ZZ Top.

Desired tombstone inscription: “Joe cared.”

Inspiration: My father. When I was 5, I wanted a bicycle for Christmas. Instead, he gave me a snow scooper and told me to go up and down the neighborhood picking up snow. His message was that I would have to work hard for anything I wanted in life.


VITAL STATS

In tune: Joe has enjoyed a long career in the music industry, having managed numerous bands and owning a tour bus company.

Aligning the stars: In recent years, Joe brought famous country music legends Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers to perform in Lake County.

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