Joe played percussion in high school band and drums in various rock and country bands in his hometown of Carlsbad, NM and in Las Cruces, NM at New Mexico State University. While at NMSU, Joe was elected to three terms as fraternity social chairman mainly because he knew all the regional musicians and how to pair the right band with the party. Joe got so many calls from other organizations looking for bands that he effectively ran a small agency from his college dorm room. He had big plans to become a dentist, and in 1976 earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a Minor in Photojournalism. During this time, Joe volunteered as a stage-hand on the student activities committee and helped to produce many shows including Bobby Goldsboro, Paul Williams, Olivia Newton John and Neil Diamond.
1976 – 1977
After graduating, Joe was appointed Activities Director of the Associated Students of New Mexico State University (Vice President in charge of activities for Student Government), which required him to be enrolled, so he started graduate business school instead of heading off to dental school. Working closely with Barbara Hubbard, who was then the Director of Special Events at NMSU, Joe worked on the shows presented by the University as well as those he promoted for ASNMSU. He was responsible for all concerts, dances, film and lecture series presented by student government. On the concert side, he booked, promoted and produced shows by Pure Prairie League, Doug Kershaw, Waylon Jennings and Jessie Coulter, Ronnie Milsap, Blackfoot, Heart, Rick Springfield, Hamilton Jo Frank and Reynolds, Jefferson Starship, John Hartford, Steve Martin, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, Ace, Harry Chapin, Al Jarreau, Brewer and Shipley, Valdy and the Hometown Band, Pousette Dart Band, Mary Travers and Denim. During his term, Barbara Hubbard was on the board of the NECAA (now know as NACA), working on the National Convention in San Antonio and presenting the first Southwest regional convention in Las Cruces. Joe worked on all of her NECAA projects and accompanied her to the Billboard Talent Forum as well as many other trade shows and conferences. During the term of Joes appointment, he was the Student Government member to leave office with a surplus of funds due to the income from the concert series. With Joe's experience and connections established that year, he decided to put the dental career on hold and give the music business a try.
1977 – 1979
Joe moved to Austin,Texas and went to work with Moon Hill Management as a booking agent to establish their college booking department. Moon Hill Management was a full service company with artist management, business management, publishing and booking all under one roof. At the time, they consulted and booked the talent for the newly created PBS show “Austin City Limits”. Joe represented as agent Rusty Wier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Stephen Fromholtz, Willis Alan Ramsey, Kiwi, Denim, Vince Bell, Mother Of Pearl, Omar and The Howlers and Greezy Wheels. He also booked various tours for The Lost Gonzo Band, Gary P. Nunn, Delbert McClinton and David Allen Coe with the Tennessee Hat Band. In late 1979, Joe left the company to co-found Rock Arts, Ltd. with Tim Neece and a former Moon Hill associate.
1979 – 1992
Rock Arts, Ltd. became the preeminent regional/national booking agency for local original talent. Clients included Omar and The Howlers, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Lou Ann Barton, Christopher Cross, Texas, Joe Ely, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Kinky Friedman, Extreme Heat, Too Smooth, The Lotions, Pressure, Mother of Pearl, Eric Johnson, Charlie Sexton, The Neptunes, Dash Riprock, Cowboy Mouth, The Blue Runners, The Nelsons, David Garza, Willis Alan Ramsey, Eliza Gilkyson, Evan Johns, Ian Moore, Chris Duarte and many more.
Joe Priesnitz Artist Management
While still running Rock Arts, Joe started his own management company, Joe Priesnitz Artist Management. His first client was Eric Johnson, and he is still Joe's client after 35 years. He also managed David Halley, David Garza, Chris Duarte, Charlie Robison, Kelly Willis and The Gourds.
Interviews with Joe Priesnitz are published in:
“Stevie Ray Vaughan - Caught In the Crossfire” by Joe Nick Patoski and Bill Crawford
“The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock” – New Edition (2004) by Jan Reid.