March 26, 2002 – Joe Schermie (Three Dog Night) was born Joseph Edward Schermetzler on February 12th 1946 in Menasha near Madison, Wisconsin.
Joe grew up in a musical family. His parents were both in vaudeville and when they finally left the road to settle, they bought a nightclub in Madison. Joe and his sister, Judy, would sneak in and watch the shows. Outside of the club, the Schermetzler family spent many hours singing and performing together at home – each taking a different instrument and/or singing. Joe, himself, learned to play drums and then bass.
After Joe’s family relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, to facilitate to his mother’s health, Joe started hanging with various bands in the area. Along the line, he was introduced to Cory Wells, and, eventually, Joe was able to bring his good friend, Michael Allsup, into the new musical project called Three Dog Night,(the name was chosen because Aborigines slept with their dogs for warmth and a bitterly cold night was a “three dog night”), which would also include Jimmy Greenspoon, Danny Hutton, Floyd Sneed, and Chuck Negron. Joe’s destinctive, hard-driving bass lines can be heard in all the 21 biggest hits by the band up to 1973, when he was the first to leave the band
Disillusioned with his role in the group, he left the band in ’73 and in the years after leaving Three Dog Night, Joe performed with various famous recording artists both in and out of the studio. In the studio, he recorded with Kim Fowley on his “Outrageous” album and Stephen Stills on his “Stills” album. Joe also went out on the road with Yvonne Elliman in support of her hit single, “If I Can’t Have You,” and he ventured into production with his first effort being that of Gayle McCormick’s first solo, self-titled, album after leaving the hit-making group, “Smith.”
In 1976 he formed a group ‘S.S.Fools’ (after the Three Dog Night album Seven Separate Fools) that included former members of Three Dog Night, Michael Allsup and Floyd Sneed and later Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball, as well as Stan Seymore and Wayne Devilliers and they recorded an album on Columbia Records. But by the end of the seventies the band was history.
The 1990s were also a good time for Joe. He thoroughly enjoyed playing live and joined Chuck Negron on stage for a few shows, becoming a member of Chuck’s band for a brief time around 1997. Not long after that, he joined good friend, Floyd Sneed, in the formation of a rock group called “K.A.T.T.” (Katt and the Time Trippers) and, with the band, recorded his last album – a self-titled effort.
From the very early days, Joe always had a troll doll proudly displayed at the top of the neck of his bass. Through the years, those dolls would be stolen or lost, but he would always replace them. He never told anyone why they were there – not even his sister! The unique “dancing” he did while he was playing was a style he picked up from another family member early in his life.
Joe appeared on the cooking show Food Rules in 2000 with original Three Dog Night drummer Floyd Sneed.
Joe Schermie died unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 26, 2002 at the age of 56.
Three Dog Night founding bassist Joe Schermie was their soul-inspired harmonic bedrock: always in the pocket, rendering all the right notes with a diversity of rhythmic variations, and allowing space within the songs for their remarkable triumvirate of singers to shine. Joe was a true finesse player with a rock ‘n’ roll edge: a rarity for LA studio cats in those days.