Joe Ambrose is the author of 14 books including the novels Serious Time and Too Much Too Soon. Tangier Tsunami (Compendium Books) is a collection of short stories. His nonfiction includes Gimme Danger, the biography of Iggy Pop, Chelsea Hotel Manhattan (extreme travel writing), and Moshpit Culture. He edited, with AD Hitchin, the experimental anthology CUT UP! He co-wrote Man from Nowhere, a study of the creative relationship between William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, which features additional texts by Burroughs himself, Paul Bowles, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, John Cale, and others.
His work has been translated into Arabic, French, Italian, German, Finnish, and Spanish. He has worked as a broadcaster on RTE, Lyric FM, Newstalk, and BBC Radios 2, 3, 4, and the World Service in addition to appearing on Channel 4 and RTE TV. In 2005 he was featured, with Chrissie Hynde, on a BBC Radio 2 Iggy Pop documentary.
He has written for The Guardian, Time Out, The Idler, The Irish Times, and Metal Hammer. In 2007 he was invited by Iggy Pop to write the sleeve notes for an Iggy and the Stooges DVD, Escaped Maniacs.
He has appeared in numerous anthologies including Sceptre’s Shenanigans, a collection of fresh Irish fiction also featuring Colum McCann and Mike McCormack. The Independent said that Shenanigans owed: “more to the Chemical Brothers than the Christian Brothers, the characters in these low-life tales have more to fear from a drug squad dawn raid than a guilt-racked confession with a moralising curate.” He contributed, along with Brion Gysin, Ira Cohen and Genesis P. Orridge, to Flickers of the Dreamachine. Ambrose is Literary Editor of the website, outsideleft.com. His short story, Whatever Happened to the Teenage Dream? appeared in Antibothis, a Portuguese literary journal also featuring Scanner, Joe Coleman and Mike Diana.
As a spoken word performer, he has shared the stage with John Calder, Lydia Lunch, John Cooper Clarke, John Giorno, Daniel Figgis, Nathan Penlington, Zadie Smith, Richard Hell, Lemn Sissay, Howard Marks, Iain Sinclair and Mike McCormack.
As a DJ/musician he has worked with The Gnoua Brotherhood of Marrakesh, Anita Pallenberg, Scanner, Billy Childish, Marianne Faithfull, Lydia Lunch, Paul Bowles, John Cale, The Master Musicians of Joujouka (whom he managed), Chuck Prophet, Herbert Huncke and Bill Laswell. He has DJed in Marrakesh, London, New York, and in most European capitals. In addition, he has appeared live with The Stranglers, Julee Cruise, David Toop, Tav Falco, Luke Vibert, Meat Beat Manifesto, Billy Childish, Suicide, and Harold Budd.
He has organised cultural events at venues such as London’s ICA, Dublin’s Project Arts Centre, and London’s Horse Hospital/Chamber of Pop Culture, which featured the likes of Gerard Malanga, Lilianne Lijn, Tony White, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Genesis P. Orridge, Hakim Bey, Howard Marks, and Hamri the Painter of Morocco.
He co-directed the movie Destroy All Rational Thought featuring William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and the Joujouka musicians. His hip-hop group Islamic Diggers was described by The Guardian as "the grooviest and newest of the new and groovy". He co-produced the 2CD 10%; File Under Burroughs, a homage to William Burroughs which includes contributions from Scanner, Bill Laswell, Bomb the Bass, Paul Bowles, Burroughs, Brion Gysin and John Cale.
His musical collaboration with Portuguese duo Alma on a project inspired by his Chelsea Hotel Manhattan book led to the Alma/Joe Ambrose single Radio E/He Also Took That Boat with vocals by hiphop founding father Arthur Baker and Beat Generation photographer/poet Ira Cohen.
He divides his time between Tangier, Morocco, and his native Ireland.