Payne joined death metal band Nile in early 2005 for their American and European tours after learning eleven Nile songs in only three days. In February 2007, Karl Sanders confirmed that Payne had been fired by the band in a posting on the band's message board1, stating, "I guess I have to spell it out. Yes, Joe is fired." Sanders did not go on to elaborate on the reasons for Payne's dismissal. Payne is very close friends with film producer/musician Pascual Romero.
In late 2012, Payne and an associate were arrested in connection with an investigation into the distribution of more than 2,900 grams of marijuana.