music

Punk Rock Changed My Life

by Josh Staub 

“Punk rock changed our lives.” Indeed. 

This quote from the Minutemen song History Lesson II, off their seminal double-record, Double Nickel on the Dime, could even be more poignant perhaps if D. Boon said, “punk rock saved our lives.” 

Growing up in Hanover, PA--in an area of the country known as Pennsyltucky for its excessive redneck population, where superstitious conservatism, incest, and drug abuse run rampant--it was clear we were all fucked. In the 70s and 80s, we watches as most of the major industries relocated to foreign countries, where slave labor could be utilized to make rich people richer and the folks of Hanover much poorer. Since then, many of the factories and warehouses around town have been left abandoned or converted into section-eight housing. Then there is the pervasive PA Dutch attitude, which can be summed up as Stoicism exaggerated to the point of stupidity and catatonia intermixed with staunch Christianity, zero-tolerance, narrow worldviews culminating in dangerous belief systems, that is, for anyone outside of the narrow consensus reality. Punk rock, for one, provided folks like myself--who find themselves outside this bogus consensus reality--reassurance that all belief systems, including this particular one that has been so harmful to me personally, are, to some extent, BS. Just make an acronym out of it, like Robert Anton Wilson, belief system = BS. So when the rigid social structure failed to indoctrinate and subjugate us rebellious youth and then attempted to paint us as fuck-ups and insane individuals, punk rock, along with art and literature, became a stop-gap. In fact, the punk ethos was able to deflect their attacks, illustrating how insane these people really were and how their BS was really legitimized madness. 

To me, music began and ended with Kurt Cobain. If you’re a fan of Kurt’s music, inevitably you’ve explored at least some of the indie bands he was constantly promoting--bands like the Raincoats, Meat Puppets, Half Japanese, Daniel Johnston, the Wipers, the Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, and so on. A modest, genuine dude, Kurt was always more comfortable talking about bands he was digging rather than discussing his own music and its unexpected success. He also introduced me to the novelist, William Burroughs, who he recorded an album with and often said that Naked Lunchis his favorite book. From Burroughs, I was introduced to the Beats, particularly Kerouac and his road journeys, Henry Miller, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Knut Hamsun, and Dostoyevsky. As another casualty of the war on drugs, Kurt reframed and deprogrammed the drug propaganda that was shoved down my throat at school regarding psychedelics. Also, Prophet Cobain brought me to esoteric Buddhism and, eventually, the kabbalah and Sufism, making his band name, Nirvana, quite poignant and ironic.  

Punk rock is about transgression. There is immense power in transgression, especially in regard to the deconstruction of harmful, limited BS. As a punk musician in Philly with Thee Peecock Angels, we hope to adopt the deconstruction and transgressional work started by folks like D. Boon and Kurt Cobain to disrupt and dismantle social and philosophical constructs that impede peace and progression. These gentlemen and women, through their music, have empowered and enlightened me. Without these folks, I would’ve given up back in high school. So, to this I say, punk rock saved my life. 


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Biography:

Josh Staub is a punk rock guitarist/vocalist, an author of the Merchant of Unsellable Dreams and Land of Broken Promises trilogies, and a restorative justice facilitator in Philadelphia. His band, Thee Peecock Angels, can be listened to for free on Spotify and bandcamp. They can be reached through their Facebook page as well. TPA has released 8 eps and two full-length albums, Thousands of Dead Hipsters(punk rock homage to MDC) and Gentrify Me, which have all been recorded, engineered, and produced by Terminal City Records in North Philly, located in Josh’s attic apartment. 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Heidi Burson

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We are so pleased to introduce you to the fantastic Heidi Burson, a Nashville-based singer and songwriter whose powerful, soulful voice will speak directly to your heart.  Heidi has had an impressive career in music. Having released two self-produced, full-length albums and working on her third, she continues to make waves in the industry. Read below to learn more about what drives Heidi’s music, what artist most inspires her and how arts education has impacted her life.  Also, do yourself a favor and watch the videos to hear her stunning voice and spectacular songs and then make plans to catch her live on her current tour!  We promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Why is your art important to you?

My music is the ultimate therapy for my good and bad days. It's a blessing to be able to express myself through music and lyrics that I hope can turn around and help others in the same way.

 

What do you want your art to say? 

Be yourself. Be confident. Choose love. It's okay to have bad days. Treat yourself and love yourself well so you can love others more deeply. Pay attention to the world around you.

 

What project are you working on now?

Touring across the US and abroad at the moment but also working on releasing a new single before the end of 2018 which will lead the way to a new record in 2019. 

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Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite artist first and foremost is Aretha Franklin. She's my go to for musical soul food and inspiration because I believe she means every single thing she sings/writes and I can tell it comes from a place of raw emotion and experience. She's not afraid to tell it like it is and just go for notes most singers would never dream of trying. She's an incredible musician too; singer, pianist, songwriter, composer, arranger. A true talent.

How has arts education impacted your life? 

To the maximum! I'm not even kidding when I say I use things I've learned from my classes and vocal/piano training EVERY DAY being a performer. From an education standpoint I've acquired a well trained ear and appreciation for music I only have as a result of the arts education I was exposed to growing up both at home, in school and at a collegiate level. Teamwork is another one. As an independent artist, 99.9% of the time, the buck stops here but the experience I have from working in choirs, ensembles etc has taught me how to literally "play well with others" and work as a team to deliver a flawless musical product on stage at every show. I also think you learn at an early age in arts education to take pride in your performances and I translate this mindset into every performance whether it's to 500 dressed up people in a fancy theater or 15 folks in a dive bar. 

 

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Biography: 

Heidi Burson’s story as an artist is one of shared human experience. Very early on, she felt the poignancy of the music of performers such as Etta James, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. She was struck by the power and intensity with which they expressed the longing, which we all share, for love and acceptance. These influences, coupled with her own life experiences and a generous dusting of wry humor, have helped to forge a voice and style that is uniquely fascinating. When Heidi sings, people listen. They do so because her delivery is captivating. They do so because she speaks to their own inner feelings. Heidi is a soul singer. "Totally new to us, Burson’s range is something that we will be arriving early to see in person. The deep and somewhat sultry tone that she produces will surely silence most any room that she is performing in. " No Country for New Nashville Magazine "Her on-stage ability to control the room is evident by her captive audience. It’s one thing to be a songwriter and another to be a performer. Heidi Burson is both. Led by Burson's commanding and soulful voice - one with a range that rivals Jill Scott and Adele...The sound is massive; a rich musicality practically oozes off the record." - Kevin Carr with Behind The Set List. To date, Heidi is an award winning artist and songwriter and has released 2 self-produced full length albums, Every Shade of Blue in 2012 and a brand new record, The Story in 2017. Her music is spinning on AcmeRadioLive and Lightning 100 in Nashville and her single, "Give Your Love Away" has been played on BBC Radio. She has recently received song placements on UK playlists for various businesses and is now receiving spins on independent radio stations across the US. She has toured across the US, UK and Europe including a feature at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland to which she'll be returning in 2018 with her own solo show "Soul On Fire." Her touring has seen her perform in various festivals, concert series and notable venues such as the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, the 100 Club in London, BB King's and Ruine Senftenburg Castle in Austria. With relentless drive and some milestone career goals now achieved, Heidi hopes to continue reaching across the world to connect people to each other with the love of good music. As an independent artist with something relevant to say and a better understanding of how to navigate the music industry on her own terms, there is much coming from this one in the years ahead.

 

 

 

 

Everyday Artist Spotlight: Angela Shultz

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We are beyond pleased to introduce you to an exceptional theatre and cabaret artist, Angela Shultz, who is a triple threat: brilliant singer, stunning actor and accomplished producer! Most recently, she co-founded The Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan, a non-profit theatre that is committed to diversity and social justice.  Angela has done it all and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask her some questions to learn more about what inspires and drives her work, what role arts education has played in her life as well as get the inside scoop on what she’s currently cooking up in the arts world.

 

Why is your art important to you?

Music, especially, is the one thing that has been incredibly consistent in my life. I've moved around and relationships come and go, but I've always had an outlet when I sing. Sometimes I can understand what I'm feeling in a more succinct way because another artist has put words and music to those emotions, and I don't know where I'd be without that! How cheesy is that?

 

What do you want your art to say?

Whether I'm singing/acting or producing (which I do more of these days), I love how the arts can give voice to people who are often voiceless. I love to perform characters who say things that are difficult to express. As a producer, I love that we get to share stories of people you don't always encounter face-to-face in real life. I'm also passionate about presenting new work. There are endless numbers of talented people in New York City (and around the world, of course) and some simply need to find an audience.

 

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What project are you working on now?

Stomping Ground Theatre Co. is producing Cover: A Play About Trafficking on March 23-24. It's a compelling play by Joy Powell which is inspired by the work of The Covering House in St. Louis. The plays tells the story of the sex trafficking survivors and the women who helped them.

 

Who is your favorite artist?

Too many to name! I am, of course, a huge fan of my lifelong friend Brett Kristofferson. His musical theatre work is incredibly rich and powerful and is an absolute thrill to sing or experience as audience.

 

How has arts education impacted your life?

My early teachers taught me so much about loving music and theatre, but also about how important it is to work hard no matter what you're doing. Arts education taught me how to be independent and figure things out for myself, but it also taught me the value all members of an ensemble bring to a project. It gave me confidence and focus, and a way to understand some parts of the world around me.

 

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Biography:

ANGELA SHULTZ National Tour: Titanic (Alice Beane), NYC Theatre: York Theatre reading – Paris Through the Window (Muse), Assassins (Sara Jane Moore – 5th Floor), Falsettos (Cordelia - Wingspan Arts), The Wasp Woman (Phyllis Futch/reading) and Halloween Hullabaloo (Workshop). Regional credits: Titanic (Alice Beane), Nunset Blvd (Reverend Mother), Closer Than Ever, The Secret Garden (Martha), Company (Marta) Bat Boy (Ruthie/Ned), Nunsense (Rev Mo and Hubert), Godspell (Joanne and Sonia). She is the 2010 recipient of the Hanson Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, as well as a 2012 Nominee for Best Female Vocalist. Angela also directed Hector Coris’ 2010 MAC Award-winning performance in Life is Wonderful. Education: Master’s in Theatre Education (Fontbonne University), Bachelor of Music (Missouri Baptist University). Angela also directed cabaret shows for Jerry Phelps and the recent Off-Off Broadway production of Steel Magnolias. She taught for Professional Performing Arts School in NYC as well as Fontbonne and Missouri Baptist Universities, and Stages St. Louis. Angela is a co-founder of Stomping Ground Theatre Company in midtown Manhattan. For more info, please visit www.angelashultz.com