Derek Zanetti is the self-described “Mr. Rogers of Punk Rock”—a moniker that is especially fitting considering his status as an ever-smiling ambassador for positive vibes, staunch socio-political activism and his primary position as the frontman of the raucous and thoughtful DIY punk outfit the Homeless Gospel Choir. Zanetti is an impassioned pundit of the protest song—a fitting emissary for modern punk rock in a world that is in desperate need of it.
In this ongoing artist-on-artist interview series, Zanetti focuses on the modern political climate and cultural issues that he and his punk-rock contemporaries think we should be paying attention to and actively striving to change. In this edition, Zanetti chatted up Stephen Harrison, guitarist of FEVER 333, to discuss the upcoming election, the importance of blending music and message and, ultimately, why punk rock is still important in 2020.
Today I had the honor and privilege of chatting with my dear friend Stephen Harrison of FEVER 333 about how punk rock, resistance and education is key to fighting the evils of this world. So why don’t you tell me why music is important to you and specifically why you chose punk rock as your medium to express yourself.
STEPHEN HARRISON: For me, punk rock has always been a tool for us to express our frustration and anger with the systems in place and the people in power who oppress us. Punk is a living, breathing, working community of people who fight for equality and justice for all human beings. I’m honored to play a role in something with such a rich history of transformative justice.
As we enter another election year and potentially engaging in military conflict with Iran, what would you say to young kids thinking about joining the military?
Do some dang research. Ask an Iraq war veteran how they are being treated. Go to a VA hospital and see the toll war puts on people. The politicians who start these wars are never the ones who fight them.
Obviously, politics are important to you and your band, but why?
We only get one chance here in life as humans. Since I have a platform, a voice, and a stage, I figured we should be using this opportunity to speak on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. And hopefully, that encourages others to do the same in schools, playgrounds, work and places of worship.
What would you say to someone who feels afraid, scared, or lost during these times of political unrest and confusion?
Get some pals together and start a band! Scream it out, drum it out, headbang it out. It’s a great way to make friends and to find other allies to join in on the fight.
You can listen to the Homeless Gospel Choir’s new track “Don’t Compare” below.