Justin Pearson: Punk Ethics

[Photo Credit: Alexander Sizonenko]

As a musical genre, punk’s not commonly riddled with nuance, suggestion, or surprise. What you see is what you get. It’s either on or it’s off. Loud, louder, bombastic, brutal. Like it or go the fuck home. But every now and then, something comes along to challenge everything you thought you knew about anything ever. It’s like floating in a sensory deprivation chamber chained to a Tilt-A-Whirl. Ladies, gentleman, nonbinaries… Enter Mr. Justin Pearson.

By the impressionable age of twelve, Justin had infiltrated Phoenix, Arizona’s hardscrabble punk rock scene. Going to shows like Suicidal Tendencies and Fugazi, Justin’s moral, social, and political points of view began taking shape. A code of ethics formed around the chaos of his internal and external worlds; and it wasn’t long before this shitty, pissed-off kid figured out punk’s more than rebellious veneer. It’s a way of life, requiring absolute independence while maintaining respect for yourself and your environment.

Over the past twenty years, Justin Pearson has become one of hardcore’s most formidable figures. He’s the owner of Three One G Records; bassist for bands like Dead Cross, The Locust, Head Wound City; and Retox and Planet B vocalist. Justin’s signature sound has found its way around the globe many times over. This rude, screamy, aggressive sum reserves its right to go anywhere it wants whenever it pleases.

Justin and I met backstage after Dead Cross played Denver. It was the end of the night on the final date of the band’s first tour. Talking to Justin, I found myself surprised that someone so pleasant could make such devastating music. A contradiction of sorts I suppose, or maybe a product of my own misguided presumptions. Either way, my presumptions were busted into a thousand smithereens that night. Now, I’m honestly not sure if contradictions even exist. Maybe some things just go together, and it’s not ours to make them make sense? Rather, we should just smile and say “fuck yeah” when they feel right.

Veronika Sprinkel Ink. proudly presents an interview with legendary hardcore musician Justin Pearson. A conversation about ethics, origins, and some other stuff too. This one’s a real feast for your eyes, ears, and brain… Bon appétit.

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