My first punk show was at ABC No Rio and the band AS$TROLAND played. I’ve been a follower of the band members’ projects ever since. AS$TROLAND and ABC are why I kept coming back to shows. I am grateful my exposure to punk began with the Lower East Side DIY scene. At the time it was inclusive, political, and DIY on a radical level. AS$TROLAND‘s music was loud, the feedback was piercing, and the songs were short enough for my attention span. Jsn Shithead, their singer, has continued to be active in the DIY punk scene and is always willing to do art for a good cause. He did the ABC No Rio ads for MRR, as well as a few flyers back when was I booking shows there. He has a distinct style and punk, street art aesthetic. Here is artist and longtime Brooklyn punk Jsn Shithead…
MRR: How’d you get the name Jsn Shithead?
Jsn: When I was in college I spent a summer working for the physical plant, mowing lawns and raking leaves. That summer I had a mohawk of green dreads, and some prick in a truck rode by and said, “Nice hair, shithead!” And I kept it. Only to later realize how close it is to DOA’s fearless leader’s name….
MRR: Where are you from?
Jsn: Born in Syracuse, NY, grew up in Silver Spring, MD. Then moved to CT in high school and started going to shows.
MRR: How have you seen punk in New York change?
Jsn: I really started going to shows regularly in New York, when I moved to Brooklyn in ’93. ABC NO RIO had the hardcore shows I dug, and CBGB’s had the MADBALL shows and occasionally big punk shows. The city was balanced but things seemed endless. The Continental had good shows, then Coney Island High was killing it…now it’s not as Manhattan-centric. The venues are mostly in Brooklyn, except ABC No Rio is still at it. The Acheron and the Swamp are putting on great shows in Brooklyn!
MRR: What was your first show?
Jsn: It was in 1986 at the Anthrax in Norwalk, CT. I still have the Jim Martin flier. It was the DESCENDENTS, M.I.A., and um, now I gotta go find that flier….
MRR: What was the last show you went to?
Jsn: We just played on February 5th…does that count? I saw CELL 63 & THE WILL.
MRR: What bands have you been in?
Jsn: First off, I don’t play any instruments—I scream. My first band was AS$TROLAND, then I was in INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS and DEATH MOLD for brief times, simultaneously. Now I’m singing for MISCEGENATOR. Tim from DEATH MOLD is on drums, Rich from AS$TROLAND is on guitar, and Dan from BUCKSHOT FACELIFT is on bass.
MRR: Have you always done the artwork for your bands?
Jsn: I always try to but it’s not always easy. 3/4 of AS$TROLAND went to the Rhode Island School of Design with me, so there were always strong opinions about how we were visually represented.
MRR: Have you done artwork for other bands?
Jsn: Definitely. The latest is a guy pulling his face off, for fellow Brooklyn band AGITATOR. When I moved to Brooklyn, I came to be a part of URBAN FOLK ART®. We were screen printers for hire and an artist collective. We printed shirts for Wreckage Records in the mid ’90s. We were also printing and designing for our contemporaries.
MRR: Who influenced your style?
Jsn: I always loved the psychedelic posters by Rick Griffin and MAD Magazine. I feel like I learned a lot of anatomy from Don Martin. And later, the comics of R. Crumb, Frank Miller, Jack Kirby, the queen of punk fliers, Shawn Kerri.
MRR: Do you like Pushead?
Jsn: I love Pushead. The cover he did for the RORSCHACH’s Protestant reissue is insane!
MRR: Do you think late ’70s street art from New York City influenced your style?
Jsn: I wasn’t really exposed to that as it was happening. It’s not bad stuff, I just was drawn more towards what I could get my hands on and study. There are plenty of books of that stuff now that I have and appreciate, but I don’t think it’s guided my work.
MRR: What are you doing now?
Jsn: MISCEGENATOR is playing more often. I’m painting more and showing my work on a more regular basis.
MRR: Any upcoming projects or shows?
Jsn: Not much is planned now. There’s a closing party at URBAN FOLK ART® Gallery for the show that I’m in currently. Then it’s back to the studio. Due to the snow in NYC, the next MISCEGENATOR show is postponed, but you can follow us on the Facebook for updates.