Canvas Rebel Magazine – October 19, 2023
We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Stuart Pearson. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Stuart below.
Alright, Stuart thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’d love to hear the backstory behind a risk you’ve taken – whether big or small, walk us through what it was like and how it ultimately turned out.
Being a musician, risk is one of your instruments. It’s like oxygen (and oxygen burns. Science!) When I was 20, I was writing songs with the now legendary Ken Cro-ken (a environmental painter who sadly passed a few years ago.) He was staying with his grandmother in her trailer in Fremont, CA and I was at home with my parents in Long Island. We wrote using actual mail (that sounds so old) and phone calls. I adored Ken as a brother and still do. Ken was one of those guys who always talked. He. Could. Not. Stop. Talking. One day he called me and said “you have to come out to California IMMEDIATELY!” He met a girl who was engaged to Donny Osmond, who at the time was hot hot hot in America (I guess I AM old). She said Donny had heard our songs and wanted us to write a bunch of songs for his next record.
Being 20 years old, I packed two suitcases and two guitars and with $500 in my pocket said goodbye to everyone and everything I knew. As I boarded a plane to San Francisco, I, in my most 20-ish way possible, said I was off to become a star! I was leaving forever and would never forget all the friends and family I was leaving behind. I had THIRTY people see me off at JFK airport. I hugged each one goodbye as I boarded the plane. This was my first flight. Ken picked me up at the airport and I stayed in his grandmother’s spare room, not able to sleep, since we were going to meet this girl the next day and get the details on meeting Donny.
The next morning, I entered the front room to the sight of Ken, head lowered, sitting on his grandmother’s couch. Silent. SILENT. I didn’t know he could be awake and silent. Ken told me he couldn’t find the girl, so he called her parents. Apparently, the parents knew the Osmonds years before but had lost touch long ago. They had no idea what the girl was talking about and told Ken that she had problems discerning reality from fantasy. I could feel the blood leave my head. I sat down next to the window and looked out on the brown, lifeless hills Fremont had in abundance back then. It might as well have been Mars. I could hear a movie orchestra swell in the background. I couldn’t return home, knowing the constant mocking I would receive. So I stayed. I don’t know how it happened, but things tend to fall into place when you’re a well-meaning idiot and I have lived in California ever since (except for two months of living in Detroit. That’s another story.
Stuart, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Well, that is one loaded hoagie of a question. What really separates any musician/artist from another these days? We’re all on the Internet, tickling your chin, flapping our arms and making bird noises to make you love us. If there is anything about me that stands out, maybe it’s that at my age I still have that impossible dream of writing a song that makes people see things. I’m proud of waking up every morning around 6 AM and going into my studio to write, sing and record. I’m proud that I have no idea how to write a love song whose lyrics read like an assault charge. I’m proud that my wife/partner, Hunter Lowry, is bent in my direction. My work tends to be spooky-dark and dopey fun. I’m proud of my new album coming out in late October/early November, “American Gothic”. It’s bipolar gothic country folk music, Alice Cooper with banjos. Yee-haw Velvet Underground carnival tunes for misfits.
What can society do to ensure an environment that’s helpful to artists and creatives?
BUY music, don’t stream it. If you MUST stream, stream constantly. Tell your friends they will lose your love if they don’t stream (or buy!) that artist. Go to the shows! Seduce the weak-willed to meet you at the shows – break their hearts later if you want to, just get them there. Most musicians are now becoming merch hawkers. Nothing wrong with designing t-shirts, but should artists have to give their music away for free and hope you’ll buy a coffee mug with their pained-artist face on it, doing that “point accusatively at the camera” pose? There could be better tax write-offs for artists. Discounts at Denny’s. Free diapers for the older musicians. Better health care. Free gold tooth replacement procedures.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
This will sound like eye-roll material for non-musicians, but here goes; I need to make music. It keeps my brain wet. It gives me self-worth. It keeps my emotions in check and brings me peace of mind, like I matter to the rhythm of the world. And I’m pretty good at it! Some people don’t like my music, and that’s okay. I don’t like their shoes. Their pants smell funny too. And don’t get me started on their breath…
A personal mission I have is to build enough goodwill around the world that Hunter and I can travel, do shows and take the trips as tax write-offs. I don’t have any illusions that I will reach pop icon status – I just want to meet all the friends out there I don’t know yet, wherever they are. Promoting my music on the Internet has helped me meet wonderful people all over the world. Imagine making friends and traveling to see them for free! That’s a good cuppa joe, right there.