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If you are in Memphis Music, you have probably heard of Josh Stevens. He has been in more bands than most Memphians can name, and is always in the background trying to make the music scene better and more accessible to everyone. I met him at the infamous Buccaneer a few years back, when he played with Indeed We Digress. After that brief encounter, I had a professional falling out with one of our mutual friends, and Josh showed his true colors being there to try and smooth that out. Unlike most people in this industry, he still has a heart. He gives a shit. That is rare. He may sport green hair, have piercings, and his “work attire” is some merchandise from an up-and-coming band, but once you sit down and get him talking, you see quickly he is an innovator.
His musical tastes span from old school jam band to punk, and he can drop some covers like nobody's business, but it's his originals that have Memphis talking. "Sunshine Mud," recorded at Move the Air Audio under the incredible Alyssa Moore takes the listener on a tour of Widespread Panic, mixed with the ruggedness of some Violent Femmes or Jane's Addiction. Earlier track, "Starscream" oozes some Sex Pistols with a bit of organ backing. You literally have no idea what will come out of Glorious Abhor, while the band still somehow maintains credibility. Not many acts can pull off such diversity and still manage to keep the audience engaged, but if you have seen them out and about, they do it. They do it with fervor. Can't wait to hear the next project Subliminal Tambourine Hypnosis due out in August just to experience what new unexpected twists they have up their sleeves. You can hear Stevens in several other projects from Mystic Light Casino, Ben Ricketts, Joybomb and Jack Alberson, and he annually does a tribute show to The Band featuring a diverse and lively group of well knowns in the Memphis scene. Unpredictable, yet wildly entertaining...this describes the work of Stevens, the musician.
Josh is the proprietor of Stu Stu Studios which began as house parties featuring touring and local bands, but has grown into a residency at the famous P&H Cafe, with regular rotation in a few other local venues. Bands interested in connecting with Josh may send him a direct message through his Facebook page.
Stevens also has a new festival in the works coming in June, affectionately named "Thanks 'Preciate It". Slated to take place at the Hi-Tone on Cleveland and his resident P&H Café on Madison Avenue with SpaceTrucker, Native Blood, Heels, Whiskey Angel, and Risky Whispers on the bill. When talking to him about it, he emphasizes his desire to make this about the bands and not the festival brand, forgoing merchandise sales to allow all proceeds to go directly to each act instead of into profits for the Festival. Organically growing this project is his goal, instead of the usual branding and promoting of the entity. Nothing says ‘F’ the system and Punk more than refusing capitalism, and that is the point. He created this as a thank you to the many touring bands (and locals jumping in eleventh hour to assist) he has worked with along the way. This one action speaks volumes as to the kind of person Josh Stevens is. He is good people.
The genre fluid music made by Josh Stevens can please even the pickiest of music connoisseurs, and his almost ADHD need to improve the Memphis Music Scene will ensure you will be seeing more of him in the future. Eyes open and ears awaiting. Check out this #901Spotlight, and you will agree.