Derek Zanetti, aka The Homeless Gospel Choir embodies everything that makes punk great. He is a punk musician to the core who embodies a D.I.Y punk aesthetic where every song drips with authenticity and truth. He is that rare artist who can deliver a more affecting, relatable message in one single line than most bands manage on an entire album. His vulnerable lyrics and almost painful honesty often deal with his own mental health issues yet he can also be almost cruelly self-deprecating and uproariously funny. Similarly, his music is overtly political, following a proud tradition of folk-punk musicians such as Billy Bragg, Frank Turner, Davey Dynamite etc who use their voice to address the injustices, inequalities and general intolerance that sadly infects modern society.
Since releasing his 2010 debut album “Some People Never Go Anywhere”, Zanetti has built a dedicated following both in his native Pittsburgh and further afield. 2014’s “I Used To Be So Young” garnered him a degree of critical acclaim as well as some famous fans in the shape of Frank Turner and former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero. New album, “Normal” features the same poignant, soul-stirring lyrical nous you would expect but also showcases a greater mastery of song craft as songs move from folk-punk to Americana to anthemic pop punk in the form of “Crazy”, “1983” and the defining and triumphant “Normal”. A beautifully succinct statement to the world about what it means to suddenly find yourself part of the all encompassing, life-changing scene that is punk rock.
Before Zanetti embarks on a huge tour with Beach Slang and Frank Iero and the Patience, Dying Scene had the chance to talk with the always gracious and engaging Zanetti about the “Normal” album, the influence of folk-punk great Frank Turner, working with Frank Iero as well as why the very ideals that punk embodies still coarse through his veins.
Check out the interview below.