Jesse Jo Stark: “i find it funny that spooky is in. but that’s just me being territorial.” (4/19 at TLA w/ The Veronicas)

This Friday, 4/19, South Street – Philadelphia’s historic hot spot for goths, punks, rockers, weirdos and alternative kids of every variety – will fittingly be hosting the Gothic Summer...

This Friday, 4/19, South Street – Philadelphia’s historic hot spot for goths, punks, rockers, weirdos and alternative kids of every variety – will fittingly be hosting the Gothic Summer Tour at Theatre of Living Arts.  Headlining the evening is Australian progressive pop sister duo The Veronicas, whose [sixth full-length] Gothic Summer dropped last month.  But we’re equally excited for alt-rocker Jesse Jo Stark, who’s opening the tour.  Jesse Jo Stark – the daughter of the founders and owners of Chrome Hearts (She’s designed custom items for the brand for Post Malone, Orville Peck, and Yungblud, also her boyfriend.) – has been making music since she was in her single digits and formed her first band, It’s Complicated, at just 11.

Jesse Jo Stark established herself as a solo artist in 2017, going on to open for acts like Guns N’ Roses and Jane’s Addiction, tour with The Heavy, and even launch her own merch company (Deadly Doll, named for her 2017 single).  2022 saw the release of DOOMED, her debut LP, leading to 2023 headlining tours across the US and Europe, including a stop at Underground Arts last September. Earlier this month, she released “skeleton,” her newest single.  I recently got a chance to chat with the singer/songwriter/designer (and actor!) about her music, fashion, and future.

Izzy Cihak: You recently kicked off the Gothic Summer Tour with The Veronicas (who are also so amazing!) How have those dates been going so far, in terms of audiences and just being on the road with Lisa and Jessica? I absolutely love this lineup/pairing.

Jesse Jo Stark: the veronicas are insane! beautiful inside n out n slayer voices. they curated a full female fronted tour. so bad ass. lots of love on this one. home on the road n happy.

IC: What can we expect of your opening set, in terms of setlist, production, and just the general vibe? I’m so bummed that I missed you at Underground Arts last year, but Boris and Melvins were in town the same night and I kinda had to go to that. Anything you’d tell fans of The Veronicas to make sure to get them out a little early?

JJS: expect to shake rattle n roll. bummed you didn’t make the show! but i forgive you 😉

IC: You recently released “skeleton,” a new single. How did that track originate?

JJS: skeleton is just a stream of consciousness. i wrote it quickly n accidentally about being totally tormented by yer own head. not sure how to live inside of this vessel. n then remembering we are all just itty bitty skeletons walking around this wildly beautiful yet totally fucked up planet leading with our hearts all with the same parts. so i laugh.

IC: I know you grew up in the fashion industry and still do a lot of work in fashion, but I’m curious how you feel like growing up in that community has informed your work as a musician? The two industries definitely seem to have a lot of crossover.

JJS: i grew up around seriously driven n creative people. didn’t feel much like an industry but more of a family making art from nothing. most of my days consist of me designing at the factory all day n then walkin to my studio to rehearse with my band. they full heartedly go hand in hand. with design i tend to think of others. but music is just for me.

IC: Is there anything going on in fashion right now that you find to be especially inspiring or even just especially cool? I grew up very much a part of both the Riot Grrrl scene and the Industrial scene and never really thought the two would overlap (aside from maybe in Atari Teenage Riot), but I’ve seen a lot of young people these days wearing these like amazing amalgams of the styles of each of those subcultures.

JJS: i think it’s fun to play dress up. i respect those that have a uniform n those that’s dip their feet into other pools. i think cool is being yerself. i don’t like when everyone looks the same. it’s really hard to have personal style these days though because with the internet you can wear anyone’s skin in five seconds. i find it funny that spooky is in. but that’s just me being territorial.

IC: Are there any kinds of things you especially like to see fans wear out to the shows, or anything that you might suggest, if they’re still deciding and looking for inspiration?

JJS: every one at my show looks cool. they show up fitted! i respect n love it. cutest people. whether it’s a cowboy hat or leather skirts n boots or a buncha spider rings i see them all and it overwhelms me!

IC: I realize this is a really huge question, but what have been some of the personal highlights of your musical career so far, whether they be milestones of sorts, reactions your music has gotten, or just moments that have stood out to you as being exceptionally cool?

JJS: every time i walk on stage n see one person singing my song. that’s the wildest thing to me. still. i just know how much music means to me – when i see my favorite artist play or get that satisfaction from an artists lyrics that make me feel like the song was written for me. for it to be reversed is insane!

opening for post malone

headlining a tour

playing in japan

putting out an album

being in this bus on this tour

my dream. a dream. i love it

IC: Finally, what’s next for you?  How are you hoping and planning to spend the second half of 2024, after these dates?

JJS: i want to finish this album I’m workin on

hop on another tour

i’d like to open for no doubt or doja or lana or fontaines d.c. or turnstile…the list goes on

more music

a movie

building my studio

growin into my heart

love x

*Get your tickets here.

**Check out Jesse Jo Stark’s Spotify, which includes (among other things) a Halloween playlist featuring PHILTHY phavorites like The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Ramones.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.