Tag Archives: What’s Your Day Job

What’s Your Day Job?: John Sharkey

John Sharkey III
John Sharkey III in his screenprinting studio.

Playing music comes as naturally as breathing to some people. It’s a mechanical action—an instinct. The subconscious, in concert with the rest of the body, does the bulk of the work. Also, much like breathing, for these individuals, playing music is integral to survival. They take in stimuli, process them, and fashion them into art. Creating is a necessary component of living.

The older we get, the more responsibilities we accrue, and the harder it becomes to find the time to make music. As important as it is, the act of artistic creation pales in comparison to family. You work a job so that the ones you love can eat food and have a place to sleep. Life is no longer about personal gratification. Instead, someone’s survival directly depends on you pulling your physical, emotional, and financial weight. Still, the urge to create is explosive.

John Sharkey III has deep insight into this conflict. A lifelong musician, in the early ’00s he relocated from his native Philadelphia to Cleveland in order to play with foundational hardcore band 9 Shocks Terror, as well as punk groups The Final Plan and Bomb Builder. When he returned to Philadelphia, he became a founding member of the notorious noise rock outfit Clockcleaner. Known for their scathing, bitter lyrics and caustic live shows, the band carved out a reputation as one of the most vitriolic acts of the decade.

And then, everything changed. Sharkey met and fell in love with an Australian national and decided to follow her back home, effectively disbanding Clockcleaner in the process. While in Australia, he began writing subdued, synth-driven rock songs under the name Puerto Rico Flowers, putting together bands in both Australia and the US to help with live shows. Sharkey and his wife, Yasmin, have moved between Canberra and Philadelphia several times, with two children, Johnny and Iris, arriving along the way.

Sharkey disbanded Puerto Rico Flowers during his last move to Australia. After a short period of inactivity and a move back to Philly, he resurrected the last stateside PRF lineup under the name Dark Blue. Occupying a sonic space somewhere between Rose Tattoo and The Comsat Angels, Dark Blue have released a series of well received singles and an LP titled “Pure Reality” (Jade Tree). The band’s second full-length album is due out this November on 12XU.

Somewhere in between the madness of intercontinental living, raising a family, and maintaining consistent musical output, Sharkey has also managed to buy a house and start a business; he’s a silkscreener by trade. His Good Penny Printing company has gained traction with punks and sports enthusiasts alike.

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What’s Your Day Job?: Locrian

Terence Hannum
Terence Hannum performing with Locrian.

To call Terence Hannum “prolific” or a “polymath” is like calling a hurricane “windy.” Although best known as a founder of the acclaimed avant black metal band Locrian, Terence has released several well-received albums of soundscapes under his own name, and is also a member of the newly-minted synth outfit The Holy Circle.

An accomplished visual artist, his work has been displayed in galleries around the world in both solo exhibitions and group shows. On top of that, Terence’s zines and art books reside in the permanent collections of multiple universities and other institutions. Recently, he’s made strides into the literary world with the publication of his first work of fiction, a novella titled “Beneath The Remains,” released to acclaim.

Staying consistent within a body of work such as this would be a tremendous undertaking for anyone, let alone a happily married father of two with a full-time job. For the better part of two decades, Terence has been working as a college professor of art, first in Chicago and, for the past few years, outside of Baltimore. As daunting as it must be to balance such a wealthy creative life with the responsibilities of work and family, Terence seems to hold it together with unparalleled elegance and grace. Like only the most disciplined individuals can, he makes what would send most of us into an anxiety-riddled state of shock look easy.

We caught up with Terence to talk about life, music, art, and how he holds it all together.

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