Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.
Cat Park (guitar, vocals): Writing, practicing and discussing music has been really difficult. Any sort of promotion feels wrong. I feel that it’s an important time to listen and learn, especially if you are white, which we are. I do genuinely miss playing music. Before quarantine, we were writing a full-length and booking studio time.
As much as I identify with music, other matters are more important right now. First, there’s your own mental health and well being. If you are not taking care of yourself, then you can’t be the warrior you need to be for others. Then there’s the community around you, your family, friends and neighbors. All three of us have been going to protests as much as we can. We all have masks made by our bassist, Kat, who handmade hundreds of them. I was fortunate to have one made for me with some special stitching.
I was tested the other day through Philly Fighting COVID. It was a drive thru set up in the Fillmore parking lot. It wasn’t terrible; it was just a weird sensation. The test happened really fast, then it was over. Being exposed to large numbers of people during the protests, I felt it was the responsible thing to get tested.
I just read the NPR article that explained the low numbers of positive COVID tests in protest hot spots. This basically proves that masks work, but I will remain cautious while masking up. I have recently taken a break from protests, waiting for my COVID test to come back.
I’ve been fundraising by painting lots of pet portraits. I’ve painted about 150 portraits so far, with many to go, raising about $7,000 in total donated to Black Lives Matter, Philly Mutual Aid and Morris Home. Normally, people in the punk community would put on benefit shows, but now we need to be far more innovative in our efforts. I’ve seen many friends fundraising in insanely creative ways, and I’m so proud of them all.
Algernon Cadwallader recreated their original logo with Black Lives Matter and raffled test pressings and other items, then donated the money. Sarah of Blowdryer has been making beautiful ink portraits of people for receipts of donations. Dom Angelella was giving away new music for receipts of donations. Sonam of Drill was giving away coffee from their shop Mina’s World for receipts of donations and currently has an ongoing social takeover with PhreedomJawn. Paint it Black made a shirt depicting the place in which the abominable Frank Rizzo statue once stood and donated all the proceeds to Philly Bail Out. My friend Ryan Mettz, who’s a tattoo artist, auctioned off a single painting and raised more than $6,000. I believe musicians know the importance of community.
I’m hoping that this fire stays lit and we all keep fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Tony McDade, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown and so many other brutally murdered BIPOC at the hands of police.