Milwaukee All-Star: Musician and activist Johanna Rose
Every week in 2015 (and the first few weeks of 2016), OnMilwaukee and local design company Too Much Metal join forces to introduce the latest member of the Milwaukee All-Stars – a team of unfamiliar winners living in the city who consistently and diligently make it shine. Each week, a new member will join the team – based on your recommendations – and at the end of the year all will come together in a Rally of the Raddest Milwaukeeans. We're not sure what that means quite yet, so for now, meet …
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: How long have you been involved with music?
Johanna Rose: I've been playing upright bass for 18 years. I am a product of love, union organizers and '80s hair metal. The result is an affinity for organizing musical events around community causes. I'm part of the booking team for Arte Para Todos, Riverwest FemFest and help organize Bandsketball, a basketball tournament between 32 local bands. I also enjoy volunteering as a bass instructor at Girls Rock Camp and Ladies Rock Camp.
I currently front New Boyz Club, an eight piece glitter-jazz-rock group, play for the hip-hop outfit known as Airo Kwil, a badass six-piece band of all women called Ruth B8r Ginsberg and a bluegrass band called Thistledown Thunders.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Where do you currently work?
Rose: I am a full-time freelance musician and part-time employee at Riverwest Public House, a lovely, cooperatively owned, bar and music venue in Riverwest.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What time of year is your favorite in Milwaukee and why?
Rose: My favorite time of year is late spring. This is when the city emerges from being stuck in doors during the long, cold winter and rejoices. It's a very energizing and inspiring time of year. It's like a collective manic episode.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What's your favorite or least favorite smell in Milwaukee?
Rose: I like the incense section at Knuckleheads.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What neighborhood do you live in?
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What's your hope for Milwaukee?
Rose: I hope Milwaukee can continue to unite and support just causes through art and music. Milwaukee has an extremely eclectic music scene, diverse in its abundant talents. Artists from all genres influence, support and collaborate with each other. It's what makes Milwaukee music beautiful and unique.
Milwaukee faces extreme challenges. It's terribly segregated, has incredibly high incarceration rates, rampant gun violence and an insane police chief. It's too easy for the wealthy suburbs to ignore the impoverished inner-city. Help is not on the way. We have to do it ourselves and we are. We have an incredible music scene; I hope to see it turn into a Movement. Music has and will change the world. Music in the 1960s created a culture of love, during the beginning of the civil rights movement it forged a culture of freedom, and in Milwaukee it can create a culture of generosity and solidarity. That's my hope for Milwaukee.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Why do you do what you do?
Rose: Because I'm extremely passionate about what I do so it rarely feels like work and I can't stand my life if I'm not creating stuff.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What's your one guilty pleasure?
Rose: French fries at Company Brewing on Center Street.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Name a Milwaukeean you would like to high five.
Rose: Maria Hamilton.
OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: When / how did you fall in love with Milwaukee?
Rose: I was born and raised here so I've always loved it as home. I moved away to Portland for a few years and upon my return fell completely back in love with it. I get to play music with my family and closest friends all the time. What more could I possibly want?
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