• Josh Hughes

JEFF ROSENSTOCK: LOVE IS WORRY.

The hero of modern punk and his magnum opus

2016 was a freakishly weird year. Six years ago, the world was holding their breath as Barack Obama's tenure as President of the United States was coming to an end, and the country was put to the task of electing his successor: experienced politician and wife of former president Hilary Clinton or experienced businessman and media personality Donald Trump. It was also a week where hype was building for Jeff Rosenstock's second LP to release. Following the previous year's We Cool?, Rosenstock had found a new lease on life and had enjoyed relatively decent success with his brilliant solo debut following his disbanding of ska collective Bomb The Music Industry! and 2012's demo mixtape I Look Like Shit. Now he was tasked with not hitting the sophomore slump that can hinder the greatest of artists, so earlier in the year, he and his cohort travelled to The Atomic Garden Recording Studio, California to work with producer Jack Shirley on what would become WORRY.


This was definitely a new experience for Rosenstock. He'd never recorded somewhere "nice" before We Cool?, nor had a budget for a record prior to recording, but he wasn't too worried about the prospect of having things come together this way. He had the backing of legendary punk/alt rock label Side One Dummy, who had put out the likes of Title Fight, The Gaslight Anthem and Anti-Flag, not to mention collaborated to release We Cool? the year before alongside Rosenstock's own label Quote Unquote Records, where all of his music is free/pay-what-you-want for everyone.


The recording process took place across 3 weeks between the Panoramic House in Stinson Beach and Jack Shirley's studio The Atomic Garden in East Palo Alto.


"This music is here for you regardless of your income."


It's this anti-capitalist mindset that makes Rosenstock come across as a very wholesome and honest musician, and in extension, record label owner. Profit margins and sales aren't a major factor to him, as he confesses in an interview with German outlet Getaddicted:


"At this point the donations go straight to the bands, so I REALLY don’t look. I don’t look because that’s not the fucking point. The point is, was and always will be sharing music I love that I’ve made or my friends have made to anyone who finds it."


In a way, this is one of the things that WORRY., and in a way, worry itself, is about; the gargantuan creeping monolith of capitalism. Even Rosenstock himself showed some hesitation and doubt about working with a label other than his own:


"Everybody was like, ‘You should go for it. You should give it a shot. It wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot.’ That’s true. I don’t want to close myself off to experiences. I just reconciled it by making sure that the music was still going to be free. Making sure that nobody has creative control but me and no one’s telling me what to do."


One of those people who pushed him was his wife, Christine Mackie.

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