Green Warrior Rock Outfit Slushbox Takes to the Theatrical Stage

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Photos courtesy of Slushbox.

For those who don’t know, Slushbox is a band that represents Long Beach and, despite age, shows how cool the people who simply don’t give a flyin’ hell what other people think really are.

We are talking about a trio—Sharon Giarratano (bassist, vocalist, badass), Mark Wheeler (shredder), Terry Frost (the crazy drummer from OC who also tends to be admittedly showy)—that named their band after their very own messiness. (We all know that slushy things are hard to, well, keep in order.) They describe their sound as “quirk-a-relic, supersonic rock with a bit of eco-glam pizazz.” (They are always sporting green like leprechaun warriors for the planet.) And since 2005, they have invaded the streets of Long Beach with outdoor performances and indoor appearances.

But now they’re taking to the other stage—the theatrical stage to be specific—with their 45-minute rock’n’theatre extravaganza that is Find Your Own Steeple.

What is one to expect from the unapologetically out there group that has a song titled “The Eternal Purple Turtle”? Well, in the words of Giarratano, you can expect “to be struck with inspiration and celebration, people breaking out of things, opera singing, metaphysical rants, and chants, and vignettes to bring out our story and ourselves.”

The adventure within Steeple isn’t just about Slushbox but about the audience as well. Essentially, Slushbox eschews religious dogma in favor of letting listeners in on the secret that, at least in their opinion, the power of freedom and happiness comes within and that every single person has this power. This piece about the Steeple’s philosophy becomes more powerful when you attach the anecdote that is Giarratano’s Catholic upbringing.

“What is surprising is that some people ask me, ‘What is a steeple?’” Giarratano said. “Didn’t they learn the little hand game? ‘This is the church, this is the steeple, open the door, see all the people’? I went to Catholic school in the South—and it was very weird to be told that Catholicism was the one true religion. You learn that all the other faiths tell their followers the same thing. Thankfully, I was also exposed to some very open-minded folks too and discovered, ‘Hmmmm, there are a lotta gray areas.’”

Love thy cauliflower (which is also the title of a song, which will also be performed with some colorful embellishments by way of Bonilla).

Those gray areas masked one fact for Giarratano: we’re all the same and somehow, steeples—which represent false powers of sorts for each bandmember—have demoted the power of the people to make their own choices and follow their own doctrines. Think the message of the Dead Kennedys (with less screaming) gone Burning Man (with less dirt).

“Steeples, especially long ago, were powerful symbols,” Giarratano said, “Imagine no electricity and these crafted sacred spaces—antennas of sorts—trying to reach the Gods as the center of townships… Then, imagine the conversion of peoples to follow some doctrine and having to kneel in some special temple. People have actually lost power in that process and being powerless is relying on others to tell them what to believe. It is time to realize that we each have our own true internal guidance systems. You need your own antenna.”

Hence Steeple becoming the quintessential message of sorts for Slushbox—complete with a visit from the purple turtle (and if you thought everything was green in Slushbox, well, they dig royal purple a lot) as well as a performance by paint-thrower/liquid extraordinaire Patricia Bonilla of RAW.

“The Slushbox goal is to inspire audiences—and have all of the performers, who have been hand-picked, to find their own steeples too, by doing things they have not ever done before or, that are out of their comfort zones,” said Wheeler. “The entire cast—band and all—will definitely be growing into their roles live, before your very eyes. We write our own songs with the motive to inspire our audiences to find themselves. As band members, we too re-find ourselves with every new adventure in this project. And Find Your Own Steeple is the grandest adventure yet.”

With our own antennas, we do indeed hold the key.

The public is invited to watch Find Your Steeple for free at this weekend’s upcoming 2nd Saturday ArtWalk, taking place in the East Village Arts District on Linden Ave. between 1st St. and Broadway. The performance will begin at 8:30PM on Saturday, September 13.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.