Joseph A. Gervasi interviews Pierce Jordan and Ruben Polo of the Philly hardcore band Soul Glo. Soul Glo is a relatively young band, but in the short time they’ve caught the attention of many with the intensity of their performances and Pierce’s impassioned and confrontational lyrics. We talk about their upbringing as outsiders in both the black community and the largely white world of punk, how they came to Philadelphia and met, and how the band formed. Most essential to this interview is our discussion of the power of words, particularly the word “nigger,” which appears in Soul Glo’s lyrics. Since the word makes many in the black community as well as liberal whites rather uncomfortable (hence the substitution by some of the phrase “the n-word,” which the brain provides an immediate translation for, thus rendering it pointless semantic obfuscation), its appearance in the lyrics makes for a thoughtful discussion of race and language both in and out of punk. We also discuss role models, both those Pierce and Ruben grew up with, and the fact that by presenting themselves to strangers with their band, they may find that they too will be role models for others. In a conversation that may make some listeners uncomfortable at times, we discuss all this and more. It’s worth noting that as serious as some of the talk can be, Pierce and Ruben retain a cheerful sense of humor that comes through in our talk.
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