Justin Picon’s Plan to Bring us Together as we sit Alone
April 2, 2020 by Adrian Gonzalez
Since Mid-March California has been under “shelter in place” advisement to protect us from the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The advisement has allowed the postponement and canceling of shows, concerts and gatherings across the state and eventually the nation. Bars, movie theaters, restaurants, and other places we have come to expect to be there for our entertainment are closed or switched to “Take out only.” Where does that leave the public?
Well, it leaves all of us at home, or essential workers home after or before work. The concerts we relied on are on hold, but there isn’t a lack of music. Singers and musicians are streaming more than we have ever seen. One Artist is setting aside his own time to make sure we have some entertainment, is Justin Picon, lead-singer of “Codename: Rocky.”
For the locals, Picon is no stranger to them, he’s the former front-man of “Eve of Destruction.” On what seemed a life-time ago in today’s news cycle, Picon performed a half hour acoustic sing along on March 28th. It was filled with covers from bands, like NOFX, Hepcat and others. When asked what he gets out of performing at home, Picon stated that he feels that everyone is as bored and over being in the house as he is. “Music has always been an escape for me and I know a lot of people feel the same way.” Justin is home and quarantined just like all of us and understands first hand how many of us are feeling. Picon stated “If I can help someone forget they’re stuck at home for a little bit, then I feel like I did something to help during this tough time.”
These at home performances are a different experience than most of us are used to both as performers and audience members. For the performers, there is no crowd directly in front of them to feed off. The hardest part for Picon is the silence in the room after a song, the silence makes him nervous. “I’ve been performing for people since I was a kid and I’ve always fed off the crowd. To hear nothing back is really weird.” It may come in different forms, but the performers are seeing the gratitude from the crowd, Picon goes on to say “I see all the hearts and likes, while I’m playing and I’m able to use that as motivation.” Justin’s young daughters began to clap towards the end of his set and Picon went on to say this was calming for him. He’s hoping that people are clapping and singing along in their living rooms, and from personal experience, we are.
Luckily for us Picon’s performance was not the only home gig that he had planned to present to the internet. On Saturday April 4th at 6pm (Pacific), he plans to serenade us with another couch concert that will be slightly different. The last performance was all covers, this next one will be primarily Codename: Rocky and Eve of Destruction songs. Justin doesn’t play guitar in CN:R and hasn’t played any Eve Of Destruction songs in a long while, and had to give himself time to relearn them.
These days, being a father takes up most of his time and he hasn’t had a chance to watch too many other quarantine performances. One performance that he was able to see was Jared Palazzolo, singer and guitarist went live for nearly 3 hour a few hours after Picon. With a resume that includes Knock_out, The Skeletones, The English Beat and his current project The Sailors song book, Palazzolo has no shortage of songs. Picon describes Palazzolo’s style as free and easy and talented enough to sit there and take request, adding “If you’re not watching him you’re missing out.” Poloazzolo played everything from the Aquabats “Red Sweater” to The Fugees “Killing Me Softly.”
The quarantine has also had an impact on Picon’s band, Codename: Rocky. They had a ton of writing momentum in the last six months, but it’s all stopped. CN:R had about 5 or so new songs that the band had been working hard on. Picon goes on to say “I don’t think I’ve ever put this much effort and love into writing, but we’re taking this (the virus) seriously.” There’s nothing that Picon would want more than to perform live and finish writing, but it’s the stance of the band that it is not worth anyone’s health.
Codename will continue to share ideas thanks to home recordings technology, this is different because recording is mostly Drew’s and Matt’s area of expertise. He added that 90% of the new lyrics that they have were written by Drew and himself. When it comes to writing with someone else Picon says, “I’ve never written with anyone before like this so I was nervous” adding “Drew and I clicked right out of the gate and its been awesome working so close with him.” Social Distancing has also changed the way the horn section works together. Picon tells us that “[The] Horns also write together so that’s been tough for them as well.”
To See Justin Picon’s next live feed, Find him or CodeName: Rocky on Facebook