On Friday, August 18th, The Homeless Gospel Choir, also known as Derek Zanetti, will be celebrating the release of his new album “Normal” with a concert at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls! The concert will also feature special guests Rue and Jack Swing.
Zanetti is a protest singer-songwriter from Pittsburgh who found his place in the punk movement at an early age. When he was young, Zanetti never truly belonged. “I felt weird. I was in sixth grade. I was chubby. I was getting beat up. I didn’t fit in anywhere particularly. I was always longing for unity and togetherness, and I never found my niche anywhere.”
Then in 1994, Zanetti’s life changed when a fellow misfit kid handed him a cassette of Green Day’s “Dookie.” Despite the fact that his strict parents forbid the album, Zanetti had found his place. “I remember that feeling of hearing it for the first time. I had never heard anything like it before, I never heard anyone get angry before. It was different than anything I’d heard on the radio…I listened to ‘Dookie,’ and I felt like something else good is out there and I should go look for it.”
Now, twenty-three years later, Zanetti is making his own punk albums with the message that his audience is not alone. He also spreads this message through his performances, striving to create a community among his fans. “Everybody should be able to come and feel like they belong, or find friendship…If you feel like you’re weird and you don’t know anybody and you can’t relate to anybody, there’s a whole room filled with you guys.”
On his newest album “Normal,” to be released August 18th, Zanetti tells the story of his misfit childhood and finding solace in punk music. “It tells the whole tale of this young person who is always conflicted and trying to find hope and trying to find belonging and does so in this group of weird misfit punk kids. And it talks about living in Pittsburgh…and finding companionship in peculiar places.”
Zanetti will be performing “Normal” in its entirety during his show at the Funhouse.
Doors open at 7:00 and the show starts at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $10 and can still be found here. Come out and celebrate the release of this new album with a fun concert! Hope to see you there!
For a sneak peek of the new album, watch the video for the title single “Normal” below!