We had a special guest stop by Stash Pad on Friday the 13th, Travis Laughlin, who's been impersonating Janis Joplin for _ years now. Born & Raised in North Carolina, and currently residing in New York as a _ teacher, This One Good Man
Sorry for the delay. How many years have you been performing as Pearl? I first appeared as Janis in my junior year of high school (1990) at an event where guys dressed in drag in a mock beauty pageant, but I lip synced, didn't sing.. The first time I sang and performed a tribute to Janis was at the Perch in Charlotte - probably around 1996 or 1997. I continued performing this Janis tribute in Charlotte occasionally at the Perch and as a member of the BBQ Grillzz. Pearl got her name in 1999 when she headlined a show at Cafe Dada with Snagglepuss and Baby Shaker. WHat is your current day job? For the past nine years I have worked at the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Currently I am the Senior Director of Programs for the Foundation. How long did you teach for and what subject? I taught for four years at Midwood High School in Charlotte and taught Applied Economics, US History, and a Leadership class. Why Janis Joplin? When I was 14 my half brother, Ty, was killed in a car accident (he was 18 when he died). At his funeral his friends spoke about how important music was to him and mentioned various bands he loved (Kiss, AC/DC) and they mentioned Janis. A few weeks prior to his death I had discovered Janis' last studio album, "Pearl," which was quite serendipitous. I began listening to Janis to remember and connect with Ty. How has she influenced your life? One thing that connects me to Janis is a similar history. We are both from small southern towns in which we felt like outsiders. We recognized that all we were being taught or told was not always right, just, or fair and we wanted to get out. Through Janis' music I learned about her influences (Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith) and this in many ways forced me to begin to explore the racism and sexism that shaped this country. And Janis was a reader (always more of a beatnik than hippie) and I discovered authors and through her expanded my love of reading. And Janis was her pure self - authentic and uncompromising. I like to think I got some of that from her. What songs did you perform at stash pad? I sang "Mercedes Benz", "Down on Me", "Move Over", "Piece of my Heart", and "Ball and Chain"