THE AMAZING TALE OF JUHA
In 2003, Juha’s Polari album was released by hardcore upstart Agitprop Records. Fusing elements of Middle Eastern, Hawaiian, and punk music over a hip hop back-drop - and with themes including Palestinian dislocation, rap bigotry, and the necessity of hunting and barbecuing Ted Nugent - it garnered some fast critical acclaim and scampered to #1 on the Outvoice album chart. The Grooms of God followed in 2007, for which Juha declared: “I’ve become a three-headed Gargoyle perched on the steps of Motown.” Calling the new sound “Gothic Soul,” he also flirted with Middle Eastern disco, electro-classical, and dub, and told stories of man-eating tigers, male prostitutes, and his own account of the mid-90’s U.S. AIDS Crisis - while not forgetting to throw in more than a couple goofy rhymes about his dick.
As a singer, Juha is a vocal shapeshifter - in one moment a whisky-throated rock daddy, in the next a smooth soul diva, in the next a bratty emcee... often within the same song. What may sound like a gospel choir behind him in fact displays his “little vocal armies of me” - his own character singing layered on top of itself. And yet his voice manages to remain instantly recognizable and distinctly his own.
As an actor, Juha’s one-man shows have found him playing everything from a white neo-nazi to a black drag queen to a green lab monkey (...and a would-be member of the Jackson 5 in I, Dolores, Lost Member of the Jackson Family: the shocking story of Michael and Janet’s long-lost HIV+ sister). He’s been awarded a Fellowship in New Genres from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, a Threshold Grant, a residency at the Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts, and a grant from the Horizons Foundation for his performance work. He makes his feature film debut this year in Kanchi Wichmann’s Break My Fall, and since that experience has decided that he wouldn’t mind becoming the next James Bond.
Stomach is Juha’s new EP, previewing his Skeletons of Victor album. The title track is the sound of Prince and Rick Springfield french kissing. “Stomach” is then followed by covers of three 80's classics: an exclusive dancefloor-friendly remix of "Ain't Nothin Goin On But The Rent,” the Gwen Guthrie-penned song that first appeared on The Grooms of God (with a slight rewrite transplanting Gwen's original lyrics into a world of male prostitution); "Goodbye To You,” Juha's a cappella doo-wop version of Scandal's new wave hit; and Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out.”
Juha is now gearing up to tour his one-man Rock N Wrestle Road Show - part rock concert, part character-driven comedy. When not on the road, he resides in the London borough of Hackney, where he became one of the “East End boys” that the Pet Shop Boys sing about in “West End Girls.”
PS - Juha takes his name from a trickster character of Middle Eastern folklore, and it's a name that many Westerners find difficult to pronounce. If that's you, try a bastardized version: a French "Je" (as in, "Je voudrais coucher avec toi, Juha") and an English "ha" (as in "ha ha ha... My - that's rich!") It may not be perfect pronunciation on your part at this point, but you're doing much better at it than many!