Smile Politely

Three questions with TyJon Charlie

The image is a photo of a person playing an electric guitar in an outdoor setting. The person is wearing a black t-shirt and has a tattoo on their left arm. The guitar is black and white with a silver neck, and the person is also wearing earphones and singing into a microphone. The background consists of a grassy area with trees and a building in the distance.
TyJon Charlie on Facebook

This week, we catch up with TyJon Charlie of the Unemployed Architects, as well as his solo appearances. You can catch TyJon this Friday at Pour Bros. Craft Taproom in Champaign

Smile Politely: In an alternate universe where music is currency, how rich would you say you are based on all of your live performances, and what’s the craziest thing you’ve ‘purchased’ with your tunes?

TyJon Charlie: I play pretty much any chance I get. I have 5 shows this weekend alone, and I’ve been doing about 150 shows a year for the past 5 years or so. Most of those sets are 3 or 4 hours. And before then I was still doing a lot of shows a year for the past 10. I’m not sure what it would all accumulate to and what metric it would be measured by, but I would be doing alright I think. In an alternate universe, this might not be too crazy of a purchase, but I would definitely purchase a studio and doubles of all my gear (which would be way nicer in this universe) for that studio, so every time I want to record, I could just go and hit record. 

SP: If your music had a superpower, allowing it to transform into a superhero whenever it’s played, what would its hero name be and what peculiar villain would it battle against?

Charlie: I often think that being a musician and making music is the closest thing to being a superhero there is in real life. You are literally manipulating vibrations and organizing them in a way that can alter the reality/perspective of people listening. It’s pretty amazing.

That being said, I think my name would still be TyJon Charlie in that universe. This isn’t exactly the question you asked (because you are asking about my music’s superpower if I’m understanding correctly), but MY superpower wouldn’t be super strength, flying, or healing wounds and/or breaks quickly, but it would be to the ability to take the most punishment. When I’d face a villain or enemy, they would be able to win mostly, but I would keep coming and the confrontation would end with them being so exhausted from the beating they were giving me from that exchange that I could finally finish them off because I would still have a lot more left in the tank. The villain would be “The Man” obviously, because that is kind of the villain in reality to musicians. Always fighting to not give in to the normal order of things. “The Man” is always trying to take you down. Get a real job, climb the corporate ladder, money money money…etc. But me being a musician is counter to those types of things.

SP: Imagine your podcast got hijacked for a day by a time-traveling musician from the past. Who would you want it to be, and what modern-day song would you challenge them to cover on the show?

Charlie: This is a tough one, but through and through, I love me some Johnny Cash. He usually makes an appearance in a lot of my sets. But listening to him go through his wildest shows (and life in general) on The Weekend Warrior Show Recap Podcast would be a real treat. If I could pick any modern-day song for him to cover, I think I would, selfishly, pick my own song called, “Premonition Man”. The guitar is tuned down super low for the recording of this tune and it overall has a slightly more country vibe than some of my other stuff. I’d be super interested to hear his take on it.

TyJon Charlie
Pour Bros. Craft Taproom
40 E University Ave
F March 15th, 8 p.m.

Music Editor

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