Photo of Winston

Winston Hightower is releasing “Exploration Date” on Super Dreamer records towards the end of October. “Exploration Date” is a follow-up to “Too Close to Home.”  Winston plays drums in Minority Threat. He was in Hardcore bands Yuze Boys and Puberty Wounds. Winston recently received some press that put him on experimental music innovators R. Stevie Moore and Gary Wilson’s radar.

“Exploration Date” sounds as if R. Stevie Moore filtered through the experimental narrative of Columbus Rock. Winton's solo stuff isn’t hardcore. Imagine Ariel Pink with ghostly Krylon Terracotta fingernail overspray from the Calumet Bridge.

Winston said of his contact with the influential Nashville musician, “I think R. Stevie Moore is at the point where he is so annoyed with me. That’s like my goal. That’s how I feel he operates.”

While we were conducting the interview it was difficult not to discuss our climate as this swing state that is reeling from the shooting of Ty’re King.

Winston gave a disclaimer, “I’m not good with politics. I’m good with experience.” Although the 23 year old looks young, he has lived. His parents adopted Winston from their next-door neighbor. Winston’s mom is a white lady who didn’t want her kid to be white. His dad is black. Winston’s mom is 12 years older than his dad.

I asked Winston why his mother didn’t want a white child. He replied, “My mom is weird.”

Winston spent his middle school years skateboarding by himself outside the OSU hospital because his dad had creationist. “I would just be skating by myself. There wasn’t really anything out there yet. There were the prisoners that went to the hospital. There was a ward.

“So I would say ‘Hi’ to the prisoners as they went up the elevator.”

Winston’s dad died 2 years ago.

Winston grew up in predominantly liberal Clintonville while things were changing from old retirees to yuppies. “I saw the Ku Klux Klan when I was seven, there was this neighbor who threw Klan letters in yard. Fucking throwing burning shit in our yard. That shit was real for a second. I was so young.”

Given these paradoxes in epochs and environment, Winston’s favorite movie is Blazing Saddles.

“It’s one of those things where I think it’s so relevant to the time now. People will watch this movie and shrivel but won’t accept this is no different than now. In a different dialect. It’s like the same thing.”

Last Halloween Winston said he saw “four college bros driving around in a Honda civic with Klansman hoods.

Winston said he finds some white punks to be thin-skinned comparatively.

Winston recalled when he angered some facebook friends by reposting a disturbing photo of dead white couple that OD’d on heroin in their car while their four-year-old sat watching: “I posted that and made a joke: What if someone made that as merch for a shirt. Some people were like that is not cool, I felt bad. So I deleted it.”

Winston said he was wearing a shirt from the Norwegian Black Metal band Mayhem so he understands transgressive punk imagery but didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Winston dropped a jewel on what it’s like to be black and look at photos of people murdered by the police.

“You reposted all these links of 70 dead black people in your news feed. What am I supposed to do? Act like that can’t be me,” Winston added, “it’s hard to find something people relate to and then imagine that being on the news as a dead thing every day. Being black is weird right now. I feel like the most tokenized I’ve ever felt in my whole life.”

We got on the topic of Halloween costumes. Winston said, “I dressed up as Django. I did it twice. The most recent I had a BB gun. So many people thought it was a real gun to the point where I had to put it away. I had the holsters and everything. It was a big revolver. It had the orange tip on it and everything. People were like, woah that’s a real gun. That’s sketchy.”

He then added “BB guns are fun as fuck.”

I mumbled, “A realistic looking BB gun is setting up someone to either get shot or lose a gun battle. Toy guns looking real have no practical purpose.’

Winston agreed, “They should all be orange.”

Hopefully, if all toy guns looked unreal then it would eliminate both kids getting shot, and/or the plausibility of self-defense argument.











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