‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 119, No. 7July, 2019

Joshua Zarbo

I joined Local 802 because membership means that my individual voice can become a collective chorus in advocating for and championing the rights of musicians. I’ve been a proud member of the AFM for nearly 20 years, and a former member of Local 433 (Austin) and Local 257 (Nashville). I really enjoy the numerous benefits that union membership brings. Now that I’m living and working in NYC, I want to create and collaborate in the city’s thriving arts community by playing shows, writing songs and making records. I’ve been fortunate to have a career that’s included years working as a musician in Austin and Nashville. I was a member of the rock band Spoon for many years before focusing on freelance music work and graduate studies. I’ve played bass on numerous recording sessions, a favorite being the soundtrack to the video game Undead Nightmare, part of the Red Dead Redemption series produced by Rockstar Games. I’ve played shows around the world with a variety of artists from all sorts of different genres. Music has transformed my life in so many positive ways and I’ve seen how much it can bring people together. I work for Steven Van Zandt’s TeachRock curriculum project, creating lesson plans that connect the history of popular music to classroom work across the disciplines, and I’m an adjunct faculty member in the music department at Hunter College. I play bass guitar and electric upright bass. — Joshua Zarbo,