welcome! i'm joe and i am a software engineer and lately i make comics.

New Stew Record! New Negro Problem Record! 2018 Jun 14


Next Monday, June 18, is the must see music event of the Summer for fans and friends of Stew & The Negro Problem.

This is a one-night-only, special concert performance and celebration, it will be hosted by (le) poisson rouge in the West Village, and they’ll be talking about it for years to come.
DO NOT miss out.

Minimum Age: 18+

Doors Open: 7:00PM / Show Time: 8:00PM
Event Ticket: $25 / Day of Show: $30


Marty Beller, Ato Blankson-Wood, Kenny Brawner, David Cale, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Dana Lyn, Urbano Sanchez, Art Terry


Developed at The Public Theater, the legendary incubator that spawned Hamilton and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Total Bent has been hailed by the New York Times as “blazingly entertaining with a sensational score which blends elements of the blues, gospel, funk and throbbing guitar-driven rock; an ecstatic combination of revival meeting and rock concert.” This companion album features twenty-seven songs from the acclaimed production performed by Stew & The Negro Problem.


Defying genres and expectations, the explosive score and galvanizing lyrics of Notes of a Native Song explore the darker and more complicated aspects of inspirational literary rock star James Baldwin’s life and work. Combining Stew’s incisive, hilarious, and harrowing storytelling with Jazz, blues riffs, and driving rock, the eleven tracks featured on this new recording become “meditations on Baldwin’s themes—of the comfort of exile, of the anger and pain that being black in America can inspire, of work that blends myth, mystery and imagined history.” (The New York Times).

Suzy Wong (lyrics by Stew) 2012 Jan 25

William Holden is a soldier
and Nixon will not send him home
with every card game he gets older
so when on leave he needs to roam
don’t judge him by his desires
the puppet wires
are strong

William Holden is a BART rider
bound for Hong Kong or Seoul
William Holden holds a token
and asks
“Does this plane flow to tokyo?”
in his nightmare she’s a vampire,
and an empire,
and a song oh
but when he wakes up
there ain’t no Suzy Wong
there ain’t no Suzy Wong

William Holden is a brush fire
and only ghosts will walk him home
and in his horror movie quagmire
the truth got stripped right to the bone
he never was much of a listener
he needs a prisoner
to go with his war
so come along
on the search for Suzy Wong
there ain’t no Suzy Wong

Hans moved back to live in Hamburg
he bought a wife,
didn’t you know?
she does the unthinkable absurd
she nails him to a pedestal
in his nightmare free of feeling
he is kneeling
at her throne
and she holds a cold revolver,
a problem solver,
her chaperone
and you and know this is not right
but after midnight
your halo’s gone
one suitcase into the street hurled
and half of his world
is still Viet Cong
oh, don’t you sing along

there ain’t no Suzy Wong
there ain’t no Suzy Wong
there ain’t no Suzy Wong

from the new Making It. Buy it on Amazon MP3 or iTunes

Stew & The Negro Problem: Curse 2011 Dec 28

New album releases this month!

Warning: Explicit Lyrics

Awesome blog post about Stew fanhood. 2010 Mar 23

color me passing strange on the BOX blog is worth a read for Stew, Negro Problem and Passing Strange fans. It aligns with many of my own experiences, particularly the Adams Avenue Music festival and Java Joe’s in Ocean Beach. It also links to some of the lyrics I have posted over the years.

Stew, The Negro Problem, Passing Strange. Awesome.

Demonically Energized, by Stew 2010 Mar 02

Demonically Energized

L.A.’s ruled by gurus,
and New York’s ruled by shrinks:
at least that’s what my uncle,
in Kansas thinks.
He’s got all my records;
they’ve been thoroughly analyzed.
He’s come to the conclusion
I’m demonically energized.

He said “If you choose to engage,
in experimental sex,
or write freakish novels that are
willfully Pynchon-esque,
you can do all these things,
but don’t be surprised,
if you awake
to find yourself
demonically energized.

He said “You can sing and joke about,
painful drug addictions;
and make no effort to resolve,
the looming contradictions;
you can do all these things
but wait till I close my eyes;
sin takes its toll
and now your soul’s
demonically energized.

“If alcohol abuse
is something,
you choose to make light of
and common decency
is something,
okay to lose sight of,
indulge your freakish whims
in spite of how you’ve been advised.
Sin takes your soul
and now your soul’s
demonically energized.

“If you choose to poke fun
of this country’s racial tension
and sing of things
that Nat Cole King
was far too nice to mention
if you’ve got devil’s catechism
thoroughly memorized
he’s achieved his goal
and now your soul is
demonically energized.

“Now if you choose to travel
to exotic places,
and if you choose to sit
on exotic faces,
if you think it’s cute
that a prostitute
is in song canonized,
he’s achieved his goal
and now your soul is
demonically energized.”

Drop Everything for this Stew Interview 2008 Jun 11

Interview with Stew

Hilarious and insightful, as he often is:

Here’s a quote!

What did you know about theater or Broadway before you developed this show?

Very little. I had a lot of respect for people like Bertolt Brecht. I had read Brecht, and he touches a lot of rock performers more than any other theorist or writer in the theater world, I think, because his theories are very rock ‘n’ roll. Like the way he talks about the way an actor plays a role without trying to make anyone think that they are that character, and reminds the audience that they’re watching a play. In high school, when you’re a rock ‘n’ roll stoner, your mortal enemies are the thespians. We thought that musical theater was the dorkiest thing in the world and had nothing to do with the music we listened to. And quite frankly we still feel that way. I mean, uh, we don’t understand why Broadway doesn’t, for the most part, utilize the music of the street, the car, the headphones.

Stew on Theater Talk 2008 Jun 11

Very enjoyable.

And also: Stew Plays Drunk at the Obies (read the whole thing), it does get a bit too wild for work:

Because of Stew, I am looking forward to the Tony Awards.

I don’t believe it either.

Working the Wound: by stew (lyrics) 2006 Oct 26

Everyday I build a mask
Up to the task
But now there’s no real me

Call me a collage
Of spare parts found in Berlin’s garage
But there’s no real me

I cut clippings from my dreams
And move them around till they look like me
But there’s no real me

My paste-on eyes can see right through
All of you
But you don’t see me

Josephine entertained
They’d laughed and swooned
All she had was her pain
Carefully tuned

Boy was she was without shame
So elegantly marooned
The mask was just her band-aid
She worked the wound

I finally found a home
Between the clicks of a metronome
Now there’s no real me

I went out on a limb
But the tree disappeared and the sky grew dim
Now there’s no real me

My pain entertains
I see you applaud
Thanking God you’re sane
Now woe is me

I’m cursed to entertain
You laugh and swoon
All I have is my pain
Sharp and in tune
And should I feel ashamed since I’m still here marooned
No one else can be blamed
For me working the wound
I’m still working the wound
I’m still working the wound
I’m still working the wound

(stew’s blogpassing strange: now playing at the berkeley repertory theatre)

stew sez 2.0 2006 Oct 26

wie geht’s y’all:

stew sez, originally started back in 2003 for stew to vent some writing, has been given a facelift and new interface — it’s a blog.

i’m proud to have been able to set this up for stew, and am looking forward to reading more and eventually seeing “passing strange” too.

check it out at

– joe

latimes: Just Stew being Stew 2006 Oct 22 THEATER – Just Stew being Stew

I *heart* Stew.

I hope to see this show eventually.

Stew and Stanford and Passing Strange 2006 Feb 22

I’d love to see this. Given it’s in Palo Alto up by Stanford, seems like a longshot. We’ll see how well we get things together:

Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts | Stew
Stew’s new musical, Passing Strange, is a work in progress that will be developed and performed at Stanford. The piece employs and toys with the time-honored tradition of the “musical travelogue” filtered through the black bohemian perspective of this acclaimed indie-rocker. It is commissioned by The Public Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Stew Song Portraits 2005 Dec 08

Song Portraits by Stew are available, maybe even by the holidays. I love the idea of these things, though I don’t think they’re in the cards for those I love. Mayhaps next year.

Loretta sent a letter from Bagdad today. (by Stew) 2005 Nov 11

New transcription: Bagdad Cafe:

Rage against coffee machines, go ahead
I’ll take that sweet black tea
And honey bread

Cause you know,
Sadness is so ****ing common
It’s not worth a song
So let’s sing of happy happy happy things
Happy things the whole night long

See the video at

Still eagerly anticipating a recording of Black Men Ski, which I have heard maybe three times now — the first time way back in 2004 at a show Leah and I attended in L.A. which we came to via Amtrak.

One line I remember from the song is:

“Black men order sushi with a stern Yakuza’s flair”

Where’s Gary? Stew/Spongebob/Heidi 2005 Nov 11

Latest email blast from Stew and Heidi:

tune in tonight and hear “gary come home” the most sensitive song Stew has ever written about a missing snail.

SpongeBob’s most beloved mollusk has disappeared!
“SpongeBob SquarePants: Where’s Gary?” premiering 11/11 @ 8 PM/7c! on NICK
(we think that’s 5pm PACIFIC TIME but make sure).

/the partnership

(previously mentioned in July)

Stew Song for SpongeBob Squarepants 2005 Jul 01

I know I’ve been all introspective and it’s all about me and all lately, but this is too _cool_ not to share.

Stew (& Heidi, he says “we”) wrote a song for the SpongeBob Squarepants TV show!

It’s a little thing called “Come Home Gary,” here’s what the man himself said on the negroproblem mailing list:

spongebob thing is sposed to happen in november… i think. his snail runs away from home and we wrote a song called “gary come home.”

How damn cool is that?

It’s DAMN cool.

I know I shouldn’t swear in here, but that’s exciting stuff. And yes, Leah, I am a fan, and I’m not ashamed of that.

# 2005 July 6 comments No hashtags.

Stew at the Getty! 2005 Jan 02

I love free concerts by Stew:

Stew (Friday Nights at the Getty)

Date: Friday February 18, 2005, 7:30 pm
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free. Reservations available beginning January 20

Stew has been called many things–singer/songwriter, cabaret philosopher, wiseguy troubadour, punk subversive, even the black Burt Bacharach. With his collaborator Heidi Rodewald, their rich arrangements, incisive lyrics and innovative styles take you beyond the standard pop song. Stew and Heidi were recently commissioned by the Public Theater of New York to develop a new work for the stage.

Latest Stew Photos 2004 Sep 27

I put my latest pix of stew (from yesterday’s show) up on my flickr site.

Stew song on Everwood tonight! 2004 Sep 27

So yesterday Leah and I went and saw Stew at the Adams Ave Street Fair as promised. He was wonderful as always. He also mentiond a little fun fact about having a song on TV tomorrow — which is to say today. So here’s the 411, direct from the Stew camp:

last time we had a song on a teen oriented tv show we got tons of email from adults who just “happened to have the tv on at the time and heard your music” along with alot of folks who “never watch that show but just happened to be watching it that night to see what all the talk was about.” But the best email we got was from someone who said they were watching tv with the sound down and then heard our song…really.

Now you don’t need an excuse for watching such a show. we’ve just given you one. Actually i’ve heard Everwood is a cool show. I don’t watch prime time tv so i dont know but i’ll be watching this monday at 9pm. Word has it that if you dont dig tv you should tune in 45 minutes into the show. we’re on close to the end.

you have been notified.

this monday
WB network

I’m pretty sure I’ll be outta class by then.