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John Munson: ‘Love one another. That is the best thing for this moment.’

John Munson in The Current studio with Semisonic in 2019. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
John Munson in The Current studio with Semisonic in 2019. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

by Sylvia Jennings

April 09, 2020

To keep busy during quarantine, Morning Show host Jill Riley has been spending lots of time on the phone with various musician friends. She had a chance to connect with John Munson — of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare — last Friday to chat about how to cope during this crisis, as well as how to give love to those around you, and yourself.

Jill Riley: How are you doing, John?

John Munson: Speaking of "all in this together," I wish we were. I'm calling from the tub. I guess there's not room for all of us, but there might be room for at least one other person in here. Maybe I can coax someone in my household, my special someone, to join me this morning.

Well this is perfect, because my first question was going to be, "John, what are you doing to fill the time?" and self care is clearly number one.

You've got to do it. You've got to do it.

I don't know if I've ever had a guest call in from the bath tub before. I love taking a bath. I hate my bath. Please John, if you could, describe your bath tub and describe your environment right now.

You know what, this got to be a much more fun environment to describe because my wife and I got completely sick of our awful, awful bathroom. Finally, my wife was like, "This has gotta end." She oversaw a total remodel of our bathroom and it's now the nicest space in the whole house by far. It's really awesome. I would encourage anybody, if you could, stop living with a funky situation, and start making it a nice, tidy, tiled world for yourself. A good deep bath tub is necessary.

Well, John, we're checking with musicians to maybe get some insight on to how people are coping right now with all the closures, isolation, and social distancing. Have you ever seen anything like this in the music industry?

No. Nobody has. I haven't. Yesterday was really awful, and a lot of stuff just really sunk in for me, even though it's been two weeks of the writing being on the wall. It's been steadily, over that period of time, performances, gigs, and plans going away. Yesterday it just came to me that this is not going to be a thing that we emerge from overnight. It's going to take time, and I felt really bad, but today I feel better. The thing that people who are managing through this the best are telling me is to just relax, try and take it one day at a time, and feel okay with grieving about the things that are going away, and the things that are missing. When we do come back, we're going to come back stronger than ever, and I really, truly do believe that.

I'm grieving for you guys right now for the fact that Rock the Garden isn't going to happen, because it's such a great community event, but it's not like it's going away forever. It's going away for a year, and it's going away for a really good reason, which is that we have to take good care of ourselves at this time. We need to come out of this with as many of us as possible on the other side of it. We need to make sure that the people who are the most vulnerable are taken care of. That means, stay at home.

I really am saying it to all of us who feel healthy and feel like we can go out and do all the things that we did. No. You can't. You really have to take this seriously. Take two weeks off. Find things to do. There [is] plenty of stuff for you to do in your home. Just find it in yourself to stay at home. Maybe it's time to crawl back into bed. Maybe it is time to go and find your special someone and have a snuggle. Maybe you don't have a special someone. Maybe you have a little snuggle anyways.

To end the call, do you have any words of encouragement or love from the audience?

Everybody's just gotta take care of themselves. The one thing I will say, is that yesterday I had an argument with my wife, and there was no reason for it. It was just one of those arguments [caused by] too much stress. As much as you can do to just take a deep breath before you say harsh words, and maybe instead of yelling, go and give a hug and say, "I'm having a hard time right now, and we're going to get through this together." Do it with your wife. Do it with your lover. Do it with your kids. Love one another. That is the best thing for this moment right now.

Connecting with the music world during the coronavirus crisis

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