Milwaukee Artist You Should Know: RUSTBELT

Radio Milwaukee sat down with the local artist for a Q&A.

FOR JOHN CHIAVERINA, the end is also a beginning. He’s left behind his musical alias of 20 years, Juiceboxxx, to assume a new identity, RUSTBELT, and he’s releasing a new EP this month. Despite the change, the rapper/singer-songwriter carries the same punk ethos and undeniable magnetism. 

What was the inspiration behind this transformation?

I’m no longer Juiceboxxx, which is a really absurd thing to call yourself for 20 years. The first 10 years went by really fast, but then the second 10 years, there was just a lot of questioning involved – my life was so bisected from my personal life and then, my professional life. 

How do you connect the dots from Juiceboxxx to RUSTBELT? 

Juiceboxxx tried to take everything I liked and put it under one umbrella, so it was really chaotic. RUSTBELT, to me, is a more focused project, and it’s about songwriting. … Maybe I’ll start a new rap project under a different name. 

The Rustbelt EP is out in October – is there anything special you’ll be rolling out?

I had this idea to do these record covers [with] these classic gas station cups with the Rusbelt logo, repeating. Cactus Club and I are doing a drink special using the cups [and] proceeds go to Girls and Ladies Rock MKE. It makes me think about all the time in my life I’ve spent hanging outside of gas stations. That’s the kind of energy I have with this project. Just like “America 101”, for better or worse. I’m still obsessed with it.

The full interview is available at


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s October issue.

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