As I was routinely scrolling through Facebook the other night like an Internet addicted drone, I came across a post that shockingly captured my attention for more than five seconds — a paused video of a friend, Stephen Limbaugh (yes, he’s related to Rush Limbaugh) playing the piano in what appeared to be neon colored board shorts and a wife beater. Being highly aware of not just his musical talent but also largely of his I-Don’t-Give-A-F*ck-and-I’ll-Tell-You-About-It demeanor (we’ve gotten into heated “conversations” at bars before) made me intrigued to click play.
Low and behold, there was Stephen, playing what was titled “Schubert – Impromptu, Op. 90 No.3” which I have zero idea what that means, but it was damn good. Like my brain almost had an aneurism trying to decide how to pay attention to how good it was while trying not to laugh at the fact that he was playing such a sophisticated piece in pool wear. I was so impressed that I looked up other pieces of work he’s done, and as expected, was not let down. Never have I seen a classical musician with the millennial twist that he has, which is why I decided that I had to interview him. I should warn you that if you aren’t an intellectual person, the following interview will not be of interest.
A: You’re clearly a natural born pianist, what are your aspirations for your music career?
S: To Create the absolute best music possible and perform it in front of eager audiences across the globe. With that in mind, I would like to meet certain benchmarks for myself: I plan on being the most viewed/subscribed pianist on Youtube. I want to record and release LOTS of Chopin, Schubert, and Rachmaninoff. I want to write a few piano concertos and get them debuted in Disney Hall with the LA Philharmonic. Also, I’d like to be the “go-to guy” for pop artists to write/record their piano ballads. And, a classical Grammy would be pretty awesome also.
A: You’re also quite funny, I’ve never seen such a talented pianist perform in such crazy pants! What is your general outlook on life?
S: Thank you! Humor is important because the classical genre needs a “reboot” to appeal to new audiences. The classical world needs personalities that can transmit the message from the great composers, BUT also needs performers who are continuing to write new works. The pants, I mean hell, you wanna know the truth? When I’m wearing them I get twice the amount of attention… so that’s why I wear them. I am my brand in that respect. People respond to personalities. Franz Liszt started it, and that personality bravura has passed down through Paderewski, Liberace, Elton John, etc. I’m part of that tradition, though still very different than each of those legends.
A: We met at a philosophy night…do you have any personal philosophies on music, or life in general?
S: I miss philosophy night! But, if I remember correctly, we actually met at that old place Tru a week or so before meeting again at philosophy night. I think you had just moved to LA. haha… Regardless! I’m fascinated by Thomistic and Aristotelian metaphysics, and subscribe to their views on that branch. I think music (and all art) reveals truths about all creation, being, etc that cannot be explained with religion or science. It is why all humans are drawn to it BEYOND mere biological aesthetic predispositions. I’m in constant search for the “in between shit” …like what truth lies between religion and science. What message in a Beethoven sonata is not written on the page – what’s in between the notes. What’s written between the lines in a Shakespeare sonnet. I want to experience those inner universals present in art that can’t be explained by anything, only expressed through art. And those universals definitely f*ckin’ exist. Otherwise the tangible universe would be ugly and/or meaningless… a bleak, formless, wasteland.
A: I know your uncle is Rush Limbaugh, and I also know you can get very political haha does any of that come from him, and would you ever want a career like his?
S:It comes from my whole family! Nearly everyone is a lawyer, which means politics are the most frequent topic to arise. Rush’s dad and grandfather (Rush Sr., my great grandfather) were lawyers, his brother a lawyer, my dad is a retired state supreme court justice recently appointed to the federal bench in the 8th circuit. My grandfather is a retired federal judge who went back into private practice. Even my younger brother is now Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor. When we are all together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc, it sounds like an argument is raging, but we’re all agreeing. When I was young, I probably got started down the conservative path simply by proximity. But, I inundate myself with the news. It’s my hobby really! A hobby I’m very, very passionate about. Would I want a career like his? In a lot of ways it is like his – I have to cultivate a wide audience and make the content as interesting and fun as possible.
A: What do you like doing in your free time?
S: In LA, sometimes it feels like I just go to birthdays… at some points in the year it’s nonstop. I read a lot of periodicals. I yell at Democrats on Facebook, which is astoundingly cathartic. I go to church on Sundays, do a Bible study on Mondays, and have lots cocktails with friends Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I love fireball shots… like a total bro. I swear, that shit is the new Jager.
There you have it, from the musical, comical mastermind himself! Kind of makes you want to go learn how to play an instrument or read a book huh? Check out more of his work at StephenLimbaugh.com, you won’t be disappointed!
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!