Grand Rapids native singer-songwriter Austin Poel has had a lot of success recently. Barely 40, the lyricist-guitarist-vocalist has already had a storied career, having performed in several bands, as a solo act, and on stage in a musical theater production portraying the late father of grunge.
As it turns out, it wasn’t the end. Poel will reprise the role in a production of “The 27 Club” scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, 7-10 p.m. (PDT) in Oceanside, California.
The show is set in a Chelsea (New York City) apartment the night before Woodstock. The main characters are legendary musicians who died at the age of 27; Jimi Hendrix (portrayed by Anthony Aquarius), Amy Winehouse (Whitney Shay), Janis Joplin (Lauren Leigh), Jim Morrison (Liam Croome), Kurt Cobain (Austin Poel) and more. It delivers compelling musical performances in between bits of funny dialog.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I had a chip on my shoulder.
The post-pandemic chip fueled an epiphany. He was an avid fan of the punk genre as a listener, why not give it a try as an artist?
He got to work on a single and packed it with an arsenal of politically motivated lyrics and classic punk riffs and named it “1997.” The single struck a chord with listners, so he followed it up with another, and then another. Then, something amazing happened:
“That’s when I started hearing from people all over the world, places like the U.K., Australia, Canada. That’s when I started getting the deep connection to fans,” Poel said. His newest single Three Chords and the Truth is the fourth song of ten in a punk album that’s currently in the works and slated for a 2025 release.
“I think I’ve tried writing and performing every genre of music,” said Poel.
His single Lightning in a Bottle (L.I.B.), a modern/vintage pop single, went to No. 1 on the What’s In-Store Music charts in 2018, garnering a whopping three million streams!
In addition to his role as Kurt Cobain and entertaining fans with original music and covers for years as a regular performer at the popular Hotel Café in Hollywood, Poel has also landed music in Lowes and BMW commercials.
If you’re anywhere near Southern California the first week of December, check out RexRode Productions’ “The 27 Club” at the Star Theatre, 402 North Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA.
(I attended a Laughlin, Nevada production in 2019– highly recommend!)
Get tickets here.
Listen to Poel on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.