One of the most fascinating developments in the long and winding career of New-York-by-way-of-Milwaukee musician Juiceboxxx has been his willingness to question his own life choices. “Have I wasted all my life in the basement?” the forever basement-playing Juiceboxxx wondered on 2020’s It’s Easy To Feel Like A Nobody When You’re Living In The City. Sure, Juiceboxxx always urged his listeners to “Follow Your Fucked Up Dreams” (from 2015’s Heartland 99), but in recent years, his own fucked-up dreams have been up for interrogation.

Which is a long way of saying that the Juiceboxxx dream is over. Juiceboxxx is dead. After roughly 20 years and countless shows—not to mention time spent as a viral punching bag and a book subject—Juiceboxxx is no more. That’s according to the man behind the moniker, John Chiaverina.

“I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to grow up, trying to change my life, trying to stay positive,” Chiaverina tells Milwaukee Record. “Juiceboxxx was an exercise in believing in myself despite everything. It gave me a reason to live. I did it for 20 years. I don’t know what is next, but I can’t stop writing songs and being creative. Hopefully I’ll have more to say about all of this at some point, but it’s hard to even write this right now.”

About that “can’t stop writing songs and being creative” bit. Last month, Chiaverina unveiled a new musical moniker, RUSTBELT, and a new song to go with that moniker, “Fade The Mix.” Gone is the fist-pumping Beastie Boys rap-rock of yore; in its place, a plaintive indie-rock anthem that finds Chiaverina looking back on a life of music, shows, and personal turmoil. A just-released video filled with archival Juiceboxxx clips puts an even finer point on that bittersweet self-reflection.

Chiaverina says a full RUSTBELT EP will be released via Dangerbird Records this fall. We look forward to it. R.I.P. Juiceboxxx. Long live RUSTBELT.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.