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Long-running punk band featuring ISU professors releases new record

Illinois State professors Rick Valentin and Rose Marshack have released a new album with their long-running punk band, Poster Children, and are preparing to take their show back on the road.

Poster Children released their first studio album in 14 years Grand Bargain! in May and kicked off a tour in support of the new record in Bloomington on June 28.

Valentin and Marshack met in a University of Illinois dorm room in 1987. They started playing together shortly thereafter. The band played clubs across the Midwest and released their debut record, Flower Plower, in 1989. In 1991, the band’s trajectory was changed forever when Nirvana released the multiplatinum Nevermind.

“Nirvana had a record that broke into the mainstream, where normal people started hearing about them,” Marshack said. “There was sort of this goldrush from major labels looking for the next weird, scrappy, college rock band that would break.”

Coming of age during the alternative rock boom, Poster Children released a string of studio albums, toured the United States and Europe, and created music videos that ran on MTV. Poster Children have always been hands-on with all aspects of their band, including album art, music videos, and online promotion.

Over the years, Valentin and Marshack started doing web and graphic design work for other bands and organizations. This experience led Marshack to take a position at the University of Illinois teaching classes on working with virtual reality. Marshack was approached by Associate Professor in Arts Technology Matthew Smith about available positions at Illinois State.

“Matthew Smith really saved me,” Marshack said. “We have these jobs open for music business teacher and multimedia art. I thought I knew a couple people who could do those jobs.”

Valentin and Marshack have been teaching at Illinois State ever since. Both say their careers as artists have taught them valuable lessons they now pass on to Illinois State students.

“If you have an interest in art, music, theatre, or dance, all of those things are tied together by technology,” Valentin said. “To work in a creative field, you have to be your own social media coordinator, art director, video editor, web programmer.”

Grand Bargain! Is available now on Spotify, iTunes, and Poster Children’s website.

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