The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Justin Bonitz: The Journey to Fame and Performing at Preserving Underground

Local Metal Artist Shares Insight on His Band
Michael Vinsick
Justin Bonitz

Preserving Underground is a well-known venue where many growing artists and bands have difficulty getting a chance to perform, but Justin Bonitz and his band, Tallah, performed an exciting show on September 18th that many local attendees will never forget.

Justin Bonitz, lead vocalist of the nu-metal band, Tallah, and the creator of the growing YouTube channel, HungryLights, has put many years of work and dedication into achieving his current level of popularity. From the age of 10, Justin’s mother was his greatest supporter. “When I was 10 years old, my mother wanted me to play guitar. At first I hated it, but after a week I enjoyed it. She funded all of my recording equipment. She helped me make my early recordings for HungryLights. She’s definitely the number one.” After years of perfecting his skills, he began recording music at 16. “Crushed by a troll was my first album. It was based on a childhood show that I watched, Super Mountain Fort Awesome. I updated my gear over the years and then that turned into HungryLights. That’s how I began my career in music.”

Aside from his musical abilities, Justin has acquired many hobbies and skills, most notably his unreleased novel series, From Windfall to Hell. “Some fans joke about it and call it the Justin Bonitz iceberg. I started writing in January of 2017. I also rode horses. I’m pretty sure my horse, Sebastian, is still alive. I’ve been into drawing recently, although I took classes in college and high school. I hated that AI could do better art in seconds. Another one is Magic: The Gathering. I bought the best cards and spent over $4,000 on them. I did martial arts for nine years as well.”

While his fan base is growing rapidly and his talents are being recognized, Justin has faced some challenges with his sexual identity. “When I first came out as gay, my friends were pretty accepting. I had people be really uncomfortable when asking me initially. Most people don’t know about my race unless they ask. I don’t think fans really know me by my identities. My dad had a few issues with me for a couple years after coming out, but he eventually turned around. Tallah definitely helped people in the LGBT community be a part of metal. You don’t have to be a hypermasculine dude to be into metal.”

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These experiences in his life have shaped him into the artist he is today. When asked about his experience performing at Preserving Underground, Justin recalled his experience as exciting and fun. “That was a weird show. I ripped my pants after a failed attempt to do a stage move. It was a really exciting experience. It was our first time headlining for that venue. The venue had changed, so it felt like a different show. We hit level two, in other words. It was great to see everyone mosh together. Pittsburgh is a super accepting city. It almost feels like we have to win them over in Philly. Pittsburgh just felt like home. We just consider ourselves a northeast band at this point.”

Justin Bonitz and his band, Tallah, have not only conquered the stage, but also left a permanent impression on the hearts of local fans. Justin’s journey from childhood guitar lessons, HungryLights, and Tallah reflects a relentless dedication to his craft. Beyond his musical talent, Justin’s diverse interests and resilience in navigating personal challenges, including coming out as gay, contribute to his overall identity. The concert at Preserving Underground showcased not only the raw energy and intensity of Tallah’s performance, but also Justin’s genuine connection with fans. As the band continues to make its mark in metal music, it is evident that Justin resonates with his fans, making Tallah not just a band, but an experience.

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