The song delivers an important musical narrative of the movement’s philosophy represented by its bigger than life mascot named “Staunch,” an 8-foot-tall Bigfoot character who embodies the movement’s home base of Aspen’s Independence Pass along the Continental Divide.
As a DJ, Staunch is also the face of the movement’s musical endeavours, not only spinning its beats but also hosting concerts and marches to spread the word. A music video providing visual storytelling of “Staunch,” or “DJ Staunch” and his importance to the movement has also been released in tandem with the single.
“Staunch” is the second single to be released from the movement’s first music album The First Realm. The single and the rest of the album were produced by Gregory T. Simmons, Ricardo Tolbert Meshach M. Lewis and rap star, Casanova Ace, at the legendary music studio Chicago Recording Company, where an almost endless list of the greatest musicians have recorded, including the likes of Michael Jackson, Coldplay, Sting, Smokey Robinson, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube to name a few.
The movement is promoting the single “Staunch” and the album’s other 13 songs as a collection of theatrical storylines that as a whole can be likened to that of a current-day Hamilton musical.
The stories in these songs cover what the Staunch Moderates movement is all about, the various big characters associated with it – including a number of iconic American personalities both liberal and conservative – and attempt to address today’s political divide. As such, the album should be enjoyed in its entirety for the best experience.
The movement feels it is also important to reiterate that its staunch posture and an open invitation is to celebrate love, peace, and all that is good in humanity, as a strategy to combat the Divide. “Staunch” is an integral piece of this open invitation.
Notable producers and musicians who have contributed to the album include Jeffery Skunk Baxter, lead guitarist for the Doobie Brothers and founding member of Steely Dan and CJ Vanston, former keyboardist for Tears for Fears, who also collaborated with many of the greats throughout his career (the Dali Lama, Joe Cocker, Ringo Star, etc.) and legendary singer and actress Mamie Van Doren, one of the famed “Three M’s” of the ’50s and ’60s (alongside Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe).
Known as the “First Lady of Rock-n-Roll,” Ms Van Doren was the first female vocalist to sing rock-n-roll in a Hollywood movie and in the song “Journey” takes on Rap. Baxter and Vanston are non-political and are performing for their love of music.
Staunch Moderates is addressing the intellectual and political divide that has taken root in America
The Staunch Moderates is an ideological group from varying political philosophies, pushing a message of anti-extremism, compromise, positivity, and just getting along.
The movement was established by its founders Gregory T. Simmons and Bo Persiko’s belief that a new ideology was needed to address the intellectual and political divide that has taken hold of society leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election year.
Their philosophy is rooted in the principle of addressing each other with thoughtful moderation when confronting intellectual and political differences, rather than with self-centred extremism.
The amazing multi-genre rap group could be the solution America needs to put aside the internal disputes and work towards a common alliance that fosters peace and unity through music as the uniting factor.
Our team reached to the rap group to find out more about what they are up to and what makes them tick. Find out what they had to say about their latest video release and much more in the interview below;
1. As a multi-genre rap group, what is your creative process like? Anything exciting you would like to share with your fans?
Casanova Ace: The creative process first starts with the directive from our CEO and exec producer Greg Simmons. The topics of songs are meticulously thought out and topics are carefully considered. I then research the story carefully and write several drafts of the song. After approval by Greg, the recording process begins – we add additional artists, effects, etc. and BOOM a – Staunch Moderates song!
Greg Simmons: Cas did a good job with his description. Otherwise, prior to making our album, ‘The First Realm,’ we worked our intellectual movement through campaigning the Primaries with many vital societal issue forums, held many interviews and polls through the Conventions, Debates and then Election Day, where we produced a 10-person panel Election Day Show.
After the 2020 Election Year was over we decided to make a hip hop album about it all. I figured we were in good shape when I received the beat pack options I was to purchase from CRC. I’d play Casanova’s acapella raps over the beats and dug the sound.
2. How did the members of the group meet and what’s the history behind the group’s name, “The Staunch Moderates”?
Casanova Ace: I met Greg years ago at an Academy Awards Party hosted by my then-manager, legendary agent to the stars – Norby Walters – at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel. I introduced myself to Greg and in conversation he told me about the show he was producing called “Aspen: The Series”. I then gave an impromptu rap about the show, and then eventually worked with him on the project. We became friends, and years later he created Staunch Moderates and had the idea to introduce music to it. That’s when I got the call to join.
Greg Simmons: Cas described how we met and that we became friends in our working together over the years. He talked me into flying out to DC and attending Obama’s 2008 Inauguration with him. That was a hoot. Avery 20 below zero cold hoot! One of the group’s names is “The Staunch Moderates,” but I like to call us DJ Staunch featuring rap star, “Casanova Ace.”
The Staunch Moderates ™ is the name of our intellectual movement. The history behind the name Staunch Moderates came from a happy hour I was attending in early 2019. We were talking politics & making fun of the Extremists, and one of us said, “I know, let’s start a new political party, ‘Staunch Moderates.’” Many discussions and months later, the Staunch Moderates Intellectual Movement and later band name was born.
3. Is there something either of you has ever done that they think the other doesn’t know about?
Greg Simmons: When I was a kid we had a gang called the Simmons Gang. We were bored unless we had the cops chasing after us. We called that action! One would never think a cat like this would later become a CEO of an intellectual movement to address the Divide & strive for peace, but this is the truth.
Casanova Ace: Yes! He doesn’t know I performed at a strip club in St. Maarten in my undies, haha. Got more money than the strippers.
4. Do you have any groups/bands or musicians in mind you would like to collaborate with?
Greg Simmons: Cas & I have already been blessed beyond my dreams – having collaborated with Jeffery Skunk Baxter of the Doobie Brothers & Steely Dan, CJ Vanston of Tears for Fears, and the Chicago Recording Company.
Casanova Ace: Imagine Dragons, DMX (RIP), Public Enemy to name a few.
5. How far do you hope to spread your message of anti-extremism, compromise, and positivity? Is it beyond just America?
Casanova Ace: The message of love and peace should be global, including other planets when we get there.
Greg Simmons: Cas stole the words right out of my mouth.
6. What do the members of the group usually do for fun in their free time when you aren’t creating music?
Casanova Ace: I like to relax with a good movie. I adore talking and taking trips with my wife, even playing with my drones and remote control cars. I’m secretly a big kid at heart.
Greg Simmons: Love Cas’ answer. For me these days, I’m surfing, skiing, & biking less and less and find myself working the intellectual muscles more and more focusing on addressing the world’s problems from a more philosophical perspective. Evidently, this is what juices me these days!
7. What is the one misconception that people have about your rap group or you as individuals?
Casanova Ace: They often see us as political. We are NOT – we are philosophical.
8. If you hadn’t become an intellectual movement spreading unity through music, what would you be doing now?
Greg Simmons: I’d probably be a bit bored and perhaps have a more normal social life.
Casanova Ace: Even before I joined Staunch Moderates I spoke to kids at schools, the Boys & Girls Club, etc. about drugs and bullying, etc. – promoting positivity. It’s what I believe in and would always pursue it with Staunch Moderates. Our reach is limitless.
9. How do the members of the group manage to separate personal time from work? And has it affected your relationships both on a personal and family level?
Casanova Ace: As we are not in the touring phase and the album is done my duties are light. So I have no conflicting issues at this time, I’m sure Greg has a different answer – he’s a dynamo.
Greg Simmons: My personal & family relationships are limited, (thank you COVID-19) and I think this provides me with the opportunity to really focus on my work, which I feel blessed with and I love.
10. Has your group faced failure? What was the biggest one of them all and how did you overcome it?
Greg Simmons: In early 2020 we were quite successful with our campaigning getting like a 15% signup rate. Even though nobody likes talking about politics, everyone wanted to talk about the Divide. Then COVID-19 came around and stole our stage. Oh yah, it stole everyone’s stage! “What Divide? We just want to stay alive!” We had to cancel our scheduled big public meetings, etc…we just kept plugging along doing everything virtually, hello 2020!
When we were finished with campaigning the Primaries mid year, we had a six week hiatus prior to the Conventions. It felt like we were washed up and out of the business. When the Conventions came around, we just rolled up our sleeves and got to work. I remember doing our first reboot of our political talk show named, Staunch with my co-host Shaq. Man that was fun being back on the set with him, and our Kamala Harris- Bidens VP Choice forum and Socialism or Capitalism for the USA poll were both quite interesting and did really well for us compared to earlier campaigns. We were back in business.
This intellectual movement and then later hip hop album was evidently a good idea, where our message appears to be spot on for the divisive era that we live in. We always just made it up as we went along and just continued to try to do the next right thing. I, as the CEO of the Movement & Executive Producer of our album, am fortunate to be surrounded by really talented people!
Casanova Ace: I was admitted to the hospital ten times during album production with heart issues. I had surgery for a defibrillator implant yet I kept pushing and we created ‘The First Realm’.
11. What’s next for your rap group? Do you have any surprise projects lying in wait for your fans?
Greg Simmons: I’ve always thought that we should become a really Broadway Play, a current-day Hamilton so to speak. We do have a trick or two up our sleeves, that should surprise many and I can’t talk about it right now. That is proprietary information.
12. What message would you love to give to your fans?
Greg Simmons: Meditate de-escalation rather than escalation. Let us focus on setting our differences aside and find common middle ground rather than setting common middle ground aside and focusing on our differences like we’ve been doing over the last five years! Let us focus more on what’s good about humanity rather than always the bad. We know the bad (cancers and other illnesses plagues our society), but we Staunch Moderates strategy to combat the Divide is to focus on the good as much as possible to achieve Love & Peace.
Casanova Ace: First of all: THANK YOU! We love you. Join us in striving for peace!
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.