Clevelander Joshua Sebo Talks About Playing Bass in ‘American Idiot’ Musical


When the musical American Idiot rolls into town this weekend for shows at Playhouse Square on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it will be a homecoming concert of sorts for Clevelander Joshua Sebo. A Cleveland native who’s a graduate of Orange High School, Sebo, 24, plays bass in the house band. He’s come a long way since his grandmother gave him his first guitar at age 10 and he took private lessons for seven years.

After graduating from Orange High School, Sebo enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and received a degree in marketing. He then bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles where he hoped to start a band. Eventually, Jared Stein, the musical supervisor of American Idiot, asked him to bring a band with him and audition for a spot in the musical based on a Green Day album. Sebo and another guitar player got parts.

Sebo was only 14 when the Green Day album came out and wasn’t a huge punk rock fan. While he says he knew the American Idiot singles, he’s come to appreciate its deeper tracks.

“It’s been nice to find the other gems on the album,” he says. “I was never a huge punk rocker growing up. I gravitated more toward the jam band and rock ’n’ roll stuff. But the show has given me a newfound appreciation for not only Green Day but for punk rock music in general.”

Since the band is an integral part of the play, Sebo won’t be relegated to the orchestra pit and should be easy to spot on stage.

“Unlike your standard musical production, the band is on stage spread out along the back of the set,” he says. “I do feel like a rock star every night. The cast takes their bows and we often get a huge cheer. We’re making eye contact with the audience and it helps that the audience really gets into it.”

Sebo says that once the tour wraps at the end of May, he’s looking forward to spending the summer at home.

“I have no concrete plans except to hang out in Cleveland,” he says. “I’m very okay with that. I want to kick it down a couple of gears and live the simple life while I figure out the next move.”

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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