Joseph Stanziola's Doo Wop/Rap project, Second Hand King music mixes the poetry of Hip-Hop with the harmonies and "feel-good innocence" of Doo Wop music.   His musical character evokes a more menacing Buddy Holly with whom he describes "Grew up listening to too much 2Pac."  His music finds the delicate impasse between Childish Gambino & Dean Martin to create such a genre.  

Joseph began performing under the alias Second Hand King in 2008, in Kansas City.  Joseph began solely as a rapper but quickly fell in love with alternative musicians such as Radiohead & 50's Doo Wop legends The Drifters, Frankie Lymon, & The Cadillacs.  

Performing only with a walkman & a mic, he released his first set of albums "The Shapie Tapes", "All My Fears", "The Santa Sangre EP", & finally "The Lower Depths" all of which were distributed on CD-R.  

Later, inspired by a paranoid schizophrenic man the album is titled after, he released his first concept album Chuck which also was solely released via CD-R.  

Pushing his concept-based writing further Joseph released his epic, "End of the World" concept album Before the Bomb Drops, about exactly what you think it is.  Shortly thereafter he released Almost Blue, about a jazz singer gone mainstream, and then came his long awaited Doo Wop Rap album Frankie.  The story of a Doo Wop singer trapped in the modern world, inspired partially by a failed engagement & his failures in the music industry.  

photo by Zac Bauman

photo by Zac Bauman

The First Interview

Editor: I’m here with local rising musician, Second Hand King. Good to see you and thanks for giving us a little bit of your time today.
Second Hand King: No problem, thanks for having me.

Editor: You have a different type of monkier than what is usually out there, how did the name come to be?
Second Hand King: The moniker was a spawn of an idea of who I wanted to be. It was a cross between a Doo Wop song & the people I know & the people I want to know. It’s something that can be anything, a concept, idea, name, person, place, thing, anything. Possibilities are endless. That’s what I wanted to present in anything I do - so after a couple days of dry brainstorming the name came to be. If none of this makes sense listen to “The Joker Went Wild” by Brian Hyland.

Editor: What was the moment you knew this was something you had to do, something you wanted to do?
Second Hand King: That’s a tough question. In 05, I was a different person. I fell off whatever path or in away just wondered aimlessly through my younger school years. I knew I wanted to be something, at first it was a NBA superstar but then I stopped growing. I wasn’t great either but I think I knew it was something I wanted to do as soon as I played the song “My Burning Heart” by Tupac. I wrote my first lyrics, no real direction, not even really words that made full sense - but it spawned a rapper name J-Oh who became more of a virus than anything, anyways a couple months later. I was walking with my cousin down to Sonic, just talking, enjoying the summer, normal stuff - then I said, “What if I could do rap forever?” Or something along those lines. He laughed, kept walking like it was a joke. I would have done the same, but something planted in my brain, & it made sense. I didn’t understand it then, but it really did make sense & it still does. I’ll stop when it doesn’t.

Editor: What is something people are going to be able to take away from your music that they won’t be able to take from something else out there? You have a unique style and sound.
Second Hand King: I’m a different kind of guy. When I write, it’s to finish. There’s a part from Nietzsche’s “The Gay Science”, one of my favorite parts, that reads in so many words - we are the sailors. We cast our ships out to sea to find our depths, only to return with what’ve conquered out on the lonely rough seas. Every song takes apart of me, it’s everything I weather & hope to discover out there whether that be, a truth, a reality, a way to let go of something, or just a chance to be happy. More important than any of that, it’s to explore the depths where no one can touch except emotion. That’s why I write. Life is brief, and to answer your question - you take a captian’s account of the battle of the deepest blue beast.

Editor: I had the pleasure of being able to attend one of your shows and was impressed with the energy you had on stage that you gave to the crowd as well. Can you see in the future that you burn out on that desire?
Second Hand King: Haha, I can’t. That just wouldn’t be me. If I run out of desire, it’s probably because I’m not moving & you should go call 911 & get some help. I’ve always had this nagging, aching desire & it’s as much apart of me as my nose, fingers, legs & heart.

Editor: How about those dance moves? They are certainly a show for entertainment in their own right.
Second Hand King: Dancing with the Stars called. To let me know I am never welcome anywhere near the set.

Editor: Well, I’m sure that’s a good thing for everyone. How about your inspirations? You have a unique blend where you draw from the 40’s, 50s, early 60’s and incorporate that into your music while having deep roots to the early stages of hip hop with story telling and emotion.
Second Hand King: I created the Doo Wop portion of my music after listening to a song by Gene Chandler called “The Duke of Earl” - a good friend of my continuosly fed me the link to this song & each time before I brushed it off. Finally listening to it, I realized. This is exactly where I need to be, music wise. Those depths, layers, emotions, even lyrical value - it’s one of a kind & it’s something that I want to carry on into my songs & make it apart of me. A couple more inspirations where, The Cadillacs, The Avalons, The Four Stars created the greatest song ever known to man called “A Chapel By The Sea”. It’s not only Doo Wop, I draw from more modern sources like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, I listen to everything. But what I want to hear in my songs is & this is a perfect example. “I’m So Young” by The Students. That feeling & that clear fearless nothing. That’s exactly what it is, or as good as I can describe it.

Editor: Lady Gaga has influenced you in a major way, hasn’t she?
Second Hand King: I prefer the Christopher Walken version of Pokerface.

Editor: Where do you get the inspirations for your song? They are never the same thing, they all seem to have a different tale, a new consequence. “Talk Strange” and “A Memory”, just to name a few, offer something new and revealing with every listen.
Second Hand King: It’s just something I hear, hard to really put a pin on it. It’s sort of like, how people find a Bahama beach beautiful. With the clear blue sea that you can see your toes in. It’s called beautiful, but I prefer the feeling. You can take a postcard & look at it, but it’s never the same. That’s what I get when I’m inspired by something, that to me is the beauty part of it. It can be something so ugly & disgusting but out rises something very pure & real. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Editor: Thank you for your time. I recommend checking out Second Hand King on Myspace and Youtube.
Second Hand King: Thank you for having me. I also would like to welcome anyone to a copy of The Shapie Tapes. It’s a mix of songs and with each CD given out, it being different than the prior week’s. Some come, open up dialogue with me and tell me something good - that’ll get you another CD.