Sick Stories Vol. I: Sean Sterling

Please Note: Sick Stories is intended to be a student spotlight piece. Every issue, Sick Stories will interview one of the many students that attend Maryville College. Each piece is intended to give insight into a student and give them an opportunity to share an interesting experience from their lives. If you have a sick story to tell, send an email to [email protected]

Sean Sterling is a transfer junior. He transferred from to MC from Chattanooga State, but before that he attended the University of Tennessee. He is a declared history major. His commute to campus is about 25 to 30 minutes, a very common commute time for many commuter students.

He has had the opportunity to experience many different things as he has moved throughout Tennessee. He has been the front-man of Punk band, has a large vault of knowledge of movies (in his mind, dude), and likes to direct performance film and documentaries. This deep well of experience made Sterling the perfect fit for the first edition of Sick Stories.

When we began discussing his tenure as a punk musician, Sterling described being in a punk band simply and succinctly: “It was wild, man.” They were just a bunch of dudes that set up house shows and mostly consisted of partying.

The rich music scene of Chattanooga was a perfect place for the band to sprout up as it was surrounded by the hippie kids on one side and the young punk kids on the other. The starkly different scenes shared a bond through their love for partying and performing music.

The band, unnamed even after they split (the band only lasted until the guitarist moved to Nashville), often had their shows descend into a thrashing, writhing mass. Sterling describes their songs as “music played very loudly and very fast.” Sterling was responsible for all the lyrics of the band’s songs. He usually wrote after selecting a feeling or topic ranging from personal to political, and would use the skills he learned from being a poet to write a song.

Another sick story Sterling shared with me recounted the time he and his twin brother switched places at a school senior award assembly. He and his brother Nick looked at each other from across the gymnasium, and they immediately got to switching places; all it took was a look and a motion.

After switching places, his brother walked for Sterling to accept an award. At this point, only the students were aware of the prank. Sean summarized, “when you have a twin, you can do stuff like that.” Sean describes it as “This is me (motioning to himself), yeah, well there’s TWO of me.” Having a twin, he says, allows for near perfect communication and intuition between the two.

The twin life involves a lot of fighting too (Sterling shared a couple of stories of the two knocking the life out of each other). I mean, imagine having to share everything with someone from the minute your cells start to form.

Sterling has done a lot (like a lot a lot) of performance art and theatre. He once started up an abstract, experimental theater ensemble with his friends. Real, real Kickstarter stuff; they performed in a garage.

It was raw, in your face kind of stuff. He, and the rest of his company, made a play, titled “TwoThousand-E-lever” It was a series of scenes that interconnected; each member picking a piece of society to perform as a vignette. They only gave themselves one day to build a set and rehearse before opening night. Their theatre company was the essence of D.I.Y.

He ultimately fell out of love with theatre due to increasing clichés and a disconnect with Sterling’s vision for his performances and the directors. He is currently working on a film he has written (the film group was created under the same principles as his former theatre company). It currently has three working titles.

Sean Sterling is a pretty interesting guy. The stories he has kindly shared today are just a couple in the thousands to be found within the many types of students that walk this campus day-in and day-out. Keep an eye at out for Vol. II and email us if you have a sick story to tell.

“Take it as a simple world, world, world. Guess I’m spatting off like hell, now what the hell. All the, all the, sick stories to tell.” — Hak (of RATKING)

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