Talli Osborne, 42, lives and breathes punk music. She is taking an opportunity of a lifetime to move to Las Vegas this fall and to be the official spokesperson of the new Punk Rock Museum. (Cara Nickerson/CBC)
‘I could give Joan Jett a tour of the Punk Rock Museum… That will literally blow my mind,’ said Osborne
In the punk rock scene around the world, Hamilton resident Talli Osborne is a legend.
And she’s adding to that legendary status now as she begins her new job as the official spokesperson at the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas.
The Punk Rock Museum is NOFX lead singer “Fat” Mike Burkett’s creation and is set to open later this year.
In the early 2000s, Burkett and Osborne briefly met at a NOFX concert in Toronto, and afterwards Burkett wrote a song called She’s Nubs about Osborne — who was born without arms and with short legs.
Osborne said when she first heard the song, she emailed Fat Mike and asked if it was about her. The next day, he replied.
“After writing 12 albums of songs, sometimes it’s hard to think of things to write about,” she said.
“When he first met me, he knew I was the perfect character for a song. So, he said, I’ll save a spot side stage for you next time we’re in town,” she said.
It would be easy and fair for anyone to be hurt by a song like She’s Nubs, at least a little, but Osborne chose to embrace the nickname. She is the lead singer in her own punk band, Nubs and Her Studs.
The punk rock community embraced her
Osborne was born in Montreal, raised in Toronto and moved to Hamilton as an adult. Growing up, she said she never felt like she fit in — until she found the punk community.
“After that song was written, you know, the punk rock community really, really embraced me for exactly who I am. I found my community,” she said.
“Punk rock, to me, is just about being authentically who you are and not giving an F what people think.”
Osborne is an accomplished public speaker and has spent her adulthood talking about her differences. She gave a Ted Talk at the 2015 TedxToronto seminar about her experience growing up different and her self love ideology.
“The first time that Mike ever wrote to me, I wrote him back and tried to get a job with his record label because it was like… I had this opportunity,” she said.
Osborne said she asked for a job in the early 2000s but she was too young and the timing wasn’t right.
This year, two decades after they first met, Burkett reached out to Osborne with the opportunity of a lifetime. She said he asked her to be the face of the Punk Rock Museum.
Osborne will travel to punk festivals as the official spokesperson for the Punk Rock Museum and will be the customer service director for the museum when she isn’t on the road. She is moving to Las Vegas in the coming months. The museum is currently still under construction.
“I’m ready for a new, huge adventure,” she said.
‘It’s all a gamble’
Osborne said that just talking about the move makes her excited, especially when she thinks about the punk rock legends she might meet at the museum.
“I could give Joan Jett a tour of the Punk Rock Museum,” she said.Joan Jett is the lead singer of two legendary punk bands from the 1970s, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and, before that, The Runaways. Her most iconic song is I Love Rock and Roll, a jukebox and karaoke staple across the world.
“That will literally blow my mind,” Osborne said.Moving forward for Osborne means leaving behind a huge amount of people in Hamilton who love her.
Osborne’s sister, Miriam, lives in Toronto and said when her sister moved to Hamilton, she thought it was a big change. Now Osborne is moving to a different country.
“I’m sad that she’s moving so far away, because now it’s not hard for me to get to Hamilton. I can’t just hop on a bus to Vegas,” Miriam said.
Despite knowing she will miss her sister, Miriam said she is very happy about Osborne’s move.
“Vegas is lucky to have her,” she said.
“This is the absolute obvious next step in her life, even if we didn’t realize it,” Miriam said. “She lives and breathes punk rock … you know. It’s everything that she is.”
“The friends that I have here, they would literally drop everything for me if I need them,” Osborne said, and added that while she knows she will make friends in Vegas, she doesn’t know if they will be as close as the ones she has in Hamilton.
“Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. It’s all a gamble,” she said.