Tattooed Love Boy


By Shana Naomi Krochmal

Tell me about being on MTV's TRL.
I'm Canadian -- I didn't know what TRL was! But we're getting a lot more press interest in the States than in Canada. I didn't realize what a big deal it was. It was such a flash -- it happened so quickly. It was kind of surreal more than anything.

My favorite moment was how you answered the question about the origin of the band name. You were direct and polite and punk all at the same time.
[Laughs] That was my favorite moment as well.

Do you want to give us the uncensored version of that story?
When we were on [Sex Pistols' guitarist] Steve Jones' radio show in LA, he asked the same question. I said, "It's the combination of a male body part and a female body part." And Steve Jones says [imitates Jones' accent perfectly], "Do I have a clik?" And I said, "You have part of a clik." And we're on the radio, and it's pure dead air. He rubs his chin and thinks. it was a great moment of my life.

We just did a guide to bands playing on the Vans Warped Tour. I feel like the Cliks could hold their own with the punk kids there.
Exactly, but people have this possible delusion that we don't fit. We're a heavy rock band. On this tour, we're the hardest band.

But you also toured with the Cult! How did that hard rock crowd react to you?
The Cult fans were amazing. We toured with them two times. We had the straightest of straight dudes who were in the Hell's Angels come up to us and tell us that they like our music. We have such diverse audiences, but we don't have very diverse press. Led Zeppelin never got asked about being an all-male band or about their sexuality -- unless it was to do with groupies on the bus. It doesn't do us a lot of favors when we're trying to get into more so-called mainstream tours. Unfortunately, the message that's being sent out to these promoters is that we don't have an audience within their audience. But the fact is that we do.

Is that misperception about your audience what you think stands between the Cliks and mainstream success?
Yes, I think so. Perception, unfortunately, is a huge thing. Everybody needs a hook, and a story the press has concentrated on was the fact that I'm trans, and the band is queer, because it's of interest to people to see a band like us slipping into the mainstream. When you're reading press and seeing media focus on one thing, you tend to lean towards that. If anybody is at all interested in knowing what we're about, if they came to our live shows, I think all those preconceptions would be completely torn down. Our music is really mainstream pop-rock. Coolio queer kids think we're too mainstream.

Out on the road, do you feel like you get treated like a dude in a band or are people in the music industry constantly hung up on the fact that you're trans?
It really varies. My band treats me like I'm a dude in a band. There are the people who come out to a show and think I'm a girl in a band. A lot of people know that I'm trans, and some of them just treat me like who I am. On the Cult tour, I got treated a lot like a girl, which was strange after being in my own bubble. But that's the reality of the world. This tour's been amazing.