Ready To Rock Wichoo
By Barry Walters
Despite the fact that England isn�t as racially charged and being in a band that draws upon gay traditions isn�t all that unusual there, I don�t get the sense that England is any less sexist.
They certainly have their share of white trash over there. Oh, that sounds horrible! I think it�s been ingrained in our minds that the English are very quaint and polite. They can seem very tight-laced but at the same time can be completely wrong and raunchy. I kind of like that about them.
I think they take glee in crossing the line between being proper and being vulgar.
We get a lot of joy out of doing that too, taking basic pop songs and making sure there�s something a little off about them. That�s in the mainstream there. I love that our record was in the charts over there and the things that we say in the album are so inappropriate at times -- people having sex with statues, compromising nice, chaste virgins. It�s a seemingly little thing, but just changing the gender [in �I�m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You�] to �When I was a little girl� is just a mindfuck. People have to wrap their minds around why I would say such a thing.
There�s always been -- particularly since �70s disco and the early gay liberation years -- an interesting relationship between white gay men and African-American performers, a shared experience of being on the outside. I wonder if you have something to say about that.
I love how disco originated from gays, blacks, and Hispanics. It was something underground and then of course it became mainstream. It just kind of mutates. Post-punk bands like New Order incorporate that stuff, and we�re influenced by that. I�m not sure if I answered your question.
I just wondered if you�ve thought about the connection between African-American performers and white gay audiences and if you feel a part of that cultural exchange.
I haven�t thought about it much. We�re straight, but we�ve been called derogatory things.
I would think so!
Yeah, especially while walking around England. But it will be those same exact guys at our show, buying us a drink because they like our band! [Laughs hard] I�m just mystified by that. I find it interesting where the lines blur between what�s considered masculine and what�s considered feminine. When you get the right combination it�s very admirable. With Prince, he�s this very effeminate guy, but in Purple Rain -- I�m not saying this is admirable at all, but he�s smackin� women around. That [androgyny] was something we were trying to feel out throughout the record.
I received some unusually vicious attacks for reviewing your album enthusiastically in Spin. It�s amazing to me that people would begrudge your success and that you�ve already had a backlash.
It�s interesting to me as well and I feel very accomplished! [Laughs] It�s like, �Really? Already?� I can�t help but feel pride in creating something that�s potent enough to make some people wretch whereas other people enjoy it thoroughly. I think it�s preferable to have that extreme range of reaction as opposed to right in the middle where it�s just, �Yeah, it�s okay.� We prefer the enthusiasm or the hatred. It just makes it feel like we�re making something valid.
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