Out of Hiding

2.12.2009

By Mike Berlin

You aren't the only musical member of your family, right? What about your brother?
Yeah, we actually live together here in Los Angeles. His name is Bryce and he's in a band called Wreck and Slender and they're just amazing. They're somewhere in between Jeff Buckley and Coldplay with like a little bit of Justice League thrown in there. So it's been really cool to have him here. He's just moved here from Texas and we're hoping to tour together at some point.

Is this tour happening soon?
Yeah, we're working on it right now. I actually just got back from Sundance, where I played at the Queer Lounge party.

What is that party like? Hipster-y film gays?
Nobody shaves the whole time because you're living up in the mountains. So it's like everyone's kind of mountain-y. It's a huge mix of people. There's a bunch of people from Salt Lake who show up. And then there's bunch of from L.A. and New York and then everything in between. And they throw a great party -- this guy named Chris, who invited me to sing, threw the party. And before the show, Chris was going around with glitter, like sparkling it all over the carpet like fairy dust. It was a really rambunctious, fun party.

You were also recently at Carrie Fisher's house for a party, right?
Oh yeah, my friend Stephen Spinella, who was in the movie Milk, invited me to their nomination party, since they just got nominated for eight Oscars. So he took me along as a guest. I also went with my friend Robin, who is the director for my new music video. And we just had the time of our lives. I'd never really been to a Hollywood party like that where Sean Penn is walking by lighting a cigarette and Gus Van Sant is having a martini.

Yeah, you must be somewhat used to stars, though, living in LA. How long have you been living on the West Coast?
Let's see -- ten years.

Was it a strange transition originally going from the Midwest to San Francisco?
Strange, yes, because I ended up in the gayest place on Earth. I was 23 and it was an awesome place to live when you're a young gay guy. I fell in love with that city. I'll always love San Francisco. When I go back, I just park myself on the corner with a Starbucks cup and literally 15 friends will walk by within an hour and be like, 'Oh my God! Do you live here again? What's going on?!' It's a very welcoming place.

I've always thought it San Francisco as a gay Disneyland -- not that Disneyland isn't gay enough already--
It feels like a little village of people. And I felt very glad to be able to be a part of it. I lived right in the Castro, and it was amazing to be walking around on the same streets that Harvey Milk had walked around. Knowing that I was walking after his legacy was just a great feeling.

You've been compared to Rufus Wainwright quite a bit. Is that an accurate comparison?
I don't know. He really paved the way for people like me and people that will come after me. But sometimes I think it's weird to even compare anybody because it's like, what is the strength in comparison? I guess if you say, 'If I like this person, then you might like this person.'

Could you see yourself doing a duet with Rufus in the future?
Anytime Rufus wants to sing a song with me, I'm game.

Click here to see the video for 'End of the World.'

Hide Nothing is now in stores and available at online retailers.

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