Nocturnal Admissions

10.21.2009

By Justin Ocean

Where do you prefer to perform -- more intimate smaller towns or larger venues in bigger citites?
Well, prior to this I ran it for a month in L.A. I ran it for a month in Chicago. A weekend in Milwaukee and Cincinnati. For almost a year I've been on the road with this. And the one place that I felt like I saw the crowd growing over the course of the month was Los Angeles. I was like, 'If I were here for six months I'd be selling this place out!' I didn't want to leave. So I'm going back and giving that a shot in December.

Will you miss the touring?
I do enjoy the touring but I miss my boyfriend and I don't want to turn into that showbiz disaster relationship story where it doesn't work because I'm never home. He's in Nashville, but we're going to L.A. together.

You're breaking a lot of hearts right now'
I know. I shouldn't have said that! [Laughs.]

Do you have any plans to go back to your band Waves on Waves?

The funny thing is that project is self-propelling. Logo just premiered my video on the NewNowNext PopLab. We're about to release an album of all unreleased tracks and B-sides. The music is out there. It's on the net and Logo. People seem to be catching on to it. It's possible, a year from now, if there's any kind of buzz or need at all to do more touring with that I totally will. But who knows? This is my priority now.

You've got a book out as well.
Yeah. Exciting! The show was developed orally and I definitely went through it and tweaked things to make it read better, but it's pretty close to what I say live, plus illustrations I did myself. The whole story has these innocent childlike tones, so I did these illustrations that look more children's bookish. It's kind of perverted.

You've been compared to David Sedaris and Sandra Bernhard. What other comedians or performance artists do you love?
I'm a big fan of Eddie Izzard and his weirdo surreal mind. My favorite stand-up comedian of all time is George Carlin, but I'm not doing anything like him really. He was so harsh and political and that's not me at all. I'm very much more passive and nostalgic.

Do you see yourself ever taking a political bent?
I don't know if that's my strength. I feel like I'm making a difference now with this show. I know that I am. I have the ability to take people on an emotional journey, and I think that can change the mind. I don't know if it's really in my nature to debate with someone and get somewhere. I'm a more fluid creature than that, I think.

If you had one message that you're trying to get out with your show, what is it? You only get one.

It's hard to say things like that without sounding clich' because I feel like clich's become clich' because they're so incredibly true. You know what I mean? But the message of my show is a message of self-acceptance. I'm saying to people who are in a scenario or a religious setting or feel like their family is rejecting them because of their sexuality, 'You are OK!' It's hard to say that and give it meaning because it's like, 'No shit, I'm OK'Thank you.' But it's so incredibly true that we're all just really OK. Life's so short don't beat yourself over the head with guilt and shame. [Laughs.] Yeah, I know this is just all clich's.

Reviews have noted the fun of reveling in all the 1980s details you put in. What was your '80s obsession?
The Smiths for sure. Morrissey is one of my biggest songwriting influences, and as a singer, I love the Smiths. I listen to them on repeat and I have for my entire life. I have never got tired of them once.

What kind of '80s kid were you?
My freshman year of high school was 1988. Nirvana broke in '91 or '92 and changed pop culture, but for most of my high school years, there was just 'alternative kids.' Now they have all these sub-genres, like goth, but none of that really existed then. If you listened to the Cure you were a fag! [Laughs.] So my friends and I listened to the Smiths and the Cure and grew our bangs out, dyed our hair black, and wore baggy black pants tucked into combat boots. So that was the kind of kid I was. Not daring enough to wear eyeliner to school but daring enough to dye my hair black. This was small-town Indiana.

Do you consider yourself a role model?
Who poses in gay porn magazines? [Laughs.] Sure, why not!

Sex, Dreams & Self Control, the book and soundtrack, are out now. Waves on Waves Remixed Vol 1 is now available on iTunes. Visit TheKevinThornton.com for more info.

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