Need to Know: Seth Bogart
By Nisha Gopalan
What were you like growing up?
I'm from Tucson, Arizona. I was really bratty and obnoxious and funny -- pretty flamboyant. I guess I am kinda the same [laughs]. I wasn't self conscious -- nothing to be embarrassed of. My mom was a nurse. She worked for a long time at a rehab center called Sierra Tucson that was really expensive -- a lot of celebrities went there for eating disorders and sex addiction and drugs. My dad was a lawyer. But he died when I was in high school. I had a perfect, really great family with no problems, and then it went all crazy.
How old were you when your dad killed himself?
Eighteen. I moved right away to Oakland with a friend of mine, because my family was just, like, a mess. I just distracted myself by being in a new city and doing music. I got this shitty little apartment and slept in the living room and worked crappy jobs and was punk and stuff.
When did you come out?
To my friends, in high school, and then to my mom when I was 18. She was totally cool with it. She kinda knew.
Did you ever date girls?
A couple. And I was into it! I feel like everyone's somewhat into both sexes. If everyone had sex with whoever they wanted to and there was no society judging, people would be more bisexual. But I'm definitely more gay than anything.
What sort of music did you listen to growing up?
I was really into the Ramones and Blast Off Country Style, this weird girl band from D.C. Kind of like the same style of music that I play. Sixties girl groups -- I always loved those. The Ronettes are, like, my fave. I love the Cookies and the Shangri-Las. But I also have a riot grrrl thing going on: I love Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. Kathleen Hanna [of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre] took us on tour like four times or something. Kathleen is great; she loves gay dudes. I don't know if you know this, but she wrote this song about this gay friend of hers dying. It's the saddest song. She's just so supportive of gay artists.
And like Le Tigre, you wear coordinated outfits on stage. Where do you and the Punkettes get those clothes?
Most of those are from thrift stores. In Europe, we had a jungle look, and we had what I call Chippendales -- but they're really just waiters' outfits. All the girls also dressed up like grandmas. We're working on some new ones now. I actually have friends who are fashion designers. One person who's made some looks for us is Peggy Noland; she does stuff for CSS and Fischerspooner. But I [also own] a vintage boutique sort of store where I get some stuff. There's a hair salon and records, too. It's painted pink, and there's some weird gold grandma stuff. It's called Down at Lulu's. That's my part-time job.
So Hunx doesn't pay the bills yet?
I get some money from music, too! Like we're in this LensCrafters commercial. I was watching Toddlers & Tiaras, they played the commercial like five times during that show! It's really awesome and just funny to me, because it's such a Mall of America store. I am positive if they knew what anything about the band, they would never have done that.
For more information on Hunx and His Punx, including upcoming tour dates, visit the band's official MySpace page.