Thursday, March 20, 2008

Homocore: A History

I've recently started reading a book called "Homocore: The Loud and Raucous Rise of Queer Rock."  It's mostly the history of specific bands, fronted by or made up entirely of queer members singing queer lyrics, that were popular within this subcultural movement during the 80's, 90's and the early 2000's.  It's kind of gotten me thinking about a bunch of stuff.  (All right, I know it's not fibers... but thinking is good, right?  And I'll throw in some pictures along the way to break up my mental meandering.  )

(Team Dresch, the awesome dyke band.  This album title is based on a 80's lesbian movie about two lady runners who fall in love.  Also Kaia Wilson is hot.)

I think the first thing that really hit me is the seemingly impossible contradiction of how much happens in the world and how ridiculously little "History" there is.  I find this more as a read non-fiction.  I mean, I know we can't learn or know about everything that has ever happened but the more reading and researching I do on my own, the more suspicious I am about how History gets chosen; and also that there is an utter truth to the existence of multiple Histories, some of which are contradictory.  Specifically in the case of the Homocore movement, I'm incredibly surprised that I don't know more of this... especially because I was alive for most of it.  I mean, I was (fairly) punk in high school... and yet I had still only ever heard of the bands that Homocore bands were opening for: Green Day, No Doubt and others.  I guess the movement didn't really hit the East Coast in the way it did on the West, but... still. 
(These guys are Extra Fancy.  In more ways than the one.)

I was also thinking about why Gay (male) lyrics are so much more... in your face than straight and even lesbian lyrics.  Singing about women in a sexually explicit way is NOT  a new phenomenon.  Straight men have been doing it for years in what is apparently a totally socially acceptable way.  (Eh?)  So, hearing the words coming from the mouths of women might have been jarring at first, but essentially recognizable.  But watching a dude, like Brian Grillo (the lead singer from the band Extra Fancy) get up onstage and talk about balls and dicks and fucking other guys is, like.... kind of a cultural mind fuck.  The band Pansy Division (similar themes with a nice sense of humor) went on tour with Green Day and got harrassed a fuck-load.   This is one of the VERY FEW situations that i can think of where it might actually be worse to be a gay dude than a lez.  (Y'know what?  After thinking that one through I still might not agree with myself, but I'll let it fly 'cause it's late and I'm practically incoherent already.)

(Brian Grillo is in your face.  Also, his balls must be very cold.)

The other thing that startled me (actually, it more like made me chuckle.  Out loud.  On the trolley.) is how many of the people and groups (bands?) who are lauded as being the front-runners  and faces of Homocore... don't actually identify with the movement.  In fact, a lot of them are pretty outspoken (pun totally intended) about disliking the term because they feel it is too limiting.  Most people interviewed for the book claim that their primary goal had nothing to do with the movement but everything to do with punk rock:  yes, they wanted to make the music that nobody else was making but because it was what they wanted to do, not because it didn't already exist.  They wanted to do it their way and they wanted to have fun with it.  And if it helped some people along the way, great.  And if it got a laugh, even better.   I like this about punk rock.  They're so worried about exclusivity and about not "being a movement"... but movements (and their labels) grow up around them like weeds in a healthy garden.  You can spend all your time weeding, or you can shrug and say "it's the meadow look."

("Against all odds, we appear./ Grew up brainwashed, / but we turned out queer." -Smells Like Queer Spirit.)

The other great thing, which I might have already mentioned:  Kaia Wilson.  And her being hot.

(The Butchies are so hot they get two photos.  Clearly.)

Anyway, seeing as my music collection actually contains NONE of the afore mentioned bands, anyone who would be able to hook me up with any of their cds would get not only my gratitude, love and affection, but possibly also baked goods.

Just saying.

1 comment:

kate said...

i know so much more about homocore now. i didn't even know it existed. wow.


i think that is the address to my blog.