’I'm not interested in singing about gay people!’ Jake Shears
They are the most openly, laudably homosexualist band in the whole wide world (well, most of them are). But how far are Scissor Sisters willing to push the gay thing? We spoke to Jake Shears and Baby Daddy – did we mention ‘exclusively’? – and it seems that ‘not all the way’ is the answer to that one.
So, do you think the whole gay thing damages the band?
BD: Did it damage Queen? I don’t think so. [We don't mention that Freddie, the gay one, didn't actually come out until he was on his deathbed].
That stuff doesn’t matter so much here but there’s not really been a gay band in America, has there?
J: There have been lots of gay bands. Fuck that shit. Just ’cause we’re not closet cases like everyone else. If you want me to mention some names, I will. [He names one: as far as we're aware, he's wrong]. The only difference between us and these fuckers is that we have the balls to admit it.
BD: We love making music and we’re not going to let anything stop us. I’d rather be a persecuted gay band making decent music than a bunch of closet cases that try to avoid any problems with it. And we’re not really a gay band: there’s a straight woman and a straight man in there…
Has the gay thing informed the band?
J: I think it’s shaped our aesthetic. There are no gay lyrics, it’s all totally coded. If you’re looking for a gay message, you totally have to dig.
J: I’m not interested in singing about gay people.
But are the love songs gender specific?
J: Yeah, they’re mostly female. They’re heterosexual. I wanted the music to be accessible. I don’t want to appeal to just a tenth of the population.
BD: Jake’s a storyteller more than anything. He’s not presenting himself as a ladies’ man, he’s just telling stories through his music. And nine out of ten stories tend to be straight.
J: If you listened to a gay love song, the majority of anyone who’s going to listen to that song is not going to be able to identify.
But gay men identify with straight stories; why shouldn’t straight people identify with gay ones?
J: I just don’t think it happens. You could pick the lyrics apart and find plenty of gay stuff in the lyrics. There’s definitely a gay sensibility.
BD: I don’t think ‘Laura’, for instance, is necessarily a straight love story. It just happens to be a be a man talking to a woman.
Do you take the point? You’re so upfront about not being closeted but…
J: There might not be anything directly straight but it’s not a conscious decision.
BD: We’re not hiding anything, it’s just that he’s allowing things to be accessible, so the music has a wider audience.
J: And it’s more important to me than being gay. I couldn’t give a fuck about being gay. I think Ana says it best sometimes: it’s a really small part of our identity. I’m not a gay man first and foremost.
Can you imagine 50 Cent saying, ‘I’m not a black man first and foremost’?
There’s never any issue with black singers singing about the black experience. They don’t worry that it’s not going to be accessible…
J: I get bored with it. It’s not an issue. We’re not doing straight stuff. We’re just making music. Anyone can listen to this music and identify with it. If you take a band like Pansy Division, I hate that shit! Number one, it’s crap music and then it’s so going out of its way to be shocking and offensive and gay… It’s like, who cares?
But can’t you do a nice, radio-friendly record that everyone likes that just happens to be about two men?
BD: I think the problem is when you spell things out in any direction, the timelessness is gone.
- Do you agree with Baby Daddy and Jake? Comment away, people.
The new single ‘Kiss Me Off’ is out this week. The album Ta Da has been out, ooh, ages.