Posts Tagged ‘the damned’


Threesome: retro gay anthems

February 27, 2009

Listen up, possums: LGBT themes in popular music did not start with YMCA and end with Katy Perry kissing a girl and liking it. So in honor of Sean Penn’s Oscar win for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, this “Commie, homo-loving writer proudly presents three retro gay gems from the vault.

First up is Elton Motello‘s 1977 punk treasure “Jet Boy Jet Girl,” written from the point of view of a gay teenager who is essentially the flip side of Katy Perry’s ‘experiment’ – after a brief fling with him, his lover returns to girls. I suspect it doesn’t get a lot of airplay in the United States, since in 1989, Florida station WIOD was fined $10,000 by the FCC for playing it. But it was in regular rotation in the UK and Canada, and has been covered by bands including The Damned.

Next up is a dance hit by John Water’s favorite actor (or -ress), Divine: “You Think You’re A Man.” Released in 1984, it reached #16 on the UK charts and even landed Divine a spot on Top of the Pops. However, it never charted in the US. (seeing a pattern here?)

Finally, Canada’s Rough Trade were a new-wave band who were, as their name implies, unabashedly sexual. Their song “High School Confidential,” made it into the Canadian Top 20, one of the first explicitly lesbian-themed songs to be a Top 40 hit anywhere in the world. And, oh yeah, this was 1981.

MP3: Elton Motello – Jet Boy Jet Girl

MP3: Divine – You Think You’re A Man

MP3: Rough Trade – High School Confidential


The Offspring and The Damned

August 31, 2008

The Offspring are back with a new album, and they are playing Bumbershoot on Monday. I know they get a lot of flak, but I have a real soft spot for their early ’90s songs. While they can fairly be described as having brought punk to the masses, whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. Despite the fact that Smash was the best-selling indie album ever (it came out on Epitaph, and is at 16 million and counting), I have to respect their DIY ethic of taking the profits and starting their own record label. Similarly, I have to respect a band who responded to their record label refusing to allow them to have free downloads by selling t-shirts with the Napster logo on them and donating a portion of the profits to founder Shawn Fanning (note to younger readers: this was when Napster was still a pirate, and not a privateer). While I could live without “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),” I do generally appreciate The Offspring’s self-deprecating humour (check out the video for “Da Hui”). And, finally, they do have excellent taste in influences, and they get accolades from me for covering The Damned‘s “Smash It Up” for the otherwise forgettable Batman Forever (now happily replaced by The Dark Knight, of course).

More Offspring: website

More Damned: website

MP3: The Offspring – Hammerhead

MP3: The Damned – Smash It Up