QMH Script for April 2008
Kristian Hoffman Interview
The Mumps - Crocodile Tears (1977)
That song was "Crocodile Tears" by a late 70s act called The Mumps, and it's just one of the acts featured on this months show that have a common thread. This is JD Doyle and you're listening to Queer Music Heritage, a part of Queer Voices every month on KPFT. The common thread of all the music on this show is singer/songwriter Kristian Hoffman, and I've got an extensive interview with him, and we'll explore his involvement with The Mumps, German opera singer Klaus Nomi, and Kristian's own very full career.
But first I want to give some quick background information on the lead singer of The Mumps, Lance Loud. In 1973 on the PBS network there was a 12-part documentary called "An American Family," that caused quite a controversy. It attracted ten million viewers and in a way it was the first reality series. The show chronicled the lives of the Loud family from Santa Barbara, California, which included Pat and Bill Loud's marriage becoming a divorce, and one of their sons, Lance, being very out of the closet.
Being Lance's best friend, Kristian Hoffman was included in the TV series and a few years later they moved to New York City and formed the pop/punk band The Mumps. Kristian wrote almost all of the band's music. Over the years Lance became a rock music columnist and also towards the end of his life had a column for The Advocate, which I remember quite well. His death from AIDS in 2001, at age 50, was chronicled in a follow up PBS documentary, "A Death in An American Family."
[above, early 70's shot of Kristian from "An American Family"...you can find this clip on YouTube]
Okay, now you know the players. And I'm very pleased to share with you my interview with Kristian Hoffman.
Tell me how you got started with The Mumps?
Well, that's pretty easy, you know I went to high school with Lance Loud. And so we were best friends in high school and we were in the same art class with our art teacher who inspired us, Mr. Baker, and we were really excited about music. We were into The Kinks and Velvet Underground and all these other records that were actually fairly obscure at the time they came out, and only came into prominence sort of later on with a high critical regard. And so we were obsessed with music and then I was going to go to art school, and I went to art school for about two months and I hated it, so Lance said, "let's just move to New York." And we moved to New York and saw the New York Dolls and just decided, well, we can do that. We actually did have a high school band, but it was kind of a joke band that we did with Lance and his brothers. So we were always into playing and making fools of ourselves, but it was really the New York Dolls that completely inspired us to just go ahead and make a real band and write all our own songs and get out there and do it.
How was the name for the band picked?
The name of the band was picked in a ridiculous way. We just made a list of names and it's funny because lots of the names went on to be names of relatively famous bands. And I don't know why we decided to use The Mumps. It just sounded funny, I guess. You know it's been sort of a millstone and an albatross and also an inspiration. We wanted something that was catchy and short. You know we were picking it before punk had established itself in New York. It was maybe a year and a half before Television's first gig, around 1974 or something, so it was pretty early to pick a name that people would think was weird and might make them upset.
It's kind of a romantic tale to say you ran away to New York City, where you and Lance formed the Mumps, and quickly became darlings of the club scene there. That's an over simplification, but does that description jive with what happened.
Well, it doesn't jive at all with what happened. I mean, in one sense it does, but in another sense no matter what we did, as much as we thought we were making the most exciting I wouldn't say it was commercial, but we considered the music we were making as essential, like it was fast and loud and yet it was highly crafted and literate and funny and clever and like all of the bands we followed, from The Kinks the The Sparks to The Stooges, to The Beatles, through everyone, we thought we were in that tradition. And then when we finally decided to play out we opened for Cherry Vanilla at Trudy Heller's. That was our first gig ever, and David Bowie was actually in the audience, cause Lance knew David Bowie's drug dealer. But that didn't really lead to anything, because it was an audience that was more attuned to The Manhattan Transfer, and it was only when we found our way to CBGB's we got a following pretty quickly but punk didn't gel as a movement right away, and also when it did gel we weren't considered as essential as one might think, even though we were founders of it, I mean.
There really were, legitimately there was The Mumps, Blondie, The Ramones, and Television basically were the bands that were playing CBGB's, and so we did sort of invent that scene, but it soon became hardened into factions, and we were kind of a little too pop to be hip, or something. And then people were a little bit suspicious of Lance because he was famous. You know, you have to remember that "The American Family" was actually a really big deal, and so people thought he'd come into the Lower East Side to try to pretend he was hip instead of actually being hip, and having come there from another small town, just like everybody else that was there. Everyone there was a transplant who obsessed with The Velvet Underground and wanted to get into The Factory and so they moved and found cheap rent in the East Village. And were part of that scene but it wasn't really very welcoming once it started to explode. All I can say is there were factions. So there wasn't warmth there at first, but then the scene sort of expanded and made room for everybody and it turned out that we could get enough of a following that we could be headliners and we could sell out Max's or CBGB's you know three nights in a row, regularly, and so it ended up being more comraderie afterwards, but in the beginning there was jostleling and discomfort and at first it wasn't really very friendly that way.
Before we continue the story I want to get to a little more music, and a song form 1976, early in the band's career. Could you comment on "Dutchboy"?
Ah, "Dutchboy" is "Dutchboy" is actually it's very early, it's when were still thinking that we could be The Kinks and Sparks and have super Beatle-ly melodies, so we did have a lot of things that required a whole lot of harmonies, and although that was one of the things that was perceived as being this really Out, homosexual song about being in love with this boy, it was actually I had written it about the lead singer of The Marbles. And The Marbles were these, these really nice they were great guys but they were straight, white, had every advantage, were from an upper middle class home. They were very gifted. They could all really play and sing, but it was just one of those things. I was looking at them and was thinking, it's all so easy for white, straight people. And so actually it was kind of a put down of that sort of bubble that they lived in, where even if they were concerned with liberal issues it would never really affect them, and they could look at it from a distance and then things would come to them easily. As it turned out, they never got signed either, so they were a little too pop for the scene as well, but when this was happening I was just sort of using them as a instigator for my thoughts about what it meant to be white and straight and have the road paved before you where if you were of any other race or gender preference or anything everything would be much more difficult.
The Mumps - Dutchboy (1976)
In the liner notes for this next song from the first Mumps CD, Lance Loud wrote that before safe sex there was Kristian Hoffman. Tell me about the song "I Like to Be Clean."
It is weird because it is sort of about that. I mean, I was very neurotic about sexuality and there was a whole bunch of things, like I felt like even though we were gay, and even though it was sort of like Lance was out as gay, but he had never said he was gay. And here we were in this highly competitive scene with a whole bunch of straight people, so I just said, if someone asks you if you're gay, just lie about it, and you know I was kind of saying it jokingly, but it was also like it would be a good career move and would keep the mystery going. And then it was the beginning of the spread of herpes and yet there was all this swinging and indiscriminate sex going on. So I used that as a springboard to get to basically it's about a fear of intimacy, and what I like to do when I write songs is I like to start with a little idea and then by the end of the song it extrapolates until it covers everything in the world. And so I am pretty pompous for trying to write short, succinct songs that are fairly clever and rhyme.
But wasn't it well known that Lance was gay by that time?
It was well known and yet the whole thing about him having come out on the series; he never did come out on the series, and he actually didn't come out until quite some time afterwards. I think it was on one of the talk shows. It might have been on "Dick Cavett" or something, but he said like "that notion was forced upon me," and I really agreed with him, even though we were both openly gay to all of our friends, even from the age of 16 in high school. In the real world we weren't dressing gay to ourselves, we were dressing like rock stars. We always identified with David Bowie and Mick Jagger, and it wasn't a gay thing at all, and we didn't feel gay in our pursuit of life or art or experience or sensory delight or anything. The message of gay at the time we were coming out was boring and cloney and it was kind of constricting, and we wanted to be whatever technicolor people we could, and so it was like we didn't want to be defined by this one thing. And it did also feel like it was homophobic in the punk scene, and it was homophobic in the world and we felt that we wouldn't be able to have a career if we said we were gay. But Lance was more comfortable with it than I was. I guess I was more ambitious than him. I really thought we were going to be Lennon and McCartney. I was a moron but I did believe that.
Were any other members of the band gay?
At first, no, but later on we were really very good friends with this band called Orchestra Luna and they had a really great songwriter at the head of that band named Ricky Kinscherf, and he is gay and out and he had a propensity for dating beautiful young things, and I think there was this beautiful young thing he couldn't get from Exeter, New Hampshire, named Kevin Kiely, and Kevin Kiely became the longest lasting bass player in The Mumps and he was gay as well, and he was also absolutely gorgeous and really nice and very talented.
[Trivia Note: in addition to Orchestra Luna, Ricky Kinscherf later went by the name Rick Berlin and had the band Berlin Airlift, and has released several excellent solo albums]
Okay, all that started out at an introduction to the song "I Like to Be Clean," from 1977.
The Mumps - I Like to Be Clean (1977)
That was a little of "I Like to Be Clean," and unfortunately on this show, with so much ground to cover, I won't be able to play complete versions of the songs, but you'll get ample tastes of the music along the way.
What was your role in the band?
My role was the role of an adult. I was kind of the default adult in the band. Lance got to be crazy and inspired and dance around and talk about the vision and take drugs and be drunk and everybody else got to work on their various crafts, but I actually sort of had I chose this, but I had to write all the songs, and I had to show up and be on time and figure everything out and the guys were all great, especially when we got to our optimal line-up, which was with Paul Rutner, Rob Duprey, Kevin Kiely and Lance, although our later bass player Joe Katz was fantastic as well. But, I actually at that point I wrote most of the bass parts, I wrote some of the guitar parts, I wrote, you know, 99.5% of the songs, I set up rehearsals, I helped organize stuff, I was sort of the default who had to make the big decisions. And I was also the one who could translate Lance's vision to everybody else because he was so crazy that they didn't speak his language, but since I'd been with him since high school I knew what he meant by everything.
From this perspective of time, how do you think the gayness of the band played into its success?
Oh, I think it completely prevented us from being successful. I think that time and time again opportunities came up and I think that if there were decisions to be made in our favor, and if there was somebody else that they could favor at that moment, they would favor the straight people. There's a point in case, The Dickies. Our manager, who was managing us first, also managed The Dickies, and A&M was going to sign one punk band, and they put us and The Dickies up, and they went with The Dickies. Now, I could be completely imagining this, but we had been around longer than The Dickies, we were more established on both coasts than The Dickies. I think they wrote fantastic songs and I think they put out great records, so this isn't anything against them, but I definitely think one of the reasons we weren't signed was because we were the band with the fag.
And I do think that there were I think that we were marginalized by that, whether it was spoken or unspoken. I really believe it damaged us. I don't believe it was an open market and I don't believe people were without prejudice. Oh I have one more thing to say about that while I blabber on. The other way to look at is like you say Jayne County established him/herself as a gay artist, but that was the hook, and we weren't aiming to be a gay novelty act. We wanted to write songs that would be compared to all the great masters of pop rock, so that was our ambition. We didn't want to be ghettoized by a gay novelty quirk. And I adore Jayne County, but I think, you know, there's a difference.
So, in a minute or less, why didn't The Mumps break into the mainstream?
You know, that's probably for the people who wouldn't give us a record contract to say. We played and played and played and played and got very, very popular and we could actually sell out clubs wherever we went, and then after a while whenever everybody else that we were playing bills with, like Talking Heads or even Alda Reserve or any of these ridiculous bands that actually got record contracts on Siren and we didn't, our fans you know slowly lost a little bit of interest. We actually broke up before it was embarrassing, you know, we still had a pretty good following, and we were getting gigs opening for Squeeze and stuff like that. But I think the reason we didn't break into the mainstream was because we weren't nurtured by having a record contract and management that cared about us and put us in a place where we could be creative. I mean when you think about Talking Heads, for instance, whom we played on a couple of bills with and were friends with and saw all the time, and they had the safe haven of a record label that was going to continue to release product and make sure reviewers got it. We didn't have that.
What do you think is the place in history of The Mumps?
I think our real place in history is one of the, I would say first off, we are one of the founders of the New York punk rock movement. You know, I use the term punk rock loosely because that was a media term. We didn't feel like that when we were doing it. We felt like we were East Village bands that had a certain sensibility liking short loud contrarian songs. But I do think that we were that, you know, we were one of the founders I also think, you know, not to toot my own horn, but we had the best songs out of that whole movement. I mean when Clem Burke came and jammed with he us, he said, you know, "you write better songs than Blondie, but I got to go with the band with the girl in it." So I think our legacy's to be the founders, one of the most important founders of the East Village punk rock New York 70's scene, which we've never been credited for, and then after that for being a vehicle for Lance Loud's crazy, you know, gyrations and his incredible gift as a lead singer, and so we were an early band with an Out lead singer, and then hopefully a showcase for my songwriting someone else is supposed to say that, I'm not.
Is there a Mumps song of which you're particularly proud?
Oh, I love 'em all. One of the most embarrassing thing about me is that I actually I tried to go back and look my songs and go "I wish I hadn't written that" and "God, that's embarrassing." And there are a few, but I'm, I'm happy with all those songs. "The Awkward Age" I think is a fantastic song. I'm happy with that song. I'm happy with how succinct it is. I think the melody's great. I've said this before in interviews, but Alan Betrock, who was a really great rock historian, said "you must have stolen that from The Idle Race." And I thought, like God, that is the biggest compliment in the world.
The Mumps - Awkward Age (1977)
I've found when studying Kristian's career is that there were always overlaps. He didn't just stop doing one thing and start another. While still in The Mumps, among other projects, he was writing songs for Klaus Nomi. So let's take a side journey to that world, and from another world is probably a good description for Klaus. I adapted this short bio from wikipedia. Klaus Nomi was a German countertenor noted for remarkable vocal performances and an unusual, otherworldly, elfin stage persona. Nomi is remembered for bizarrely theatrical live performances, heavy make-up, unusual costumes, and a highly stylized signature hairdo. His songs were equally unusual, ranging from interpretations of classic opera to outrageous covers of 1960s pop standards. Here's a bit of him doing the aria "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voi" or "My heart opens to your voice," from Saint-Saen's opera "Samson and Delilah"
Klaus Nomi - Samson and Delilah aria (Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix) (1980)
Below, Joey Arias, Klaus Nomi, and David Bowie on SNL
One highlight of his career was when he and Joey Arias backed up David Bowie in 1979 for Bowie's appearance on Saturday Night Live. In that era Klaus was perhaps too avant garde to become mainstream, and any hopes of that ended with his death from AIDS in August of 1983, one of the first celebrities to die of that illness. His career has been documented in a fascinating film from 2004 called "The Nomi Song," which I highly recommend. Kristian Hoffman appears prominently in the documentary.
I want to switch gears, how did you first meet Klaus Nomi?
I met Klaus Nomi at oh, God, I've told this story so many times, but I met Klaus Nomi, there was this thing called the New Wave Vaudeville Show. It first started with the Monster Movie Club Ann Magnuson ran Club 57, which was the club in the basement of a little church, 57 St Mark's Place, and in they had Susan Hanniford and Tom Scully started the Monster Movie Club, and then they decided to start a show called New Wave Vaudeville. They thought one thing about the new wave was that a lot of the bands and the acts were horrible, but you can stand three minutes of anything. They put out a big ad all over the East Village that said we want Nazis, slaves and freaks, and a whole bunch of people answered the call. And I personally was friends with them already so I was going to be in it anyway. But they got, like a singing dog and a bunch of acts did crazy things. Lance got up and sang "ASPCA" to the tune of the Village People singing "YMCA." But they also got Klaus and Ann Magnuson, who I've worked with for, you know, 30 years since, was directing it. He auditioned for her standing on a snow bank, and just sang some a cappella opera. And so he came out there and sang the aria from "Samson and Delilah."
And in the New Wave Vaudeville Show the audience was just flaborgasted and dumbfounded and didn't know what to think, cause he was so realized. There wasn't anything unformed about him. His voice was totally incredible and everyone thought that he was lipsyncing to some old 78. They just couldn't believe he was really singing that way. And after that Anya Phillips, who was managing The Contortions at the time, which I was in, she just called me up the next day and said "you should make a band for that Klaus Nomi." So I just called him up and said, "can I make a band for you?" And he said "Okay." And that's just how fast everything worked then. You just would run into someone on the street, and it would just turn into some fantastic adventure.
So, that's how you started writing songs for him.
Yeah, the first thing I did, the very first thing was to say you need to sing "Lightning Strikes," cause you've got this operatic range and so why not put it to use in reinterpreting a pop song that will really exploit your range. And so then I thought, well, you've got to have some original material. So then I started writing songs for him, and he had already got all of his friends, like Joey Arias and the other dancers together, Tony Freres. They all had gotten the visual thing together and the way that they were going to dance, and his look, that three-pronged trident haircut, and all of that stuff was already together. But I sort of was the author of the original pop musical vision for Klaus. He of course knew everything about opera and I knew nothing, so all the classical pieces were his choice and his arrangement.
Klaus recorded several of your songs, including "A Simple Man," "After the Fall," and "Nomi Song," but perhaps the most known is "Total Eclipse." Could you tell us about that song?
First I wrote "The Nomi Song," which was sort of like an easy joke on his name, "do you Nomi now," but I also wanted I really thought that Klaus was so fully formed that he needed to annouce himself and what his intentions were in a pop format, and I just kind of threw that one out, like you're going to be shocked when you see me. But then I thought, well, that doesn't really say anything about who he is or what message he's delivering you really did have the sense that the whole world could end at any moment, and so he was very much an advocate of since the future is so unstable we need to be as artistically crazy and out there and fulfilled as we possibly can, at every moment of our life, cause there might not be another one.
Klaus Nomi - Total Eclipse (1983)
Kind of a natural follow up lyrically to "Total Eclipse" was "After the Fall."
Yeah, that was actually intended as a sequel. It was sort of like here's "Total Eclipse," in retrospect it seemed kind of cheerless, and so I wanted to say after the fall, in a weird way was kind of my John Lennon song. I was saying love will win, no matter what happens, so no matter what happens we'll be together and we can build something. But I did think of him I thought you can't be too portentious, or pretentious or anthemic for Klaus, you know. It's like his voice however heavy the message is that might weigh a lesser talent down, his voice will make it soar. So I did think I say to use Bowie as a cue, but he really was. I thought like we can be as big in concept as Ziggy and get away with it because here's a personality and concept that's so huge that it will envelope it and lift it. Everything that I may say about these songs may sound incredibly pretentious, but I felt free to be pretentious because I knew that he could salvage it and make it fly. [He could pull it off] Yeah.
Klaus Nomi - After the Fall (1982)
From the documentary I got the feeling as Klaus became more successful he began turning his back on his friends, or was that more of the work of the record companies?
It was a variety of things. First of all Klaus really, really wanted to be successful, and he really wanted to be a big rock star he didn't even want to be a big rock star, he wanted to be a big sensation. He wanted to be like a cross between Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra or something, you know, but on his own terms as an outer space alien who sang in falsetto. But he believed in himself that this was what was going to happen, and the record company told him that was going to happen. They said "we're going to make you the star you always dreamed of being". And then the record company would pressure him and pressure him and say "but you can't get there with these people." So in one sense he fell for their line, but in another sense there was a lot of fear. It was like there weren't that many people making it out of the East Village that were of his ilk, you know, as crazy as he was, as outsidery as he was, and so he was the one who was going to make it.
So I think he felt a lot of pressure to make it then or not at all , and they fed into that paranoia, and he didn't really have any guile. I don't think he ever did anything cruel or malicious, but I definitely thought "if I have to look left, to move a step forward, even though everyone behind me is looking right, I'm going to look left." And so he did leave us in his wake, and his management and record company were not only manipulative, but they were downright lyers and crooks. And they were horrible to Klaus, too, they weren't just horrible to us. They literally worked him to death. When they saw that he was falling ill, although they didn't know what it was at the time, they said "you better keep touring," because they thought that he might be too sick to make it to the next tour, so they wanted to milk every last dime out of him. They were equal opportunity horrible people.
Watching you in the film I could sense a very natural bitterness in your comments in the film, on how the record company screwed you over regarding your publishing rights, and it's pretty hard to fight a label like RCA in another country. Do you think Klaus was even aware of those concerns?
Yeah, that's true. I do feel like, as in any documentary you can't tell all the stories, and this was the story of Klaus, and I was reduced to a story-telling device, so there were hours of footage of me describing the joys of working with Klaus, the joys of how exciting it was when it first started to happen, what good friends I was with the bands I was in, how much fun I had writing songs for him, how he came to Lance's birthday party and baked a cake, you know, all that kind of stuff. None of that made it into the movie, so when I first saw the movie I actually started crying, cause I thought I'd been reduced to this person who whines about money. Then I felt like, is that who I really am? It took me maybe six months to get over it, and then I realized like Andy Horn, the director, had to tell Klaus's story, and I was useful as a device to tell that one aspect of the story, either because I was more articulate or because what happened to me was more extreme.
Well, then my next question is perfect. Do you have a favorite happy Klaus memory?
Oh, I have a million incredible Klaus memories. I mean, I don't know I feel that my favorite memories of him are when we were first rehearsing in my loft on Grand Street, and we were just playing around and everything seemed possible and we said, "let's do 'The Twist' but let's make a joke of 'The Twist' and make it a dance song that no one can dance to, and it will just be twisted
Klaus Nomi - The Twist (1983)
or anything that just popped into our heads that we could do. And then when we played live it was so exciting cause often times you'd make a silly joke band that you thought was fun and no one would come. And this one people started to come and it was all very exciting, and there's millions of great memories. That's why the movie to me was so disturbing to me, because, yes, I was ripped off of the publishing rights to the only hit songs I'd every written at least I've been ripped off for thousands and thousands of dollars, because I know that when I finally got the publishing back, twenty years after the song had been released I still made about $15,000 off of those songs. So when they were actually hits there must have been some money that somebody else took.
And also, when I got fired from the band because of Klaus' management that hurt, but getting to write songs for that voice? I mean, I would say all the beginning was great, but also one of my favorite memories was after I'd been fired and they apparently submitted some material to RCA France, and they said it wasn't as strong as the first album, so they asked me to write songs for the second album. And I wrote "After the Fall" and went into the recording with Klaus, and I feel that that's my best recorded work with him. Doing that session was so much fun. Klaus was so great and I would say, "why don't you try some backing vocals and at the end let's put some harmonies of you answering yourself," and it was so easy and all the musicians were great, and it was just amazing. It was like what's supposed to happen when you write a song. It comes to this fruition and then you feel like "well, we've really made something as beautiful as we can make it." You know, maybe somebody else could make it more beautiful but I felt like at the time, we'd done our work and it had gotten to that refined place that you always hope it will get to.
As I already mentioned Klaus Nomi was known for both his operatic arias and his outrageous cover versions of songs from the 60s or earlier. I couldn't resist putting together a quick medley of some of those songs.
Klaus Nomi - Pop Standards Medley
Ah, yes, don't say I can't play with other boys. You just heard my medley of the songs "Lightning Strikes," "Just One Look," "Falling In Love Again," "I Feel Love," "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead, " and of course Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me."
I'm going to take a quick break to invite you to check out my website. If you visit it while you're listening you can see the playlist and follow along, while looking at photos of the artists and recordings. I've always considered our music history as a visual as well as an audio experience. Again, that's at www.queermusicheritage.com, Also, for more very queer programming, please listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Friday night/Saturday morning from 1 to 4 am, on KPFT, it's Queer Radio, with attitude.
As I said earlier, the music career of Kristian Hoffman has always overlapped many areas at the same time. In 1981, as Klaus Nomi was releasing his first albums in Europe, Kristian had a band called The Swinging Madisons. Can you tell us about that band?
The Swinging Madisons it's sort of hard to describe what that period was like, because everyone was doing 30 different things. At the same time that I was doing The Swinging Madisons I was still in The Mumps, we were about to break up. I was already doing a band with Klaus. I was also doing a folk band with Ann Magnuson called Bleaker Street Incident so my idea of The Swinging Madisons was to do a song where I could sing "Volare." That was about as far as it went. I loved Bobby Rydell's version of "Volare" and then I tought I should start a joke band, where I get to be the lead singer, cause I never get to be the lead singer. And then so we did that and I wrote a bunch of very silly songs and that was another weird thing. It was a band that just started as a joke, and I had a couple members of The Mumps in it, and I made them all wear turbans the first time we played, and I just layed on the floor and screamed. And that band became very successful very fast, and got a record contract after we were together less than three months, where The Mumps worked together for seven years and never had a record contract. So it was just a bizarre one of those things. I'd wanted a band that was just fun. I'd been in bands that were too angst filled for too long, and I felt like we can get together and have a few laughs and dance around. And I can do kind of a cross between rockabilly, Bobby Rydell, and a little bit of soul, although if you've heard my music you know I have no soul.
You released a 5-song EP and what's your favorite song from that?
Ah, "Mediocre Dream," which I'm actually redoing for my new album. I think it was a really good, solid tip of the hat to Nuggets type 60s garage psychedelia. But it also I still think the lyrics are pretty funny. I mean I just I was watching TV late and somebody was talking about their dreams and I thought like, "God, your dreams are so mediocre." And then I felt like America's dream is mediocre. It's like, can't they aspire to anything better, and so I thought that was a funny title, and I still think it's pretty funny.
Swinging Madisons - Mediocre Dream (1981)
What about their version of "Society's Child"?
"Society's Child" I have to say I adore that song. I don't have an ironic relationship with that song. I love Janis Ian. I think that her whole first album is genius. But it also seemed like a song that was timeless and had something new to say to every generation. And I felt like the same things I was saying with (the song) "Guilty White Liberal" in The Swinging Madisons, I was saying like "we think we're beyond racism, but we're really not." You know, we think this is in the past but it really isnt. But since I was in that frame of mind of just sort of sending everything up, I was sort of sending up "Society's Child" at the same time. I was trying to be as outrageous as you know how suddenly Aunt Jemima cookie jars has become very collectable then? But it was with an ironic wink that it was cool to collect them because of course we know that they represent slavery but it's because we're so smart that it doesn't really represent that. It represents this kind of outre, outsider aesthetic. And so I wanted to say, "but it's still racist." And so that's why I did that song. And that song was actually for the second edition of the New Wave Vaudeville Show. I sang that and I came out in a little sailor suit, and I was singing it really sweet and sincerely. And then this girl came out in a Ubangi mask and she tried to be my friend, and I put on a Klu Klux Klan hat and chased her around the room. And it was all very heavy handed and was supposed to be meaningful. But it was the only act in the entire show that got absolute silence when we performed it. There was no clapping, no booing, there was nothing. It was like everyone was stunned. So I don't know if it was good or bad, but it was something.
Swinging Madisons - Society's Child (1981)
I'm sure you had to be there to get the full effect of that song.
So, there was an EP but somehow a full album never came to be. But from your website I got the unreleased demo, circa 1982, called "Belinda." And the Belinda turned into someone my listeners will know, right?
Yeah, "Belinda" is about Belinda Carlisle from the Go-Gos. You know, when The Mumps came to California we were the first New this is another thing that nobody ever says, tooting my own horn again, but we were the first New York band to play in California. And everyone went insane, and I do believe that lots of little young whippersnappers decided "hey, those New York bands, they're really friendly and nice, let's start our own band." So I do think that we had something to do with helping the L.A. scene get started, but it would have started without us anyway. But Belinda was there in the audience, and they were already I think working on the Go-Gos. And I just adored her. You know if I'd been straight I would have had a big crush on her, but since I wasn't I just loved her voice and her legs and thought she was entertaining and wonderful.
Swinging Madisons - Belinda (1982)
Before we get any farther I want to say that I grew up in the 60s and my first teen idols were Ricky Nelson and Bobby Vee, so I love the photos of you dressed up as Tad Among.
Oh, yes, I have to say that that one photo of me, that I put on myspace, and everyone goes, "oh my God, you were so handsome." No, I wasn't. I was a big goon. I was thinner then. But Anya Phillips took that picture and she did my hair. She dyed my hair seal brown before the picture. She combed my hair, and she took the picture from an angle that made me look really good. I do think I was known among certain homosexuals in the milieu that I moved in, as having a goony beauty, and so I do think that I had some sort of appeal, but I never looked as good as I did in those pictures. It's kind of like, yes, the camera does lie.
In the mid to late 80s you were in a folk-parody band called Bleaker Street Incident. Tell me about that act.
Well, that was when I first met Ann (Magnuson) and she was directing the New Wave Vaudeville Show, and she was so much fun, and she would come see The Mumps all the time, and we just thought she was so wonderful and smart and beautiful and talented, and I'd always loved Joan Baez, and I still have a kind of difficult relationship with Joan Baez, cause I think that everything's fantastic about her but her voice, and of course, she's a singer. Her voice is a little too shrill and piercing for me. But I love folk music and think that all of the English folk she sang with all those minor key melodies is really evocative and stirring and poignant, and so I just thoought the time was right to do a folk parody band.
So it was just another of those things, like calling Klaus, I called Ann and said "don't you want to just do something," and she said "okay," and I said, "let's do a folk band," and she said "okay." And so we decided to do it and she knew all the people that ran The Pyramid, so that sort of became my home away from home. And we played there all the time and just wrote a bunch of songs, and just played, and we played here in L.A. a whole lot times. We came out to L.A. and played at a place called the Lhasa Club, and it was a minor sensation. I would say, you know, we could sell out a little folk club, and and get a big article in the "L.A. Times." It was like our media presense was a lot bigger than the band was. We did that band and it was really a lot of fun for a few years, and we actually got approached by Giogio Moroder, which was bizarre. And he had us record a bunch of demos in his studio in Hollywood, and then he passed on us. But if that folk band had become another Donna Summer, that would have been very exciting.
How long was that act together?
It was together, say, three or four years. It was together a pretty long time. It was like for a joke, that we were going to do for a one-off performance you know, we sang "Lelena" at The Pyramid, and I hold a skull with flashing it had a light bulb inside its eyes so it would flash off and on. And Ann wrote a poem to it about someone some junkie girl that had gotten run over by a bus, and then we sang, "that's your rotten life, Lelena" it was that lame.
And even the group name, Bleaker Street Incident, is a parody, spelled not like the Greenwich Village street name, but b-l-e-a-k-e-r.
There was no official release for that group, but on Kristian's site I found this funny track called "Trigger Happy." Remember, this is folk parody.
Bleaker Street Incident - Trigger Happy (1985)
I encourage you to visit Kristian's website, logically found at www.kristianhoffman.com. It's very interesting and covers a lot of ground, just like his career has for that last, oh, 30 years. There's a long list on his site of artists that he's performed with, written with, and played on their albums, like Lydia Lunch, El Vez, Dave Davies of the Kinks, Abby Davis, and Ann Magnuson. The list is quite long and if I added a couple hours to this show I couldn't do it justice. Instead I'm going on to 1993, when Kristian released his first solo album, called "I Don't Love My Guru Anymore."
Kristian Hoffman - I Don't Love My Guru Anymore (1993)
So, all that got you ready for your solo album.
My first solo album actually it got me ready for that. I loved folk music, and I was in love with folk music, and I also was in love with the Left Banke, and you know, the idea of doing an album with lots and lots of strings and everything, at a time when nobody was interested in that, and it sounded like you would be shot if you did it. You know, now everybody's doing it, but back then it was like there was Pearl Jam and Nirvana and I decided to do an acoustic album that sounded like the Left Banke. But what really happened was that The Swinging Madisons had broken up, Bleaker Street Incident had broken up, Mumps was long gone, and Klaus was dead. I was here in L.A., I'd only moved here to be with The Swinging Madisons and I was here, even though I didn't like this town, I just sort of was living here and didn't know how to get out, and I thought, okay, I'm going to quit music. It's too painful and all my experiences in it had led to nothing. No matter how big you got, nothing good ever happens. And then I realized that even when I quit music I kept writing songs, and I kept writing these acoustic folk songs. And so it was actually a very low ebb in my musical career where I was struggling with ever being involved in music again. And then my manager came back into the picture and he said "these are the best songs you've ever written. I can get these released if you just record an album." And so I recorded an album of those songs that I was never going to record, because they were all too sad and straight-forward. I thought they were kind of naked. I wasn't guarding myself the way I did in every other project, by making it silly or ironic, and that ended up being my first album. And that sort of started me out on my way to whatever I ended up being.
Well, on the first album an artist I've interviewed before on this show, Phranc, sang backups on two of the tracks, including "Odd Man Out." Can you tell us about that one.
Well, that song is specifically a gay liberation song. Because the folk idiom lends itself to being not only straight-forward about being loved, and broken-hearted, and weepy, and emo which I know emo has sort of worn out the welcome for any of that sort of stuff but also folk lends itself to being overtly political. And so I felt free with that song, and with a song called "My Generation" and with another song called "Garbage Turns to Gold" to say I'm going to do what is in the tradition of folk music and address issues. So "Odd Man Out," it was another song about you know, you may think you're being liberal, but really you're not, and really there isn't a seat at the table for gay people right now, and we're struggling with it, and we're doing better than we used to, but there still is a lot of work to be done. And I was good friends with Phranc, and Phranc is one of those people who first of all, if she talks to you, you just feel like a light is being shined on you and you're warm, and you're in the company of the best person you've ever known. And then her songwriting is so strong that I felt so lucky to be her friend that I was hoping that she would be on the album in some way or the other, and she was. It was so exciting. I just adore her.
Kristian Hoffman - Odd Man Out (1993)
Before you got to your next album, during that time period you were tapped for several tribute albums, honoring the Hollies and the pre-disco Bee Gees. On "Melody Fair" from 1994 you did the Bee Gee's song "Lemons Never Forget." And you told me that song may be the best thing you ever recorded. Why do you say that?
I say that to me, sonically it's the most satisfying thing. I mean, I love that song. When they did that album it was originally with a different label, and I had heard about it, and I was trying to get on it, and then the person who ran the record label I was on said, "that label went out of business. We can buy the project and then put it out and then you'd be on it." And so in a weird way I have a very selfish responsibility for that album ever seeing the light of day, because I just wanted to do some BeeGees songs cause they were really influential on me. It was sort of like what I heard in my head. And you usually try to approximate what you heard in your head, and you're satisfied with what you end up with, but that record came out with exactly what I heard in my head.
Kristian Hoffman - Lemons Never Forget (1994, "Melody Fair")
We're up to 1996 and the album "Earthquake Weather." Here's a little of the title track.
Kristian Hoffman - Earthquake Weather (1996)
["He Means Well" opens the CD "Earthquake
Weather," but ya gotta get
I want to move on to your second album, "Earthquake Weather," and in a review of the album from that time you were quoted as describing your music sensibility this way: "If Leonard Cohen and Lesley Gore has a baby, I would have been that baby." What do you think of that quote now?
I think it's true, cause I think that my roots are very firmly in disposable pop. I mean, if you could call The Beatles disposable, which some people might, I love highly crafted catchy melodies. That's what I love. I love Abba, I love Lesley Gore, I love all those frothy bubble gum singles, I love corporate psychedelia, where it's much more based on melody and on sensation, than it is on being bluesy. So I definitely believe that, but I do aspire to true poetry and I probably fall short most of the time, but I think Leonard Cohen is the greatest song-craftsman in terms of poetry that I know of. There might be somebody obscure that I haven't heard yet, but if you listen to the tower of song, it's like he's unapproachable. He's the guy. I think it's funny cause like when I was playing in Rufus Wainwright's band, we would every Tuesday night we would go and hang out in Lorca Cohen's apartment (his daughter), which was under Leonard Cohen's apartment. And Rufus is not a shy flower, you know, he thinks he's the greatest genius of all time, but you'd hear these footsteps creaking on the floor upstairs and Rufus would go, "oh, it's the great man." And I feel that way about Leonard Cohen. I'm suspicious of him, but I'm in awe of him.
And I can't resist sharing a little of the song "Man In a Hurry." I love the ethereal opening to the song.
Kristian Hoffman - Man In a Hurry (1996)
In 2002, the group Rosenstolz had a hit song in Germany with a cover of "Total Eclipse," featuring with Marc Almond on vocals. What did you think of that version?
Ah, should I bite the hand that feeds me? But I was very excited that someone was going to cover it, after I got my publishing back, and they did it completely without any promotion. They just decided to do it out of the blue. And I actually like their disco version of it, but I adore Marc Almond. I think he has one of the greatest voices of all time. If I had a had a tenor that I could work with, as opposed to the countertenor that Klaus was, I would love to write a song for Marc Almond to sing. I love "The Stars We Are," that album is just amazing. So when I heard his kind of rote reading of the song, which I felt like it it sounded to me like he came into the studio, spent five minutes there, and then left, and didn't concentrate on the song. The artist in me was kind of disappointed, because my expectations were so high. I had no idea it was going to happen. It was like a gift from heaven, and like I have nothing but high regard for him, but I thought that there was going to be some magic there that didn't happen. On the other hand it paid for me to have my roof replaced. So that was exciting, and disappointing at the same time.
Rosenstolz, with Marc Almond - Total Eclipse (2002)
Again, I'm going to have to gloss over Kristian's work with other artists to bring us up to 2002 and an album that I found irresistible. Imagine, Krisian singing duets with Rufus Wainwright, El Vez, Paul Reubens (otherwise known as Pee Wee Herman), Lydia Lunch, Van Dyke Parks and many other of his co-conspirators from over the years. Many of these folks you may not have heard of, but you should have. The album is called "&," and that's displayed by the ampersand symbol on the CD cover.
What inspired that album?
What inspired that album was record that never happened. I was standing I think I was watching Turbonegro, at Spaceland, and Belinda Carlisle, who as you know was sort of a friend of mine, we're not close friends. She lives in France, but we've remained in vague touch over the years. And she used to just love it when The Swinging Madisons played "You're Having My Baby," it was her favorite song, so I said "let's do a single, let's do a duet singing 'Having My Baby,'" and she said "Sure," and so I recorded the backing track to "Having My Baby" and she got laryngitis and she couldn't come to the session, and then she moved back to France and I never saw her again, so that never happened. And then my record company said, well, why don't you just do a whole album of duets, so it was kind of like a byproduct of a silly thing that never occurred, and it wasn't my idea at all. And I was kind of resenting it, cause I had all these songs ready for my third album, and then I was forced into this kind of concept of duets. But as it came to start recording them I realized it was really a gift. And then I threw out of lot of the songs and wrote new songs with people in mind.
How did you pick the artists to participate on the album?
Ah, I just picked my favorite people and hoped that they would show up. I mean, Russell Mael, even though I had a slight relationship with him, because he was managed as the same people as me 15 years before that album came out, I felt like, well, I have his home address but I never really expected him to show up. And then he showed up and he was so great and wonderful. And the weird thing was that the engineer, Earle Mankey, who had been in Sparks, you know, the original line-up of Sparks, so he knew Russell, and I thought like, well they talk to each other all the time, and he said, "oh no, I hadn't talked to Russell in like ten years. This is so great for me because I get to get to be friends with my old friend again." And so it all just happened because Russell was super nice, and decided to do this project. And he did it because I said, "why are you doing this?" He said, "because it's a great song." So he not only did it, he did it with positive feedback and good will, and it was really fun. And everybody else were just people that I knew and admired. I knew Michael Quercio from The Three O'Clock, and I said "do you want to do this?" and he said "yes." Nobody said in fact there were more people that said yes that I couldn't get on the album. Maria McKee actually asked to be on the album. That was really bizarre. She was a friend of a friend of a friend, and she heard the album was being made, and said, "well, why isn't there a song with me on it?" And I just thought like, God, her voice is like so from heaven and to have someone like that ask to participate, and I didn't know her at all. So it was just an amazing experience.
mentioned Russel Mael of Sparks and their duet was "Devil in
Hoffman & Russell Mael (of Sparks) - Devil in My Care (2002)
I went from "Devil in My Care," sung with Russell Mael of Sparks, to "Madison Avenue," sung with El Vez.
What is your most lyrically gay song?
Gay?! Lyrically gay?! Let me see. Boy, that's a hard one, you better name some names, cause I would have to look through the whole catalog.
Well, I wonder if a candidate would be "I Could Die for Cute"?
Ah, yes, that's a good one, cause that definitely is like, I'm you know, I'm admitting my age, I'm looking at the young guy, he's across the room, and I'm thinking I have no hope, and yet I'm going to take the plunge and approach him anyway. So that definitely is an out gay song. And that is funny because when Steve McDonald agreed to sing on that, I specifically picked the lines that wouldn't embarrass so much. Like, he didn't have to sing "your little goatee," or any of those things. You know, he just to sing, "I don't want to be free. So that is a very gay song, it's openly gay.
Kristian Hoffman & Steve McDonald (of Redd Kross) - I Could Die for Cute (2002)
Helping Kristian out on the song "I Could Die for Cute" was Steve McDonald of the act Redd Kross.
One of your most recent projects was an album for Ann Magnuson, called "Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories," from 2006. You produced and arranged the album and co-wrote most of the songs. She appeared on your duets album and you two also go way back, right?
Oh, we sure do. Well, like I told you, she directed New Wave Vaudeville, so you'd have to say that's 1977. And so after that we were friends. We did lots of projects together. We did a whole project that we wrote music to about Miss Vicky, Tiny Tim's sometime wife. And we did a project about a Post headline, "headless body in a topless bar." We actually have a number of songs that never did get recorded. She did a big show at Lincoln Center in New York and I wrote the theme song, called "Just Say Yes." So we've been doing any sort of crazy stuff she used to say, "Area [a large disco] is going to give us a thousand dollars if we think of something." And so we'd just sit around my house and we'd brainstorm and we could just make jokes and have fun together. She's of course an incredible actress and visionary. She knows where to get costumes and she's friends with all kinds of great people, so anything we did together was always fun. So we've stayed friends through the years. But I always really wanted to do her pop album. But I wanted to do an album that was really what we love together, cause she loved lots and lots of other things, but what we love together is pop music.
Was one of the songs you co-wrote with her "Old Enuf 2 B Yer Mom"? Tell me about that one.
Well, that song is actually part of a musical that she's sort of in the mid-writing. It's called "To Big Sur, With Love," and it's a specific story about an adventure she had with a younger surfer guy, if I may say that I don't want to tread on her toes. But anyway there's a whole lot of other ideas for that musical but that was when she woke up in the morning and kind of realized like "oh, he's even younger than I thought." So at once the lyrics are very literal, but they're also about, you know, the universal issue of aging. And like me I think that she tries to take a very simple idea, a jokey idea, and a one-liner idea and then extrapolate it into something that addresses some very basic human issues. But I got to bring the Lesley Gore and Leonard Cohen to it.
Let's hear just a bit of the track he was talking about from Ann Magnuson's album, one with the intriguing title, "Old Enuf 2 B Yer Mom"
Ann Magnuson & Kristian Hoffman - Old Enuf 2 B Yer Mom (2006)
Since you've been doing solo recordings, how has your music changed over the years?
I think I've changed by giving myself more license to be ridiculous and sublime. When I first started writing I felt very constricted by what I perceived were the prejudices against my previous projects. Like, I just thought like the reasons was that The Mumps weren't successful enough was that they were too pop when they were supposed to be rock, the Swinging Madisons were too jokey when they were supposed to be serious, or Bleaker Street Incident was too acoustic, when it should have been electric, or all these things, and I was trying to fit myself into the constraints of the time. But, albeit, the best constraints, like on "Earthquake Weather" I felt like this is my Elvis Costello album where I'm really addressing what is considered quality songwriting in this era. And I felt like I can write better songs than him, and I'm going to do it.
But after I worked with Rufus, and I do have to credit Rufus with this. He said "use fancy chords when you feel like it, use simple chords when you feel like it, make a verse go on too long if you feel like it, make a verse too short if you feel like it, wait a long time before the chorus if you feel like it, let the chorus arrive it was more like he said, let things arrive as they want to arrive instead of having them arrive in the format of a sonnet or this consticting discipline. And so I do feel like my songwriting even though I feel the pressure of writing songs that I enjoy, and I enjoy very succinct pop nuggets, I feel like I've liberated myself to the more adventurous, in terms of composition. If that doesn't sound too ridiculous.
What's next for you?
Well, just my new album. And it's weird because you know, on "&" I got so used to writing with other people that now I'm going back and doing something with my voice on every song and I'm going, is this tiresome? This is basically because as I've told you before, I don't like my voice. But I feel that it's a really strong set of songs. I tried to edit it down to a manageable part, but my backer said, "you should just do all the songs." So it's going to be 17 or 18 songs long and I'm just not going to hold back, and I'm doing what I hope will be the most pretentious thing I've ever done. So I'm just in the middle of doing that now, and I'm pretty excited about it.
What's the name of the new album?
The new album is called "FOP." And I just wanted to call it something that was first of all true to my position as a gay elder, and also true to my position as someone who likes to be fancy, and also, you can put the letters really big on a CD, cause CD packaging is unfortunately not as exciting as album packaging used to be, so if you want to make something pretty, it has to be very simple.
You're sharing with me a little bit of one of the songs. Tell me about "Evil."
Well, "Evil" is a direct response to the Republican regime, and so "Evil" I wrote specifically in response to George Bush Junior and all the horrible things done by his regime, where I actually think never before in the history of the world were we able to bring about the actual physical end of the world without the aid of atomic or nuclear bombs. But now that we are capable of doing it, he's doing it. So "Evil" was kind of like about that, it's a very specific admission, like I didn't believe in evil before and now I do.
Kristian Hoffman - Evil (2008)
And that's all I'm allowed to play, as that's a an exclusive, a pre-release sampling of the song "Evil," from Kristian's next album, "FOP."
( No, this isn't the cover of Kristian's next album,
I'm down to the last song, but before I get to it I want to thank you all for listening, and I want to especially thank Kristian Hoffman for the fascinating interview. His website is at www.kristianhoffman.com , and Kristian is spelled with a K. The site is definitely worth an extended visit, and for more info on this show you may want to also check out my site, www.queermusicheritage.com. And, as always if you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write me. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston.
If you are to be remembered for the writing and recording of one single song, what would it be?
(moans) I need to be remembered for my entire catalog, baby. [no, pick one, pick one] That's a very mean-spirited question and I hate you. But ah, "Scarecrow," I guess. I love "Scarecrow" and sometimes I think that's it's tired and too specific, since it's about Matthew Shepard, and all that stuff, but the occassions where I've been sort of encouraged to revisit it, because it's just been used for a for a movie called "True Loved," and so because they wanted to license it, I actually had to listen to it and think if I can still stand that song, and I think it's pretty successful on its own terms. But you know, I have a healthy ego and I think a lot of my songs are successful on their own terms, just waiting for the rest of the world to figure that out. So I really don't have much issue with my catalog, like I said before, I think that I may not be Leonard Cohen or Lesley Gore, but somewhere in the middle I've made a pretty good little slot for myself.
Tell me a little bit about the work you've done with Rufus.
Well, the work I've done with Rufus is always a total surprise. I was his keyboard player, which is shocking to say because he's a much better keyboard player than I am. I played the harpsichord parts and the string parts and the little extra parts, but I was his keyboard player for about a year and a half, and I toured with him and I got to sing backup vocals with him. You know, I don't know if my voice really melded with him, but every time I sang with him I felt like I was resonating with him in some Tibetan ballad, with something that you could hear when the resonances matched, so it was really a wonderful I've used this word, but always a wonderful gift, but also because I adored so much the reason I met Rufus was because I wanted to meet his mom, Kate McGarrigle, who I think is one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and then it turned out that Rufus was a great songwriter too. So I had a really happy time touring with him, but then it was over, and we were the first band he was ever in he was like 24 at the time and he wanted to try out other musicians, and I just assumed like, well, that makes sense. You know, if I were young I'd want to try out a new flavor, too. And I just thought I'd never see him again. I just thought he's moving on that world of rock, he's got a big record label, I have nothing you know, I have a relative critical regard, but I'm very outsider independent. And yet he never fell out of touch with me, and he's continued to stay in touch with me. And so when I started to do my record, I said, "here's this song that I think would be pretty for your voice. Will you do it?" and he said, "Sure." And so when he showed up and sang that, and it was so gorgeous and I thought, this is who could want anything more. This is like Christmas a million times over.
Closing the show is the beautiful song "Scarecrow" with Rufus Wainwright, from Kristian's duets album "&."
Kristian Hoffman & Rufus Wainwright - Scarecrow (2002)
a pic of Rufus NOT singing "Scarecrow,"....but I kind of
liked it anyway...
Oh, I HAD to share this as well...it's Kristian's "post" about the interview, from his myspace page....very funny...
But this time it's different, because even though I run through all the old stories, reiterating some in my traditionally unpleasant penchant for "poor me" whining, and others are slightly glib and short on detail - THERE ARE PICTURES AND SOUND! It's so MODERN! And I do admit, even though the sound of my own voice makes me cringe, I also made ME laugh a couple of times. Face it - I SLAY me! And it's broken up with a LOT of songs - which is why I'm on here in the first place.
This is all due to my recent MySpace friend, J.D. Doyle, taking a charitable interest in my colorful meanderings. He happens to run the Queer Music Heritage website (YES! There IS favoritism involved. Do I care? I always wanted to be somebody's favorite!), and has a radio show on KPFT, 90.1 FM, out of Houston Texas. He's absurdly dedicated, professional and his research skills are mind-blowing. Oh - and he likes to laugh and talk about underwear.
So: he did a lengthy interview with me where I verbally stumbled in a semiotically challenged fashion through some choice sections of my past, present, and hopes for the future - and you can access it, in audio (in versions that are - ahem - cut or uncut) or text HERE!
After you do that, you might want to browse around the site, as I am only the latest in a series of profiles of a variety of peculiar eccentrics who do all sorts of wacky artistic stuff - and - to those of you looking for dates - lots of them are cute, AND they are same-sex friendly. Good to know!
if you were hungry for more of the "me-ness' of ME - there's a
heapin' texas helpin'.