QMH June 2009 Script
Songs I've Been Meaning To Play #8
Bettina Schelker - Solo Trek (2007)
Welcome to Queer Voices on KPFT and I'm JD Doyle. From time to time on Queer Music Heritage I like to feature songs that don't really fit into any theme, so this is another one of my Songs I've Been Meaning To Play shows. I'll tell you more about what's in store for you in a few minutes but I want to get right into the music.
I'm starting out with Bettina Schelker. She's from Switzerland and her first CD in English came out in 2007, and I think it's wonderful. Actually the CD is half in English and half in German and I love the flavor that gives to it. It contains two versions of the song I'm opening with, called "Solo Trek," so let's finish the song in German.
I was so impressed with the album that I couldn't resist calling Bettina for some comments, my first phone interview to Switzerland. Tell me about the new album.
Bettina Schelker comments (2009)
"The Honeymoon Is Over" is my first record where I sing half of the songs in English, and that gave me the opportunity to go out there all over the world and sing my songs and tell stories. [What inspired the song "The Honeymoon Is Over"?] In Switzerland in 2005 the law passed that gay people can get married, and my girlfriend and I, we were very excited and I asked her to become my wife, and she said yes, but it took a year until we could do it, actually two years, I think, because they had to change all the sheets and all the official forms in the offices. So it took us some time, so we had a lot of time to plan our honeymoon. So we were so excited and we went to travel agencies, and here in Switzerland normally when you go to a honeymoon you get some kind of special, maybe a discount, or a romantic dinner close to the sea, and stuff like that. And nobody wanted to give it to us, cause we were a woman couple. And that was very frustrating, because we would think, the law just passed, it's official, and nobody gives us the honeymoon special, and that made me sad so I thought, okay, I have to write a song about it. So that's what "The Honeymoon Is Over" is about.
Is that the hit of the album?
It is, yeah, it is. I've been touring with a band called Chumbawumba. I did a lot of shows, and they were very political, and what I've learned from them is that they pack political lyrics into danceable songs. So with this inspiration, musically and just with my need to say what I was feeling I wrote "The Honeymoon Is Over." And here in Switzerland and Germany where people not always understand English they sing along and they dance, and they don't even understand what I'm singing about, and I think that's very special. Then they buy the CD, and then they read what the CD and the song is about, and I think that's also my trick sometimes to reach people.
Tell me about what awards that song has won.
Yeah, it won the international John Lennon songwriting contest, in folk category, and that was really an honor for me, because it's a big contest, and it got me a good reputation for when we were planning the U.S. tour, it helped really, to get shows.
And here's the song that made me fall in love with her album. It's the title track, and it's called "The Honeymoon Is Over."
Bettina Schelker - The Honeymoon Is Over (2007)
Again, that was Bettina Schelker. I was telling you about this month's show. I do this about once a year, and this is the eighth show of that series, and it's another multi-part show. As a collector and programmer I encounter so, so many songs I want to share with you, and I seem to lack the willpower of only producing one hour-long show for radio, when I can do several on the internet version of Queer Music Heritage. So you'll want to check the site for all the parts, which will include some very fun interviews.
This show will jump all over the place musically, with old and new songs. And these next two songs are very new. I want to thank the artist for sending me a demo of his work, as he's getting them ready for his debut album. He's from London and I love his voice and production and that his songs are very queer. Here are two songs by Matt Fishel.
Fishel - How do You Get With The Guy (2009)
You can only find Matt Fishel on MySpace and the first of those two songs was called "How Do You Get With The Guy." The second song has the odd title of "Armitage Shanks (Jamie)." Americans probably won't know that Armitage Shanks was a British manufacturer of bathroom fixtures.
I'm staying in England for one more song, and I have loved this one for many years. It's from the 1984 musical "Chess" and in that show it was a duet between Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson, both divas in the UK and in the song looking back on the man they reluctantly shared. The song is called "I Know Him So Well," which was a number one hit in Britain. Well, finally, finally, there's a male version of the song. It's on John Barrowman's latest album called "Music Music Music." I also love him as the very sexy openly gay character on the BBC America show "Torchwood." Anyway, on his CD he does a duet on the song with the openly gay British musical theatre actor Daniel Boys.
John Barrowman & Daniel Boys - I Know Him So Well (2008)
John Barrowman and Daniel Boys, from John's 2008 album.
Singers - Leaping (2005)
Ah yes, those leaping lesbians who enjoy being a dyke. Those two songs are by the Artemis Singers, who call themselves Chicago's Lesbian Feminist Chorus, and in 2005 they put out a two-CD set called "25 Years," capturing performances from their long history.
Adam Lambert American Idol clip
Yes, Adam Lambert certainly proved he was a really good singer, and I am most disappointed he wasn't chosen as American Idol, but he'll be just fine. And this is a good time 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. And this is another one of my shows where I had too much great material for just one hour, so you can find much more on my site. Again, that's at www.queermusicheritage.com, Also, for more very queer programming, please listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night/Sunday morning from 1 to 4 am, on KPFT; it's Queer Radio, with attitude.
I want to take a break to pay a little tribute to Bea Arthur, who died in April. She was not lesbian but was very popular with our community, and while I do not generally feature straight artists I figured out a way to include her. In 1980 she hosted a television show and in addition to Rock Hudson, one of the guests was Madame, as in Wayland Flowers and Madame. Younger folks in the audience may want to go to YouTube to find clips of the puppet who was Madame, a very outrageous and sassy old broad. Wayland Flowers was definitely gay and created Madame in the mid-60s and they were frequent guests on TV shows in the 70's and 80's, until Flowers' death in 1988. In this clip Bea Arthur and Madame spar for a little, and then sing "A Good Man Is Hard to Find."
Bea Arthur and Madame - A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1980)
Wayland 'Madam'Flowers Dies "In the Closet"
I'm going to slip in a little country, with another artist I discovered on MySpace. He doesn't have a CD yet but I would definitely look forward to one. Here's Randal Walker and "The Guy Just Drives Me Crazy."
Walker - The Guy Just Drives Me Crazy (2008)
Following Randal Walker was Matt Alber, with a side of him you're likely not used to, but Matt can sing many kinds of music. For years he was in the Grammy-winning group Chanticleer, and early in this decade he dabbled with country music a little. That song is called "No Son of Mine," and can only be found on a CD called "Committed to My Heart: The Music of Richard Link," from 2005, where Link, who is a writer rather than a vocalist, shares a number of his compositions, as sung by others. These days Matt Alber is getting a lot of exposure with his new album "Hide Nothing," and the beautiful video of his song "End of the World." I asked him to tell me about it.
Matt Alber comments (2009)
"End of the World" is a song we just made a music video for, and it's one of the first songs I wrote, and I was going through a tough break-up, and I was trying to hold on to the guy. [The video is gorgeous; what inspired that?] Well, thank you. My friend Robin Scovill directed the video. We were brainstorming about what story might be best told with this song. And we stumbled into my barber shop, which is in my neighborhood, and we met Jerry, and we twisted his arm, and he agreed to let us shoot and also to let him star in the video. So really the story is about the sort of fantasy that might happen when you're down on your luck and trying to regain the hope of falling in love.
Matt Alber - End of the World (2008)
Again, you'll definitely want visit Matt Alber's website to see the video for "End of the World."
Hear that, that's what I use for a ringtone. It's been 25 years since Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat released their iconic anthem "Smalltown Boy." On May 19th Jimmy released his first album in five years, and this one is quite different for him. It's, for him, very stripped down, it's not a dance CD, it's more lyrically gay, and to my dismay it's a digital only release. I guess I'm old school, I like a CD I can hold in my hand and read the liner notes. In fact this is the first complete CD I've ever purchased from iTunes, so Jimmy should be complimented. I quite like the CD, and from it is his version of the old Deep Purple song "Hush," this time done with male pronouns.
Jimmy Somerville - Hush (2009)
Jimmy Somerville and "Hush," from his new album, called "Suddenly Last Summer." Up next is a new song by Josh Duffy, with a little help from hip hop artist Melange Lavonne. The song is called "Truth."
Josh Duffy & Melange Lavonne - Truth (2009)
Thanks for joining me and my latest Songs I've Been Meaning to Play show. I'm down to the last song, and of course I've got to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall. Before I get to that song I want to mention there's much more to hear of this show on my site, over two hours more, because I've saved up some terrific music and more interviews to share with you. Of course that's at 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.
My very first show was in January of 2000 and I closed it with a song put together by Jon Gilbert Leavitt, called "Pride." It's kind of a history song, and we tend to forget too much of our history, so I'm glad that he's updated it, and a created a video to go with it, so you can see many, many historic photos of our journey. Here's Jon Gilbert Leavitt, with additional vocals by Kevin Hannan and Freddy Freeman, and "Pride 2009."
Jon Gilbert Leavitt - Pride 2009 (2009)
Treacles - Sparkle (2009)
Welcome to Part 2 of Queer Music Heritage. This is JD Doyle and it's my June 2009 show, the one I call my Songs I've Been Meaning to Play show. And I opened with a brand new song by an all-transgendered band from London called The Treacles. Their song "Sparkle" was written in honor of the National Transgender Celebration, called Sparkle, which will be held in July in Manchester, England.
This is the 8th edition of Songs I've Been Meaning to Play, and this next song has been on my list for years, and I just never got around to including it. It's from 1998 and is called "My Lover Man," and I think you'll figure out who the artist is.
Bruce Springsteen - My Lover Man (1998)
Of course that was Bruce Springsteen, and he recorded it in 1990, though it did not surface until his "Tracks" box set was released in 1998. He's never commented much on the song, but told one interviewer that some of the songs that appeared for the first time on that release were, quote, "very psychological portraits of people wrestling with relationships and their own isolation."
This next song is wrestling with losing so many friends to AIDS. And its writer is definitely not known for his singing. Howard Ashman himself died of AIDS in 1991, at age 40, but in his too short career he and his writing partner Alan Menken won two Grammys, two Golden Globes and two Oscars, working on such films as "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin." The record label PS Classics, which specializes in cast albums, also has a songwriter series, which showcases writers interpreting their own material, and one of these releases is on Howard Ashman. It includes a song he wrote in 1983, not intended for any musical project, but just because he needed to write it. It's called "Sheridan Square."
Howard Ashman - Sheridan Square (1983)
Again, that was Howard Ashman. And I have another AIDS-inspired song to share with you, and it's brand new. One of my artist friends, Terry Christopher, has been executive producer on a recording called "United for the Ride, Vol. 1." That's a various artists CD he compiled to help the project called Braking the Cycle. That's an annual bicycle ride with proceeds going to the LGBT Center of New York City and their various HIV/AIDS based programs. Twelve wonderful artists contributed songs to the recording and if I start naming I'll have to name them all, but you can find out more information at my site. The song that grabbed me the most is by Terry Christopher himself, called "Braking the Cycle."
Terry Christopher - Braking the Cycle (2009)
On part 1 of the show I promised more artist interviews, so let's start off with Levi Kreis. I've interviewed him several times over the years and always have a good time talking with him, and the occasion this time is his new album "Where I Belong."
Levi Kreis comments (2009)
"Where I Belong" is undoubtedly my favorite record that I've done in a whole lifetime of recording. It's gone back to my roots in gospel music and southern soul. It feels more at home to me than any musical experience I've had. [So this is more back to your roots?] Yeah, and I think having done the "Million Dollar Quartet" for the last two years has reminded me of a lot of influences that I had growing up that I forgot was so definitive of how I play the piano and how I sing that's played into so many of the songs of the album. Certainly the album being that it's surrounded by the piano on every track was just started by me and drums and a bass, and I wanted to make sure that that was the core of every song, so that the roots, my history and the way I learned to play would hopefully translate throughout the album.
I know your roots. When I first played it I wondered, are these old recordings from when you were in college?
Oh, that's a great I love that, I'll take that as a compliment, cause that was really one of the goals I had, especially songs like "Nothing At All," I would listen to those old Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin recordings that influenced me as a kid, and I literally tried to recreate that feeling of being there in the old studios in the 50s where everybody played at the same time, and it was one pass through with everything. And that's the way we recorded the album, too, so that's a huge compliment that you would say that, cause that's exactly what I was going for.
Some of my listeners would want to know, what's the deal with the two songs that sound heterosexual?
Oh, with "This Girl" and "Ain't Nobody." Well I have a really fun story for both of them. First of all, "Ain't Nobody." One of my old girlfriends happens to be Monique (Coleman), from "High School Musical."
Levi Kreis - Ain't Nobody (2009)
Now, "This Girl's" a lot more complicated. [I thought so] Yeah, it is, because we were in Seattle, doing "Million Dollar Quartet," and there was a girl in the cast and simply put, we were very attracted to each other, while I profess to be a proud gay man, and would never pretend to ride any sort of bisexual fence, in anyway whatsoever, I have had three different women in my life, and her being the fourth, where I genuinely felt this admiration turn into something sexual. And it did, and it was really funny to me, because at this point here I'm known as a out gay singer/songwriter, that I would find myself so, you know, so thrown into attraction to this girl that I wrote "This Girl" kind of making fun of myself and also kind of conveying that, well, you know, we're all human and I do believe that sexuality is as individual as a fingerprint, and I know a lot of us .you may have known them too, JD there's these guys who we know are heterosexual but at this particular time in their life there is something that they relate to with us, and they want to have an intimate experience with us, but we really do know them well enough to know that that was an exploration, and it doesn't make them gay. And I guess in the same instance, you flip the coin, and you have a gay guy having an experience with a woman, so I thought it would be fun to write about.
Levi Kreis - This Girl (2009)
And what was your favorite song on the album?
It changes, but "Gonna Be Alright" I always keep coming back to that song, because initially that's probably the oldest song on the album. There's two songs that I wrote a while back, as you know, "Stained Glass Window" was written in 2002 or 2003, with Del Shores and the play "Southern Baptist Sissies." But "Gonna Be Alright" I wrote before I was signed with Atlantic Records, back in 2003, and it had been years of being the struggling artist, and the Ramen noodles, and no ability to pay your electric bill, and you can't fix your car, it's broken down, you know, being even homeless for a little stint. I mean, really moving from Tennessee and saying I'm going to do my music and dealing with that struggle, it was the darkest time in my life, where I have to look back and realize, if I'm really going to look at all those dark moments in my life, I have to see that the universe has always provided an answer for me. It's always come to me eventually. You know, it's simple but it's something that I just come back to over and over that helps me.
Levi Kreis - Gonna Be Alright (2009)
I think somewhere along the way between "The Gospel According to Levi" and this album, "Where I Belong," I think I went from being a songwriter to an artist, in that, for the first time, not only do I understand who I am contextually, and I think I've always had a, always had a handle on that. But as far as the musical presentation of who I am, I feel like finally it's consistent, finally it's really true to who I am, and it's the absolutely the most natural sound that comes out of me. And I think the genre and the style with which this album translates is where I'm going to stay from now on.
It's also nice to hear "Stained Glass Window" on a CD finally.
Amen to that. You know, me and Del Shores kept talking about having that on the soundtrack to "Southern Baptist Sissies," but with all the "Sordid Lives," and with all the other projects he's been involved with, it just seems like that movie keeps pushing back, and pushed back, and you know, we just got to a point where we've got to get that out there, because as you know, JD, that has been a song that I have never not had consistent requests. There's always an email in my inbox of someone who is asking me when that song is going to be available. And I'm so glad that I can now finally tell them.
That's the first song I heard you sing.
It's true, cause you were there in the audience. [Yes, 2002] At the Zepher Theatre. We've been through it, haven't we, man, that's a long time ago. [I've been following you a long time. ] I love that I got to see you in Texas, too.
I was talking to Rich Overton (Levi's press manager) and he asked me what I thought and I insisted I call him rather than email him. And I said, okay this CD is about 50% gospel and about 20% heterosexual.
Yeah, he told me you said that. I thought that was awesome [well, he knows, you know too, what a purist I am] Yes, and I was looking forward to hearing I was looking forward to our conversation about it because I was curious as to how the album would be experienced by the ears of JD Doyle. And from song 1 to song 12 what that journey is for you. You always take the time to you always have a thorough opinion about what you experience from music and that's one of the reasons I was anxious to talk with you.
I don't run out of opinions .I love the album. You always sound terrific, and even songs I think that for someone who may not be particularly religious, they can groove on these songs.
Good, good, you're right, there is a heavy spiritual nature to this album and I really wanted it to be in the vein of something that everybody whether you're religious, whether you're not, whether you're Baptist, whether you're Buddhist, could still relate and have the impact, the benefit of being inspired. So I hope I've accomplished that.
I'm always amazed at how good you are at interviewing.
Well that's just because I don't do anything but talk, man, all the time, I probably don't let you get a word in edgewise, I just go go go.
Okay, we were talking about the song "Stained Glass Window"
Levi Kreis - Stained Glass Window (2009)
Another artist I admire is Julie Clark. She's recently released her second album, called "Change Your Mind."
Julie Clark comments (2009)
Well, I think this collection of songs reflects a big step forward for me in terms of songwriting. The songs are extremely personal and yet I'm finding that the feelings are universal for other people too. You know, getting that kind of feedback has really been encouraging artistically, so that's been the best thing about having this album out there now is the feedback that I'm getting, in that it makes me feel that I'm on track.
What has been the reaction to the song "If It Weren't For That"
That has been overwhelming. I mean, people will email me and say they just can't get past that song, that they just play it again and again and cry. For people who have had the experience of feeling like they are wrong in the world, in that they don't fit in, or there's something either wrong with them or wrong about them or that they don't measure up. It doesn't even have to be the same issue. For me that issue was my weight. But you know if you were sort of unacceptable in any way, that song I think has the capacity to resonate with you and just bring back how painful it was to feel that you weren't measuring up, that you weren't good enough, there was something wrong with you, and you know, in our community you can feel that way simply because you're gay. Anyway, that song, even though it's very personal, it's really proven to be universal to people for a lot of different reasons, and a number of the reviews of the CD have called out that song as the one to download, that kind of thing. I guess I just hear a lot from people that they appreciate that I was willing to share that.
Julie Clark - If It Weren't for That (2009)
"Courage of Our Convictions" is another stand-out song on the album.
"Courage of Our Convictions" is a song that has kind of life and meaning of its own that's very special to me. You know, I have like one foot in the gay and lesbian music world and the other very squarely in the mainstream modern folk world. And for me to put a gay rights song on a CD I'll confess that it takes a bit of courage to put that on there. Other artists are quite militant and it doesn't take courage, not at all, but for me I guess it does take a bit of courage to put that out there and to be so openly you know, just so openly gay in the mainstream music world that I'm singing about equal rights, but I'm glad to say I was that I'm up for it.
Julie Clark - Courage of Our Convictions (2009)
You know, sometimes on QMH I do play straight artists, if there's a gay connection, such as with the band The Lemonheads. Years ago I played their quite well known song "Big Gay Heart," from 1993. I recently found that they have another song that fits. It's from 1990 and is much harder to track down. It's on a German import recording called "Favorite Spanish Dishes." You'll know the song.
Lemonheads - Different Drum (1990)
After "Different Drum" by The Lemonheads was an interesting take on the Crystals song. It's called "Then He Kissed Me, and Then He Frisked Me." Long time listeners of QMH know that I just love gay cover versions of Girl Group songs of the 60s. That one was from an act called "House of Phallus.Com," and I find it ironic that a group that would call itself that, from only three years ago, would not still have its own website. But you can find them on YouTube doing a song from the CD called "Sailed the Seven Seas on My Knees," which doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out. Oh, yeah, their CD is called "Don't Feed or Tease the Straight People."
Here's a song a little in the same spirit, also for internet only airing. Terry Guy is working on his debut album and I want to thank him for sending me an mp3 of his song "He Really Likes Me."
Terry Guy - He Really Likes Me (2009)
Time to finish up Part 2 of Songs I've Been Meaning to Play, but there's more to come. I'm closing with an artist who lives in London. I met him when he was part of the Homo Revolution Tour, which came through Houston in 2007. He goes by the name QBoy and he's just released his first full length album, called "Moxie." It's digital download only, but that's kind of sign of the times. This track features Tina G and is called "Coming Out 2 Play."
QBoy - Coming Out 2 Play (2009)
I bet you didn't expect a bonus track. Well, I wanted to sneak in a very catchy and controversial song by a straight artist from UK named Lily Allen. The song is from her 2009 album "It's Not Me, It's You," but was released as a single about a year earlier and just caught fire. There are a number of very creative homemade videos uploaded to YouTube of the song, and it's said to be about homophobia and more generally about George W Bush.
Lily Allen - Fuck You (2009)
Barry Mann - My Ex-Best Friend (1962)
Well, I only wish I could have heard songs like that on the radio back in 1962. It could have gotten me out of the closet much, much earlier. That was actually a demo by songwriter Barry Mann and in those days it was common for writers to record demos of their songs in order to interest artists in recording them, and the gender wasn't the point, it was just to hear the song. These days many of those old demos have found their ways to CD and I love it.
This is JD Doyle and since you had to click on this show from my site you already know you're listening to Part 3 of my June show, Songs I've Been Meaning to Play.
I discovered Canadian artist Kate Reid shortly after she released her first album, called "Comin' Alive," in 2007. I thought the album was delightful, so I was very ready for her follow up. It's called "I'm Just Warming Up," and actually as I write this the CD is not released yet, but she had told me about this next song and I begged her to send it to me early. How could I resist a song called "Emergency Dyke Project."
Kate Reid - Emergency Dyke Project (2009)
A local Houston artist I've been following is Mike Ator. That's spelled A-T-O-R. He's working on his debut album and has released several of its singles. I asked him about a couple of them, starting with "Cavemen."
Mike Ator comments (2009)
"Cavemen" was one of those rare, rare things that just kind of happened all at once. It happened in a day. It started as an inside joke. A friend of mine, his kind of theory in a nutshell is that, you know, the world is full of people who have been reincarnated, and most of them are ancient souls who come back to witness the end of the world. The chorus of the song is kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing, but it actually turned out to be a somewhat serious song. It's kind of born of a little bit of personal struggle, I guess, and trying to answer what is my purpose here and am I doing what I came here to do, and that sort of thing. So it's all very high-minded and convoluted, but I guess at the end of the day everybody who picks up on a song or a tune and likes it is going to assign their own meaning to it, and the song kind of has a life of its own and that's kind of what you hope happens
Mike Ator - Cavemen (2009)
The other song I was already a fan of. It's called "Angel Beside Me" and I played the original version on my show about two years ago. But he's recently put out a remix of it, and now I think it's even more amazing.
I wanted to write something that, you know, was meaningful and had kind of, I guess a melody and a style that people could relate to. It's about a personal take on the world and maybe spirituality and having made some mistakes in life and at the same time being very lucky and having a lot of good fortune and just finding yourself in the middle of all that, and so it's equal parts optimistic and pessimistic, if you will.
I know people who have gotten comfort from that song, taking the meaning that someone they loved and lost is beside them.
I've actually had several people tell me that and others tell me that it's just a very comforting message or story that's being told, and that's flattering and it's very reassuring. As a songwriter I would hope that a song takes on a life of its own and this is a song that certainly has done that. I've played that in several different venues and situations and for different types of audiences and I've sung that at memorials, I've sung that with the Gay Men's Chorus a number of times, performed it for World AIDS Day, so it's a song that kind of drags me around on it's heels and I'm always happy and eager to play it.
Mike Ator and "Angel Beside Me"
Mike Ator - Angel Beside Me (2009)
Next is another song with an angel theme, and I got a chance to ask the artist Liz Clark about it.
Liz Clark comments (2009)
"Who's Your Angel" is a bit of an old one, but that is really trying to say to somebody, I know I'm the right one for you, and you might not see it, but I know that you're going to look back and you're going to say that I was the best. So it's a bit of a of a front, but it's also, it's also a bit of maybe some childish kind of naivete, kind of holding onto something that you really want to be there, that might not really be there. [I love that song] Oh, thanks, thank you.
Liz Clark - Who's Your Angel (2005)
That was from the Liz Clark CD from 2005 called "Hand on the Stove." But she has a new one, called "Pursuit."
This new record is about falling in love, and it's about knowing a bit more of who I am, and knowing that even though you know more who you are, more than ever, it's also a very fragile moment, when you're just falling in love and you're stretching yourself. And it's also about what it is to be a musician full time and everything that comes with that.
Why did you name the album "Pursuit"?
I named this album "Pursuit" because I had come to a point in my life where I was in pursuit of love. I was in pursuit of finding myself. I was in pursuit of getting the career I wanted in music. And I realized that when I was faced with that, that it was really quite scary
What song on the album is getting the most attention?
I think the song that's getting the most attention for me and for my friends and close fans is "Break My Heart," and that's kind of one that I had written in about five seconds, it seemed like, and I didn't know where it was going to belong, and once it was recorded it became quite clear that it wanted to be the opening track. And that's one of my favorites, even though it's a simple song, with the same chords all the way through, that one's my favorite and I think it really sums up what the album it should open this album. [It's my favorite] Oh, good. [That's the one that comes back into your head after you've stopped listening] Cool, that's really good to hear, that's really good.
Liz Clark - Break My Heart (2008)
I want to chime in and explain that a side project of Liz Clark is touring with Julie Loyd and Melineh Kurdian, which they do under the wonderful name Girl Parts. Do you plan to do any more touring or recording with Girl Parts?
Yes! That is really fun for me. I have the best time when I'm on tour with Girl Parts, and really the kicker there is that we all three have different careers in music. We have different career aspirations in general. Julie is going to business school, which is very exciting. And we all just need to figure out when we all have time to get together, so when we do, it's the very best thing, and our goal is to mostly try to play women's festivals, gay pride festivals, summer summer fun gigs and that kind of thing, so we're definitely hoping on sustaining that as long as we can.
I've seen Girl Parts live and I think they are very fun and I want to make it very clear I'm talking about the band Girl Parts, and not the generic ones. Anyway, they have released a six-song EP and from it is a bit of banter as they lead into one Julie Loyd wrote called "Insomnia Song."
Girl Parts - Insomnia Song (2007)
As you may have gathered, Liz Clark's partner is also a recording artist, Tessa Perry, and I asked her about her latest album called "Weightless"
Tessa Perry comments (2009)
Well, they're all songs that I have written over the last ten years, so they're like my children and I wanted to get them down and get rid of them and off. I wanted to put them on an album and be done with them. And it's a very folksy album and it has a lot of fiddles and trumpet on it, and I think he songs are sort of growing of age, coming of age and learning about myself.
Tell me about "Brave Song"
"Brave Song" that's a good one. I wrote that when I first arrived into New York, from a very small village in Ireland, that has a population of 300 people, and coming to New York was just the opposite end of the spectrum for me. I mean, it's a huge city and it's a bit the song is about I sort of made it into more of a love song, and sort of seeing someone I really fancy, and whatever, and not having the guts to go up to someone. But it was a bit to do with the big move as well, and having the nerve to go through with a few things, you know? So that's kind of what that one is about.
Tessa Perry - Brave Song (2005)
"Scrabble Song," that's about an old relationship and having hindsight really, and seeing all the good bits of it and not just being very bitter about it, just sort of taking all of the good things, and again it's about being brave, cause that relationship was in this very small town that I lived in. And it's a little Catholic village, and I wasn't sure how that was going to go, of course. I guess the song I wrote, maybe three or four years after we split up, and basically just seeing the good things and how great that it was that we went through with it anyway
So you have songs on this album that someone would term lyrically gay? [Definitely] And was that a hard decision to do?
No, not at all, I've been very lucky and my family are very open and supportive people, and even though growing up in a small village I've just always had this sort of safe haven, at my parents' place, and I never really because I never had a problem with it, I found that not a lot of other people in the village had a problem with it. And in fact, I don't know if Liz told you, but we got married there last year a year and a half ago and most of the village were there, and I think that was partly because it was free drink, cause they love that over in Ireland, and partly because everybody was like, yay, two people that love each other, go for it, you know. And we were really proud that day. So, I don't know, I think it depends a lot of it depends on yourself and how you see things, and the album I didn't even think about it, to be honest, I just went with it. And I have a lot of supportive friends and family, and I knew that that was all that mattered to me, really.
Tessa Perry - Scrabble Song (2005)
Producing queer radio sometimes means that artists I know send me mp3s of songs from albums they are working on. An artist friend of mine who goes by Saturn recently did this so I get to share with you his latest song, called "Oblivion."
Saturn - Oblivion (2009)
I want to thank Phil, one of my internet friends for sending me these two songs clips. They are of the same song, called "Camouflage," by The Temptations. Here's part of the 1962 version.
Temptations - Camouflage (1962 & 1965)
Again, that was from 1962, and my point is that when they re-recorded the song in 1967 the G-word was much more known, so the lyrics got changed from "they call me the joker cause I'm so gay" to "they call me the joker cause I always play." Yes, we can't be having those gay temptations.
Jai Rodriguez - Sodomy (2004)
That was Jai Rodriguez. Besides being an actor in musicals some of you may know him from the TV show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." He was the one they didn't give much to do. And that song was called "Sodomy," and it was from a benefit concert album of the musical "Hair." The guest cast included lots of gay folks, like Lea Delaria, Harvey Fierstein, Charles Busch, John Tartaglia, Christopher Sieber, Billy Porter and this next artist, Gavin Creel.
By the time this show airs we'll know whether or not his first Tony nomination turned into a win, for the musical "Hair." But in 2006 he released his only CD, which I really like. I couldn't play it then, as he was not out of the closet, but now he is, so from his album "Goodtimenation" is the song "Radio Lover."
Gavin Creel - Radio Lover (2006)
And besides that very power pop song, he can also sing ballads, like this one, called "Not Afraid."
Gavin Creel - Not Afraid (2007)
Again that was Gavin Creel, and that song was written by Michael Arden. And he is I think an amazing new talent, but it's not a secret. When Barbra Streisand produced her 2007 European tour, part of the act were four singers she called her Broadway Boys, and Michael Arden was one of them. So you just know he's good. He's been on Broadway himself, in "Big River," and has acted on television and is also an excellent songwriter. All that talent in one cute package. He didn't write this next one but I want to play a song he did from a show called "The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown." The song is called "Run Away With Me." And I want to highly recommend you find the video of him doing it live on YouTube. His acting in that song just blows me away. I have watched it many times and every time when it's over I am just amazed. Okay, too much gushing? Here's Michael Arden and "Run Away With Me."
Michael Arden - Run Away With Me (2007)
And, I've run out of time for Part 3 of my Songs I've Been Meaning to Play show. If you've gotten this far, well, you've got stamina, that's for sure, and I thank you for it. I want to close by sharing a segment I did for This Way Out radio newsmagazine a few weeks ago. It was such a fun piece it needs to be archived here. It features Jen Foster talking about her latest release, called "I Didn't Just Kiss Her."
Jen Foster comments (2009)
This is JD Doyle and that was a little bit of Katy Perry's smash hit "I Kissed A Girl" and she's an artist who definitely knows how to create controversy. Among the different opinions are that the song is homophobic, that it promotes homosexuality, that it's demeaning, and that it condones cheating on a boyfriend. And some say Perry is using bi-curiousity to exploit the gay community, to sell records. All this was much too much to resist for Nashville artist Jen Foster, who has just released a single that is sort of an answer record. It takes things a step further, and is called "I Didn't Just Kiss Her." Jen, what inspired you to write this song?
Well, it originated with hearing the Katy Perry song, and just the huge response that song got, so it got me thinking about the other side of that story, and I wanted to tell it, so that's kind of where that song came from.
How is it being received?
It's getting incredible response, as far as, you know, 24,000 plays on MySpace in a week, and tons of emails, tons of comments about it, mostly positive. There have been literally only two emails I've gotten that were from people that were offended a little bit by it, or thought I took it too far.
Do you know if Katy Perry has heard it?
I don't know. I know that I've had a lot of fans that have posted about the song on her page, and a few people that have called her hotline about it. But no, I have not heard anything about it, if she does know.
There are a lot of people saying that Katy Perry is just using the gay community [and I'm one of them] What's your take on that?
You know, I tend to give artists a lot of creative leeway, because I'm one myself. The way I see it, she had a brilliant gimmick. It kind of walked that line between pleasing the mainstream and sort of perking the ears of the gay community a little bit, and you know, it was a smart business move is what I think.
This song is a bit different from the ones you are known for. Are you concerned it may change what people think your music is?
No, I've had a little bit of response from fans that aren't crazy about it because they are used to my sort of deep, meaningful folk ballads that I usually write. It is different for me but I don't see this as changing what I do that much. I just kind of see it as a musical adventure, of sorts. It was fun. I had to go with it, you know, it came to me. It was almost like a gift from above. The song really was written in about an hour. It just felt right.
Well, I think the song is irresistible.
Thank you [laughs] that's what I was hoping, I was kind of hoping it would be something that the gay community would embrace, cause it is the other side of the story, that they're so upset you know, I get the gay community feeling the way they do about Katy Perry, but I thought they would appreciate this side of the story being told.
Jen Foster - I Didn't Just Kiss Her (2009)
Greg Douglass is an artist kind of hard to keep track of, just because he's so prolific. Since 1998 he's released seven full-length CDs, and recently he decided he had so much older material that never made it to disc that he released two more, so far, called Retro Active, which he calls his official bootleg series. They are digital only releases and from Volume 2 you heard "Come Here Boy."
This is JD Doyle welcoming you to, oh my, Part 4 of my Songs I've Been Meaning to Play show for June. Hey, I've got so much great material that I just can't help sharing it.
I ended Part 3 with sort of a canned segment, as it has already aired on This Way Out. It was an interview with Jen Foster, and I think she's a terrific artist. The This Way Out piece was on her song "I Didn't Just Kiss Her," but I couldn't pass up a chance to ask her some other questions, like what was the first lyrically gay song she recorded.
Jen Foster comments (2009)
Lyrically gay song? I think that would probably have to be "She," which did pretty well for me. It won an award for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and got me a lot of press in the gay world. And "She" is a song about two women falling in love and sort of owning that, and claiming it to the world that you're in a relationship with a woman, so I guess that would be the one.
Jen Foster - She (2003)
And since then there have been several. "The Underdogs" is another one that I wrote about the experience of growing up and being sort of an outcast, and with the other outcasts in the world. And that song won me an Outmusic Award, which was nice.
Jen Foster - The Underdogs (2005)
Again, an artist I much admire, Jen Foster. The song "She" was from her 2003 album "Everybody's Girl," and "The Underdogs" was the title track of one from 2005.
Next I want to play an artist from Australia, Lee Adam Wilshier, whose new album kind of specializes in singing songs that were intended for women, and keeping the pronouns intact. The album is called "Lover Man," and this is his updating of the Noel Coward song "Mad About the Boy."
Lee Adam Wilshier - Mad About the Boy (2009)
And I'm honored to say that I had a hand in this next recording. Lee contacted me while he was working on the album and I nudged him to consider recording a song I've long wanted to hear done by a man. He indulged me and did a special version of the song. Though others have recorded it over the years, it's mostly associated with Cleo Laine, and this is the only male version I know of the song. And it's not on Lee's album so this is one of your few chances to hear it. Lee Adam Wilshier and "Lies of Handsome Men."
Lee Adam Wilshier - Lies of Handsome Men (2009)
Okay, how many lesbian polka songs have you heard? Well, I have one, it's by the Polkanomics, and one of the band members, who plays bass, can be found elsewhere on the QMH website. She's Nancy Vogl, and she released a solo album on Olivia in 1986 and she and Polkanomics guitarist Suzanne Shanbaum were members of the Berkeley Women's Music Collective, who put out very lesbian albums in 1976 and 1978. But the new polka album is called "Lola," and I picked their take on "Mr Sandman."
Polkanomics - Mr Sandman (2007)
A few months ago I discovered a UK artist named Declan Bennett and became quite intrigued with his album called "An Innocent Evening of Drinking," from 2007. From it is the song "Limelight"
Declan Bennett - Limelight (2007)
I hope you saw the May issue of Instinct Magazine, as it featured great articles on artists I admire like Jake Walden and Levi Kreis, and on the cover was an artist from Israel I was not familiar with, but I am now. His first name is spelled like Jonathan, but instead of the J is YEH. He's on facebook so I emailed him about it and he wrote back that it's pronounced Yonathan. So his name is Yehonathan Gatro, and besides working on his first album in English he's got out some incredibly sexy videos, very erotic man on man stuff, of course tastefully done. I can't show you the videos but I can play one of the songs for you. It's called "Just Another Summer."
Yehonathan Gatro - Just Another Summer (2009)
You heard Josh Duffy on Part 1 of this show. Well, a while back he was performing at a GLBT expo in New York City, and I went to that site and there was a poster for the event on the main page. It included a cute young artist I was not familiar with, so I checked him out, and I was glad I did. He's Todd Alsup and so far he's just released only a CD EP, called "Facts & Figures." Producing a show like this can have its advantages, and I wrote him a fan email, and he sent me the CD and also two brand new songs. I'll share one song from the EP and one new one. Here's Todd Alsup.
Alsup - The Good Fight (2007)
Todd Alsup and "The Good Fight" and "How I'm Made."
Mad Avenue Records - Drag Detergent (1960)
Ah yes, a bit of those old stereotypes. That came from an album from 1960 put out by Mad Avenue Records and called "Commercials in a Plain Brown Wrapper." That track was called "Drag Detergent." The LP was packed full of fake commercials and not much humor. None of the actors names were given, perhaps with good reason.
Back in the late '70s Rod Hart had a hit 45 with a song adding homophobia to the CB radio craze. It was called "CB Savage," and I found a copy cat record, a little less homophobic though still full of stereotypes. It was called "Gay Caballero" and was released out of Kansas City by an artist calling himself Goldbrick.
Goldbrick - Gay Caballero (late 1970s)
Let's continue with some more modern country music. Most of you have probably heard that the half-sister of Garth Brooks is lesbian, and played in his band for a while. Her name is Betsy Smittle and released her own CD in 1994, just called "Betsy." The album did not attract much attention and this may be your only chance to hear her. From her CD is one called "Hard to Believe."
Betsy - Hard to Believe (1994)
Moon Trent has been making music for almost 20 years and I want to share two from his long career. In 1991 he was in a band called Pale, and they released a cover of the Tracy Ullman hit, "They Don't Know." And it will be followed by one much more recent, from 2008, based on a Walt Whitman poem.
- They Don't Know (1991)
You can find "We Two Boys" on his "Love Bytes EP" and "They Don't Know" by Pale on a release called "Quilt - The Moon Trent Collection 1991-2007, which also includes some of his work with Brown-Star.
Okay, you have been very patient, trucking through about four hours of my June show. This is JD Doyle and you've been listening to Queer Music Heritage, and I've got one more for you.
I mentioned Josh Duffy earlier, and I want to close the show with him. The song "I Will Love You" was on his CD "Artificial," which I named as one of the Best of 2007. He's just released a very sexy video of the song, which I recommend you check out on his site. "I Will Love You" by Josh Duffy.
Josh Duffy - I Will Love You (2007)
Now, aren't you glad you read this far?...:)