Script for October 2003 QMH
David Brown - kiss (1996)
Welcome to Queer Voices on KPFT and this segment is called Queer Music Heritage. I'm JD Doyle and I'm here on the 4th Monday of each month to bring you an hour devoted to our culture's music. The music you just heard is kind of a teaser for one of the special segments on tonight's show. It's by New York singer/songwriter David Brown, who you'll hear about later, one of three male artists whose work I'm saluting tonight from the genres of folk-rock and pop, covering the last 20 years.
The first artist I'm featuring produced an album that I've admired for a long time, and it's taken me over a year to track him down for an interview. His name is LeRoy Dysart, and in 1982 he released his only album, called "We Are Everywhere." The title song took on almost anthem status immediately after he wrote it. And among other highlights of his musical career was writing the official theme song for the 1982 Christopher Street West Parade, in Los Angeles. It was called "A New Gay Dawning."
He's done quite a bit of acting in musicals, and cabaret singing and has composed for choirs and orchestras. He's written with Christian singer Marsha Stevens, and has even written an opera based on the Biblical story of David and Jonathan. The inspiration for his anthem, "We Are Everywhere," came from both from his experience of hearing Sergeant Leonard Matlovich speak at a Pride event, and from watching on television the coverage of the 1979 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. I asked him to tell us about it.
And then within a few days was the March. You know I could not watch it at home, so I had been invited to some of the peoples' house that I had met at Gay Pride Weekend a few weeks earlier, to come over and watch it on the news. We had a little party and watched it. The local channel showed all of about thirty seconds. But they just showed the camera panning. That whole place was just totally filled, and people were chanting "we are everywhere, we are everywhere," and it just made me cry. I didn't know that many gay existed in the whole world. Coming from Fulton (Missouri), the size of ten thousand people, something like that, I really thought I was the only one. So, as happens, songs just start in my head spontaneously. Just the phrase "we are everywhere" that everyone was chanting had music to it.
Here's a little bit of "We Are Everywhere"
LeRoy Dysart - we are everywhere (1982)
Another very noteworthy song by LeRoy was called "You Did It Out Of Love," and was in a way a thank you song to the organization Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, for the support he received by attending their meetings.
LeRoy Dysart - you did it out of love (1982)
Do you have any other comments about the song "You Did It Out Of Love"?
When I visited LeRoy in Los Angeles last month I was delighted that he told me about Harry Wingfield and this song, because I had never heard of the artist, and I was even more pleased that he loaned me a copy of Harry Wingfield's tape, so that I could share the song with you. From the very rare 1992 cassette tape "Songs of Life, Songs of Love," here's "I Do, I Do, I Do (The Senior Prom Song)."
Harry Wingfield - I do, I do, I do (the senior prom song) (1992)
From The Advocate, 5/28/81
Again, that was Harry Wingfield. Gee, I would have loved to have heard songs like that on the radio when I was a kid. But back to my interview with LeRoy. I wanted to ask him about one more song, one that is one of my favorites from his album. Tell me about the song, "I Love A Man."
So we called ourselves roommates for about six months. At course we were falling in love with each other as that time went by. So he went away on a trip, and that was when I really knew I was in love with him. [cause you missed him] Yeah, and how much I missed him. And sitting home being lonely for him produced "I Love A Man." And a friend of ours was joining him, at wherever it was he was, and I asked her to take a copy of it on a cassette tape to him and give it to him. It was kind of my way of saying, can we be lover now, and, we were. That's when we, that's when we changed from being roommates to lovers.
LeRoy Dysart - I love a man (1982)
The next artist I'm featuring is Joe Bracco, and with my love for openly gay lyrics it was natural for me to be drawn to his work. He began performing in the New York area in 1980 but it was not until several years later that he found his own voice, both personally and musically. To be true to himself, he stopped composing heterosexual songs and around 1987 started using his melodic flair to write songs that portrayed gay feelings and lives in a positive way. Joe's dream was to release an album of his songs, but sadly, he would not live to see that come true, because in March of 1991 he died of AIDS. He was only 30. His songs, mostly done on home recordings, were turned over to his good friend, Paul Phillips, of Romanovsky & Phillips, and Paul used his studio and arranging talents to complete Joe's dream. The album, released as a cassette tape in 1992, was called "True To Myself." I spoke with Paul Phillips recently and got these comments. I first asked him to comment about one of my favorite songs on the album, called "Friend in My Pocket."
Joe Bracco - friend in my pocket (1992)
Can you tell me something about him
as a person?
Can you tell me a little about him
as an artist?
How did you come to produce the album?
Michael Callen was another one of his big influences. Michael was in New York at that point, still, or for part of that time. So he was somewhat friendly with Michael. I think Michael was also a real inspiration for Joe. On the other hand I think that Joe had great resentment for the fact Michael didn't seem to be getting as sick as he was. I remember him being at times a handful in the hospital. His mother used throw her hands up in the air and say, "I can manage him, I can't deal with him." He would lash out, and I think that's only natural when your life is ebbing away and you're young and you have this project that's finally going to be realized, but you can't get to it, because you can't stay out of the hospital long enough to get it put together.
When he died, shortly after he died, I called his mother up, and we talked. And it became apparent that he had saved some money up and that she somehow wanted to get this project finished. I originally offered to help her. The short version of the story I guess would be just that we eventually agreed that I would finish the project. I would bring it to New Mexico and finish it there, or put it together there, really. There were only a few tracks that had actually been recorded and they hadn't even been finished. So, all she had was a lot of homemade cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes that he had recorded at home. There were only I think, I think there were only like two or three songs on the album that had actually been recorded in a studio originally when I got the project, sort of in my lap. It's something I'm really proud of, that album, because, because it does have a lot of me in it, but it also, I think, has a great deal of respect for Joe and I think it definitely features Joe. I think part of that was I did have an understanding of who Joe was and what he had hoped to have with these songs, and with the album.
Can you tell us about the song "Coming
Joe Bracco - coming out (1992)
The last song on the tape is almost
his own benediction; please tell us about "Home Free, At Last"
Joe Bracco - home free at last (1992)
That was Joe Bracco and his early duet partner, Debra Ruth, singing "Home Free at Last," from Joe's album "True To Myself." The album contains many other interesting songs that I can't do justice to here, but they have such titles as "Cruiser's Blues," "South Shore Boy," "Kiss Me In Spanish," "Golden Boy," and one very amusing one I won't comment on, called "Window Whacker." My interview with Paul Phillips was about twice longer than I could fit into this show, but you can hear the rest of it on my site.
And, this is a good time to remind you to be sure to listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Saturday night from midnight to 4 am, on KPFT; it's Queer Radio, with attitude. Also, I invite you to check out my website, at www.queermusicheritage.com where you can view the playlist and see photos of the artists and recordings, and listen to the show anytime. [surrounded by theme from TV show "Will & Grace"]
My last special feature for the show is on the music of David Brown. David released his first album in 1996, called "Splendid Wings." He followed that up in 1999 with "Storm In A Teacup," and they both showcase his unique ability to reach out to the listener emotionally while dealing with some uncommon issues. His music can be both harmonious and thought provoking at the same time. I've been a fan of his for several years, and was very pleased to meet and interview him in New York last spring.
David, please tell us, is it important
for you to be "out" as a musician?
The song "Cathy
& Claire" was from your first album, "Splendid Wings."
Can you tell us about it?
David Brown - cathy & claire (1996)
Another of my favorites from that
album is "Mr. Right"
David Brown - mr. right (1996)
in a Teacup," your second album, the song "Johnny Shoemaker"
is very interesting
David Brown - Johnny shoemaker (1999)
I wish we had time to play more songs from that album, such as "Embraced by the Mob," the song that got David banned from Borders Books, but listeners can hear a little of that one at his website, www.davidbrownmusic.com. During our interview David was gracious enough to play two of his songs for me. They will likely be on his new album, hopefully released in the next few months, so you're getting a special advance listen to them. The first one is called "Magic," and the second is about his high school gym teacher.
David Brown - magic
Okay, I've got one more song by David Brown I want you to hear, and it's my favorite, but before I play it, I want to thank you all for tuning into the show, and I want to thank LeRoy Dysart and David Brown for their interviews and to thank Paul Phillips for sharing his memories of Joe Bracco. Please check out my website, logically enough at www.queermusicheritage.com. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, I'd love to hear them. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston, and I'll be back on the fourth Monday of next month with another installment of Queer Music Heritage.
David, please tell us about the song
"Every Kiss Is A Revolution"
David Brown - every kiss is a revolution (1996)
Total Time: 58:41