Script for Sept 2009 QMH
Welcome to Queer Music Heritage, and this is JD Doyle. I'm heard every month as a part of Queer Voices on KPFT, and since I began QMH in 2000 this is my tenth show entirely devoted to the music of Transgender Artists. And I love doing shows like this, as it not only gives me a chance to share their music, but also to share a bit of their lives and journeys. In 2007 I did a series of four shows in a row, so now I'm going to sort of catch up with music mostly newer than that. And I've got I think a very interesting feature interview. It's with Radford Bishop, of the queercore band Tough Tough Skin, one of the very few bands I know of where all the members were transmen.
More on that in a while. I want to mention that the opening song was, well, I think, the perfect one to start off this show. It was by an Atlanta band, led by, and this is her term, transgenderbender Amber Taylor. The band is called The Sexual Side Effects, and the song was "I'm In Love With A Girl (Who Used To Be A Man)"
Next up, from the UK, is Jenny Slater.
Slater quote (2009)
That was Jenny Slater. Her debut album, called "Zodiac," was released in 2008 and I think it's excellent. We heard her song "Run and Hide." Up next is Antony Hegarty, who is better known under the name of his music group, Antony & the Johnsons. He's released three studio albums since 1998 and a number of EPs, garnering him much praise. From his 2005 album, "I Am A Bird Now," I want to play for you a track called "For Today I Am a Boy."
& the Johnsons - For Today I Am A Boy (2005)
I followed Antony & the Johnsons with a transman artist I recently heard about. He's Geo Wyeth and he records under the name Novice Theory. His first album, from last year, is called "At the End We Listen."
Radford Bishop Interview
I want to get to our feature interview and as already announced it's with Radford Bishop, who played guitar and drums and was one of the vocalists for the Minneapolis queercore band Tough Tough Skin. I learned about them when I was researching my show on queercore, and was very impressed with their music, and their album, which was called "Let It Sink Down." What I didn't know then was that Radford was in another queer act earlier, before his transition, and I love that this is a chance to share music by an artist in sort of a before and after way. The earlier act was called Winter Machine and included a very fine gay artist, Coleman Lindberg, who has other releases on his own. Their joint Winter Machine album, from 2002, was called "A Few Things I Believe," and I asked Radford to tell me about that act.
Winter Machine is a project I was in for about five years, with another artist, Coleman Lindberg, and we played what we called folk punk, which can mean a lot of different things to different people, but basically for us we were mainly folk artists who came together because we had a mutual interest in kind of radical politics and really using the personal as political, and sharing our stories as queer artists.
From that album, tell me about the song "Going Through"
Well, "Going Through" is the first track on the album, and it was a song that I started writing, and I couldn't finish it. I had all these different pieces that came together but it wasn't a complete song, and so I asked Coleman if he would collaborate with me and try to fill in some of the lyrics. And so it ended up being this song that was half Coleman and half me, and it was one of our first collaborations. [It's a really good song, and I like that that shows your voice then] Yeah, definitely.
Winter Machine - Going Through (2002)
Can you talk briefly about the change in your voice?
Sure, my voice changing was actually something that kept me from starting a medical transition for several years, because I was playing in Winter Machine with Coleman, and the way that our voices fit together was kind of miraculous, and I didn't want to lose that. Now, that project ended, independently, and that was when I decided to transition, and I was really scared that I was not going to be able to sing. And I thought about it for a long time and I just got to a point where I was willing to sacrifice that. If that was what I had to sacrifice to live as the person that I feel I am then, it was worth it to me. And it was still really scary. It was like jumping off this huge cliff, but I figured that I have other musical outlets, I play a number of musical instruments, I really enjoy percussion, and if I lost the ability to sing I would find other musical outlets. Now, I can't tell you how grateful I am to still be able to sing. I feel incredibly lucky and even the thought that I once felt like I could give that up is kind of scary to me, but I'm just really glad that everything happened the way it happened. And I have a different voice now, but it's a voice that I love and it's a voice that's me, and I don't regret any of those choices.
One transguy artist I know described it as his voice before didn't seem to match himself, cause the voice he had in his head for how he thought he should sound, wasn't how he sounded
Right, that's really interesting yeah, I don't know, it always seems kind of ungrateful, because singing was really my first instrument, and singing was something that I got a lot of compliments on, prior to transition, and just kind of all my life, as a kid, and I resented it. And it's why I started playing guitar actually, because I felt so uncomfortable having all these people come up to me and compliment my voice and I don't think I even thought through the fact that maybe my voice didn't fit my internal identity. I don't think I thought that far. It just made me really uncomfortable to be recognized for my voice, and so when I was about 17 I decided that I wanted to play an instrument well enough that people would come up and compliment me on that, over my singing voice. And I eventually go to that point with guitar.
In the band Tough Tough Skin, Radford started out on guitar and then later switched to drums.
Tell me about the band Tough Tough Skin.
Tough Tough Skin is the band that I helped start right before I started my medical transition. And so I kind of transitioned along side with the band. It was a punk project started by myself and River Gordon, and we started out playing on electric guitars through these tiny practice amps in River's living room, and blossomed into the full band that got signed to Queer Control Records and was able to tour the West Coast
And tell me about the album
The album is the only album that we put out, and it is the produce of the blood and sweat of six years of punk rock, that was very queer indeed. We got 17 tracks on the album and three different members of the band wrote songs, so you've got some diversity there in style and song topic, but they're all sort of short punk rock songs. And we called our style, we kind of dubbed it queer nerdcore cause people were asking, oh, what kind of music do you play? Well, we could say punk, but that doesn't say it all. We could say queercore but for somebody who's not familiar with the scene, it's not going to really tell them a whole lot, so we kind of stuck the nerd in there, which also doesn't tell you anything, except that we're quirky. And that was kind of that was because we all kind of feel like nerds, you know, we sit at home with our guitars in the middle of the night, or listening to the college radio stations. And our drummer on the album, Zack, he's a genius, we've got a couple college degrees in there, stuff like that, and so that was just our playful way of creating a new style of music even though we were maybe playing traditional chord progressions, but we definitely have some quirkiness thrown in there. That's why we called it queer nerdcore. It ranges from songs the we wrote six years ago to songs that we wrote the week before we went into the studio, so there's a really huge range of musical evolution, as far as we were concerned, and we mixed them all up, so you can listen to the album and try to pick out the new songs versus the old songs.
I want to get to my favorite song on the album. Tell me about "Manwhore"
"Manwhore" okay, let me think about the safest way to talk about this song. I'm going to try to phrase it in like what the song meant to me, so that I can't get yelled at later. Now this is an old song, for us, we've been playing it for a lot of years. It was one of the first songs that we played together as a band. Well I didn't write the song "Manwhore," but for me it was pretty significant in the early days of my transition, and it was all about being a slut and running around, and for me like the first time I was finally being hit on by gay guys who didn't know I was trans, and I was passing your libido goes crazy, it's like going through a second puberty so your libido goes crazy and you want to run around with all these boys, and not have to apologize for it.
Tough Tough Skin - Manwhore (2008)
How did the band get its name?
one was actually a phrase picked out of a book that we were paging
through, but it really resonated with us, because being trans, kind
of the image of tough skin to me brings up a lot of images. It's like,
one, when you grow up being marginalized or getting teased for any
reason, you really have to develop what they call a thick skin. And
so that kind of resonated first off for me, but then there's also
the significance of scar tissue being really tough, and a lot of female
to male trans guys end up getting surgeries, chest surgeries that
leave some significant scarring across the chest. And so the words
tough tough skin to me represented, one, that really having to be
tough in an emotional sense, and then two, representing the two scars
that I have across my chest.
I've always described the band's music as queercore but that doesn't necessarily say a whole lot either to people who are outside the queer community or specifically speaking to genre. A lot of the songs are punk rock, they're loud, they're edgy, but we also have these really melodic lyric lines and melodies, and so I've started now calling it melodic punk rock, just to be more clear to people who aren't familiar with queercore. But I think from an ethics point and a song topic point, we're talking queercore, we're talking political but also irreverent.
Tell me about the song "Second Guessing"
Alright, let me think about this for a second. It's a very personal song for me, so have to figure out how to articulate it right without giving away too many secrets. Okay, "Second Guessing" is a song that is very personal to me. I was going through some tough things in my life emotionally and in my relationship, and at the same time, in Minneapolis, we had the collapse of the 35W Bridge, and that was very significant for a lot of people. It was kind of two degrees of separation. And a lot of people had talked to me about how they were supposed to be on the bridge when it collapsed, or they had been driving that direction and turned around for some reason. And in my personal life I was relating that to there's a line in the song that says "cars keep moving forward until something starts to break / and water turns to carnage and neglect in the place where we connect." And that was really a physical literal image of this bridge collapsing but also of my relationship, which was kind of falling apart at the time. And so that song to me was all about getting out that emotion and that fear and anger, and trying to trust myself and trust my instincts and hope that my instincts would keep me safe.
Tough Tough Skin - Second Guessing (2008)
Tell me about "Pass the Whiskey"
"Pass the Whiskey" is sort of an irreverent song that came out of the frustrations of being a trans person. One of the lines said, "thanks to these meds I blend right in, got the stubble on my chin, tell me what a person's got to do to get a bathroom wall, unisex or a stall." Because my favorite venue in Minneapolis, to play at, at least the men's bathroom used to have a bathroom stall until some drunk punks broke it one night and they took the wall out. You walk in and it's just a row of urinals and an open toilet. And so that causes some problems for trans guys. And there are just these days when you're tearing out your hair and you just, and you can't stand all of the hoops you have to jump through, and everything just seems exhausting, and you have to do all these things just to leave your house. And so "Pass the Whiskey" just came out of all that frustration, and was kind of complaining about being trans but at the same time trying to tell myself to just chill out, because you still have to get up and face your day, and if you can't laugh at yourself then it's going to be a really hard day.
Tough Tough Skin - Pass the Whiskey (2008)
And that was "Pass the Whiskey"
Alexandria Billings - Transgender Hotline
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 much too much great material for just one hour, in fact, too much for two hours, so you can find Parts 2 & 3 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.
Radford, I love and admire that you and the band have a number of videos on YouTube talking about the trans experience .and as it relates to singing
Yes, do you want me to talk about that?
Yeah, I do, I think that's a gift to the people that need this information.
in my personal life outside of the band am a real
advocate for trans youth and people who are questioning their gender
and thinking about transitioning. So I like to make myself available
and YouTube is a great venue for that. You know, people can ask me
questions and kind of see what my experience has been to some extent.
And so when I had the opportunity to get the band on YouTube I really
jumped at that, because I thought here we are doing something that
not a lot of other people are doing and we happen to all be trans,
and can speak to very differences through the transition period when
it relates to music.
I've read many transmen have the experience of coming out twice, first as a lesbian
It's true, it's a really common experience, it's not across the board but it was my experience. I never used the word lesbian though, I always called myself a dyke or just queer. And I never thought that through, those were just the words that felt acceptable to me. So I came out as a dyke when I was 19. I came out as trans then four years later, and it was a lot harder. It was a lot harder for me to come out to my family, especially, as trans, than when I came out to them as gay.
Well, people in general know so much less about transgender issues than gay issues. So, if you mind me asking your orientation. Are you attracted to women?
No, I am pretty exclusively identifying as a gay man, and that changed for me. And that doesn't happen to everybody. I know there are some guys out there who are afraid that they're going to turn gay if they go on testosterone, and it's just not the case. But for me, I'd always been attracted to men, and I just wasn't the kind of girl that the men I knew were attracted to, if that makes sense. I think that all has to do with kind of masculinity and how uncomfortable I was with myself at the time and stuff like that. When I went on testosterone as soon as I could pass, really, gay guys started hitting on me, and it was very, very quickly apparent that that was where my path was leading.
So you went form a lesbian being attracted to women to a trans guy being attracted to men.
Yes, crazy it was actually my girlfriend at the time pointed it out to me. She said we had to break up because I didn't like girls anymore. And when she said it out loud I realized it was true.
Do you know a lot of trans guys?
Do I know a lot of trans guys? I know a ton of trans guys.
Well, then, let me ask you, if you can generalize, I know this is an individual thing, but I've been curious about the question I'm going to ask for a long time. I know that orientation and gender are not the same thing, and if someone tells me they're transgender it tells me nothing about their orientation. So for trans men, do you have an observation as to are there more of them attracted to men or women?
What I've noticed most is that, and this definitely isn't across the board either, I've noticed that a lot of trans guys have more fluid sexuality. You know, they don't necessarily identify as bisexual because the word bisexual upholds that rigid binary gender system that a lot of us are trying to get away from. So we might use words like queer to describe our sexual orientation. A lot of guys are going to tell you that they are just attracted to the person, more the personality less than the package. But aside from that I'd say there's a good pool of that kind of sexual identity, but aside from that I'd say it's like any other gender. There's bunch of trans guys who like to date women, and there's a bunch of trans guys who like to date men, and there's a bunch of guys somewhere on the spectrum who date men and women, or who date just other trans people, but it doesn't necessarily matter if it's female identified trans people or male identified trans people, just other people who have shared that kind of general experience. So it's really varied, and I don't think you could say that there's more of one than the other.
I guess there are probably a lot of gay guys who are attracted to a trans guy and they when they find out all of the equipment isn't there, it's a deal breaker.
Yes, that is a problem. Is that a formal question? Yeah, it has been my experience that a lot of biological guys, they are attracted to transmen, because, you know, we look and sound 100% male to them, they would never think twice about it unless they're familiar with the trans community. And you know, oftentimes sadly the majority of those guys seem to be not interested anymore once they learn more about our physicality's. And our physicality's are really varied, so it's kind of stupid for guys to just assume that they know what our bodies are like. You know, it's kind of disheartening, as a gay guy. But I've also met some really amazing men who for whatever reason, they can see past that you know, I've had several biological gay men say to me things like, "well, I'm turned on, so obviously you're a guy." They get that energy and they aren't attracted to women but they're attracted to me, and that tells them that I'm male, which I find really interesting
In the transgender artist music scene, who should I know about that I might not?
Ah, do you know about the Shondes?
Is that how you pronounce their name? Are they trans?
Some of the members are trans, and they are absolutely hands down one of my favorite bands in the country, period. They are amazingly intelligent, amazingly talented musicians, and they have a lot to say.
Okay, well, that sent me after their music, and I learned more about them from an article in the Village Voice that described them as three-quarters transgender, three-quarters Jewish, and 100-percent-political. Also the article stated that shondes is a Yiddish word for "disgrace" or "outrage" so the band says they're outcasts even in scenes that celebrate outcasts. Their 2008 debut album is called "The Red Sea," and from it is "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."
Shondes - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (2008)
This JD Doyle with Queer Music Heritage and it's time to finish up the first part of this month's show. I thank you for listening and especially thank Radford Bishop for the very interesting interview. If you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write me. There's much more to this show on the internet version, where you'll hear two more hours of transgender Artists. I've got to share with you there I think a fascinating interview with Angela Motter, where we dig into the gender-queer spectrum. And there's more. Next month will be another show on transgender Artists, with interviews with the duo Coyote Grace, Namoli Brennet, Lisa Jackson, Venus Demars, and much more. All this of course is found on my site, at www.queermusicheritage.com.
Well, that song by the Shondes put me in the mood for another driving song. And it's by The Cliks, who leaped into the spotlight a couple years ago, thanks to the terrific voice of lead singer Lucas Silveira. He gave me a very interesting interview for my June 2007 show, about their debut album "Snakehouse." They've got a brand new CD now, and I'm closing with the title track, "Dirty King."
Cliks - Dirty King (2009)
Background music under Radford Bishop's comments by his former band Winter Machine, from their album "A Few Things I Believe."
Welcome to Part 2 of my September show on transgender Artists, and this is JD Doyle for Queer Music Heritage. I'm opening with an artist I much respect, Angela Motter. Angela's first album, called "Outta Control," was released in 1992 and the second "Pain and Pleasure," in 1999, and it won a Glama Award for Out Recording of the Year. Why is Angela on this show? Well, this very out artist has straddled gender terms for quite a while now. Here's a recent quote from Angela's MySpace blog:
"I've been a lesbian, I've been a dyke, I've been a Daddy, I am a Master, I am a man, I am female bodied, I am a fag, I am Gender Queer, Trans, whatever the latest term. My gender, my role, how I identify, is revealed, presented, embraced, and reflected back to me by my choice of intimate companions."
Probably the song that got the most attention was one called "Isitaboyisitagirl," and I want to share a 1999 interview where that's discussed, along with many other areas. And I need to explain the structure of the interview. It was obtained for use on Audiofile, the monthly CD review segment carried by the radio newsmagazine This Way Out. I'm a co-producer of that segment. And in those days many of those interviews were done by emailing a series of questions to an artist, and they would get someone to ask the questions while they recorded the answers. And then they would mail a tape back to us. So, this is a ten-year old cassette tape, and the quality is not perfect, but I think well-worth hearing.
The interview started by Angela being asked, "how do you identify as in terms of gender identity?
Angela Motter comments (1999)
I think it's easier for me to say how I don't identify, than what I do identify as, in terms of my gender identity. I don't feel like I'm 100% woman and I don't feel like I am 100% man. I feel like I'm something in between, and I think I feel like a gentleman, I want to be a gentleman, most of the time. I think that's what I'm most comfortable with, at times. And I use the term 'boy/girl' because it's fun, and because it has more of a sense of humor to it than, say something like how Leslie Feinberg with define herself, which is, as a masculine female, which I like that too, but it's just not very rock and roll, you know, masculine female? I like boy/girl much better.
Speaking of gender identity, do you think that this is a misunderstood issue in much of the gay and lesbian community?
Yeah, oh yeah, I think it's totally misunderstood. I think people start screaming at me if I said I'm attracted to femmes, because they get all mad, it's like, how come everybody had to be in a box? I'm like, I just like femmes. I mean, there's a lot of different kinds of women out there. And as far as gender identity, I think it's easier for people who have been in a relationship with me to understand my gender identity a lot more than it would be if I was just walking down the street and somebody looks at me and thinks, well, that's just another dyke. So gender identity doesn't always have to do with affectional identity. I like to go out with femmes. I also like other boy/girls like me. So in a way, to me even though it's a same-sex relationship if I'm with a femme, because I'm a female-bodied person, it still feels like an opposite-sex relationship to me. If I'm with another boy/girl, someone who is more of a fag-type lesbian, or dyke, if you want to call it that, another boy/girl, that feels like a same-sex relationship to me. I hope that makes sense.
Tell us more about any particular track which has an interesting story or is particularly meaningful to you.
"Isitaboyisitagirl" was really fun to do because my friend Anne Wilmott interviewed a bunch of people in her office. She works at WNET, in New York, in multi-media. And she had a promo picture of mine, which is I guess rather ambiguous looking. I guess I could go as male or a female to a lot of people in the picture. So she showed the picture to folks and had them comment on it, just asking questions about this person, and whether they thought it was a boy or a girl didn't come up, cause some of them just assumed I was a guy. So that was kind of interesting. She just had them riff on different topics, like gender dysphoria, what does it mean to you, and we got some really great voices out of that tape. I love to listen to the straight girl talking about saying that her pajamas came out of the men's room, and what she was trying to say was that she buys her pajamas in the men's department, but for some reason, she said her pajamas came out of the men's room, so we just had to put that little Freudian slip in there. And then of course the guy at the very end. He's this very dapper Englishman that Ann has been interviewing, and he's talking about he-she's and stuff like that. And at the very end, she says, thank you, and he says, you're quite welcome, and he sounds like such a fag but he's totally not. So I just love that, because it really turns the whole concept of what is gay, what is a boy, what is a girl, on its head.
Angela Motter - Isitaboyisitagirl (1999)
Angela Motter and the song "Isitaboyisitagirl," from 1999. And I loved those interview comments of Angela's from 1999 so much that I figured it would be worth updating them, so here's a new interview.
Well, I like the issues that, not only in the song, but in your blog that you comment on, cause these are things that people aren't really talking about. And I want people to think. Okay, the way I wrote the question up is: I have some really interesting interview comments from you from ten years ago, and I wanted to find out where your thinking is now, about where you fall on the gender/transgender spectrum.
I really feel like I'm in the same place that I was during that interview, and I think that the thing is, there's still been an evolution in my gender expression outwardly. And right now I have a military cut, like a buzz cut, you know, high and tight. And when I got my haircut this short, which is the shortest it's ever been in my life, I found that I had some nervousness about being out there in public, because I got my haircut, and before all my kids came back in for school, it was during the summer. And I just didn't even think about what would happen when my kids came back, and didn't even really think about what would happen when I went back to work. I wasn't teaching a whole lot at that point, and I was really nervous. And it almost felt like, well, God, I'm like the king of being open about myself and I've always been a person that wanted to put myself out there cause I wanted to be a role motter model, motter (laughs) a role model for other folks who felt the same way about their bodies and their life as I do, but I was really amazed that it made me even more nervous that it made going to the bathroom even harder, and I stuck with the haircut for a while, and I really like it, but it was another level of coming out another deeper level of being trans or genderqueer.
You wrote me that you kind of prefer to be called "he"
Yes. It feels funny for me to be called she, much more now than it did then. I still had a problem with it when "Pleasure and Pain" was coming out before I had a long-distance relationship with a woman in San Francisco, and this spanned about a year and a half and I was hanging out at that time with some of the FTMs who were coming out in the San Francisco scene, in like the leather scene and in the regular scene, and the difference about them compared to other FTMs who didn't really even identify themselves as FTMs I think that's probably a pretty recent word. They came out of the queer community and they came out of that generation that just used queer as kind of an over-arching definition. So they didn't feel like they had to leave the queer community cause they were FTMs. And I know of one person who is the brother of a friend of mine who's FTM, and he got, you know, he did it and just kind of disappeared into the world of the straight man, and didn't want to really make much to do about it. And I know people today who are the same way. But that queerness was really being expressed then and there was a lot of energy around it.
Finding yourself doesn't mean you have to be an activist.
Correct, correct. That's kind of an interesting way to put it. There's a lot of energy around when you start and this is just from the folks I've talked to, friends, dear friends, and an ex-lover who is now an FTM you know, when you take that testosterone it really changes your energy level and it changes your energy in the world, and I think there's a lot of energy around that. You know you're basically going through puberty and menopause kind of at the same time. So there's just a lot of energy there, and I think nowadays people are more open about it, and willing to share and compare notes on what's happening to their bodies. But for me, I'm not going through that process and if I'm not careful I'll feel marginalized by that energy.
You wrote another interesting thing about language. You said in Academia the language keeps changing and by the time it gets to common speech, it's a little different and maybe excludes.
Yeah, because when I was there, travelling back and forth between Atlanta and San Francisco, I had a friend who was much like me, and he said at the time that he really just wanted to stay where he was and didn't want to feel any need to change his body or take testosterone and a lot of those folks refer to themselves as transgender, for me, meaning across gender lines. And he did end up taking hormones and makes a very fine looking man. But that word transgender seems like it's gotten kind of not necessarily co-opted, because that has a derogatory term to me, but now to me FTMs are considered transgender. And when I was growing up transsexual meant somebody that was a cross-dresser, and then it came to mean somebody who actually had gender reassignment. So now I don't fall into the category of female to male, you know, transgender or transsexual, so genderqueer has come up a lot, that's kind of the new academic term. It's probably not so new anymore, but that's the term that I can identify with, just because there's nothing else.
But there's also the underlining language not problem, but I really view myself as a guy people want to be called man, I guess, whenever they are a female to male, but I just feel like a guy. And so really the language in some ways doesn't affect me at all. If you want to call me genderqueer, that's fine. But if you want to call me he, that's awesome, cause it feels like just as much of an endearing term, as a friend, and something that's a loving thing to say as it does an identification for me.
Do you think the word transgender is changing, in that a while ago, several years ago, to me it was kind of like an umbrella term, and now it's maybe becoming more pure, more transsexual?
Yeah, that's my point exactly, JD, that's what I mean, these words come out, and I'm not saying they all originate from an academic perspective, but there's so much gender studies, queer studies. It's called queer studies in colleges now, and universities, so those terms are talked about a lot. So yes, I do believe that transgender has come to mean what you and I knew as transsexual. So where does that put me?
Do you think the term gender dysphoria is changing?
I guess any kind of dysphoria has to do with, as I understand it, if I look at myself in the mirror, and I don't see what's actually there, but from a philosophical standpoint, who does? I mean, it seems like dysphoria definitely to me has the impact when I hear it as being a disorder. And I don't feel that I have any kind of disorder.
That's where I was going with that. Cause if you look up gender dysphoria, almost immediately you see the word disorder.
Right. Well, it's definitely disordered society cause people get pissed off around gender much more than when I was more of a perceived lesbian
Is there a point you wanted to make that we haven't quite got to?
I think it's just for folks to be aware that I mean, this seems maybe a very funny thing for me to say at the end of an interview, but I think what comes up for me is just some understanding that it's really hard for me to do one basic thing in this world, which is go to the bathroom, without either scaring women, or being afraid there's going to be some violence come to me, and to have a little bit of understanding that that's a very basic need, to go to the bathroom, and that's the level at which the anxiety is something that I do have to live with everyday. And I'm not saying that everybody had problems with that. I talked to one guy who's an FTM and when he was transitioning he said "I go into whatever bathroom I want." He didn't have any anxiety about that whatsoever. But I do, and if you can think about that, then that really shows the level of anxiety that a transgender or queer person deals with every single day.
Tribe 8 had a song called "Wrong Bathroom."
Yeah, and that was the impetus for "Isitaboyisitagirl,"you know.
The two albums I have by you are terrific and I'd love to hear a third one.
Me too, there is one song, called "Makin' Love" that I recorded a while back that you can listen to on my MySpace page, and I think that's the only place where you can get it right now. And Doria Roberts appears on it, and excellent, excellent musicians, so check it out, it's really a beautiful song. [I already grabbed it, I'm going to play it] Excellent!
Angela Motter - Makin' Love (2005)
What are you working on now musically?
I am working with a band called Sexual Side Effects. I'm playing bass for the band. Amber Taylor is the writer for that band and hopefully we will be able to write some stuff together. Amber is a male to female transgender person and she is awesome. We've really become fast friends and I'm really looking forward to it. It's just a super rock'n'roll band with some really awesome a little different. It's got her sensibility of harmonics, chords, everything else is just really astounding. And I'm also working with a band called Jet Blk Joy, and we're kind of on hiatus right now but we're writing and we're getting together to see what direction that project will go in.
Are you on any of the Sexual Side Effects recordings that are on their site?
Not yet, we hopefully will be putting our own recording together with me playing the bass, I'd say within the next year. And I'm playing a few solo gigs and still playing some of my stuff. I just don't have the money to record my own stuff right now and I actually to tell the truth I'm more interested in what's going on with these bands and with co-writing with Amber and with Emily Kate Boyd of Jet Blk Joy
[ background music under Angela's comments from her albums "Outta Control" and "Pleasure and Pain" ]
Well, I opened Part 1 of the show with the band The Sexual Side Effects, and Angela's last comment is the perfect intro for one more song by them. This is called "An Hour Ago."
The Sexual Side Effects - An Hour Ago (2007)
Again, from Atlanta, The Sexual Side Effects, and I would definitely look forward to their debut album. And I'm following them with an old Motown song.
Veronica Klaus - Hunter Gets Captured by the Game (2009)
Those of you old enough might recognize that song as done by the Marvelettes, in 1967, but that version is brand new, done by one of my favorite transgender artists, Veronica Klaus. I did an in-depth interview with her for my November 2005 show. She's released three albums and I can't wait for the next one, but I'm making do by playing for you that track, recorded live at The Duplex in New York City in April 2009, courtesy of YouTube.
Rae Spoon - Off the Grid, Underground (2008)
That was Canadian artist Rae Spoon, and the song "Off the Grid, Underground" came from his 2008 album "SuperiorYouAreInferior." Rae wrote me that the song was about being trans in a small town.
Are you ready for some French transsexuals? I've got two famous ones to tell you about. The both transitioned in the late 50s and were great friends and both famous performers at le Carousel and Madame Arthur's in Paris. The first is Marie-Pier Ysser, more known on stage as Bambi. She released one 45rpm record in 1958, which I wish I owned, as it's very rare, but I do have one song from it, called "qu'on est bien (that is good)"
Bambi - Qu'on Est Bien (1958)
"Qu'on Est Bien" by Bambi. She's still alive, in her mid-70s now, and retired a few years ago, after working as a professor of literature in Cherbourg for 25 years. The other French artist I'm sharing with you was named Coccinelle, and was much more famous. The name Coccinelle is French for ladybug. Hers was the first widely publicized sexual reassignment surgery in Europe and she became a national celebrity and well-known club singer, and appeared in several films. Like Bambi, she was extremely attractive and had sex symbol looks. She died in 2006 at age 75. She recorded a number of songs, and I thought it might be interesting for you to hear this one, done in French.
Coccinelle - New York, New York (60s)
Coccinelle and "New York New York," from I believe the late 60s. And I said that Coccinelle was the most famous French transsexual. Well, Christine Jorgensen has that honor for the United States. She parlayed her celebrity into a night club act for many years, and even released this very rare 45rpm record in 1957, called "Crazy Little Men," done in sort of the mode of some of the novelty records that were popular then. No, she could not be accused of being a great singer, but hey, this is a history show, so here's "Crazy Little Men" by Christine Jorgensen.
Christine Jorgensen - Crazy Little Men (1957)
Okay, I got that out of my system. Next I want to go to something very different, and it's brand new. From her debut album "Objectified" is Shawna Virago. Now, where else would you hear a song called "Tranny Dominatrix."?
Shawna Virago - Tranny Dominatrix (2009)
This is JD Doyle for Queer Music Heritage, finishing up Part 2 of my transgender Artists show for September, and I especially want to thank Angela Motter for providing a unique opportunity to present a sort of dialogue on gender queer thinking.
You've obviously been listening to this segment from my website, so you already know there's a Part 3. Hope you find time to check it out. I want to close this segment with a favorite trans artist of mine, Joshua Klipp. He gave me a delightful interview for my July 2007 show, and I closed that show with a song from his album "Won't Stop Now" called "L1fe." I wrote him recently, asking if he had anything new he wanted to contribute to this show. And he sent me a remix of that song. It's the Jamie J Sanchez remix, the version that made it to the Billboard charts. Here's "L1fe" by Joshua Klipp.
Joshua Klipp - L1fe (2008)
Jayne County - We're the Transgeneration (1994)
"We're the Transgeneration," by who else but Jayne County. That was from her 1994 release "Deviation." This is JD Doyle for Queer Music Heritage and, okay, I admit it, there was just too much great music by transgender artists I wanted to bring you that I just had to do a Part 3 for this show. And who better to start with than Jayne County. If you want to hear more about her, well, she graced me with a terrific interview for my November 2003 show. But I've got a treat for you. If you go to her site you won't see an album from 2007 called "Jezebaal." Well, it never quite got released. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons that happens, but I want to thank the album's producer, Robert Coddington, for sending me a copy anyway, and allowing me to play a previously unreleased song from it. The song is called "Boys" and a few of you may recognize it as being sort of the same song done in 1961 by The Shirelles. The Shirelles put it on the flip side of their huge hit "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," and The Beatles spotted it and did a cover version of it, making the writers a lot of money. I described it as being "sort of the same song done by the Shirelles" because, other than the tune and the chorus, well, there's little in common, as Jayne very much changed the lyrics. It's a live recording from the Roxy and Jayne sings with a number of her friends, including Holly Woodlawn, Ginger Coyote, Constance Cooper, and Cherry Vanilla. I hope you're ready.
Jayne County - Boys (2007)
Here's a new artist named Mark Angelo Cummings, and I want to bring you one by him that very much deals with the subject matter of this show. It's a demo, so will not have studio engineering sound, but I think the words make up for that. It's called "Transgender Man."
Cummings - Transgender Man (2009)
After Mark Angelo Cummings was Joshua Aidan Benscoter, a transman artist I found on a compilation called "Trans-Genre." Josh is from St. Louis and his song was called "Secret." I'm glad there are such compilations as this, because many of these artists are so new and so independent that they just don't have their own releases yet, so this is a way for them to start to get exposure.
We've got some unfinished business from Part 1 of the show. During my interview with Radford Bishop of Tough Tough Skin we talked about a number of their songs, but here's one I couldn't play during broadcast radio, called "The Drinking Song."
Tough Tough Skin - The Drinking Song (2008)
The song "4 Inches Away," I know Coleman Lindberg wrote it but I really like it. Could you talk about that?
Absolutely. "4 Inches Away" is a song that was written by Coleman Lindberg, who I was in the band Winter Machine with, and Coleman is one of my absolute favorite songwriters. He wrote this song years ago, before I even met him, so probably before he was 21, and it's just about a boy that he had a crush on and didn't really get to pursue. And I just think it's a really sweet and tender moment on the CD.
Tough Tough Skin - 4" Away (2008)
Tough Tough Skin and "4" Away"
Tough Tough Skin - Stranger Danger (2008)
I love that one, called "Stranger Danger"
In Part 1 of the show I also played for you a song by Jenny Slater, from her 2008 album, "Zodiac." Well, I really like that album and just have to give you two more tracks from it.
Slater - Goodbye (2008)
By Jenny Slater, you heard "Goodbye" and "We Never Had It So Good," and I really like the 60s influence of her CD.
I've played Storm Florez on my show before, but this time I've got something a little different. He recently made available two versions of his song "Ma Yer Boy," the first recorded the day before he started testosterone, in March of 2005, and another version two years later. I put them together and the first 30 seconds are from 2005, and then the song transitions.
Florez - Ma Yer Son (2005, 2007)
I love the name of that last act. They are Good Asian Drivers, and Kit Yan is the slam poet backed up by Melissa Li, a lesbian musician. The track "Third Gender" came from their brand new CD "Drive Away Home." I want to also give you a solo piece from Kit Yan. It's from his live album from 2008 and is called "Tranny Shack." And you know, before I do that, I want to mention that in preparing this show I was in contact with several artists, and as part of interviewing I asked them, hey, are there any trans artists I should know about that might be new to me? And they all named Good Asian Drivers. Here's Kit Yan and "Tranny Shack."
Kit Yan - Tranny Shack (2008)
And this is just for fun; the artist is not trans but the song sure is. From the 2006 album "Harmonyville," by Didi Stewart, is "My First Kiss."
Didi Stewart - My First Kiss (2004)
Formerly a member of the 1980's Boston group Girls Night Out, that was Didi Stewart. And now for something completely different.
Athens Boys Choir - Fagette (2008)
The song was called "Fagette," and that was Katz, who goes by a name I think is very fun, Athens Boys Choir. And the song comes from a CD that also has a fun name, "Bar Mitzvah Superhits of the 80's 90's and Today." That's from last year and is his fourth album. And I can't resist playing one more track from it. By Athens Boys Choir, here's "Metrosexual Threw Off My Gaydar."
Boys Choir - Metrosexual Threw Off My Gaydar (2008)
Following the Athens Boys Choir was Anaturale, a gender queer artist out of Portland and the track "Transmission" will be on an upcoming album.
Before I get to the closing song, I want to thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you've enjoyed the three hours of transgender Artists on my September show. I love gathering this music and researching the artists in order to bring them to you. I got so into it that I found enough quality material for another three hours for next month, so be sure to come back for that.
Ending the show is an artist who has no problem getting attention. She's famous for singing, acting, modeling, fashion and partying. She says she's lost count of how many surgeries she's had, and the result is very exaggerated lips and boobs. Now, I would not ordinarily use the term boobs, but if you've seen her, well, that's the only word that fits. It all gives her an overall artificial look, but it seems to be working for her. She's Amanda Lepore and from her website is a track called the "Amanda Sampler," that mixes her songs "My Hair Looks Fierce" and "Champagne." Amanda Lepore.
Amanda Lepore - Amanda Sampler (2009)