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Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division

Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division

The leader and founder of the original queer rock punk band tells all in this memoir of his years on the road, in the studio and fighting for gay rights with his music. Replete with the requisite tales of sex, drugs, groupies, band fights and label battles, this rollicking memoir is also an impassioned account of staying true to the artistic vision of queer rock'n'roll.

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I’ve written a memoir of my experiences with Pansy Division. It’s called Deflowered: My Life In Pansy Division, and was released in March 2009, published by Cleis Press, a queer San Francisco publishing house. 

 

While the recent Pansy Division documentary gives an excellent overview of band, the book is a far more detailed account of our 18+ year history. In the past when I’ve related various stories about the band, I often heard, “you should write a book.” So I did!  I think I even remembered all the good stories.  I believe it’s entertaining in its own right, but even more, it’s a really good companion to the film. 

 

Following the book’s release, I did a cross country book tour, 46 cities! In some cities I had screenings of the film in conjunction with book appearances, and I brought my acoustic guitar along to the performances and played a few songs.

 

Instead of posting an excerpt, I thought I’d post an outtake, a bonus track of sorts:

 

RIPPING OFF THE RAMONES

 

At the end of 1998, we were asked to contribute to a compilation album on Bay Area label Fat Wreck Chords.  Fat was a successful label run by Fat Mike from the popular punk band NOFX.  The album’s concept was to have 101 bands doing songs of no more than 30 seconds in length, called Short Songs For Short People. 

 

They asked bands to record new songs especially for this project, but their deadline was tight, and we weren't able to do it. At that time, we were on a mini-hiatus from the band, having been exhausted by a 4-month stretch of back-to-back tours of the US and Europe. We offered them a song from our then-most recent album, a 15-second thrash called "Two Way Ass." Mike said they might use it, but as it turned out, more bands responded to their call than they had expected, and we got bumped. Oh well, it would have been fun to be on the same album with The Damned, Black Flag, and The Misfits, not to mention Green Day.   However, still thinking about the concept a year later, I wrote an original tune for the occasion, though it was never recorded. Thinking of how many run of the mill, ordinary punk bands would be on the CD, I realized what a debt many of those bands had to The Ramones. 

 

Now don’t get me wrong—I adore the Ramones, they’ve been a big influence on my life. But the Ramones were originals, they invented something no one else had thought of at that point, and it revolutionized rock music.  But their copyists were not so creative. This was at a point after our albumAbsurd Pop Song Romance had come out, an album whose evolution in sound was evidence of how tired we were of rote punk. This is clear in the lyrics:

 

Punk rock gave the old farts

A kick in the ass

Now it's the punks

Who need a kick in the pants

 

Stuck in the past

Following the rules

Like a tribute band

Rejecting anything new

 

Cause you're all ripping off The Ramones

You make cash ripping off The Ramones

You're just a bunch of useless clones

Is your band ripping off The Ramones?

 

I wish this song could have been on the comp; it would have been a slap to some of the bands on that album, which would have been naughty and fun.

 

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