I’m not gonna lie…in the 90s, I was more interested in wallowing in my concoction of self-hate, which manifested in a toxic romance with an enabler known as punk music. Pansy Division was far too poppycock to be included in my arsenal needed to affront normalization. And even though they sung about boys being with boys, it seemed counterintuitive to my sex positivity antics, which included trysts in the toilets of Tiergarten, or satiating my whoremoans in the basements on Motzstr. I needed the bitterness of L7, the scorned scars of a widow, echoed in the melodies of frontwoman Courtney Love of Hole, and my unconditional love affair with retro 70s Brit Punk…Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex, and Wayne to Jayne County. Twenty plus years later, I can appreciate how beautifully subversive Pansy Division were, back then. There’s nothing more punk raucous than being in an openly gay band, and singing about boys, in the 90s.
Queercore band Pansy Division brought punk and rock to the gay world when pop and dance music were flooding the LGBTQ scene. They made it okay to love punk and poofs with their tongue-in-cheek lyrics and shambolic performances, a style that was previously associated with more heteronormative scenes. After a seven year absence (and 9 albums later), the rawk squad (Jon Ginoli, Chris Freeman, Luis Illades and Joel Reader) are back, celebrating their 25 year anniversary with new album Quite Contrary (out September 9)! Check out singles Blame The Bible and He’s Trouble below, and pre-order the full album now at Alternative Tentacles.
Guitarist Jon Ginoli (via Rolling Stone):
“When we began, there were very few people who were out in music; there weren’t really any in rock & roll. I think, even the ones that you think were out, they really weren’t out yet. It was like an open secret: People who never admitted it, but everyone understood. And it’s a pretty long list. I think we kind of forced the issue with that, but I think it would have happened anyway. The time had come, and it seemed like the time was right. Since then, a lot more musicians are out and this is great. But, one thing that we have is that we’ve always sung about being gay. We’re not just gay and musicians. We have sung about being gay as a part of the topic within our songs. I think, over time, some of them are less specifically gay than they were at first because it seemed like, when we had the chance that was really what we wanted to sing about and that was really unique.”