& She - Don't Look Back (2013)
Again, thanks for tuning in for the March edition of OutRadio. You've been listening to the new CD, "United States of God-des & She," and the tracks "Don't Look Back" and "Between the Sheets."
This is another three-hour edition of OutRadio and I have a couple special things going on. In the second half of Part 2 will be an interview with Amber Taylor of the band The Sexual Side Effects. She's an openly trans artist so we get into some of those aspects as well the music. And then Part 3 is way different. I decided to feature music by those wacky drag queens from RuPaul's Drag Race, from all five seasons, and you have to hear to believe that.
But up next is another double play, two songs from "Heartthrob," the latest by Tegan and Sara. You'll hear "Closer" and "I'm Not Your Hero."
& Sara - Closer / I'm Not Your Hero (2012)
That extended set also included "Don't Leave Me Here," from the 2012 CD "The Scenic Route," by Summer Osborne. Summer will be performing in Houston this month and I've been so looking forward to finally seeing her live. And a group I likely don't have much chance of seeing live call themselves Eeek and live in the Midlands area of England. Their song was called "Start Again."
Something mellow and meaningful coming up, by a teenage newcomer from San Francisco named Julian Hornik. His song "The Solution" was the winner in an "It's Get Better" song contest.
Julian Hornik - The Solution (2013)
I also want to give a special introduction to another related song. It's from the "It Gets Better Musical" recently produced in L.A. in conjunction with the Gay Men's Chorus there. One of its members, Sacha Sacket, was inspired to write a song called "Song for Jamey." It is dedicated to Jamey Rodemeyer, the young gay teen who made an It Gets Better video and then committed suicide a short time later. And the song is gorgeous. Here's Sacha Sacket.
Sacket - Song for Jamie (2013)
After Sacha Sacket was Beau Romani and his song "Man of Kent," appropriate as he was born in Kent, England. And then Fontaine James gave us "Cigarette," from his album "The Odd Fellows Hall." Now, those last three were new artists, with the last one being sort of new, or at least reborn. He's Kevin Allred had a couple CDs I liked in 2000 and 2003 and then took a ten-year hiatus, going to college, grad school and doing other life stuff. He's back this year with two CDs and "Long Way Home" was from one called "Brave Songs."
Up next is an old favorite of mine, Darren Ockert. I got a preview of his next single, and of course I'm sharing it. It's called "You Don't Know Me."
Ockert - You Don't Know Me (2013)
And that was the next single from Levi Kreis, called "So Much Better," and I just love everything he does. He sent me two versions of it, acoustic and dance and this time I obviously went with the dance track.
Next, from Germany, here comes something a bit different, by Jerry Jenkins & His Band of Angels. It's the "Beer Crying Blues."
Jenkins & His Band of Angels - Beer Crying Blues (2013)
That was Earl Thomas, whose been singing the blues for about three decades. You heard the title track from his latest CD, "Catch Me If You Can."
I'm slipping in a very short song by Garry Novikoff, with a quite unusual subject. Now I doubt he really intended this one for airplay, but I can't resist. It's called "R.S.S." and you'll quickly see what that stands for.
Garry Novikoff - R.S.S. (2010)
And closing Part 1 of OutRadio will be an Aussie artist I quite like, Brendan Maclean. I can't wait for his next CD, but I do know that this will be the first single, and it's called "Stupid."
Brendan Maclean - Stupid (2013)
This is JD Doyle with Part 2 of OutRadio and of course that turned into a lesbian version of "Billie Jean," and it and the opening song were by an Aussie artist new to me named Jenny Biddle. The first song was the title track from her new CD "Hero in Me."
And this next song was sort of a Valentine's Day present to her fans from a Minneapolis singer named Ellis. It's called "I Belong Here Next To You."
Ellis - I Belong Here Next to You (2013)
I hope you stick around for the second half of this segment...of course you will...because I have a special interview with Amber Taylor of the Atlanta band, The Sexual Side Effects, which I think is quite interesting. The band was in Houston in February and I got to see them in concert and, ladies and gentlemen, they can rock. But for right now, here's a brand new track by the band Semi Precious Weapons. It's a little different for them, and is called "Aviation High."
Precious Weapons - Aviation High (2013)
In the middle of that set was the duo Silver & Gold and their track "Time Racer," and then a gorgeous new song named "Already Fine," from a CD called "One True Thing." That's by an artist now going just by Tylan, but I have known her for about ten years as one third of the group Girlyman.
Jazz artist Mark Winkler just sent me his new CD, called "The Laura Nyro Project," and you might think, hmm, Laura Nyro and jazz, how does that work? Well, I think it works quite well. Here's the opening track, originally made famous by Blood Sweat & Tears in 1969. It's the song "And When I Die."
Mark Winkler - And When I Die (2013)
Okay, time now for that special interview with Amber Taylor of the band the Sexual Side Effects, and of course I started the interview with my favorite of their songs, "I'm in Love with a Girl, But She Used to Be a Man."
Amber Taylor Interview
This is JD Doyle with OutRadio, and I'm so pleased to bring you an interview with Amber Taylor, of the band The Sexual Side Effects. Amber, welcome to OutRadio. I just love the song that opened this segment. Please tell me about "I'm In Love With a Girl, But She Used to Be a Man."
Amber Taylor: Well, it's a comedy song, sort of. It's also a song that tells a little of the greater story of the band, from a very strange perspective. Since I'm a trans-person it's almost like an opposing perspective from writing it, but it kind of ended up that way. Like most songs it started with a title, "I'm In Love With a Girl, But She Used to Be a Man," it kind of led into a further theme, more of a story to go through for the song.
JD: It's a very, if you will, ear-catching song.
AT: Well, thank you.
JD: Not only is the title very appealing, but the song is damn good.
AT: Well, thanks, thanks, that's one of the...one of the songs that we have in our repertoire that really rocks. It's got a little more edge to it, it's more hard rocking, a little distortion on the guitars. When we play it live everybody gets pumped up and it's exciting; people start dancing. Everyone loses control at that moment in the club whenever we start playing.
JD: Is that the song that gets the most audience reaction?
AT: I would say so, it's get a reaction in many different ways. Some of them are comedic, obviously. We played Atlanta Pride this last year and we played on the main stage, and we had an interpreter doing sign language to our lyrics. When you go up and you play on stage, you're trying to ignore everybody, because the minute you start thinking about what you're doing, and the next thing that's going to happen is you mess up the song. And I looked down to the right, and when we were singing "I'm in love with a girl but she used to be a man" the interpreter and everybody who was hearing impaired completely cracked up (laughs) and we messed up the song in front of ten thousand people or something, but it was just so funny...had to take a step back and, okay, I'm playing a song.
JD: The name of the band is the Sexual Side Effects, and how did you come up with that name?
AT: Well, it was really from all those drug companies when they started marketing all the drugs on tv. They would just always say, "may have a low occurrence of sexual side effects," and we would hear it over and over and over again, we watch a lot of tv, and one day it just kind of hit me, I was like, "what a great band name that would be," especially with the situation that we have in the band.
JD: What is the situation in the band?
AT: Me being a transperson.
JD: Are there other GLBT aspects of the band?
AT: The drummer's gay, the rest of the guys are straight. I don't know, maybe one of them's bisexual, I don't know what his classification is.
JD: Talk about the band in general, how long has it been together, was it easy to form?
AT: Ah, it's been an ongoing collection of people. It started off as a solo project for me, but I really didn't want to have a band with my name, and have it about me, I wanted to have...
JD: You didn't want the Amber Taylor Project.
AT: Yeah, I mean, and I'm the primary songwriter in the band, but still, just because I started writing the idea doesn't mean I finished it all, and it's a group thing. It's taken a long time for it to all come together.
JD: How long have you been making music?
AT: Gosh, I've been playing guitar for 21 years, I think, something ridiculous, cause I don't look like I'm that old, and I'm not really that old, I mean, I've been playing guitar since I was 12 or 13, and it was a couple of years into it when I really started writing songs, that's where it really started and I've always been a songwriter. I play a bunch of instruments. I play drums, bass guitar, sing, play keyboards. It took ten years for me to really professionally get everything together and to be committed to making it my career as an artist.
JD: Your first official video is for "All She'll Ever Hurt."
AT: "All She'll Ever Hurt." Well, we did our album. We have a friend who...he's a really talented individual and he just helped us put this little video together, real quick, and he has a very artistic eye, did something that was very arty, and it was very simple. It was appropriate for the song.
JD: Well, that was the video, tell me about the song, "All She'll Ever Hurt"?
AT: Well, it's funny because a lot of songs...musicians will write these ideas...you know, you keep a book and you have an idea and you write it down. And then sometimes it tells about the future, and a lot of songs are like that, and that was a song that was written and it came true later. And first I didn't know what it meant. It was a story about breaking off with somebody, basically, and being hurt, being treated badly. That ended up happening to me and after that song was written and was pulled back out, then it made sense to me. And that's when we actually delivered the song, and went to record it.
Sexual Side Effects - All She'll Ever Hurt (2012)
JD: Has being transgender had an effect on your music?
AT: Um, yes and no. I really don't go around telling people. Of course I told you. Of course I've told everybody who's listening but it's hidden in the name of the band, so it's kind of our approach to win people over, by not telling people, because eventually they'll find out, I mean, it's in the name and hopefully by that point they'll fall in love with the music, they'll fall in love with the band. And then if somebody who has any kind of issue with it, at some point in their life, hopefully that will open their eyes a little bit, and warm their hearts, and we can win them over.
JD: My next question I have down is, in your performing have you ever run into transphobia?
AT: Ah, no, not really. There's been one or two people, but most people have been really positive with what we do. And it's not even really about that, I mean, most people don't even know.
JD: Well, if someone googles you they will learn very quickly.
AT: Yeah, especially with the name, but that's the think about our society, and it's not necessarily a good thing, but so many people are very visual, and when in society if you pass there's a different...there's a different level of acceptance. But it's hard, it's hard to deal with. It's been ten years since I changed, and I used to not look like I do and I've gone through the same thing that everyone who is trans goes through. I've gone through the fear of having to go to the bathroom in public and you can't go, and you don't know what's going to happen, things like that.
JD: Well, I don't know if it's politically correct, but you look damn good.
AT: (laughs) Oh, well, thanks, thank you.
JD: I guess you might describe the band's music as rock with some punk edges. Would you agree or expand on that?
AT: Well, I guess that the term that we've come up with recently, is progressive psych pop. I don't know if that makes any sense.
JD: Tell us what that means to you.
AT: Well, we pull from a lot of different influences. Most of the genres that we pull from are pop rock, indie rock, post punk and new wave, also like psychedelic space rock, so there's lots of these types of influences in there. You know, things that I really honor and cherish as music, and when I try to write something bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, and some of the effects and things that they would do, it's a melting pot of music, so it's almost like it's its own little sound
JD: I want to slip in another song from their CD, and this one is called "An Hour Ago."
Sexual Side Effects - An Hour Ago (2012)
JD: Well, you've got a CD now, can you tell us about it?
AT: Yeah, it's been out for a while. It's our first CD, "High Maintenance." It's just an EP with four, five songs. You can go to our website and get it if you'd like to, www.thesexualsideeffects.com. and we've been writing a lot of songs recently and getting ready to record the next one.
JD: So the shows you're doing now have a lot of new songs in them.
AT: Yeah, we've played a lot of songs for a long time. We haven't had the budget to go out and record right off the bat like a ten-song CD. The market's kind of changed right now when it comes to music. The way to deliver stuff to people...people's attention spans are so short that you just give then little chunks here and there, and so that's kind of what we're working on is to start releasing this stuff on a regular basis.
JD: What can a crowd expect from a Sexual Side Effects show?
AT: Well, we've been changing our show a lot and we really like to play at clubs. We're working on getting better light show, so we have lots of psychedelic elements that are included into our show. We encourage people to dress in costume. So there's a lot of parallels in what we do to, like the Flaming Lips show...people will come and be part of the show, and it's not about the band when you come to see us. It's about everybody who's there, it's a big party, and that's the fun part about it.
JD: an experience
JD: Tell me about the Transbeats video.
AT: There was a video I was involved with, with a Hollywood producer, and he basically created a show that he was working on selling, trying to get that to a network. There hasn't been much about what happened with that, or what's going on with that...
JD: But the video is very good, and features, what, eight performers?
AT: Yeah, I've actually made some really cool relationships with some of the other people who were part of the show.
JD: I'm going to send them from my site to watch the video, but y'all sing the David Bowie song "Changes"...or, "Ch-Ch-Changes," which is wonderful.
AT: Well, thank you. It was a lot of fun. There's a couple of people on there that really, just from going out to Los Angeles and meeting different trans people. One person in particular, Mina Caputo...used to be Keith Caputo, who was in a big metal band, like for the last twenty years, and made the change. And it was probably really dramatic because just the nature of metal music. I mean, metal is for like testosterone-driven kids, so it was really cool though when she made her change, cause she's really engaged with her fans on Facebook, and I keep up with her on Facebook, we talk every now and then...but it's really heartwarming to see her metal fans who were...you know, "when I was thirteen years old, that song meant so much to me, and now that you've changed, we still love you, no matter what decision you decided to make, we still love you." It's really cool to see something like that, that's a pretty extreme change for that style of music, and that audience and stuff like that.
JD: And here's the song "Changes," from the video we've been talking about. Amber is one of eight trans artists who take turns singing on this one.
Transbeats - Changes (2011)
JD: I want to pick a closing song to go out with. Which one would you pick, and can you tell me about it?
AT: Well, my favorite that fits with my theme and our on-going direction, creatively and musically, is "Aurora." It incorporates a lot of nightmare-ish and haunting and magical sounds. It plays around with a Middle Eastern type scale even that helps evoke that mysteriousness.
Sexual Side Effects - Aurora (2012)
RuPaul - RuPaul's Drag Race Theme (2009)
This is JD Doyle with Part 3 of OutRadio for March, and you likely know that opening number as the theme from RuPaul's Drag Race. It's in its fifth season and I've watched every one, though at times wondering why. It's definitely a reality show that so does not take itself seriously. Many of its past...what do we call them...celebrity contestants have gone on to make their own music. And we all know that being a hit drag performer does not necessarily mean you can actually sing, just that you can lipsync for your life.
So I put together this segment using commercially released songs only. You don't want to hear the many, many clips you can find on Youtube of folks singing at this or that club across the country. The audio quality on those is always dreadful. I first thought, well, that just about every former contestant had an official video, but no. I researched the listings from the first four seasons and was actually surprised at how few went commercial. So, let's start off with Season 1 and the performer who won. The running line was that BeBe Zahara Benet was from "Cameroon," so natch, her first song, from 2010, has that title.
Zahara Benet - Cameroon (2010)
Also from Season 1 was Nina Flowers, singing "House of Flowers." She's from Puerto Rico and was a little English-challenged, but her exotic costumes and personality were wonderful. As you could tell she is not much of a singer, and you are likely grateful that I cut over five minutes out of that track, and I bet you are not complaining. There was another contestant from that season who released an EP, Tammie Brown, and, sorry, in my opinion, it is unlistenable, I just could not inflict it on you. So, on to Season 2, and that year's winner, the kind of unlikable Tyra Sanchez, or as Ru called her, the Other Tyra. She had one single in 2011, called "Look At Me."
Sanchez - Look At Me (2011)
That second song was by Sahara Davenport, who unfortunately died last year of heart failure, at only age 27. And finishing out the Season 2 stars was Pandora Boxx, who has had several releases. That one was just called "Cooter."
Up next, from Season 3 is Raja, and I admit she's my favorite on the show so far. I picked her to win the very first episode of that year's show, and she never let me down. From 2011 is "Diamond Crowned Queen."
- Diamond Crowned Queen (2011)
And that was Manila Luzon, singing "Best XXXcessory." She was a fun contestant, with a great personality, and she finished second that year. Here's one more from Season 3, who wasn't as popular, or at least they edited the show to make it seem that way. Mimi Imfurst is releasing videos as part of a trio called Xelle, and the one I picked is "Queen." That's Mimi with the lower voice that starts around the 45-second mark.
Xelle - Queen (2013)
And this brings us up to Season 4, which I think, when you consider the music produced since it ended, was the most talented season of all. The bad boy, or if you will, bad girl contestant was Willam Belli, who has by now also appeared in movies and on television, and is flawless. He was eliminated mid Season 4 for breaking rules, as his husband and he had, let's call them, conjugal visits, during the filming, which was not allowed. When you think about it, considering that Willam, with his ten years of TV and movie experience, could hardly have been called an amateur, perhaps there was some level of fairness in him being kicked off the show. I was not crazy about him then, but have come to appreciate the high level of talent he has, acting and singing. So, I'm bringing you two tracks by him, and both are trio performances, along with Detox and Vicky Vox. Detox is a Season 5 contestant. First is their reply to the Chick Fil-A controversy, with one called "Chow Down at the Chick Fil-A," done very tongue in cheek. It will be followed by one I find irresistible. It's brand new, and is called "This Boy Is a Bottom."
& Detox & Vicky Vox - Chow Down at the Chick Fil-A (2012)
Another contestant I just loved from Season 4 was Latrice Royale. That girl was fierce. She came in fourth and for music she got together with a Season 3 finalist, Manila Luzon for a music video. That was inspired by their appearance in an extra Drag Race show called Drag Race All-Stars, which was only six weeks long, and followed the fourth season. I didn't like the show, as it paired former contestants up, and was even more artificially manipulated than the regular series. Of the six pairs Latrice and Manila were the third couple cut, and that inspired the song "The Chop."
Manila Luzon & Latrice Royale - The Chop (2012)
Manila Luzon and Latrice Royale, and I hope to hear more from them. One person I regret I could not find a professional music video from was my fave from Season 4, Chad Michaels, who could surely do a bang up job singing as Cher. Anyway, saving for last I'm presenting Sharon Needles. Now she likely leaves no one with neutral feelings after watching her. Her kind of eerie, spooky persona just does that. She was not my personal favorite to win, but I could definitely see all through the season why she ended up with the crown. I think RuPaul was very smart in picking someone with a very fresh, and attention-getting image. After all, it's show business. By the way, Sharon's husband is Alaska Thunderfuck and is now on Season 5 of the show. So let's take a side trip to her. She's already done a couple of releases and one from last year is called "Trannies Are Fierce (And They Carry Big Guns).
Alaska Thunderfuck - Trannies Are Fierce (And They Carry Big Guns) (2012)
That makes Alaska, along with Detox, the first ones out of the gate for Season 5 to have music available. But back to Sharon Needles. Sharon appears to be vying for the most successful musically, by already releasing a full-length album. No other Drag Race contestant has done that. And it's good, and includes a variety of sounds, not just the same production over and over, which a lot of the songs on this show admittedly seem to have. The CD is simply called "PG13," and includes some killer guests, like RuPaul, Jayne County and two more who are on my closing songs. Sharon's husband Alaska shows up on one track, along with Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters. Their song is "Kai Kai." And the second song's guest is Amanda LePore, and you'll figure out the title.
Needles, with Ana Matronic & Alaska - Kai Kai (2013)
Sharon Needles sings that she wishes she were Amanda LePore, but I doubt it. This is JD Doyle for OutRadio, and I'm shutting down my Salute to the Stars of RuPaul's Drag Race, with of course RuPaul and a song you hear at least part of on every episode of the show, "Cover Girl." So, put the bass in your walk, and enjoyl
RuPaul - Cover Girl (2009)