No band has waved the rainbow flag more proudly than Pansy Division. From its origins and involvement in early-’90s Bay Area punk to becoming de facto leaders of the “homocore” movement, Jon Ginoli, Chris Freeman and a rotating cast of straight and gay drummers (the band is now rounded out by drummer Luis Illades and guitarist Joel Reader) never shied away from graphic depictions of queer, bi and questioning dudes getting sweaty with each other and a variety of apparati. But as acceptance of queer culture and community has grown and the band’s members find themselves in their 40s and 50s, the topics on new album Quite Contrary have also progressed. Pansy Division will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on them.
Luis Illades picked up the pink emergency phone and checked in with his closest friends and icons that Pansy Division has met along the road to check in about their experiences with the queer past and present. As well as trying to get a tip on the newest jamz.
Who was the last queer artist you collaborated with and how has their experience influenced your attitude toward your work?
Funny you should ask! Here is the project I’m bringing to Dayton on Nov 1. I met Clyde last year when R. Ring played in Seattle. We met through Lori Goldston, the cellist for Nirvana who opened the R. Ring show.
Clyde invited us to do a boating/video/music piece that he does called, Boating With Clyde, the morning following the Seattle show. It was a weird, beautiful, music-filled morning!
Who was the first queer icon who made an impression on you?
Elton John. I can remember in the sevs when there was so much chatter about “was he gay, was he straight?” It was the first time I felt my mind hover over a piece of music and recognizing that the answer to that question could affect my consumption and opinion of the song. Not particularly for good or bad, but it would be informed by it. As I think about that time—I was really young so I’m not sure that I really knew what it all meant!
What was the last song that you listened to on repeat?
“A Tip To Trick The Tide” by Quailbones. They are from Murray, Ky. Great song, great lyrics. “The day was dumb but who’s to blame/I am on your side/A tip to trick the tide.” R. Ring did a split single with them. Our track is called “Singing Tower.” We dubbed the project “Pussy Peril” because the artist, Ali, drew an Octopus on the cover artwork. I remember feeling super sheepish about the word Pussy. Funny …