QueerCore: G.B. Jones, Liz Naylor, Kaia Wilson, and Other Ladies Dish the Dirt
Through the memories of LGBTers who lived it in the ’80s, Out magazine (SheWired's sibling publication) explores the history of gay-themed punk known as QueerCore. Bob Mould, Dennis Cooper, Bruce LaBruce and other male musicians and artists chime in, but you also get to hear from lady scenesters like G.B. Jones, Jena Von Brucker, Lynn Breedlove, Donna Dresch, Joanna Brown, Leslie Mah, Liz Naylor, Kaia Wilson, Jody Bleyle, and Rachel Carns. Some juicy tidbits from the girls’ perspective:
JONES: These two smart women with incredible style -- Kathleen Pirrie-Adams, who played bass, and Janet Martin, who played guitar -- told me they were looking for a drummer. I had only drummed once before and didn’t know how. I said right away that I wanted to join, because they were unlike anyone I’d ever met.
VON BRUCKER:Double Bill came about at 3 a.m. We were having a discussion about William Burroughs, this revered gay icon. There is this glaring information, that he shot his wife in the head, that people seem to ignore. That got lumped in with this other idea that there was a lot of hatred for women in the gay-male community. Johnny and Rex spoke out against it. At the same time, Cannon reruns were on late-night TV, and we had this great affection for William Conrad. We got this idea to create a fanzine to juxtapose Conrad, nice guy and lover of women, against Burroughs, a horrible and creepy misogynist.
BREEDLOVE: There were rocker queers and disco queers. In high school, I hung with the rockers. We were listening to Journey and Queen. There was no queer music. Freddie Mercury wasn’t even out! But we could tell by looking at him. We would come together at the discos, where we would take our fake IDs and do the hustle. As time progressed, my friends were listening to Black Flag, and I was like, What the fuck is this? It was sarcastic and hilarious, and gay in that it was camp, ironic, and making fun of yourself -- but totally hard-edged and “fuck you.”
NAYLOR: Punk was liberation from a life of Jefferson Starship. I didn’t know how I was going to survive in the world as a 14-year-old lesbian. Punk, though it didn’t give me any answers, gave me an escape from what I thought would be a hideous future.
WILSON: Adickdid was my first band. In that band, I was like, I gotta play with girls. Eventually I was like, I gotta play with lezzies.
MARCUS: I remember seeing Rachel Carns before a show, drawing in her eyebrows and mustache with a Sharpie in the side-view mirror of their van and saying, “I don’t care if straight people come to our shows. We’re not doing this for them. They don’t have to come, and we don’t need them to feel welcome.”
DRESCH: I can’t tell you how many letters I got from people saying they would have killed themselves if they hadn’t heard the band. I’m blown away we had that impact on people. We’re just four dykes who make music.