News - December 1995

New albums benefit gay, lesbian rights

Gay rights is getting some extra muscle from the music industry in the form of two new compilation albums with proceeds targeting gay and lesbian causes and concerns.

Fiddlehead Salad, on Reprise Records, helped to raise money and consciousness for the defeated Nov. 7 ballot initiative in Maine that would have eliminated protection of gay and lesbian rights.

''Hatred and discrimination are ugly,'' Howie Klein, president of Reprise, told the Rocky Mountain News. Klein helped compile the 16-track Fiddlehead Salad album. ''It is with aggressive pleasure that Reprise can play even a small role in helping to defend basic human rights for any oppressed minority.''

Reprise became involved with the Fiddlehead Salad project after being contacted by members of the Maine Won't Discriminate coalition, a broad-based volunteer group that worked to defeat the proposed measure.

Reprise produced the album and donated cassettes to the grass-roots organization as a fund-raising product. While it is not officially handling distribution, Reprise has also helped to get the album, which is selling for $5, into gay-friendly record stores and bookstores nationwide and is promoting it in its Internet World Wide Web site.

The album features primarily gay and lesbian artists and all the songs address gay and lesbian lifestyle issues.

Artists, all of whom donated their services, include Extra Fancy, Imperial Teen, Laura Love, Glue, Phranc, Pansy Division, Tribe 8, and Venus Envy.

Reprise plans to make the Fiddlehead Salad master available to other states faced with similar battles.

The Out Loud CD, on the Knitting Factory Works label, also out now, is the brainchild of siblings Michael Dorf, owner of the Knitting Factory label and club, and Julie Dorf, the executive director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which will receive the proceeds from sales of the disc to assist in its global battle for gay and lesbian rights.

The idea for an album grew out of a series of Out Loud benefit concerts staged at the New York Knitting Factory during last year's Stonewall 25 celebrations, says Russ Gage, executive producer of the album.

U2 contributes a previously unreleased remix of Night And Day, for instance, while Indigo Girls offer a previously unreleased live acoustic version of This Train (Revised), and Throwing Muses contribute a live remix version of Finished.

Other artists include the Jazz Passengers, Melissa Ferrick, disappear fear, the Mekons, Everything But The Girl, the Judybats, Betty, and Y'all.

''The gay and lesbian music buyer is certainly a primary target for this, because they are inclined to support the issues we are fighting for,'' Gage told the Rocky Mountain News. ''But the music definitely stands alone in terms of its appeal.

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