Keith C.

December 1997

Rock and a Hard Place

I was thinking about how certain bands and artists are linked to gay culture. (We're going to call this the belated National Coming Out Week column okay folks?).

Certain bands are quite easy to determine whether they are mysteriously linked to gays or not. We're going to skip the obvious here (Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure) and opt for the bands and artists that are a bit harder to pin down.

How about...

Metallica? They only unwittingly attracted gays after last summer when they sported the gay clone look of the '70s (tight white tank tops, leather pants, short haircuts, etc.). And how could you forget frontman James Hetfield erotically tearing his shirt off and smearing some sort of goo on himself in the video for "Until It Sleeps?"

Green Day? The band's Billy Joe Armstrong is known for dropping trou at many a concert, so that's bound to get a few guys interested in him. On top of that, Green Day welcomed the very gay band Pansy Division as an opening act on one of their concert tours. And besides, didn't Armstrong allude to confusion over his sexuality in his formative years (he's married now). And he sings in 1994's "Basket Case," "I went to a whore / He said my life's a bore." What the hell is going on here?

R.E.M.? Many thought that "Losing My Religion" was about frontman Michael Stipe coming out of the closet. (Though Stipe points out that he was surprised to hear that interpretation.) Heck, Stipe did admit to sleeping with members of both sexes.

Bruce Springsteen? Well, sort of. After "Street of Philadelphia" I can see how a few gay fans might have been gained. But the Boss doesn't exactly have a loyal gay following. Oh, and heck, during the Born in the U.S.A. era, he was an icon of masculinity: tight blue jeans, rolled up sleeves on a T-shirt and a working man's ideals.

Dave Matthews Band? After "So Much To Say" from their last album, Crash, one has to wonder. With the lyrics "and my hell is the closet I'm stuck inside" and "yeah yeah yeah can't see the light / keep it locked up inside don't talk about it / talk about the weather" you have to wonder what the hell Dave is talking about.

nine inch nails? Trent Reznor has had rumors fly around about his backstage antics with male fans for a while now.

George Michael? Oh come on. That's too easy. Listen to anything post-Faith. Notice how anytime he refers to a woman, it's implied that it is his mother? And how all of his love songs are now pronoun-free? And didn't he put his boyfriend into the video for "Fastlove?" (If you spot the guy that obviously doesn't look like a model, you've found him.)

Depeche Mode? I suppose this one is pretty simple too. Though none of the band members are gay (really!) most of their lyrics can be read into any sort of love -- gay or straight. And besides, "Master and Servant" practically screams gay.


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