Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Jon Ginoli, the lead singer of the legendary San Francisco queercore, punk band Pansy Division, tends to embrace something that can still be very delicate to talk about in certain circles. While perceptions and attitudes toward the gay community have rightfully and appropriately been altered significantly for the better since his band began making music in the late 1980s, there is that bigoted stigma that hangs awkwardly in the air. It's still a shockingly a contentious issue about who people are allowed to love in this country that we would have thought - by NOW - would have learned its lesson from its ugly, prejudiced past.
The take on the gay lifestyle that Ginoli has always written about is oddly reflective of this attitude that has only waned, but never gone away fully here. His take however, is a twist on this line of thinking. He isn't writing about the seediness of gay culture, because that is a myth and it doesn't exist. He actually writes and sings about seediness that finds its way into many sexual encounters, no matter if they're straight ones, gay ones or both. When it comes to sex, people get fucking weird about fucking. Everyone turns into a freak a little bit and there's no avoiding the possibility of it getting the best or the worst of you.
You're getting into infested waters when you decide to hit the bar and pick up some tail and what Ginoli does with his songs, is he exploits this seediness. He exploits the uncomfortable feelings that plenty of assholes still have about gay love and uses them to his advantage, crafting tales that are built around feelings of keeping these dalliances mostly quiet, but never stifling the urges of lust.
He sings, "Forbidden sex has you obsessed, wondering when you'll be doing it next/Saw it on the bathroom wall/Read it on the toilet stall," in the song, "Obsessed With Me," and it's the mark of the common theme that rips through these songs. No matter who loves who, or in what combination, the problem of messing lives up with lust - with thinking with and listening to the cock - is universal. It's a tired old story of not being able to keep it in your pants and having all of it backfire all over everything.