Monday, October 14, 2013

40 Year Itch : I Am The True Fairy of Rock

Rock's first openly gay artist was already making waves months before Elektra released his debut album. ( He was the last artist signed by the legendary Elektra president Jac Holzman who had also signed The Doors, Love and The Stooges). 

Thanks to the bulldog tactics of manager Jerry Brandt, Billboard Magazine wrote an article about the new star for its October 13, 1973 issue announcing that the Paris Opera House has been booked for four days for Jobriath to perform his own music "backed by a rock band, 12 dancer-singers and $200,000 worth of sets he designed himself." The article suggested ticket holders would get to see the 22 year old Pennsylvanian veteran of some Hair companies perform some mime with their rock and roll and that's not all:

One of the scenic effects in preparation is Jobriath's first entrance as a floating clown head from a box. The box then expands into a 36-foot tower which becomes first a Kama Sutra altar and then the Empire State Building, where Jobriath is to re-enact the death scene of "King Kong"

 There was a giant Jobriath billboard on Times Square the month the album finally came out  to mostly good reviews. Rolling Stone even wrote that Jobriath " has talent to burn".    

At this point you're probably asking yourself "Why haven't I heard of Jobriath?"
Well, the world was't ready.

The critics called him a Bowie clone and even his appearance on the Midnight Special did nothing but alienate the rock and roll crowd.

In an article for The Guardian Jobriath fan Mark Almond of Soft Cell fame writes

Everyone hated Jobriath - even, and especially, gay people. He was embarrassingly effeminate in an era of leather and handlebar mustaches.

The result was a fall even more dramatic than that of Ziggy Stardust. Jobriath became a male hustler and died on Aids in 1983 at the age of 36. In that short life he left behind some songs and a legacy. Among his fans you can count Morrissey.

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