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The Homosexuals formed in 1977 as a riotous anti-establishment punk band in the U.K.—-the trashier, grittier, less punctual version of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. The band was largely scattered, working on several side projects while also playing as the Homosexuals. They never pushed out a studio LP and never went on tour, but tomorrow, after fourteen years of hibernation, they’re coming to Washington. The band recently put out Astral Glamour, a three-disc posthumous collection of studio and live material. Their first tour brings them to the Velvet Lounge Thursday with Martin Bisi and The Cheniers.
Black Plastic Bag sat down with Homosexuals frontman Bruno Wizard to talk about punk and politics.
Talk about any projects or new material the Homosexuals are currently working on.
Apart from a five-track EP which I’ve just released, I’m also currently working on anything up to 200 tracks at my home studio in London. These are tracks that I’m co-writing with Anton, my original partner in crime for what has become known as the Homosexuals Greatest Hits (“Hearts in Exile,” “Astral Glamour,” “Walk Before Imitate,” “Soft South Africans,” etc.)
The new 10-inch vinyl EP entitled tentatively Love Guns has been recorded exclusively with my latest and most talented group of Homosexualistas: drummer extraordinaire, new media mogul Travis Harassment, head honcho of Serious Business Records, Mike Dos Santos, the only bass player capable of playing the bass lines to these songs better than the original bass player. Guitarist Dave (Soaring) Siegel will be co-producing this extraordinary first new vinyl release of Homosexuals music since 1984.
Why have you decided to tour now? Why was D.C. an important stop for you guys?
Washington, D.C. is important because I was born and brought up 10 miles away from Washington, County Durham in Northeast England, where the family of George Washington hailed from. Being a keen student of the effects of political oppression initiated mainly by the British but perpetuated through the corridors of power in places like D.C., I feel it’s important for me to bring my message of love through creativity, music, and real democracy—-elevating consciousness and not bombing people into submission. For much the same reason this is why I’m touring now. What you’re seeing is the manifestation, in the shared world of my ideas, that I have worked on since the ’60s.
I imagine a monopolization of Google hits wasn’t a factor when naming the band 30 years ago. Ever experience any e-related problems with this name? What are the Google alerts like?
No one ever caught a virus by email, at least not the sort that I think you’re referring to.
Are there any young new bands you’re really excited about?
King Khan, Black Lips, Deerhunter, Fiasco—-an amazing young band from New York, you heard it here first. Golden Triangle, the Muslims, Jay Reatard, the O.C.’s from San Francisco, the Vivians, Magnet City Rebel Kids, Looker—-two members of which, Boshra and AJ, are members of the roving band of gypsies known as the Homosexuals. And of course, Apache Beat and the Unsacred Hearts, plus too many more to mention that are in touch with me from all over America. It’s not so much about individual bands, It’s more about a new spirit and new generation of young visionaries who need gentle encouragement rather than “discovery” by journalists. In the U.K. where I’m heavily involved in nurturing new talent, you have Kid Harpoon, currently finishing his new album, Ting Tings, Operahouse, Mystery Jets, the Noisettes and so many more.
List five songs you would put on a mixtape for a kid who has no fluency in punk/post-punk.
Most of what is perceived as punk or post-punk in America and in Britain is just the commercially accepted face to the underground, recorded, produced and distributed by an unforgiving, unrelenting slave industry masquerading as a music industry. But I can give a list of 5 of my own songs, which in my own personal experience when the kind of children you are talking about are exposed to, loved it: “Hearts in Exile,” “Soft South Africans,” Astral Glamour,” “Walk Before Imitate,” “Slow Guns”.
Did you hear Obama won?
My immediate reply is Obama who? I cannot believe that anybody in their right mind would consider asking me that question, other than if they had only just heard the news themselves. I’ve been aware of the real danger that Obama posed to the establishment for the past twelve months because of the hatchet jobs that were already being prepared on him, not only by the Republicans but by closet Republicans within his own party. Having dealt with that I can now speak about the real issue here surrounding the most dramatic event in American political life since the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. Whilst this is my own singular perception of events I tend to view occasions like this with a historical perspective. Politics by definition and nature has proved to be soulless, lacking in compassion, and generally fueled by human sacrifice on the altars of power. My spirit and intuition tells me that due to a unique set of circumstances Abraham Lincoln found himself at the crossroads of history and able to help found a nation whose original Constitution contained the highest ideals known to man. For me, this was illustrated by his role in the abolition of slavery. The physical slavery of innocent people, the degradation and humiliation involved is also a metaphor for any kind of slavery imposed on others through a callous and wicked imbalance of power.
For me, Barack Obama represents the first and only president of the United States of America, certainly in my lifetime, who gives the impression of being able to liberate a nation and a world oppressed by the evil right wing fascist fundamentalist ideologies of George W. Bush and any others before him that killed in the name of their ideologies, religions, and dogmas. Yes, I did hear that Obama won, but I’m not sure that I heard it from the same source as you. Did you hear that Obama won, and if so, what did you hear he won?