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Clip: Bob Mould and Imperial Teen's Roddy Bottum on Queer Culture

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  • Carl Abraham Zimring
    http://www.thestranger.com/2003-06-26/music2.html BENT INTO SHAPE Bob Mould and Imperial Teen s Roddy Bottum on Queer Culture by Jennifer Maerz Now in its
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2003
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      http://www.thestranger.com/2003-06-26/music2.html

      BENT INTO SHAPE
      Bob Mould and Imperial Teen's Roddy Bottum on Queer Culture
      by Jennifer Maerz

      Now in its second year, Seattle's premier queer music festival, Bent, works
      to promote the music of queer artists and showcase both big and emerging
      talent. This year the good times run Thursday, June 26, through Sunday,
      June 29, at various venues, while monthly Team Bent events continue
      throughout the year. (For more details, see www.bentfestival.com.) To help
      kick off this weekend's celebration, we corralled D.C.-based Bob Mould (who
      will perform solo and is currently working on an electronic music project
      called Blowoff) and L.A.-based Imperial Teen's Roddy Bottum (who is working
      on film scores and will show his documentary on incest, The Cucumber
      Incident, on the Sundance Channel soon) to chat about domestic
      partnerships, Gravy Train!!!!, and Cyndi Lauper's worn-out welcome.

      Why did you both decide to be part of this particular festival?

      BOB: For years, my perception of Pride weekends hasn't included indie rock,
      and to have it at what seems to be a very organized and credible setting
      can only do a lot of good. If people find out about it in other cities, the
      people who put Pride weekends together could maybe include [a similar
      event].

      Why don't you think other Pride events include indie rock?

      BOB: Maybe because the people who put a lot of these events together are
      older than us, and just don't perceive that as part of the community, when
      in fact it's been a real integral part of the community, especially in the
      last 10 years.

      RODDY: In Los Angeles, I just saw a poster the other day [for Pride] that
      promoted Cyndi Lauper and Belinda Carlisle as the big headlining acts! I
      don't necessarily need something indie, but I need something smart that
      doesn't cater to a stereotype, and that's how the Bent festival seems to me.

      Are there similar kinds of events in L.A.?

      RODDY: There always have been. L.A. and San Francisco seem really welcoming
      to gay youth culture that's not so much the old stereotype of
      four-on-the-floor dance stuff. We played with a fun band recently, Gravy
      Train!!!!, and to me they epitomize where queer youth culture is going...
      which is wild and varied and really fun.

      Do you both have any questions for each other?

      RODDY: Yeah--Bob, do you find that you're gender-specific when you're
      writing about love?

      BOB: Well, on the last couple records, I've been pretty homo. And it's
      interesting to watch how the traditional longtime fan responds to songs
      about things like same-sex longing. I think people who have been with me
      for the long haul are seeing that there really is very little difference at
      the end of the day, and that's rewarding. How do you feel the business is
      these days? I have my own opinions, but I'm always curious about other
      people who are very out, and if their work reflects it. Do you notice if
      doors are more open, while others get closed?

      RODDY: I don't notice closed doors. If that comes up, people aren't going
      to be brazen about it. No one wants to be caught having [a homophobic]
      attitude in this day and age, especially in the entertainment industry.

      BOB: I only see it in terms of how some large media conglomerates look at
      an artist who might carry a message that would be contrary to their primary
      advertisers.

      RODDY: I've heard stories of radio program directors not playing things...
      particularly this Imperial Teen song that was on our first record, and was
      getting some radio airplay. It reached a point where it didn't get played
      anymore, and someone was citing this program director in the South who
      refused to play the song, and others took his lead.

      BOB: I've heard anecdotal evidence of stuff like that, and you just shrug
      it off--it's like, what can you do? But I do think things have gotten a lot
      better, despite the government in power. Having said that, though, I think
      domestic partnership and benefits are [important], more than formalization
      of a union and marriage--just recognizing that people are life partners.
      We've got to get to that.

      RODDY: Agreed.
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