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With what may well be their best album yet about to drop, Scissor Sisters’ frontman Jake Shears talks about the challenges of staying sexy as you get older, the attentions of obsessive fans and why he knew he’d made it in music when two murderers were named after his band.
Olaf Tyaransen, 08 Jun 2012
What was all that about?
“Ask Ana!” Shears laughs. “It was pretty funny. What was the story with those tattoos?”
Had you ever seen them before?
“I’d seen a picture of them. They’re quite something aren’t they?”
Actually, I thought they were kind of freaky...
“Oh, it’s sweet,” he says, waving his hand. “Freaky and sweet. Kind of sums up this band.”
Do you get many obsessive fans?
“Yeah, we do. Maybe a couple. I think we lend ourselves to it. There’s a lot in this band for people to obsess over if they choose to.”
In some ways, it was surprising that the marriage proposal was a hetero one. First formed in 2001, the Scissor Sisters – a glittery hybrid of Elton John, Queen, Gloria Gaynor and Duran Duran – were spawned by New York’s flamboyantly OTT gay nightlife scene (they’re even named after a Sapphic sexual position known as ‘tribadism’). However, although Shears is openly gay, he dislikes the band being defined as a gay one.
“Oh God, I hope we’re not thought of that way at this stage!” he exclaims. “I think for any band or any artist, you sort of have to transcend your everyday life – who you are, who we all are – in order to rise above it. If the whole thing is defined by something as boring as, like, who you fuck, then the train’s not gonna roll very far.”
Although not legally married, Shears refers to his long-term boyfriend as his ‘husband’. “I’m not officially married. But we’re going on our ninth year so we’re more than boyfriends at this point. I don’t use the word ‘partner’ so for lack of a better word...”
While they’ve undoubtedly got a strong gay following, their fanbase still seems decidedly mixed. I’d expected the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to be a colourful riot of glamour pusses, drag-queens and fag-hags, but last night’s audience definitely wasn’t a stereotypical gay crowd.
“Our audience is all sorts,” he observes. “The funny thing about coming out last night, and it was really apparent to me last night, is that everybody’s gotten ten years older. Everyone’s jumped up a decade. The kids that were 20 when they first started coming to see us are now 30. I walked out, took a look, and went, ‘Wow! We’ve all gotten older’.”