Ghostland Observatory singer is Texas’ hottest and coolest straight dude
Dallas got lucky this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Austin duo Ghostland Observatory headlines the Dallas Observer’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade festival. If you haven’t heard of Ghostland Observatory, just wait. If there’s a Texas music act that’s on the brink of international superstardom, it’s them.
Their music is a booty-swaying fusion of electroclash, soul and deafening glam rock. And while they only have three albums under their belt, 26-year-old singer Aaron Behrens is already a rock god.
He’s undeniably sexy and possesses an explosive stage presence that’s equal parts Prince, Mick Jagger and Little Richard. But Behrens is most frequently compared to "Freddie Mercury. He’s been a huge influence," Behrens says during a recent phone interview from his home in Austin.
"Freddie was so smooth, but sharp. Plus, he borderlined the feminine and super macho — that androgyny, which represents my entity," Behrens continues.
With the braids of Pocahontas and the moves of a pole dancer, Behrens’ charisma definitely challenges hetero sex appeal. While he’s the epitome of a cool rocker, there’s no denying that Behrens dances like a "hot chick."
"I mimic what I find sexy — and that’s female energy. It just comes naturally to me. I’m totally in touch with my feminine side," he explains. "For men to learn how to dance, they have to get in touch with their feminine side and get rid of all that macho bullshit."
Behrens grew up in San Saba, Texas, where he was a preppy kid who played basketball and listened to heavy metal. "But even at a young age, I was being straight up with myself. I wasn’t this cat who beat up people in high school. I wasn’t on the football team — I quit that shit. And in a small town, not playing football is unheard of," he says.
"So I got out of that macho mind-frame, and got in touch with being human. And I don’t give a fuck who the guy is — every man has a feminine side. It’s a matter of really just wanting to be in touch with it — or be in denial of it," he continues.
Behrens is one of those straight guys (he married his seventh-grade sweetheart) who seems completely secure with his sexuality. His stage costumes look like they were sewn onto his body. His secret?
"I buy women’s jeans at thrift stores," he says. "Women’s boot-cut jeans are usually tight on the thigh. They just fit me really well."
I point out that a rock critic recently said that Ghostland’s bump-and-grind hit "Piano Man" could be "the gay dance anthem to end all gay dance anthems."
"Oh, totally dude! I could totally see that song as a gay song: ‘Got a man to hold you tight / Got a man that treats you right / Got a man that loves you, that holds you, I swear’" Behrens sings over the phone. "I don’t give a shit if you’re gay or lesbian or straight. I only care if you’ve got ears and you’ve got a heart with a beat in it."
St. Patrick’s Day with Ghostland Observatory, Greenville Avenue, between Ross Avenue and Northwest Hwy. Mar 15, gates at noon. $12.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 14, 2008