The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Liam Wilson shows pride when it comes to his lesbian mom
It’s one thing for a child to come out to his or her parent as gay or lesbian. But who ever thinks about the parent coming out to the child? Well, that would be musician Liam Wilson.
As the bassist for mathcore rock group The Dillinger Escape Plan, Wilson has been out and proud about his lesbian mother, Shelly but notes that this turnaround on a coming out story isn’t always as easy as his. Plus, he found out wanting to be a rock star has its own sort of coming out sensibility.
Dallas Voice: So, it turns out your mother is lesbian. Why have you decided to talk about it with the media?
Liam Wilson: Yeah, I’m a "gayby." A friend of mine had a magazine, Wonkavision, and they were doing a spot about band members and their mothers. I thought that this would be a solid idea to make some sort of statement and use as a vehicle to put ideas out there. There weren’t books for what my mom was doing. I always felt it was a pretty maverick thing for my mom to be a single mother and an out lesbian at that time.
You knew this pretty early on in your life; was it hard at all to deal with?
It was definitely different. But I’ve met other people who have not even come out of the closet about their parents’ secret. It’s almost a role reversal where children are backlashing against a parent coming out. It’s weird for those who haven’t talked to anybody about it their whole life. It’s not the easiest thing to bring up.
What brought it out in me was my girlfriend telling me her dad was gay. It was never a secret in my house. I was 10 when I officially knew about mom.
So she came out to you, how was it coming out to her wanting to go into the music business?
It’s funny that you say that, because I used it as an analogy. My mom sent me to prep school, high school, art school but I was always passionate about music. I think she knew that, too. It was like two egos clashing, though. She bought me a guitar so I figured she couldn’t blame me where my talent could be further adapted. I remember hitting her with the analogy of it and I was so nervous. But for me, it was like knowing you felt something that wasn’t nurtured and you felt it in your bones.
What is your relationship like?
Oh, I won the lottery with her. She’s more like a sister and we’re not drastically far apart in age. So we bicker on that level which can be great.
Your music is hardcore rock/metal. Do you know if you have a gay following?
The gay community mostly embraces my band; first and foremost cause our singer’s a hunk [Ed. note: he totally is!] So it’s mostly because of him. Sometimes we’ll put rainbow things in our stage setting. No one in the band is a homophobe.
How’s the tour?
It’s our first real tour to promote the record. We have more production and we’re designing a light show. We fly to Austin for South By Southwest and then Dallas on Saturday.
Has your mother been to your shows?
She has. She’s supportive. But she lives in the Philadelphia ‘burbs now with her partner.
Do you talk about gay marriage or community involvement?
She’s involved with the community but she’s not overzealous. It’s all very whatever. Plus, what’s between her and her partner is between them. That aspect has translated to the way I conduct relationships with people. I like the community side of LGBT people. I don’t feel like there is that in the straight community. I’ve had this revelation that you really just have to be true to yourself. I can’t give a shit that people give a shit. I’m as polite as I can be but I’m not afraid to confront you if you’ve offended me.
The Dillinger Escape Plan plays with Darkest Hour, iwrestledabearonce and Animals as Leaders at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. March 20 at 7 p.m. $17. GranadaTheater.com.