New York rockers the Gay Blades gladly struggle with first impressions
What do you get when you take one guitarist and one drummer — both scruffy — and mix it with some garage rock and then add a twist of pop music? The sum total would be the Gay Blades, a duo who describes their music as trash pop.
Members Clark Westfield and Puppy Mills are touring in support of their upcoming DVD, "Alive at the Lanes," and they know they’ll be staving off more questions about their moniker. That’s another twist. Westfield spoke with us (complete with oh-so-sexy rock star voice) in between hotel rooms and gigs to talk about his ass, dancing naked, the Blades’ place in the community and, yes, their name.
The Max, 13300 Branch View Lane. July 16 at 6:30 p.m. $12. Myspace.com/thegayblades.
Dallas Voice: To get this out of the way, how do you guys identify? We’re both straight. We consider ourselves, like, 60 percent gay because we like to shop and we don’t like sports. Between the two of us, that would make us 120 percent gay.
Two straight guys going by The Gay Blades. What’s up with that? When I’m onstage, I’m flamboyant, animated, over the top. Those same performances are sometimes associated with the gay community. It’s not really that important to us one way or another. There is this Lou Reed song, his ‘Vicious’ song where he sings "Hey, why don’t you swallow razor blades/You must think I’m some kinda gay blade." We thought it was a noticeable name so we went with it. Besides, the initial meaning of gay blade actually is a young man, a roustabout; like us. We’re kind of obnoxious at times.
So you aren’t just a couple of teases? No one’s actually said that. But I am a cute little piece of ass.
Do the gays respond to The Gay Blades? No one has been turned off in the community. They were one of the first groups in New York to support us. In fact, they were super, super supportive. We’ve done a lot of stuff in the community. We had some videos on the Here! Network. We walked in the AIDS walk for the Gay Men’s Health Organization. Some of that stuff comes just from the name of course, but also, some of our friends got us into it. I do think that regardless of the name, we’d still do that stuff. It’s not like a foreign concept or uncomfortable. Some of the bigotry happening right now is frustrating for anybody with a fuckin’ conscience.
Cool, you’re gay friendly but some of your stuff makes us wonder, like the digital EP titled "Seven Inch Horse Head." Um…care to explain? [Laughs] To be completely 100 percent honest with you, I never thought about it that way. It really was just a split 7" vinyl record with a horse head on it.
OK, then what about the song "Why Can’t I Grow a Beard?" Is that beard or "beard?" It’s beard. I really couldn’t grow one for a long time. It’s a song of self-importance and it’s looking pretty good today.
Your MySpace page says you want to dance naked together. Is this an open invitation? Honestly, man, woman, child I don’t care what it is. People here don’t dance. Listen up DFW, you guys come out! We don’t care!
What’s going on with the band now? A band just needs to be busy all the fuckin’ time. Kids forget. If we’re in the business of playing music we need to be out there. That’s why we’re touring. We’re gonna start recording in October for the next CD. We want to take some time and record the right album.
What qualifies your music? We call it trash pop. Pop songwriting that’s trashy and loud with some indie songwriting sensibility.
What question do you get asked the most by us pesky reporters? Of course it’s "How’d you get your name?" That probably wouldn’t happen if we named our band anything else. As our band grows maybe people will stop asking that question. But it’s not that big of a deal. We kind of asked for it. You have three kinds of people — those who like our name and our music, those who like our music and hate our name and those who hate our music and hate our name. It would be great to sell records to those who won’t listen to us just because of our name, but in the same breath you are who your fans are, and it is refreshing to know we don’t have a bunch of bigots listening to us.
Do you have girlfriends? Yes, we have girlfriends. We have serious girlfriends.
Darn that other 40 percent.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 10, 2009.