Mister Sister

Headlining or opening for Gaga? It’s all the same to Scissor Sisters’ Marquis

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Scissor-Sisters-red-blinds
MAKING THE CUT | Del Marquis, far right, has sex appeal with bearish qualities, even though frontman Jake Shears, second from right, gets press for taking his shirt off.

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GAGA/SCISSOR SISTERS

American Airlines Center,
2500 Victory Ave.
March 14 at 8 p.m.  $52–$178.
Ticketmaster.com

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Despite headlining their own tours and high profile music festivals for their acclaimed CDs, the Scissor Sisters kinda had a secret agenda when they joined Lady Gaga’s tour as the opening act. As big as the band is, when you go on the road with The Biggest Pop Star of the Moment, benefits abound. The Sisters may not seem like they need the benefits — having their own rabid following — but guitarist Del Marquis thinks it could always be bigger.

“There are only a few people you’d want to open for that are well beyond our capacity,” Marquis says. “We think her audience would get us but may never see us. We don’t get video or radio play, so after our show people may go and look us up.”
Funny, being that Scissor Sisters has just been named to big time gigs at the Coachella festival in April and headlining a night at the U.K. festival, Lovebox, in July. But for Marquis, headliner or not, this shakeup keeps the band on its toes.

“When we headline and we feel like we own it, we work it and peddle our wares,” Marquis says. “But people have paid a certain amount to see Gaga and so we just work harder but in a different way. Yet it’s fun to work for it that way again.”
Besides, it’s less work.

“Oh yeah, half an hour on stage and we’re done,” he laughs.

Vanessa Franko from the InLandSoCal blog wrote recently that “the band is still tragically under appreciated.” Scissor Sisters aren’t an obscure indie band, but their very radio-friendly music doesn’t get the mainstream play. In that regard, Marquis brazenly agrees.

“In the States, yeah, but of course, tragic is a point of view,” he says. “I think we write great songs and we’re great live band.

There are not a lot of both out there. Songwriting is almost just a vehicle to a performer now and some bands are a bore live but have great songs. We work really hard at both things, so we’re a rarity. There are a lot of rock bands and pop stars, but we’re a pop band and, against the odds, become something larger.”

Which the band seems to have found overseas. The Brits love the Sisters, and maybe it has something to do with the band’s constant comparison to vintage Elton John that go even beyond having flamboyant gay members like Marquis and lead singer Jake Shears.

“We do love our U.S. tours, but the audiences seem much bigger in Britain,” Marquis says. “They are really great and there we don’t play to people with arms folded. But really, whether it’s a crowd of 1,500 or 33,000, we play to get an immediate reaction anywhere. We are blessed we do get in that high range of audiences. We want to indoctrinate more people.”

Marquis has enough sex appeal to rival frontman Shears (for that matter, so does fellow bandmate BabyDaddy), but he might appeal to a more fur-appreciating contingent. With the Texas Bear Round-Up around the corner, Marquis and his hairy chest would fit right in. Except Marquis is not inclined to embrace an ursine identity.
“Am I a bear?” he laughs. “No, I don’t like to think of myself as an animal. A lot of my best friends are bears, though.”

Marq
BOY IN THE BAND | Marquis doesn’t mind the ‘opening band’ status when he and the Scissor Sisters are opening for ‘the biggest pop star in the world.’ They just plan to find more fans.

Marquis isn’t shy, but says he is rather ordinary compared to his frontman’s explosive charisma, as seen in the recent coffee table book One Day in the Life of Jake Shears by photographer Tim Hailand. Marquis admits a book about his day just wouldn’t be all that.

“Oh, I don’t think it would be all that exciting,” he says. “I find pleasure in mundane things. I like to walk and garden. I’m not too exciting so all that would have to be staged. My extrovert is on the stage.”

If ever his stage moments are gone, Marquis is keeping his future options open.  If there is ever a post-Scissor Sisters existence outside of music, Marquis hints that it could involve design work or even shrubbery.

“I have a new idea every few months about what the future holds. It’ll always be there in a sense,” he says. “I’m constantly driven by pleasure and fulfillment and inspiration, but because music is so heavily saturating my life, I have to turn to something else as a hobby or a pleasure. So sometimes I think I might get back into design or even small business. I’m even interested in landscape architecture.”

Cooking however, is not on his list. Marquis has admitted to loving food, but don’t expect a dish from his hands.

“Yeah, I don’t cook,” he says. “I like to find boyfriends for that.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Best Bets • 12.31.10

IMG_0107Friday 12.31

Chortling in the new year
You’ve chortled, don’t lie. Backdoor Comedy offers a funny approach to your midnight plans with its New Year’s Eve Extravanganza. The lineup includes BET’s Chris Brown, Emmy-winning funny lady Linda Stognar and headliner Paul Varghese who got his start in Dallas but went on to the big time with gigs on Showtime and Comedy Central. Chortle away.

DEETS: Backdoor Comedy, 8250 N. Central Expressway. $27–$43. 8 and 10:30 p.m. BackdoorComedy.com.

Sunday 01.02

Drag royalty says goodbye to Dallas
After 18 years of performing, Wayne Smith will do a final show before saying farewell to Dallas. Smith is most famous for his spot-on impersonation of Cher. This month’s Drag Brunch isn’t just about the mimosas and frittatas, it’s about saying goodbye to Smith who’s become legend in these parts.

DEETS: Dish, 4123 Cedar Springs Road. 11 a.m. For reservations call 214-522-3474.

Tuesday 01.04

Waiting for that schwanzstucker?
We hear it’s huge, but that was from the movie. Will the musical version of Young Frankenstein be as funny and have all the sexy innuendo? With Mel Brooks still behind it, we’re betting yes.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Through Jan. 23. $30–$98. ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Brannan and Himan at The Loft

Last night’s show with Jay Brannan and Eric Himan offered a mix of oil and water. Both armed with acoustic guitars, Himan rocked the venue while Brannan soothed the almost sold-out crowd. With such a spectrum, the ovations for both were loud and blatantly appreciative.

Brannan croons like no other and he confessed onstage to being sick and vomiting the whole day prior to the show. He showed no signs of that as he sang with crystal clarity. His voice was pristine and you almost think you’re listening to a CD. He performed a healthy set also, for being so sick. “Housewife” may be his most popular song and it was well-received, but I’d have to say “Beautifully” and “Charleston,” his cover of a friend’s song, were fantastic highlights. He captured the exquisiteness of each melody nicely in both. Although his work is on the mellower side, at times the set needed a slight jolt and the ballads began to run into each other. Brannan was never tepid, but came oh-so close.

On a side note, he talked about how he loved returning to Texas as he can find really good Mexican food here. But when he cited Pappasito’s as his taco destination, we nearly choked on the ice in our drinks.

Himan, on the other hand, killed his set. With a playlist of about six songs, he took us up and down with the stirring “Protest Song” to a decent cover of Journey’s “Faithfully.” He’s a lot grittier live than he is recorded and it was a revelation. Where Brannan’s set was like a zen meditation, Himan’s bit was bombastic.

Last night was one of those special shows where the headliner met expectations nicely and the opener left a strong and exciting impression.

—  Rich Lopez

Another reason to go to Aspen: Leslie Jordan

Last week, I mentioned that time was running out to get some early-bird deals for Aspen Gay Ski Week, the Who’s-your-granddaddy of gay ski events. Scheduled entertainment included Dallas’ own Paul J. Williams, who will host the “comedy night.” Now word comes in that the headliner for the event will be Leslie Jordan.

The Emmy-winning star of Will & Grace and Sordid Lives is a fixture in Dallas where his home-spun queer humor plays well. No word yet on whether Jordan will perform his Trip Down the Pink Carpet one-man show, his standup or just improvise with Williams. (I know from experience: Jordan needs no help to be funny extemporaneously for long stretches.)

The show takes place at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen on Jan. 20. Tickets are $50. Buy ‘em at 970-920-5770.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones