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

Himan to join Brannan for Loft set next month

About a month ago, we blogged that Texas-born Jay Brannan — whom we profiled last year — was coming back to Gilley’s Music Center (The Loft) in December. Well, now we hear who his opening act will be … and it’s none other than our friend Eric Himan. We profiled Eric, too  ealier this year, and just reviewed his new album. We’re fans of both these out artists, though sometimes if feels like Jay’s not all that fond of us, but that’s OK.

The concert is on Dec. 14.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Pick a show

This week deals out all kinds of live music. But what’s gay about ’em?

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

THREE OF A KIND Green Day, left, Sheryl Crow, center, and Chromeo are just a few of this week’s concert offerings.

As if dueling Billy Idol and Kenny G concerts weren’t enough — not to mention the residual bloodbath therefrom — this week in music is all over the place. From rock turned Broadway punks to a local lesbian favorite, pretty much everything is covered.

Here is some lowdown on this week’s concert calendar and why might the gays head out to see. At the very least, you can imagine any number of combinations of Show vs. Show and determine which would come out on top.

Sheryl Crow

Crow started as a mere rocker chick with a guitar but over the years transformed into one hot cougar. Her gay appeal, though, is rather lacking. She doesn’t offer much drag inspiration in either song or look, despite being gorgeous and fit. Lance Armstrong isn’t a hunky enough lover for the gays to be overly jealous of and she may have some lesbian appeal, but she’s no Melissa.

She has embraced her cougar hotness, though, and at 48, is not afraid to bust out the microminis and show off her toned legs. Still, music is what she does best.

Despite her strong lineup of hits, Crow’s gay scale is average. QQR (Queer Quotient Rating): 50 out of 100.

Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. $38–$78. Ticketmaster.com.

Green Day

Sixteen years ago, the punk rock trio’s CD Dookie took the music world by storm, reminiscent of the brash Beastie Boys a decade earlier. Since then, they’ve kept a strong edge but matured into one of today’s more important bands.

So what could three punksters from Berkeley have in common with the queer community? A lot.

With their breakthrough, they hit the road with queercore band Pansy Division as the opening act. Despite Division’s newfound exposure, not all fans were fond of the gays. Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong took time to defend the band and at some points, even threatened not to go on if people weren’t giving Division due respect.

Green Day did the ultimate queeny step by turning the landmark 2004 album American Idiot into a Broadway musical. The show ended up with Tony nominations and the punks even performed on the 2010 telecast.

Clearly, Green Day has some good gay mojo — and a high QQR: 85.

With AFI. SuperPages.com Center, 1818 First Ave. Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. $20–$85. LiveNation.com.

Chromeo

You might call this electrofunk duo newbies to the music scene, but their 2007 release Fancy Footwork broke the sophomore album curse and put the duo on the music map. Their club-ready sound has been compared to bubbly ’80s pop, most notably Hall and Oates. And yet they make it work. They add a dash of humor to their flow with songs like “Me and My Man” and “Tenderoni.” Their appearance on Darryl Hall’s reality show, Live From Darryl’s House performing “No Can Do” is outstanding.

Not a lotta gay going on, but they’re changing the face of dance music with their electrofunk and remixes of other artists. An average QQR: 65 — but their performance with Hall should win new fans.

With Holy Ghost!, Telephoned. Palladium Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $30. ThePalladiumBallroom.com.

Amy Hanaialii Gilliom & Deborah Vial

Deborah Vial used to grace the local scene singing at Sue Ellen’s, but turned in her cowboy boots for grass skirts by relocating to Hawaii in 2004. She’s never forgotten her Dallas roots, though, and comes back often. This time, she’s bringing a friend.

Vial returns with Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, who has been referred to as “the voice of Hawaii” and has snagged four Grammy nominations during her career. The two have teamed up for the road and Vial is figuring Gilliom will be a hit in Dallas — or at the very least, expand audience ears to the islands of Hawaii.

Vial’s presence pretty much puts this show at a perfect QQR: 100.

House of Blues Cambridge Room, 2200 N. Lamar St. Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. $25. HouseOfBlues.com.

Battle of the Bands: The Dyke Clones and Vent

Sigh — where to begin? Open Door Productions usually books an impressive roster of lesbian musicians and comedians. This time, they offer a “Battle of the Bands” and miss the mark all over the place. Despite the title, only two bands are performing and we’re never sure what they are battling for. An audience, perhaps?

They don’t win any favor with the Dyke Clones write up. “An absolutely funny group of gals who not only lip-sync the words but also finger-sync the instruments. We’ll just describe them as musical drag queens.” Despite Open Door’s enthusiasm, this has about as much musical appeal as the Church of Christ. They are followed up by Vent, who covers the likes of Ani DiFranco and Katy Perry.  If you’re yawning by this point, you’re not alone.

For its support of lesbian talent, Open Door gets a good QQR 100 — but the show itself tanks.

Heart and Soul Coffeehouse, 4615 E. California Parkway, Fort Worth. Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. $7.50. OpenDoorProductionsTX.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens