Music in the Name of Pride

In celebration of Pride, DJ Relentless focuses on a few of our Gay Artists who are LGBT pioneers as well as some of the new voices keeping our culture alive.
Gay Pride, Music

This month I decided to focus on a few of our Gay Artists. I am a firm believer that if we don’t support our own, who will? So, I dug up some remixed classics by a few LGBT pioneers in the music industry as well as some of the new voices that are keeping our culture alive. But be warned….this mix is not radio friendly.

Up first, I actually got introduced to Adam Joseph in a local talent show in New York City. I knew when I heard his voice that he had a recording future ahead of him. And although he actually started with an R&B vibe, he eventually moved into dance music. “Faggoty Attention” is a tale of picking up a bi-curious boy in Chelsea.

For our next track, I went way back into the crates and found the Giuseppe D. reworked production of Paul Lekakis’ classic, “Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room)”. I think the title says it all. Originally a hit back in the 80s, this song reflected the energy and sexuality of what it was like to cruise in a gay bar back then.

When I heard Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” I immediately thought that there should have been a male version. And within a year there was. Chris Salvatore stepped out of the closet with “I Kissed A Boy” and it got the Circuit Boy treatment from Hector Fonseca.

If you’re gonna talk about openly Gay Music, then you have to talk about a group like Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Even though groups like Culture Club and The Smiths were fronted by gay artists, Holly Johnson and the boys were unapologetic about their lyrics. With songs like “Crisco Kisses” and “Welcome To The Pleasure Dome” they gave very interesting live shows back in the mid 80s with giant exploding penises and simulated sex as visuals. But the track and original video for “Relax” really drove home what you needed to do when indulging in gay sex. The Spencer & Hill Club Mix gives us an updated House sound to this classic anthem.

So, let’s shift gears….when I saw the original video for this clever rewrite of Alicia Key’s “Girl On Fire”, I laughed and thought it was good to see someone from RuPaul’s Drag Race make a mark on the scene. In the tradition of New York queens like Sherry Vine and Lady Bunny, scandalous contestant Willam teamed up with Detox and Vicky Vox to give us the campy anthem “This Boy Is A Bottom”.

A couple of months ago, I had a pleasant surprise when I discovered the powerhouse vocalist Alex Newell was not only a man but the young actor who played a transsexual on the now defunct “Glee” television show and made quite an impression on record executes. So much so, that Alex was included on the soundtrack for the new HBO series, VINYL.. “Kill The Lights” sounds like a classic Disco track (especially with the Nile Rodgers guitar licks). It’s a hot track and the Audien Extended Mix gives you a fresh new look at an old sound.

“Macho Man” has always been a gay classic. So, I was really happy when I found Bruno’s Hypersound Remix. It’s got a new energy with the full thrust of those 70s lyrics intact. It always cracks me up when I see interviews with people who lived through the Disco years and say they had no idea that the Village People were gay.

Now, many praise and credit RuPaul for putting the spotlight on drag queens and their music, but I really don’t think there would be a Miss Charles without the legendary Sylvester. Long before Ru, Sylvester was the original bad gyrl who the labels didn’t know what to do with. Sylvester came from the Cockettes in San Francisco (Google ‘em). By the time he introduced the world to the flamboyant disco image of sequinned caftans, his label was trying to make him butch it up. But he refused and insisted on going even further with his look. So, eat your heart out Boy George! He did it first. And he was pretty straightforward with his lyrics as well. “Do You Wanna Funk?” and “Don’t Stop” kinda told ya what he was all about. But “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” became a major gay hit around the world and Ralphi Rosario turned this remix out!

Every year as the finale of Drag Race approaches, RuPaul releases a new single. I personally don’t watch the show, but from what I understand the three finalists of the competition are featured in the music video. This year’s selection is called “The Realness”.

Interesting enough….four years ago Jade Elektra recorded a track called “Realness” with producer Bryan Greenwood in Canada. The track was never released and remains a promo with backup vocals by Canada’s very own Simone Denny.

Our next track is a parody protest song with a different view. The hilarious Jackie Beat and Willam teamed up to rewrite 80s R&B Dance group Klymaxx’s “Meeting In The Ladies Room”. “Penis In The Ladies Room” will definitely get your attention with its hateful Right Wing Conservative rhetoric that’s on the wrong side of history. I can’t wait until the day when we are able to look back on this time period and shake our heads at the backwards thinking that gripped the United States for an election year.

And I couldn’t resist throwing “A Little Respect” by Erasure in the mix. The Wayne G. and Andy Allder Hurdy Gurdy Club Mix sums up what we are asking as the LGBT Community. And for those who don’t realize that we are not free or equal until we all have our rights I feel sorry for their limited vision of the world.

My next selection is protest Dance song by the late MJ White. An amazing vocalist whose recording career spanned from the late 80s to his untimely death in November of 2015. From Gospel to quite a few House anthems, MJ’s message of love, peace and equality will remain a testament to his genius as a songwriter and artist. Produced and remixed by Stan Courtois, “We Can Make It Happen” is the perfect message to motivate everyone to stand up and be heard.

And I would have to say that there is no better way to end this mix than with the Grandfather of Gay Anthems….Mr. Carl Bean. Even though his version is actually a cover of the UK Valentino version, Carl’s disco version on Motown Records in the 70s helped to change the landscape of Dance Music forever. He became the first openly gay artist on that historic label. “I Was Born This Way” became an instant classic and would be a staple of the Gay Liberation Movement. And I’m sure the young ones right now think that Lady GaGa did it first, but they’d be sadly mistaken. I would go as far to say that her version is a borrowed sentiment from this classic. And Gomi’s Tribute Mix gives you all the flavor of the platforms and bell-bottoms while serving up a current DJ friendly mix.

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Music

Sr. Music Contributing Writer - A disc jockey since 1980, DJ Relentless has a career that has spanned from local dive bars to major club venues all over the United States, Amsterdam, the Dominican Republic and Toronto.

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