Scissor Sisters Biography

Seemingly inspired by the Bee Gees, Elton John and the gay clubs of their home city, the hip New York City, New York, USA-based Scissor Sisters inadvertently (or otherwise) question accepted definitions of cool. Seemingly without irony or contrariness, band members Paddy Boom (Patrick Seacor, 6 September 1968, USA; drums), Babydaddy (b. Scott Hoffman, 1 September 1976, Lexington, Kentucky, USA; bass/keyboards), Jake Shears (b. Jason Sellards, 3 October 1977, Arizona, USA; vocals), Ana Matronic (b. Ana Lynch, 14 August 1974, Portland, Oregon, USA; vocals) and Del Marquis (b. Derek Gruen, 31 August 1979, New York, USA; guitar) have name checked artists such as Billy Joel, Hall And Oates and Steely Dan, and the quintet’s second single was, perhaps polemically, a makeover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’. The cover version rejected the rock star solipsism of the original in favour of remodelling the song as a hymn to hedonism that more readily reminded of Frankie Goes To Hollywood than the track’s rock icon songwriters. In a piece of effective music satire, the Scissor Sisters simultaneously unearthed the pop song in the epic Pink Floyd version and revealed the melancholy inherent in disco.

Despite a built-in silliness, Scissor Sisters transcend mere novelty, however. Adopting a shortened version of their apparently planned name of Dead Lesbian And The Fibrillating Scissor Sisters, a moniker that hints at their background in New York’s shock tactic performance art scene, Scissor Sisters initially began working with Damian Lazarus’ dance music label City Rockers, relocating to Polydor Records when that imprint folded. Their highly successful 2004 debut album drew on commercial 70s/80s MOR influences alongside more contemporary dance reference points. With a name derived from slang for lesbianism, the band was unlikely to be concerned about conformity and their (surprisingly strong) songs are frequently celebrations of outsiders. ‘Tits On The Radio’ dealt with draconian legislation targeted at New York’s club culture that was introduced by the city’s former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, while ‘Lovers In The Backseat’ concerned cruising on the gay scene. ‘Return To Oz’ drew an allegory between The Wizard Of Oz sequel and the devastating impact of crystal meth on the New York gay community.

Although the band claimed not to be ‘fashionistas’, Balenciaga and Vivienne Westwood, in Milan and New York, nevertheless appropriated their music for fashion shows respectively. Their music was far more successful in Europe than their homeland, however, and enjoyed particular commercial approval in the UK where their debut was 2004’s bestselling album. Meanwhile, their second album Ta-Dah spawned the band’s first UK number 1 single, ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’’. The album was another major success in the UK, achieving multi-platinum status, and even reached the Top 20 in their homeland.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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