We attended the screening of the powerful and insightful film by Kieran Turner, Jobriath A.D., at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. The movie chronicles the life of Bruce “Jobriath” Campbell, the first major rock star to die of AIDS. The film showed that behind the glitzy glam rock curtain, Jobriath lived a life of deep personal failure punctuated by a lonely and hellish death. Noir Squared.
The film is part of a growing interest in Jobriath that follows the release by Morrissey of the Lonely Planet Boy album in CD format. We had the honor of being in the company of Hayden Wayne, who served as Jobriath’s keyboardist and whose book, Jobriath: a History of Sexual Indulgence, we published under Noir Nation‘s sister imprint, Bare Knuckles Press. Also there was Hayden’s friend, the Grammy-nominated comedian and writer, Wayne Lammers, formally of Air America Radio.
After the program, Hayden introduced us to Jerry Brandt, Jobriath’s promoter and the person who discovered Carly Simon. Brandt has a raw tell-all memoir about his time in rock music and is looking for a publisher (we are now in discussions about the eBook rights). It was all very heady and very serious. But it ended on a light note when at a late dinner, Wayne Lammers discussed his upcoming show ‘Rush Limbaugh, Shut the Fat Up!’ Here is a hilarious link to one of the songs on the show. Hayden Wayne makes a cameo as the long-haired drug dealer handing out pills from the front seat of a car.
Back to Jobriath: Turner is hopeful his movie will see wide distribution in 2013. In the meantime, the actress Ann Magnuson who, along with Hayden Wayne and others, appeared in Turner’s film has a Jobriath-themed EP in the works. (We loved her in the movie Clear and Present Danger — what a beautiful and endearing smile!) More about the EP and her fascination with Jobriath is on her Kickstarter page, “The Jobriath Medley: A Glam Rock Fairy Tale.”
Hayden Wayne’s book has a decidedly unexpected approach to the Jobriath story. He is a hetero recounting what it was like to be part of the Jobriath phenomenon. Jobriath, remember, was marketed as the “The True Fairy of Rock ‘n’ Roll.’” He was the world’s first openly gay rock star.
At the screening, Kieran Turner pointed out a hard and sad truth about the gay community in the early 1970s. The community wanted to convey a macho image to run counter to the effeminate stereotype, hence the bikers with handle bar mustache look. They were aghast at Jobriath. So he was shunned by every demographic, straight and gay. Yet he created some die hard fans who saw through the glitz and the anger and appreciated the unapologetic beauty of his music celebrating BDSM. In that context, a story told from the point of view of a hetero writer adds a heightened sense of tension. Even today, this is a book that many LegPubs would be afraid to publish. But not Bare Knuckles Press. This is a book worth fighting for.