Entertainment » Music

Hunx and His Punx :: A ’bad boy’ take on ’50s girl-pop

by Joseph Erbentraut
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Apr 26, 2011

Musician Seth Bogart has never been afraid to put himself out there. While fronting the queer electro-clash band Gravy Train!!!!, Bogart earned the name "Hunx" for his boyish good looks. After that project went on hiatus, Bogart stepped out on his own with Hunx and His Punx. The band's 2010 debut release, "Gay Singles", featured a cover shot of zebra striped-bikini-clad Bogart's package.

But with the Oakland, Calif. native's latest effort, "Too Young to Be in Love" (released earlier this year), the album art says it all. The cover shot, this time, is of Bogart's leather jacket-adorned torso. The jacket is unzipped, revealing much of his chest and a peek of abs, and this time around, the songs carry more substance and coherence as a full album. The songs bring a reverbed-out, garage punk flavor to the classic style of the Shangri-Las, Ronettes and other girl groups of yesteryear, putting a new spin on a long tradition of melodramatic lyrics detailing ails of unrequited love and other heartbreaks.

And that said, Bogart isn't taking all this too seriously, as evidenced by his still outlandish live shows and oft-oversharing Twitter account. "Pulling into Boston with the worlds [sic] hardest boner," he wrote on April 24. "Things I need (bring me?): Hanes size small tighty whiteys, lube - thick not runny, condoms, XL joints, SOUR candy," he implored on April 16. This is a hunk who lets it all hang out and we here at EDGE can't get enough.

EDGE recently spoke with Bogart in the midst of his current North American tour, discussing his new album, love of "RuPaul's Drag Race" and his gay root: a nerd in a Darth Vader costume.


fierce fashion!

EDGE: How is this tour going so far? Where are you at right now?

Seth Bogart: I’m in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s so cool and weird here. We played at a show and there were guys wearing, like, various cowboy gear and stuff. It was really fun.

EDGE: You have a reputation for wearing some pretty zany coordinated costumes with your band on the road. What kind of looks have you brought along this time?

SB: We have four or five and I’m trying to think of what they are right now. I’m about to get, like, three more delivered. One is a giant musical note that covers my private parts and the other is a body suit that looks like a giant hand squeezing me and the girls have, like, trash bag looks. The costumes aren’t as crazy this time. In the past it was like grandma fashion but we’re trying to not be as stupid.

EDGE: I really enjoy that your new album feels kind of like a gay salute to the late ’50s, mid-’60s, Shangri-Las songwriting style: You love a boy, he doesn’t love you and now he’s dead. I can definitely hear the influence on "Lovers Lane," for example.

SB: I love making music where someone dies. I relate to it immensely. It’s funny or something. And true.

Story continues on following page.

Watch Hunx and his Punx perform "You Don’t Like Rock N Roll."




cheeky tweets...

EDGE: How has the fan response been to the new songs? Are they digging?

SB: I think so, yeah. I think people still like some of our older songs but I also see people singing along to the new ones which is both cute and weird.

EDGE: I’ve noticed you’re a pretty avid Twitter user and tend to really welcome your followers into some pretty private stuff. What’s the appeal to you? Has it gotten you in any sort of trouble?

SB: It’s addictive and yes, because I talk shit about people and then I realize that they’re following me. Just kidding! I haven’t really gotten into a lot of trouble but I don’t know why it’s such a weird addiction, especially when you’re in a car all day. It’s nice to look at what’s going on and follow people who are really dramatic or whatever.

EDGE: Who are some of your favorite celebrities to follow? Cher? Yoko Ono? Courtney Love?

SB: I stopped following Courtney because she tweeted way too much -- it was like 20 million right in a row and I couldn’t read anything else. She’s one of my favorites so I was disappointed in that. I feel like a lot of celebrities don’t really run their accounts and their management and lawyers keep stuff under wraps. I’d rather see what Mel B is up to.

EDGE: How does life on the road compare with being home in California? I understand you help manage a vintage boutique and hair salon called Down at Lulu’s in Oakland?

SB: I don’t co-own it anymore, I just work there a little bit, a couple of days a week. I love it there too. It’s, like, painted pink and we just talk about boys all day. Everyone that comes in is a weirdo so it’s an ideal place to work. It’s my kind of job. I hate working and not doing what I want with my life, but it’s really a pleasure to be there so it’s not so bad. I’m kind of spoiled.

EDGE: But I also read somewhere that you’re planning to move to Los Angeles. What’s prompted that move?

SB: I live in San Francisco and have lived there since I was 18. I want a change and want to be in the sun, go to the beach and meet some new people. I want to have zero responsibilities and be a fuck-up and not have a job. I’ve been responsible since I was 18 or even younger than that. I’ve always had a job and doing all kinds of stuff so I kind of just want to be a fuck-up.

EDGE: For wanting to be a fuck-up you have a lot of irons on the fire. I understand you have a couple of side musical projects, plus a web series called Hollywood Nailz.

SB: I’m trying to record two albums right now. One is really sad acoustic music. Songs that I recorded in the middle of the night. Physically I was asleep but I would record them, wake up in the morning and be like, ’What the fuck is this?’ So I’m going to record all those songs as an album. The other album is a really over the top "Night at the Roxbury" soundtrack, gay ’90s music. And we’ve done the first episode of the TV show.

I have a lot of things I look forward to. When I say I want to be a fuck-up it doesn’t mean not doing creative projects, but it’s just that I don’t want to work a lot... Not that I do anyway. But I just kind of want to do my own thing.


his gay root?

EDGE: Do you remember some of your earliest musical influences? Or the first CDs you bought with your own money?

SB: I remember the CDs I bought. I bought Nirvana’s "Nevermind" and "’The Simpsons Sing the Blues." They had a whole album and those had a major influence on me. That and the "Sister Act" soundtracks. I really liked girl groups.

EDGE: What about your "gay root"? When you first suspected you might be queer?

SB: Me and my grandma used to talk about the first thing you saw in a movie that turned you on and for me and the girls, we all said the scene in "Revenge of the Nerds" where they’re in a space jumping castle thing and the nerd is dressed up like Darth Vader and the cheerleader thinks it’s a jock but it’s really a nerd. I remember imagining being a cheerleader in that scene and it made me very horny. I think maybe that was the first moment but I feel like when you or gay or whatever, for me anyways, it’s just like you make out with boys in the neighborhood.

EDGE: How old were you when you first kissed a girl? What about another boy?

SB: I was one year old. I was probably like four or five when I first kissed a boy. From then on it was girls and boys.

EDGE: What did that do to your playground reputation?

SB: I kept it all under wraps.

EDGE: A lot of folks are turning out memoirs these days -- Tina Fey, Patti Smith, Snooki. Do you ever think you’ll write one? What would you call it?

SB: I really want to read all of those actually. I don’t know what I would call it, but I would definitely write one.

EDGE: What would be a dream television show or commercial for you to license a Hunx song to?

SB: Probably like Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s, something food related, or maybe like an army commercial. I really love "RuPaul’s Drag Race" and "Gossip Girl". Those are my two shows. Or "America’s Funniest Home Videos". I don’t really watch TV anymore besides that stuff but I’d be down for any TV show or commercial pretty much.

EDGE: What are your thoughts on the top four that are left on the show?

SB: Yara Sofia is one of my favorites, but honestly, of all the people there right now, I like them all which is crazy. Usually I only like one or two on the whole show and hate the rest, but this time they’re all great.

EDGE: What are you most looking forward to in the weeks of touring ahead?


SB: We’re going to Nashville next which is so exciting. It broke my heart when we drove past Dollywood and we couldn’t stop. It’s the closest I’ve ever gotten. I’m really into everything with touring. The boys who come out are all so funny and I don’t want to go home.

EDGE: Do you like to hang out before or after your set?

SB: Usually I talk to people and hang out because I think it’s funny and fun but sometimes I’m just not in the mood and I kind of hide away. Usually it’s nice to talk to people. I don’t understand people who do this kind of stuff and are too good to talk to their fans. It’s bullshit.

Hunx & His Punx play the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, in Chicago Friday, April 29. The tour continues westwardly with shows in Minneapolis (May 1-2), Denver (May 7), Salt Lake City (May 8) and San Francisco (May 13) and elsewhere in the weeks ahead. Visit www.myspace.com/hunxsolo for tickets and more information.

Watch Hunx and his Punx perform "Bad Boy."



Joseph covers news, arts and entertainment and lives in Chicago. He is the assistant Chicago editor for The Huffington Post. Log on to www.joe-erbentraut.com to read more of his work.


Comments

  • GAG'EM, 2011-04-30 14:14:19

    Yecch!


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