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VISITING ACT ‌ A Very Gay Queer

Joe Queer reflects on his sweet-ass music career

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There's something strange going on tonight: the Queers are all stars
  • There's something strange going on tonight: the Queers are all stars
The Queers
w/ The Independents, Genrevolta
Sun. Jan. 1
9 p.m.
$10 ($13/under 21)
Cumberland's
301 King St.
577-9469
www.cumberlands.net

You know, punks have always suffered the notorious "bad rap," which is truthfully part of the whole appeal; the element of Badass goes a long way in earning a little admiration. Dirt under their fingernails, empty bottles of Jack Daniels littering the room, legitimate holes exposing their knees through their jeans — they don't care and (at least while we're listening) why should we?

But that Joe Queer — what a pleasant guy. Instead of earning 20-plus years of chip-laden shoulders through his various punk rock exploits, The Queers' front man is in a happy place.

Punk rock juggernauts The Queers have been touring for nearly a solid year during this go-round, but instead of spouting road-weary piss and vinegar, Queer is practically oozing daisies and rainbows (although tired ones at that). (Of course, "daisies and rainbows" is used in the most punk-rock way.)

"I'm not gonna play for the rest of my life, and we're not making a million bucks or anything, but we have our little corner of the world and it's fun," says Queer. He's been in a shit-ton of bands, but The Queers have proved the most steadfast, with an EP, LP, and live disc-laden discography that leaves fingers-and-toes counters in the dust.

The legendary Ben Weasel of Screeching Weasel brought The Queers' goofy punk to the ears that be at Lookout! Records in the early '90s, and the band signed, released Love Songs for the Retarded, and toured their asses off.

Queer remembers it well. "All of a sudden, royalty checks started showing up and we traveled around. The band was just for fun — we had no idea you could do that and make money. It was like winning the lottery when I got a royalty check — like, 'You've gotta be kidding me!'"

The royalty checks keep rolling in and probably won't stop for a while, considering the band is planning to record their umpteenth album in March. They hoped to be laying down tracks in November, but an offer to tour Australia put that on hold.

Another pending project is a sort of nontribute tribute album featuring punk rock peers doing Queers covers. According to Queer, the album is "loosely" and "slowly" in the works, hampered, of course, by the onslaught of tour dates. When it happens, though, it's gonna be good.

"I've gotten so many crappy CDs and tapes; one band out of 99 would be cool," laughs Queer. "This ain't gonna happen overnight. I'm gonna wait and get some cool bands on it."

So far, Screeching Weasel, Swinging Udders, and Parasites are a few of the bands signed on to the project. In addition to pulling in punk rock's big hitters and sorting through shitty demos, The Queers also have a live CD and a live DVD (a first for the trio) in the works.

So Joe, you're still kicking after more than two decades, huh? Aren't you tired, man?

"You know, I get to travel around the world and get to do all this stuff I wanna do. I've met the greatest people — Joey Ramone once called me to write songs for his solo album!" Sunbeams radiate over the phone lines. "That's what gets me out of bed in the morning — not how many kids are coming to kiss my ass or anything like that. You can't put a price tag onit."

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