Perpetual Change – TG Music

| May 5, 2014
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This month, Perpetual Change/TGForum would like to introduce the band Pepperspray. While they might be new to many TGForum readers, they’ve made a huge dent on the West Coast, primarily the San Francisco area.

Pepperspray has been described as ” a combination of The Spice Girls and the Sex Pistols.” Collectively, they claim to have “dragged the age old institution of female impersonation back into the rock and roll spotlight.”

The band is made up of seven members from various background disciplines that included (but are not limited to) music, film, fashion, dance, design, porn, and theater. As vocalist Precious Moments (a.k.a. Michael Soldier) explains in the following interview, it takes some good organizational skill to co-ordinate the schedules of seven highly creative people. But, in the end, it’s worth it.

So, for your dining and dancing pleasure, this is Pepperspray — “the girl group with a ho’ lotta extra.”

TGForum: I see from your web site you’re a seven piece band. All members still current?

Precious Moments

Precious Moments

Precious Moments: Yes, this incarnation includes all seven of us. Most of the time the lead ladies are myself, Precious Moments on vocals, Jordan L’Moore on vocals, Peggy L’eggs on keys and vocals, and when she can be in town (more often than not), Princess Kennedy on vocals. Peter Fogel, a. k. a. Tinkle Peterson (part time drag) is our band leader and bridge to the instrumental players. Swirly Rat Jr. on bass, rich Beerman on guitar, Stoney Curtis on drums, and Tinkle on lead guitar.

TGF: That’s a lot of people and schedules to co-ordinate. How do you do it?

PM: If we didn’t experience so much love when we perform, it would never work! Every time we think we’re going on hiatus, we eventually come back for a ‘reunion’ gig and end up booked like mad for a string of new gigs. After working together for 12 yeas we have a shorthand and experience and catalog that makes prepping a show much easier than the first years when we’d rehearse like crazy. Everyone is busy with tons of other work in theater, drag shows, film, and two additional bands. THiTH is Swirly, Rich and Stoney’s fabulous new project. Peter/Tinkle has performed with The Whoa Nellies everywhere for more years than I have even lived in SF. We find the time because we love performing together for our amazing fans, no matter how difficult scheduling can get.

TGF: How about some basic background. How did you get together in the first place?

PM: Of course, with seven members you’d get seven different answers, but I’ll be as clear as I can remember… I moved to SF with a huge desire to be in a band after performing with Space Pussy in Provincetown for five years and getting my first experiences at Squeeze Box in NYC. I saw Peter was involved with tons of music and theater when I got here. Kennedy and Jordan were the most glamorous talents in town, Peggy was not only hilarious but had a lot of classical training. That drag element coalesced through Trannyshack and other theater/music projects.

I pounced on Peter to back me up on guitar so I could sing live at a club and turns out he had been hoping to put together a draggy rock band too. We were the queens that could actually pull it off and wanted it bad enough to keep showing up.

Pepperspray ons stage.

Pepperspray on stage.

A great balance of interests, talents and personalities. The rest of the band has held tight for a number of years now. Swirly was someone we knew and loved from Blue Period, a very popular local band. Stoney and Peter had worked together on other music projects. Rich came on board through Swirly.

TGF: From reading your website, it looks like you perform a great deal in San Francisco. Where else have you performed?

PM: We’ve performed so much, it’s hard to believe we haven’t left town much to do it. If the funding was there, and we could swing it, we’d go anywhere. But with playing every major SF street fair and gay party multiple times, Main Stage at Pride, opening for Cher, Scissor Sisters, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes and more, political events and fund raisers, we’ve never been at a loss for bookings and fun.

TGF: Musically, the band has been described as a sort of mix between The Spice Girls and The Sex Pistols. Is that accurate? How would you describe your sound?

peppersprayPM: Girl group punk? Grunge in heels? Our covers lean heavy on angry boy rock from Classic ’70s, New Wave 80s, grunge ’90s, modern pop and punk, mash-ups, medleys and originals. All done with a cheeky scream and glam harmony.

TGF: With seven people, you obviously have a wide variety of influences — musical and otherwise to draw from. What would you say are the dominant influences?

PM: We have to love the songs and think of them as theatrical enough to perform, not just sing. After that, seven people bitch ’til we realize how much we agree on most everything. Similar tastes coming from different angles.

TGF: Is there one prominent songwriter, or do you all collaborate? Same with the lyrics?

PM: All of us have individually contributed so much musically and lyrically, but Tinkle certainly takes the lead on composing.

TGF: You also mix original material with cover in your live show. What kind of audience reaction do you get? Also, how would you describe your live show?

threePM: Fanaticism is our favorite reaction. So many people get so excited when we start a string of gigs that it’s incredibly heartwarming and encouraging. The superfans are in on it. It’s as much a real rock band as it is a commentary on male and female rock fantasies and clichés. We take putting on a great rock show very seriously, yet we are never afraid of coming off as ridiculous, passionate, vulnerable, melodramatic. It’s really a spectacle with great musicians anchoring it. Each queen has her own style and strength and interests, but we work together to make the shows cohesive. Bits of girly choreography and storytelling woven through with aggressive vocal performance.

The straight women love it, the queers love it, the trans love it, and most fun of all is seeing the inexperienced doubting straight guys lose their minds as Pepperspray virgins. Often they look a bit scared and confused at the start of a set. Once we smash them in the face with a classic rock cover they already love, done with four part girl group choreography and harmonies, in full face and hot bitchy glam gear, you can see their brains explode as the scream along with us. So much fun to bring an ecstatic crowd together like that.

TGF: You have one recording, the self-titled EP from 2005. Any plans for more releases?

PM: We just keep booking shows as we feel like it. It’s great to be experienced enough to not give a shit about anything other than a blats with and for each other and the audience. Sure, maybe we will record some more sometime. The real thrill is in the live performances. It is a drag punk rock superband  after all.

Three clips from the Pepperspray EP

Cutting Edge Queen


Tranny Takeover

TGF: Any other plans for touring, festivals, videos, etc., that you can share at this time?

PM: Saratoga springs Queer Music Festival, August 22-24. Modeled on other successful queer music festivals around the country, this festival brings the whole LGBTQ community together in a beautiful, natural setting to celebrate queer musicians and talent while raising  funds for queer youth programs.

And we’re in the planning stages for a possible gig with our pals at Lazy Bear Weekend, July 30-Aug. 4.

TGF: Any advice to offer young musicians?

PM: Think of the audience. Know if you are a performer or a musician. The bigger the band, the less anyone gets their way, so you’d better like and respect each other and enjoy the work. Although nothing beats playing rock star, there is a LOT of work that goes into making it work. You had better love it and know why you are doing it. Treasure every moment and don’t be obsessed with making it. The reward really is the work you do together and the thrill of thrilling an audience.

For more information, check out the band’s website. Their CD is also available through CD baby, and they have some video posted on YouTube. Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to post a review of their current EP.


Harris as Hedwig

Harris as Hedwig

Hedwig And The Angry Inch Opens on Broadway

For those who are into Broadway musicals and are even fortunate enough to be in or near NYC, a new production of Hedwig And The Angry Inch opened in limited engagement on April 22nd. Neil Patrick Harris (yes, that Neil Patrick Harris, formerly of Doogie Howser M.D. and How I Met Your Mother) is in the title role. And yes, the critics seem to agree that Mr. Harris not only has the acting chops to more than adequately portray the East German glam rocker who is the victim of a botched SRS, but he has the vocal chops to handle the material as well. Check out some of the reviews on Broadway World.

Kinky Boots “Just Be” Campaign

In more theatrical related news, the musical Kinky Boots has helped organize and launch the “Just Be” campaign. In a recent press release, the stated goal of the campaign is:

Stand Up For What You Believe.

Kinky Boots is about standing up for who you are and what you believe in. It’s about being who you want to be and showing the world what you care about.

This spring, 6 one-of-a-kind personalities (Sara Bareilles, Kelly Osbourne, Josh Groban, Mario Batali, Martina Navratilova, and James Earl Jones), put on a pair of dazzling red boots, sharing what the musical’s message means to them and how they use their unique passions to help and inspire others.”

For more information, please check out the show’s website.

Georgie Jessup

Georgie Jessup has announced several upcoming shows. On Saturday, May 10, Georgie will be opening for Patsy’s Honkytonk Torch  and Twang, at Edith May’s Paradise (7711 Apple Ave., Jessup, MD; also check out Edith May’s Paradise on Facebook). On May 17-18, Georgie will be at “Drums along The Pocomoke,” a Powwow event held in Pocomoke City, MD. And, for information on Georgie’s new CD release, Philosopher Dogs, please go to her website.

Coco Peru

Coco Peru will be presenting a new “best of” show called Have You Heard? at Birdland In NYC on May 12. Coco has also started booking other dates in New England states for August. Check out her website.


Neon_Trees_Pop_PsychologyPop Psychology by Neon Trees

Neon Trees newest release, Pop Psychology, contains the kind of music that always seems to set the mood for the upcoming summer months. Granted, there’s always one band or artist that manages to release something in the spring that feels to be a commercial approach, even a set-up, for the so-called lazy days of summer. Granted, some material that fits into that category does sound a bit contrived and is quickly forgettable. That’s not the case with Neon Trees. While the feel-good breeziness of summer can be felt in most the project’s tunes, it’s the musicianship and lyric content that sets it apart.

A good portion of the project is the aforementioned “feel good” material. Songs such as Love In The 21st Century, Teenager In Love, Foolish Behavior, and Living In Another Land fit this category, as does the ode to modern social media communication, Text Me In The Morning.

The moments of real musicianship are found on Sleeping With A Friend (a very radio friendly dance/techno groove, very dynamic with excellent production), I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends), (kind of a hybrid of folk and dance, and moderately laid back), and another laid back tune, Voices In The Hall.

One of the truly outstanding tracks is the project’s last song, First Things First, the closest thing to rock on the project, but with great lyric content and production.

Neon Trees is Tyler Glenn, vocals, keyboards; Branden Campbell, bass, backing vocals; Elaine Bradley, drums, percussion, vocals; Christopher Allen, guitar, backing vocals. Pop Psychology is produced by Tim Pagnotta. (For more information, check out their website. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, YouTube, Vevo, Soundcloud and Amazon.

iggythenewclassicThe New Classic by Iggy Azalea

Okay, for all you hip-hop fans, this is for you. Of the project’s 12 tracks, the majority is straight up rap/hip-hop. Iggy Azalea is one of the few female rappers who is lyrically and vocally more understandable, despite an incredible machine gun like delivery.

The tracks that tend to be a bit more musical and deviate from the what Azalea usually does are 100, featuring Watch The Duck; Change Your Life, Black Widow, featuring Rita Ora, and the very dark sounding Impossible Is Nothing, which is also the best production moment on the project. The best dance track is the project’s last song, F**K Love, which is something you’ll probably be hearing on a dance floor near you very soon. For more information, please check out Azalea’s website, also Facebook, Twitter, instagram, YouTube, iTunes and Amazon.

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Category: Drag Queen, Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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