Toronto has a new queer festival in what some have referred to as the Queer West end for many years now. However, some are now referring to the far western reaches of the city as Queen’s End. It’s a great play on words, as it is western terminus of Queen Street that dissects the city from east to west, and this pocket of the city is also home to a burgeoning young queer population, thereby giving a whole new meaning to Queen’s End.

The inaugural edition of  Go West – Alt Queer Fest is a weekend long event that starts with the Friday ELECTRICLADYLAND launch party at Cardinal Rule for ladies and allies, hosted by Lana Leprich. Then on Saturday night local resident Zack Rosen is throwing a low-key straight-friendly Queen’s End Pride dance party at Grand Trunk, which is also part of Nuit Rose, and the Sunday evening event is a full on night of live rock n roll at Cadillac Lounge, featuring five bands with a queer slant.

Below is a quick Q&A with each of the performers at the Sunday night ALT CNTRL DLT event, presented by TX Productions.

Questions

What does rock n roll mean to you?

What does queer mean to you?

Describe your musical style.

Who are your greatest musical influences, and why?

What can people expect from your show at ALT CNTRL DLT on June 26th?

Jackie Moore

Jackie2

Johnny Thunders said it best, “You don’t have to be great guitar player to be a great rock and roller”. Rock and roll is playing high energy rock music with reckless abandon. Playing with emotion and feeling, not worrying to much about accuracy. Developing your own style. Working hard and having fun.

This is very personal question for me because, the truth is, Im not sure. I’m just doing what feels right even though it doesn’t conform to the expectations of others. So, that’s what queer means to me personally. Expressing myself as an individual and not letting others pressure or belittle me into being like them.

Aggressive. Up tempo. Profane. In your face. Definitely NOT family entertainment.

One word. Johnny Thunders. Okay maybe that’s two words. The first four songs I learned to play on the guitar were by The Sex Pistols, The Dead Boys, The Ramones and The New York Dolls. That’s what I still listen to. It’s what I like. To say Johnny Thunders and Steve Jones influence my playing would be a huge understatement. I love Rocky George from Suicidal Tendencies. He always has a big smile on his face like he knows how good he is. Of course I’m usually smiling because I just played the wrong chord.

I have been writing songs for punk bands for 35 years. I’m going to play my very first song that I wrote in the early 80s (Sadist) and the last song (Nice To Meetcha) that I wrote a few years ago. With a couple in between. A couple of classic punk covers and one or two other tunes. I’ll be playing guitar and singing to bass and drum tracks that I programmed myself… So it’s totally a one-woman show. Like some sort of twisted karaoke or something.

Lynx

Lynx1

Rock n Roll is my pulpit. I use it as a voice for the subversives.

To be Queer is subversive. Proud of our identity rather than going along with what society dictates.

Subversive Rock (wit depth and drama)

Prince, Bowie, Freddy Mercury because they were all subversive and we loved it!

A high energy set brimming with catharsis and connection.

Tomorrow’s Midnight

Tomorrow's Midnight

Rock and roll has never really changed as an idea. It represents freedom and rebellion but also brings like-minded people together. It has an energy and an immediacy that feels great and that’s why we all started playing it in the first place.

As strong allies who have participated in Pride events over the years, queer represents inclusion and diversity more than anything. It’s a term that includes a wide range of people and communities under one umbrella and that’s a really positive idea.

Modern Rock & Roll!

We draw from the past and present equally. Historically we all grew up on early rock and roll, arena rock and pop, but also the great songwriters of jazz, folk and country. We incorporate a few different styles but are a rock band at heart with current acts like The Black Keys, Social Distortion and July Talk influencing the Tomorrow’s Midnight sound.

Modern rock riffs and melodic hooks. Our members hail from all across the globe and have performed in cities worldwide. We bring an energetic presence to the stage and we’ll entice the crowd to get on their feet and come along for the ride!

Artificial Dissemination

Artificial Dissemination1

Shawna:               Beer is for drinking and rock n roll is what you listen to when you are drinking! Rock n roll + beer is the formula for eternal youth!!  Since  I am also a musician I play rock n roll to have fun and cuz it’s mental therapy for me….I can channel all my anger and frustration into something constructive that makes me feel good about myself.  I am not much of a talker or wordsmith, but the music  I play allows me to express myself in wordless ways.

Jamie:                   Rock N Roll means EVERYTHING to me. My first taste was Chuck Berry when I was very young. My next taste was Punk Rock…everything in between was lost on me. Now I’m finding lots of great music before the 50’s…between the 50’s and ’77 and ever since then. It’s the purest form of expressing youth (regardless of age), energy and rebellion…it will go on forever. A.D. is our version of rock and roll.

Shawna:               Queer just IS!!!!  ….it is fluid and acknowledges the infinite types of identities that exist between the rigid opposites that mainstream society acknowledges.  The mainstream viewpoint of anything inevitably gets challenged, and we are living in exciting times when the rigid “man meets woman and gets married to have kids and live happily ever after” fairytale is quickly crumbling.   Soon, the heterosexual identity will be seen as only one of many ways to BE.  I can’t wait until this open acceptance of everyone seeps through all of society’s gatekeepers and just IS .

Jamie:                   To me it’s just a word. It means unusual…an anomaly…something different, in an interesting way. It’s not positive or negative, but when most people think something or someone is queer, it usually gets my attention. I wanna look into it and understand it a little more cuz it makes most people uncomfortable…this is a good thing!!! Nothing happens when you’re comfortable.

Shawna:               Artificial Dissemination (A.D.) is a 2-piece drum and guitar punk-garage explosion.   Because we are a 2-piece our sound is stripped-down and a bit low fi, with surf influences and lots of screaming vocal energy.   But make no mistake about it – we are intense and will  blow your heads off!!

Jamie:                   The other thing people say is we’re fun! There’s a lot of aggression and anger in our music. However, when you go out to see a band play, you wanna have fun so that’s what we try to do!

Shawna:               My musical influences always change and evolve but the ones that have stuck with me all these years are East Bay Ray and Dick Dale.   I love the alien-esque overtones of East Bay Ray’s guitar, along with the doomsday undertones that sound, to me, like a rebellion against Big Brother putting hand-cuffs on our society.  Since we are now – about 40 years later –  actually in danger of being chained down inside a Big Brother dystopia, this guitar style really resonates inside of me.  The other thing that I love about East Bay Ray is that he is very diverse in his punk rock riffing – he can be surfy one minute and pounding out some crazy hardcore the next.  Dick Dale is another long-standing fave of mine because he looked all over the world for roots music and then converted what he found into his brilliant surf riffs.  He transformed one thing into another and even transformed mandolin playing into guitar playing.  I just love it when musicians seek out influences that they are hard-wired and destined to find, and then put it through the lens of  their own mind / style to spit out  something that sounds totally different. It’s this inventive aspect of Dick Dale that I am drawn to.

Jamie:                   I would just add that I have been influenced by everything I’ve listened to and loved over the years. I played guitar and sang for over 20 years then just switched to drums about 3 years ago when A.D. started…..so I don’t really have a drum hero. I just try to play beats that will compliment what the guitar and vocals are doing. I grew up in the punk scene so that’s my biggest influence, but there’s so much other great music out there. If it hits me in the head, the heart and the lower extremities all at the same time, it sticks!

Shawna:          Most people who see us say:   I can’t believe that two people can make so much noise!  You can expect to see at least this, and possibly more!

Jamie:                   ….or expect nothing. Just enjoy the ride, join the fun and feel the energy. We’ll be up there doing what we love to do.

Candi

Candi1

People can expect a helluva good time. Ladies, bring a change of panties. Rock n’ roll is everything to me! all music is. sometimes I rock, sometimes I roll and sometimes I get super weird. rock n’ roll got me to be a junky, rock n’ roll got me off heavy drugs, it got me drinking too much, and saved me from myself too many times to count. something visceral about it, it’s from the heart, it’s from the crotch, it takes you places lets you bring others to places they never thought they would go. rock n’ roll made me into a rebel, challenged the status quo, got me beat up many times, and made me fight back. rock n’ roll gave me purpose, focus, a reason to keep on living. I was recording rock n’ roll when I got stabbed. I’ve had sex while recording rock n’ roll, and I’ve had some great sex listening to rock n’ roll. rock n’ roll is love and hate and frustration and death and life and love and isolation and poetry all mixed into one. Martine Mathews, my one time life partner and guitar player with my old band Masochistic Religion used to say rock n’ roll is like good sex, I stand by that definition, she had such a way with words… quote Martine, “it is a well known fact that fucking flies produce maggots”. THAT! is rock n’ roll!

I’m old enough to remember queer being hurled as an insult. I’ve never liked the word. I know many people who identify as queer, but for me it’s still a hateful slur. Maybe one day I’ll get used to it and it will lose it’s power over me. As a young teen with long hair, I used to get hassled and roughed up by the cops all the time, and they always called me faggot or queer, and would go on about how I must love to suck cock, or how this cigarette butt must be mine because it had lipstick on it. Getting called homophobic slurs and getting slapped around by cops leaves a mark. It’s kinda funny, as fag used to have that same hateful power until I started hanging out with a bunch of drag queens who tossed it around like confetti, and eventually I did as well… however it didn’t seem to have the staying power and I try to catch myself before I use it now. I know what it’s supposed to mean, and I respect what people are trying to do, and I support that, but I feel my eye twitching every time I hear it.

TRANSmission, my latest project is me exploring how my transition from male to female is affecting my creative process. Now except for about 10 years when I was really trying hard to be “normal”, to “be a man” I’ve spent most of my adult life in a mini-skirt and make-up, so I suppose I’ve never really been much of a manly man. I have always considered myself as either both male and female, or “other”. Not necessarily describing my musical style, but it’s part of my current process. Style wise, I’d say rock, blues, cabaret, vocal jazz, punk, experimental and art. the art part is very important, I had lost touch with that for a while and thanks to my wonderful dancer friend Danielle Hubbard I was reminded, a life changing event. Oh! and perhaps a bit of gothy darkness thrown in for good measure, remember there is always death.

My biggest musical influences would most likely surprise people who listened to my old band. I have an older sister who was into music, so I got into it really young. where most people my age remember the 80’s or 90’s, my first love was late 60’s & 70’s rock. Bands like Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Stooges, MC5, Velvet Underground, Nico, as well as Santana, Pink Floyd, Garage rock, Big Brother and the Holding co. and later punk, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Iggy, Dead Kennedys. but as I was learning to play I went out of my way not to do covers because I didn’t want to let others influence my style, or what I heard in my head. at some point I developed my style, and only a couple of years ago did I actually learn all the stuff I missed… it was like OH! that’s how Hendrix did that, or that’s how to do that Chuck Berry thing! lol. I probably picked up the most from 70’s guitar players, kinda funky, kinda rock, if the note seems off, just bend it ’til it’s right.  but when I am playing solo, I kinda dumb down my playing a bit, and do more finger picking. as I feel the guitar is more an accompaniment to my voice. my new voice is different from what I used to do. still very low, but way more musical. In trying to find me female voice, I started listening to and singing along to a few female singers. If I could do it, I’d be all Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) or Ann Wilson (Heart), but alas nope! I always loved Nico in all her off key, messed up glory, and she was in my range, so I started with a Nico kinda thing and went from there. I still hear a lot of Nico in my voice, and to be honest, I don’t mind that at all, but I am generally more on key, and I think I have taken it to another place. In the studio, and when I manage to put together my dream band, you will hear much more experimentation in the music, the songs will get much longer, and art will mix with musicianship. I’m hoping to add cello and or violin, piano/keys another guitar, bass and a percussionist, that will free me from the shackles of having my guitar playing just be an accompaniment to my voice…

Something wonderful and dark and sexy. I have played Toronto hundreds of times with Masochistic Religion, but this will be the first time Toronto will see Candi. I pretty much retired after getting stabbed in 2005, and only started playing again last December. Since then I’ve done 3 shows, two at a gallery here in Montreal, and the third for “La Voix du Succès” at a really nice theater for ICI-TV. (you can check it out online at https://vimeo.com/165480226#at=1 I’m at the 13 min mark). Expect a talk-box, expect emotional singing from the heart that sometimes brings a tear to the singers eye, expect tall shoes, little clothing and maybe even a bit of fuzz. expect Candi!

Bone Donor

Bone Donor

Rock and Roll is the only reason to get up every afternoon

Queer means we fuck who we want, the way we want.

Our musical style is dirty southern rock.

We are musically influenced by a lot of fucking shit. Blues, the original rock and rollers: Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters. We love the Sonics, Lemmy, Jack White, Sabbath. We could literally talk about music all night long, don’t get us started, man.

People can expect a helluva good time. Ladies, bring a change of panties.

ALT CNTRL DLT

A night of live rock n roll, featuring Jackie Moore, Lynx (Random Order), Tomorrow’s Midnight, Artificial Dissemination, and Bone Donor. With DJ’s Zack Rosen and Triple-X, and special guest Candi from Montreal, making her debut Toronto performance.

Hosted by potty-mouth Divinesque

Divinesque

WITH

Jackie Moore
Lynx (Random Order)
Tomorrow’s Midnight
Artificial Dissemination
Candi (Masochistic Religion)
Bone Donor

AND

DJ’s Zack Rosen and Triple-X playing a mix of Rock. Hillbilly. Punk. Grunge. Garage. Prog, Rarities, Classics

Cadillac Lounge – 9pm – 1296 Queen Street West – $10
Kitchen open late.

 

This event is part of Go West – Alt Queer Fest presented by TX Productions, Zack Rosen Industries, and Lana Leprich.

Official Event of NUIT ROSE, Toronto’s outdoor queer arts and performance festival happening June 25th throughout the city.

Media Sponsor: The BUZZ Magazine – Toronto’s best source for entertainment news, including event listings, community profiles, celebrity interviews, and objective opinions.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.