Liner Note #23: Guitarists and Sex

In today’s liner notes, a whole bunch of links about—get this—guitarists and sex. No, really, but first an update from your writer, me.

It’s been an odd several months here at DGC central. Those of you who follow me (@ceciliatan) on Twitter know my health has been wonky. I don’t think I’m a candidate for an episode of House M.D. but it does seem I’m anemic (!) and taking iron supplements has made many of my mystery symptoms like heart arrhythmia go away, but I’m still occasionally seized with a sudden drop in energy, fatigue, bam. (*sound effect of me falling flat*)

Interestingly enough, when I have zero energy or focus for anything else, the one thing I seem to be able to do is sit in bed with a laptop and write Daron’s Guitar Chronicles. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps because it’s something I’ve been doing for so long, it *feels* effortless. I know it’s not. I know a lot of creative energy goes into every paragraph. But perhaps it’s like being in shape for running. A jog around the block that would leave someone who doesn’t run regularly winded and sweat-streaked feels like nothing to someone who runs every day. I have been writing DGC since the 1980s, and ever since this site went live three years ago (three years?!) it has been one of my main writing activities. I do it regularly. It just flows.

You all, though, the readers, have something to do with it, too. Energy comes from you and feeds into the project. By “energy” I don’t mean a euphemism for money. I mean love and attention and caring and engagement: your comments, emails, tweets, Facebook likes, all that, feeds me energy that the solitary novelist doesn’t have. I just turned a manuscript in at Grand Central Publishing and the only people who have seen that book (Slow Surrender, a heterosexual “BDSM billionaire book,” i.e. the romance subgenre that 50 Shades launched…) are me and my editor there. It feels so different when the person who is hanging on the manuscript arriving is being paid to read it versus when the people who are hanging on a chapter being posted are anticipating it because they love it/enjoy it/want it/need it.

Which was all a long-winded way of saying, I love you guys. Speaking of which…

Guess what this is?

It’s the Kickstarter rewards: books, t-shirts, tote bags, stickers, all going out in the mail to backers! That wraps up the omnibus paperback project!

In the end, the Kickstarter raised $3,386. After credit card and Kickstarter fees (totalling 9%), what I received was $3,081. What I ended up spending on fulfilling the rewards totalled $3452.28, meaning I ended up $371 in the hole. Not bad, actually, since if I sell off what I have left of the merch, I will break even, and meanwhile the book will now be for sale through Amazon, B&N, etc.

I have the following left to sell:
Men’s T shirts: 0! Sold out!
Ladies’ T-shirts: 1 L, 3 M. (These run small! The L just fits me.)
Tote bags: 15. 13 still in stock.
Omnibus paperbacks: 10 (and I can always get more of the books)

If you’re interested in buying any of the above, check out the Merch Page: where you can order & pay directly through paypal. Once the shirts & totes are gone, they’re gone, though!

Okay, enough of writer blather and site news. It’s been a while since I posted a bunch of fun stuff.

First of all, it’s December. Which means it’s time to link to:

These guys are an all-guitars band form Cincinnati, it appears, and they’ve tagged the album “yacht rock.” Huh. Daron finds this even more hilarious than I do. I’d call it just on the lounge side of surf, twangy guitars with that “swingin’ sixties” sort of sound. Their version of “Sleigh Ride” is probably the best track on the album, which is free to download from Bandcamp, by the way. In true Christmas special fashion, it’s a theme album in which Santa’s elves kidnap the band. Goofily wonderful if you want some Christmas spirit. “Got to get that Christmas spirit pumping, so grab those amps and play me sompthing!” (says Santa).

Whether you think The Guitars (OH) are sexy or not, this next link is about a study reported in a Psychology Today blog, in which the researchers found that women thought guys with guitars were sexier than guys without guitars. I’m not completely sure that the conclusion is founded on the research, which was based on friending on Facebook, but… have a look for yourself. And besides, who needs a study? It’s self-evident. (But amusing to see the scientific community trying to quantify something that is just something pervasive in our culture… of COURSE guys with guitars are sexier…)

The gist is that they had various women be approached on Facebook by a guy they didn’t know, sending a photo of himself with or without the guitar. With no guitar, 90% of the time the women blew the men off. But when shown with a guitar, only 70% of the time did the guys get the brush off.

Now, you might just as easily conclude that instead of “sexy” it’s that guys with guitars are more trustworthy and less skeevy-seeming, but perhaps the researchers (who are from Israel) share the cultural biases about the sexual signaling of the guitar.

The “guys with guitars are sexier” study somehow led me to this next entry. This is a 2009 blog entry from Salon, listing the sexiest men in rock, some of them deceased (Jim Morrison, Michael Hutchence) or clarifying that they only mean their younger selves (Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart), but I mostly agreed with their list, interestingly enough. Or at least, as one of the writers put it, I wouldn’t have kicked any of these guys out of bed for eating crackers. Quite a number of them are name that receive repeat shoutouts here at DGC (Hutchence, Freddie Mercury, Prince, David Lee Roth…) The one disagreement is I would have put Bowie onto the A list, not the B list, of course!


While surfing the net to reinforce my memories of goth clubs in Toronto, I came across this hilarious and wonderful piece by a former bouncer in the clubs.

I am 5 feet 6 and weigh 135 pounds. I am also a nightclub bouncer. Oddly, I’m still alive. And underemployed. Having trained at England’s prestigious Bristol Old Vic school… means that my job skills are limited to an excellent command of Elizabethan English, an awesome facility with rapier and dagger, and the ability to cut a fine figure in tights. So, I’m a bouncer.

My mentor in the profession was Jamie, 6 feet 2 and 280 pounds of steroided hostility complicated by a degree in art history. We worked together for several months at a gothic alternative bar on Toronto’s Queen Street West called Club Noir, which was intensely fashionable for about two weeks and is now defunct.

Is it just the way the Internet works, or that Google knows what I like, or my browser or something? Or is it really the case that if I start typing in a search box the word “is” followed by the name of a guitarist, one of the top three autocompletes is always “Is so-and-so gay?” Perhaps even stranger, the answer always comes up “yes” in one of the top posts if I click on that, even when the person in question might really not be gay. (The “yes” is usually at some questionable crowdsourced answer site like…)

But you know, if nine posts say no and one says yes… does that mean people believe it? What I think it means is that there are still a lot of people curious about the sex lives of rock stars, those people have an expectation that those rock stars are not like “usual” people (in other words, they might possibly fuck anything that moves), and probably that since the rash of comings out that have occurred in the past decade that maybe some people they always wondered about (for good or ill) might have come out (or been outed) since they last checked.

Amusingly enough the top autocomplete on “Is Eddie Van Halen…?” is “dead” which is a sure sign Eddie needs a career reboot. #2 is “sober” and #3 is “gay.” (Bafflingly enough, #4 is “Jewish.” Huh.) Just type in “Is Kirk…” without even specifying further and “Is Kirk Hammett gay?” is in the top five. (Kirk from Metallica.) The #2 for Kirk is “bi.” Huh. Steve Vai on the other hand, 1. gay, 2. married, 3. christian. (Vai is married, but my guess is that after people do the search for #1, and aren’t sure about the results, they do #2…)

Vai apparently flirted with making some kind of announcement that was hinted at was going to be him coming out or something like it in the 90s, but then he changed his mind and never said anything. So who knows? Vai also has some of the most revealing interviews about what life was like touring with David Lee Roth, where the show was just a warmup for the party, they’d rent two whole floors of a hotel, one that just sat empty as a buffer for the noise between them and the other hotel guests. 50-60 girls would get pulled out of the crowd by the road crew every night and it wasn’t uncommon to find various members of the band and crew parading naked down the hall with a girl on each arm. Vai himself says he barely dipped a toe into the pool of nightly debauchery.

I might play this game some more and see what else comes up.

That leads me to one story about a guitarist who wasn’t “out” as we think of it, but who was written about movingly recently, guitarist Alan Murphy of Level 42, who died of AIDS in October 1989. Here’s an article about him from The New Gay:

In case you need a reminder who Level 42 were:

While we’re on the subject of rock stars and sex, I basically must share this NSFW video (“Do It With a Rockstar”) of the one recent band Daron and I are both currently huge fans of, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. (Daron: You’re wrong, C, we both like Gotye and Alex Clare. Me: Shut up, I’m using hyperbole to pump up Amanda’s awesome. Daron: Whatever.) Daron would also like me to point out that he and GTO guitarist Chad Raines are the same size.

Really, though, Chad’s got a lot more in common with Ziggy than Daron… (Check out this article about Chad from a New Haven writer:

Chad Raines

Chad Raines fronting The Simple Pleasure

Anyway, Amanda has a blog post on the backstory behind the video (here: They flew to Oklahoma City to film the video with Wayne Coffey of the Flaming Lips, and at one point Amanda asked the three guys in GTO what their ultimate rockstar fantasies were. Michael McQuilken, the drummer, said “flip a table.” Okay, that was doable. Jherek Bischoff, the bass player and arranger of the strings, said it would be to put on like 50 pairs of clean sox and smash a watermelon with his foot. Okay, doable. Chad’s wasn’t really doable–it involved a shaman, peyote, and a loincloth–instead, well, just watch the video. (Amanda herself gets to film her scenes with Stoya Doll, alt porn star, yum.)

So, here’s the NSFW video I promised:


  • Nona says:

    Chad and Daron may be the same size, but definitely more of a Ziggy personality. I can see Ziggy playing Hedwig, but not Daron.

    • ctan says:

      Oh definitely! I can’t picture Daron doing that either. Ziggy is much more of an actor, too. Daron can really only play himself. 🙂

  • Lenalena says:

    Oh. THANK YOU!

    I’ve been trying for WEEKS to come up with the name of the band that had big hits in the 80s (well, in Europe anyway) with pretty heavy bass lines and a bass player/singer called Mark something.

    Level 42…. that’s it.

    • ctan says:

      LOL! They’re one of Bart’s favorites, of course. He’s still working on his list of best bass bands of the 80s which was how I stumbled on this bit about their guitar player in the first place.

  • sanders says:

    Alex Clare! The second of three birthday gifts from Rebecca, after DGC, were Alex Clare’s and Delta Rae’s CDs. I am loving, loving, loving the Alex Clare (haven’t opened DR yet, oops, but more on them in a minute). His influences seem like they’re a bit all over the place, and he looks, in the video for ‘Too Close’, like he should be a fisherman on the coasts of Scotland or somewhere equally prone to quaint villages.

    About Delta Rae: you should invite Ziggy to listen ‘Bottom of the River,’ or hit Youtube for the video. All of the vocalists in the band have fantastic voices but the lead on that track and ‘Fire’ is unbelievable. They’re also all quite attractive and lean toward progressive in their politics (there’s a track on YT recorded specifically in support of same sex marriage in North Carolina, and photos of them with the first lady on their website). For Christian, since he gets left out of some of the favorite-musicians talk, the drummer for DR does some improvisational things, including playing a metal trash can and heavy chain that are just fun to hear.

    And speaking of favorite musicians, I’m excited to see Bart’s list is still in the works.

    Also, I meant to send an email back when I got the DGC package for my birthday but then I had to coordinate Thanksgiving for 21 people and ended up with a cold that knocked me flat. Had I been less lame it would have said something like:

    OMG! FLAIL! *dies*

    Because, dude, birthday message from Daron! The extras! The e-books! I made sounds that woke up the dogs next door and couldn’t stop grinning for an hour. I’ve wanted to donate to the tip jar for ages and finances just never allow for it, so it meant a lot to me that Becc did it for me, and that we got to support such a fantastic project. I do a lot of gushing at her over new chapters and how much I’m a fan of not just the story but of you, Cecilia, for the way you interact with us as readers, and the model you’ve set up for posting a web series with strong historical and musical context. So, the love runs both ways, and it absolutely made my birthday to have DGC be part of it.

    • ctan says:

      Daron and I just high-fived. 🙂 About your birthday, not Alex Clare. 🙂 Becc wrote to say “can I get the stuff for a friend?” but hadn’t mentioned who, so I said sure, just give me the email address and tell me your friend is over 18 and I’ll include the “adults only” extras… Then she said who it was, and Daron was like “Let me write it! I know them.”

      Truth be told, I haven’t bought the Alex Clare album yet. We start a moratorium on buying anything for ourselves on Nov. 1 in my family because someone might have bought it for a gift. I’m usually safe buying music/CDs because my tastes can be eclectic and obscure. That means I’m likely to buy things no one I know has heard of, and also they don’t usually dare buy things for me because of the chance I might have it already, no matter how obscure.

      This makes me think next Liner Note should have the Moondog 3 gift-giving guide, and the guys can give their recommendations of what weird bands people should buy for friends…

      • sanders says:

        A gift-giving guide would be excellent. I’m sure it’ll come as a shock (or I’ve already said it here somewhere), but I love getting music recs, and the one great thing about the resources of the internet is that it makes it so much easier to get a hold of things from local-level, lesser-known, and/or international musicians. The link to Amanda Palmer, for instance, was a great way to find out about her. Her stance about music being freely shared, and her sliding scale purchase policy, fascinate me almost as much as her performances.

        The Alex Clare album starts with a track that has a lot of ska undertones to it, and that carries through some of the other songs. There’s also some mild electronica in there. All of it works really well together, though, the kind of thing you can put on and actively listen to or just have in the background.

        You and Daron really are the cutest.

        • ctan says:

          Yeah, it’s sort of fascinating how Alex Clare mixes a kind of crunchy-folky songman thing with a dubstep texture in the background. Daron’s been saying that for years and years: who cares what category something is? If it has a sound you like, grab it, use it, paint with it. That’s what chefs these days are doing, sure, take french technique but apply it to asian ingredients and serve it in a tamale. If it’s delicious is what matters.

          Daron is a complete pain in my ass. But you knew that.

  • Nona says:

    Guess what came in the mail today?

    Gorgeous one and all! Love the shirt, and am plotting where the decals go. I’ve only had a chance to pet the book and flip through it, but it looks great.

  • Cat Grant says:

    No more of the men’s XXL shirts? I haz a sad. 🙁

  • terri h. says:

    I got my package today! The postal people tried to damage it, but all was good inside. Thank you for introducing me to the amazing Daron and my man Zig!!!

  • terri h. says:

    Oh! Feel better, Cecilia!

  • aknie says:

    Just got my package today. That was pretty damn fast for overseas!
    (By the way, you forgot Switzerland in your list.)

    The book looks great, and of course the T-shirt had to be put on as soon as it was unpacked 😉

  • daron says:

    Now that’s rock and roll hair.

  • Starry says:

    Try sublingual vitamin b-12 for energy. If you are anemic, good chance you need this too.

  • Bill Heath says:

    This post reminded me of our 1969-1970 band. Five voice majors playing instruments (drums, keyboard, sax, trumpet, guitar), so to keep down the fighting we used a piano major as the front man. It made sense at the time.

    We all suspected Neil (front man) was gay and had no problem. He and the guitarist, Bruce, always roomed together. Neil died of AIDS in 1982 and Bruce had a nervous breakdown at the funeral. In 1997 he confessed his short-lived affair with Neil to his wife of 27 years, who left him. The kids refused to talk to him. He killed himself shortly thereafter.

    Guitarists and singers. Wow.

    • ctan says:

      It still amazes me that people can create such walls in their minds that peering over the wall, much less breaking it down, can cause people to react so terribly–especially when the wall is about who touched what body part to whom and why. That his wife and kids couldn’t accept the reality of his whole human self is a tragedy, and that he felt invalidated enough to take that step is, too. If the affair hadn’t happened through music breaking down the wall, something else would have, though.

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