A/V Room









The Scissor Sisters snip into the limelight

Feature: Jack Foley

ONE of the hot tips for superstardom in 2004 looks set to be The Scissor Sisters, another of New York's brightest exports.

The band are set to release the much-talked about cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb on January 19, before the self-titled album follows in February.

And they have announced UK tour dates, with London's Scala playing host to them on February 5, 2004.

Creative sparks first ignited five years ago, when a then 19-year-old explosion of energy, called Jake Shears, was introduced to a multi-instrumentalist who goes by the title of Babydaddy.

Fired up by a passion for solid songwriting and off-the-wall humour, they joined forces to write hook-studded tunes, adopted NYC as their home - and agreed on a cheeky name that's caused confusion and provoked many blushes in turn.

"None of us are lesbians, though," say Scissor Sisters, helpfully.

Sex, inevitably, plays a significant part in the music, particularly as Jake discovered a knack for performance during his successful stint as a go-go dancer, to raise funds for a European college trip.

"I'm so grateful that I went through that phase of dancing on bars for dollars!" he said.

"It made me totally unashamed to go crazy. Once you've taken your clothes off in front of hundreds of people, things get a lot easier."

The Scissor Sisters bring together rollicking guitar riffs, throbbing synths and a whole bunch of wicked lyrics.

Their influences skitter through glimmers of vintage Bowie, Roxy Music and Elton John to Giorgio Moroder, burlesque theatre and rock opera.

At college, Jake had majored in Fiction Writing, and numbers like the glam rockin' groove of their debut major-label single, Laura, weave feature-length stories through song.

It was on the New York live circuit that the original duo teamed up with a third full-time Scissor Sister: performance artist, Ana Matronic.

"'She's tough, amazing, and glamorous," the boys enthuse.

The hostess of a decadent cabaret show in the Lower East Side, who'd learned her magic on the San Francisco scene, she first met Jake at a Halloween party, where she'd dressed as a Warhol Factory reject, and he was in the guise of, erm, 'a back-alley abortion'.

She recalls: "We both took one look at each other and thought: "hey, you're cool!"'

Scissor Sisters actually made their debut live appearance at Ana's club, in late 2001, and now the stately lady is a fixture at their dates (where the trio are joined by charismatic friends, Del Marquis, on guitar, and Patrick Seacor, on drums).

Ana neatly sums up the outfit's stance: "What we do is about people displaying their fantasies on the outside, trying to break out of the everyday, and look like their dreams."

At the moment, the song that is getting them most attention is their reworking of Pink Floyd's prog-rock rehab classic, Comfortably Numb, into a disco anthem, with Jake skilfully providing Bee Gees-styled vocals.

'I've always loved singing in falsetto," he recalls, not to mention the 'Frankie Says Relax' retro twist.

"I don't think we're afraid to play anything," continues Jake. "Pop should be meaningful again - it shouldn't be a dirty word.

"We're not making fun of anything we do, and there's no way we're going to sound manufactured.

"Our songs are accessible enough to break through barriers. Actually, we've been meaning to write some country music."

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