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Snip to be square
Scissor Sisters are back, and this time they’re on a mission to channel Elton John, Paul McCartney and the Bee Gees into the first soft rock masterpiece of the 21st Century. In an exclusive interview, the group’s main songwriter, Babydaddy, gives us the lowdown on their second coming.
Tara Brady, 17 Oct 2006
"You’re from Ireland?” exclaims Babydaddy excitedly. “Oh my God, are you kidding? I love Ireland.”
Enough with the frivolities. Let’s take the fun out of Scissor Sisters for a moment, shall we? In Susan Sontag’s groundbreaking 1964 essay, Notes On Camp, she suggests that, “Camp (is) a comic vision of the world… not bitter or polemical comedy… If tragedy is an experience of hyperinvolvement, comedy is an experience of detachment.” In that spirit, The Great John Waters once remarked that Myra Hindley would not have served so much prison time, “If only she’d had her roots done that day”. Cruel, bitchy and on the money, now that’s True Camp.
But what then should we make of the Scissor Sisters? Can anything so wildly popular, so amenable, be considered camp? Is camp that knows itself to be camp really camp at all? To such queries we say, well, if Scissor Sisters aren’t as camp as a row of pink tents then we don’t know what’s what.
Named for a favourite lesbian position (condensed down from Lesbian and the Fibrillating Scissor Sisters), there is nothing in their delightfully eccentric art-electronica origins to suggest a master plan for world chart domination. This is, after all, the band who penned ‘Hairbaby’, an ode to partially formed foetuses.
“The early days were horrifying”, laughs Babydaddy. “If you watch our DVD you will see the first show Jake (Shears) and I did. Jake is in a kimono and a leather thong because the theme was Origami Orgy night featuring the bicycle of the devil. I was up there on the laptop in swimming goggles. Oh God. But Jake is from Seattle and I consider his surroundings similar to mine. When we were bonding, electronica was big in America, not burlesque shows. There were some drag shows but we discovered the Warp catalogue and all this strange electronic music. I think that shaped us as much as moving to New York. We realized, ‘Oh, here is a stage and people are doing something different and maybe we should combine all these things.’”