Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division – Jon Ginoli (Cleis Press)

Buy it Now from Amazon through The Dreamwalker Group.

I am ashamed.

As the owner of over 2500 CDs and about 320 gigs of music on two hard drives, Pansy Division has been one of those bands I’ve heard more about than heard. PD’s founder, principal songwriter and front man Jon Ginoli’s history of the band, however, has changed all that. Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division is an informative and entertaining ride through the world of rock and roll.

Pansy Division is, of course, the first openly gay pop/punk band. They wore their label proudly, Ginoli writing wonderfully honest and honestly catchy tunes like “Curvature,” which glorified the natural bends of the male member, “Homo Truck Drivin’ Man,” “Fem in a Black Leather Jacket,” “Smells Like Queer Spirit” (a Nirvana knockoff Kurt Cobain loved), “The Cocksucker Club” and “Rock and Roll Queer Bar” (think Ramones gone gay).

Is it any wonder these boys never hit the big time? They were too out there, too ahead of the curve, too damn good to be popular. Still, they achieved a measure of success opening for Green Day and they were big enough on the gay (and non-gay) club circuit to get their names pretty well known in the indie/punk/alt rock community.

Frustrating? Sure it was, but Ginoli never lost his sense of perspective or humor, and the same wit and wonder that came through on those songs shines like a beacon on these pages. From the difficulties of finding a drummer (I lost count at six) to harrowing encounters with homophobic fans and rockers to frank and funny accounts of life on the road, Deflowered is a no-holds-barred memoir of a take-no-prisoners band who happen to be unapologetically gay.

And of that, we can all be proud.

Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler

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