"You either really love them or really hate them," said an excited fan as he waited for NYC's SemiPrecious Weapons to take the stage at Empire, the band's tarty new party featuring sexy dance installations from the girls at Voyeur nightclub and a live midnight set.
The quirky quartet, who've been opening up for another audacious and polarizing pop artist, Lady Gaga, are in town recording their new record after which they'll resume touring with their superstar galpal. From now through April, the gathering at the On The Rox will be their weekly hangout on hump night, and if last night's glam crowd (Jeffree Star, Taime Downe, Riki Rachtman, Daisy De La Hoya, Lenora Claire, members of Purple Melon and Prima Donna,) is any indication, it's gonna be a raging residency above The Roxy.
As the club quickly filled up with buxom bottle blondes, androgynous rocker boys, assorted tattooed trendies, and dancers in themed get-ups ranging from giant Justin Tranter masks (and little else) to fetishistic kiddie garb, we got a chance to chat with the SPW singer "backstage" aka the "ice/stock room" as he chugged whisky and coca-cola and touched up his guyliner. Just as Tranter's in your face lyrics and look might suggest, nothing was off limits.
About his haters: Good art should be polarizing. Of course, negative attention doesn't feel good, but I'm used to it. I used to search Twitter for the band name after shows with Gaga, and people would call us ugly trannies. The other guys are totally straight. They don't even wear the stuff I wear. The real fans get it, but a lot of people don't."
On his sexuality (straight or gay)?": I don't like labels. I just say I'm into everything."
About Gaga (who used to open for them): She's one of my closest friends. Everything she does is very thought out and smart. Like the prosthetics she's doing now. I can't tell you what they mean, but it's an artistic statement that the fans will probably get and love. I'm not sure if she's ever going to explain it.
What people would be surprised to learn about the Monster tour, which he refers to as "Warhol's factory on wheels, minus the speed":
-"It's much more work than play."
-"We [he and Gaga] share a love of unacceptable fashion. We talk about this on tour a lot. If it's just awful, then we feel like we must try to wear it."
-"It's not all partying. There is always a lot of family around. Both our parents have joined us."
On his Chelsea Handler show appearance: They decided to make fun of my makeup on the show. But there's no problem with her. I love her. She loves the band.
Favorite places to hang while in LA: Jumbo's Clown Room ("we're pretty much there a few times week after we record"), Voyeur ("not for the crowd, but for the dance performances") and Hugo's in West Hollywood ("the food is good and healthy, and when you're a man in pantyhose you gotta watch your figure").
On the new SPW record: "For the past five years we've been focused on bringing rock back, now we want to take it forward, make it dancier. Also, I'm writing to better showcase my voice. Tricky Stewart is working on a track for us. We've moving in a new direction, but we'll always keep the flash and filth. "
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First proclamation from the stage during SPW's set: "Can all the ladies here please touch yourself for me real quick, titties or pussy, either one is ok..."
Empire, "a rock n' roll installation party" with SemiPrecious Weapons at On The Rox, 9000 W. Sunset Blvd., every Wednesday night, 10 p.m.- 2 a.m., through March 30. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. See their Twitter for updates.