Photo illustration by Sofia Fabiano
Jun 26, 2023
Man on Man love to love — and love to rock
With their hard-hitting music, Joey Holman and Roddy Bottum buck queer stereotypes and tackle representation within gay culture
Man on Man is on a mission to normalize … normalcy. Roddy Bottum and Joey Holman are a couple of regular guys with regular dad bods. And they’re a couple. And they make music that tackle themes of love, intimacy, sex, queer culture and quirks. But above all of that, they make rock music, which has been an anomaly in mainstream queer culture since, well, always.
Their second album, “Provincetown,” came out last week and, as its title suggests, it was written in that historically artsy, DIY, oddball and queer Cape Cod town — where Holman and Bottum live part time. Like their self-titled 2021 debut, the duo deploys humor, heavy riffs and introspection on songs with titles like “Piggy,” “Showgirls” and “Glory Hole.”
Man on Man are this week’s guests on “Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast.” Roddy Bottom may be familiar to some of our listeners as the keyboardist for Faith No More, the weirdo alternative 1980s and ‘90s band with hits like “Epic” and “We Care a Lot.” Holman, who lives in Brooklyn, is also a solo artist and has been in bands like Cool Hand Luke. Man on Man will be performing at the Bowery Ballroom on July 1 at a record release show that will kick off their tour and doubles as Roddy’s 60th birthday party. It’s going to be a wild night.
This interview has been edited for concision and clarity. You can listen to it in its entirety in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.
You guys wear your mission on your sleeve. It’s in your songs, certainly on this album: the importance of representation, not just queer representation in the straight world but also within the queer world itself. And I’m wondering how intentional it is. Was that the goal from the outset or a sort of natural organic outcropping once you guys started collaborating?
Holman: When we started making our music, we weren’t making a record and we weren’t making a single or a band, for that matter. We wrote a song called “Daddy” that we really liked. Our friend Mike mixed it and mastered it, and it sounded exciting. So we shot a video, and we released it, and we thought really just 40 of our friends would watch it. And by the weekend, we had gotten a bunch of organic press pickup from Kerrang! and Rolling Stone and Brooklyn Vegan, and it was this cool thing that took off.
And before we knew it, we had 50,000 views over the weekend. And we had so many people reach out to us who were saying things like, “I’ve never seen people who look like me making the music that I actually want to listen to, who are queer, and singing about things that I can really relate to. I feel seen by your band.” It was very clear that there was an untapped community that just wasn’t seeing themselves or hearing themselves in the music they were consuming. The encouragement from them really validated what we were doing, and we took that and it informed a lot of what we did going forward.
And then it became more intentional?
Bottum: So intentional, but it was also just the time that we were in. It was right when Covid started, and it felt like the community were reaching out for company and help, and just a positive sort of way to go forward in the mess that we were in. Us included. We were just reaching out and wanted encouragement. And it felt like the attention that we got from others and what we put into it was just helping each other through a hard time. So that was the kernel of what started, but then with a total queer bend to it.
And when you say, “It’s nice to see someone who looks like me, who likes what music I like,” can you break that down a little bit? How is it important to this?
Holman: What’s really popular in, let’s just say the gay community, there’s this constant obsession with youth and body type being completely perfectly chiseled and skinny and hairless. And there’s also this element of always needing to be fun. It’s sort of the peak internalized homophobia, which is where you ignore the human part of your gay experience, which is that it’s hard, it’s sexy, but it’s also gritty. In our lyrics especially, we’re talking about love. Not in a Disney way, but in a real way where we’re talking about our sex and we’re talking about our time together and we’re talking about our fears and our hopes for each other.
There’s an element of authenticity in how we started making our music that is absent when you look at the marketable version of gay anything, gay TV shows, gay music. It feels silly to even say that. But it just didn’t feel real to either one of us. It just didn’t feel like something we’d listened to, it didn’t feel like something we’d watch. There’s just so many elements that we were just like, “Yeah, this isn’t for us.” I think people just saw normal guys making music that they actually wanted to listen to. The gay part of what we did wasn’t the calling card for people to like what we did. It was actually we liked the music we were making and so did other people. And that was important. There’s just an element of gayness that’s very squeaky clean boy.
Bottum: We make rock music, straight up. And typically and historically, that’s not such a prevalent flavor that comes up in our queer world. The queer musical genre stems more from, like, what Joey was saying, a happy place or a squeaky clean place, or a presentation of campy or funny but also a just really refined place. And where we’re coming from with the sound, first and foremost, which is rock, and our lyrics and what we lead with, there’s a messiness that I think people relate to. And not to put ourselves down, but we’re not squeaky clean physically. I’m older. We’re both big guys. We’re hairy. We don’t lead with that squeaky clean ethic that we’ve become familiar with in queer culture.
But there’s also the bear aspect of culture too though, which I guess you’re not also claiming allegiance to, or that’s another stereotype?
Bottum: Yeah, we claim allegiance. We love the bears. We’re going up to Provincetown next week. Usually there’s a big bear week that’s happening in Provincetown, and we’ll go up and we’ll play as part of that. And I think a big part of the queer community that sort of embraces us and that is on board definitely is the bears, and we go there for sure.
When you started making music, you guys had been a couple already for what, a year, year-and-a-half? You both have had music careers on your own, yet it took you a while to collaborate together. Was there a mental block there, or was that stepping up the intimacy at a level that was intimidating? What took a minute for you guys to actually make music together?
Holman: It was just Covid, honestly. We had nothing to do. We truly were just driving out to California. We’re in the middle of Texas. I had my guitar. I was finishing a solo EP, and Roddy was gearing up to tour with Faith No More. So we were bringing gear into the atmosphere of where we were going anyway. I was going to do some overdub stuff on my record, and Roddy was going to rehearse. So we were making it a musical household in a way. And then Roddy, we were driving, and he was like, “What if we just wrote some songs when we got there?” And I was like, “Cool.” So we ordered more gear to just be able to record on our computer. But it wasn’t like, “As a couple, we should dive into our relationship through music making and read ‘The Artist’s Way’ every morning.” It was just accidental.
I think that question’s interesting though, because there’s a self-awareness in the room now where it’s like, this is a full-on project. We’ve got two records now. We’ve toured all over America and Europe and the U.K. It’s a thing. It’s not just this Covid project. It’s a full thing now. We’re learning, what are our actual boundaries when it comes to what we talk about, when we talk about it? How do we allow ourselves to be a couple first before the band? And I think we’re still figuring that out. I think we were in the honeymoon phase when that first LP that came out a couple years ago, and now it’s not lost on us that this is a very big project. So we have to understand how this band fits in with our relationship, opposed to, how does our relationship fit into the band?
I would imagine with any couple the stakes almost feel higher when you’re collaborating or making something creative. If you disagree, a lot of the baked-in stuff that’s in your relationship comes out.
Bottum: That’s a really valid, great point. When we were setting out to make music together and create something together as a couple, I had no idea the buttons that it would push and the places that it would take us as a couple was crazy. At one point we were almost abandoning ship, just because it’s really intense. Having to compromise on decisions, particularly creative decisions, is hard. It’s hard for me to sort of compromise what I want to do. And bringing in that compromise or that decision making with my partner and the man I love, it’s really tricky. There’s a lot of different levels of how hard it is. Initially when we started, it was so weird.
And it’s still really weird. There hasn’t been any blueprint of couples in the world or our past that did that first that we can point to for a lesson or something. I mean, all I can think of is Ike and Tina, and that didn’t go so well.
Bottum: Fleetwood Mac. Yeah. We talk about Fleetwood Mac. The first sort of record we made, great. And then this next time we were going into it, we were like, “Okay, yeah, this is ‘Rumours.’” When we get into backstabbing, cheating … but we’re not there yet.
Holman: I honestly think the hardest thing for me in this dynamic is, Roddy and I are both really sensitive to how each other is feeling and we want to make sure that we’re taking care of each other in a specific way. And I think a lot of times where there might be tension when making decisions, or just sort of an overwhelmed feeling, is because it’s just us two, there’s no tiebreaker. If we had one more person in the band who could side with one of us, I think it would make us both like, “Okay, cool. Yeah, let’s go that way.” But because it’s just us two and we might have a different opinion on something, there’s no one in the room to help us. “Who has the better idea?” Because that’s all we really care about, is what’s just the best thing to do?
So this particular album, it was conceived while you were recovering from a leg injury, Roddy, in Provincetown?
Bottum: It didn’t start out that way. Unlike the first record, we set out to make a record. And we had a trajectory ahead of us. Joey and I go swimming every day at this place in Provincetown at high tide. We usually meet friends at this place, and they have these big rocks and we go out and we meet our friends and we go swimming. And we were just doing that one day, and we were actually going to go on tour in a couple days. We were going to go on a short tour, try out new songs, come back, make the record. That was our plan. And I just fell on some rocks and sprained my ankle, and then it set the summer into a whole different journey. But it was a lot of dealing with the ankle, getting through the ankle. Being housebound was a big part of what the record became.
I love the way some of the critics have characterized this album as “lo-fi,” “wistful,” “sun-kissed.” My favorite is “shoegaze cuddles.”
Holman: Oh my god. Shoegaze is funny to me. I don’t ever view what we do as shoegaze. Maybe I don’t know shoegaze as much as I would think that I do, I don’t know, except for maybe one song or two songs. But everything else just seems really rock to me. Indie rocky vibes. But do you think it’s shoegazey?
Bottum: I don’t know. I guess there’s just sort of an introspection, if you will, with the implication of shoegaze. It’s heavy and it’s loud, but they’re thinking when they do it. It’s a little bit thoughtful. So yeah, I guess.
Roddy, you were in Faith No More, and it had this more operatic vibe to it. Were you key in helping them shape their sound, or were you more along for the ride? And what do you want Faith No More fans to take from Man on Man?
Bottum: Faith No More, I was very involved. It started out as three of us, and it was a heavy sound. So me introducing keyboards into that sound, it definitely wasn’t just on for the ride. It was front and center, and that’s what we led with. That was the sort of difference between what we were doing at that time and what other people were doing. So it was very much that I feel proud that I was able to sort of bring that into the magnitude that Faith No More became. It was such a sound that got embraced in a crazy way to me. When we were touring with Faith No More, I came out of the closet as a gay man, and it was interesting for sure to sort of just clock the fans, who was on board and who wasn’t. And there weren’t that many people that weren’t on board. Not that I ever heard. There’s definitely an open-mindedness to Faith No More fans that will cross over to what Man on Man is doing. What I’m bringing to Man on Man … not to be corny, but it’s just a sense of beauty and love and relationship that we lead with, being a couple, and making this intimate music about ourselves, about our sex life, about what we do together as a couple. That’s what we lead with. And I’m sure there’s a faction of Faith No More fans that could be on board with that, but it’s just a really different vibe.
It was interesting that you said that about the fans and clocking who was on board and who wasn’t, because I was wondering that. There’s not a lot of blueprints around that. You have Rob Halford, from Judas Priest, who’s out.
Bottum: But at the time, honestly, Rob Halford was not out. He wasn’t speaking about his sexuality like that. And I was, so I was very alone. And it was really new territory to sort of put that out into the world, especially in that era and in that sort of spectrum. We were opening for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. And that demographic, throwing the gay bone into that, that was challenging for people. But so awesome that I got to be in that place in history where I could sort of provoke people or challenge people in that way. I feel real lucky to have had that opportunity. But yeah, it was unique and weird for sure.
And then, Joey, you had previously been in Cool Hand Luke, which is a Christian band? Is that right? But you weren’t raised Christian but became one later?
Holman: Yeah, bitch. Jealous?
[Laughs.] Not particularly.
Holman: No, I wasn’t raised Christian. The summer before going into high school, I was jealous of all the kids at my school who went to church, because I grew up in Georgia. Every single person went to church except for me and my family. And so I was really jealous. And so I had a best friend who invited me to his girlfriend’s church’s youth retreat in South Carolina, and my mom let me go. And I fully bought into everything the first night.
Holman: Because they said, the question was, “If you’re 99.9 percent sure where you’re going when you die, you’re 100 percent lost.” And to a 14-year-old mind, that weird setup of these bigger questions, it fucked me up. And I was like, “Okay, I don’t know where I’m going when I die. I need Jesus.” I prayed and stuff. And then I was a part of this southeast, southern indie Christian rock scene. I lived in the deep suburbs, you couldn’t go to shows in bigger cities. And so churches would open up their youth halls to allow bands to play there, and that’s where we went on the weekends, was just these youth halls.
Every band was by default a Christian band, because you needed to play these shows. A lot of us were just kids. They’re not going to detach themselves from their faith that they grew up in. So they were sort of like, “Yeah, we’re a Christian band.” But I was really good friends with this band from Nashville, and their guitar player got married, and I joined the band.
And this is the same time that I was really figuring out my sexuality. Actually having sex with men and really hoping that it wasn’t true. I was hoping that I wasn’t gay and maybe I just hadn’t found the right woman yet and all these cliche things that gay men go through. But it was weird. [Man on Man] played Chicago last year, and I remember we were pulling up into the city, and I had these distinct feelings of remembering being 22 years old and pulling into Chicago and doing a Bible study in the park with my band and then leaving that Bible study to go to a bathhouse to hook up with dudes. It was this beautiful moment of pulling into the city with my partner this time around and playing a show in front of people, living my true life on stage.
Are you still religious?
Holman: No, not at all.
What was that moment then that you were able to embrace yourself?
Holman: I think the moment for me was, because so much of my belief system, and also my community, is contingent on me being a certain way, if I’m a certain way, then they’ll accept me, and if I’m not, then that means that I won’t be accepted. If I need a book to tell me how to act or live or love, et cetera, or know what’s bad, then the assumption would be that if that book was removed from my life, that I wouldn’t know on my own how to love somebody or how to forgive somebody. It all just became bullshit to me.
The big thing for me was just the community aspect of it: If I lose my friends because I come out as gay, were they really my friends in the first place? Did they really love me “unconditionally”? The truth was glaring. Obviously no, they didn’t. And I lost a lot of friends when I came out.
So now we have a sense of who you guys are, where you’re each sort of coming from a little bit. Let’s talk about the record itself. You have songs like “Take It From Me,” which I think is interesting. It’s sort of about appropriation of gay culture by straight people and brands and businesses. We’re at the tail end of pride month now, so it’s particularly germane with what’s going on with companies like Target and Starbucks, walking back their embrace of gay culture because of the pressure from the right. Talk about this song and the moment that you see it landing in.
Bottum: Those are all pertinent, valid and astute things you bring up about the song. We’re referencing how queer culture has been appropriated. At the same time, it felt more poetic and more from the heart to be singing about, in terms of what queer culture is to me or us, historically, or nostalgically.
Growing up in San Francisco, for me, in the time that I did, and being there and learning queer culture on my own with no help from the internet, that was a really special chapter. It felt like the song had a better reference point or a better starting point if we were to sing it from a perspective that was memories or a fondness for what queer culture was before it was appropriated by the masses. And I don’t know. It’s a funny stance to take. I miss those days. Which is a contrary, weird thing to say.
They were not all happy days.
Bottum: They weren’t happy at all. We had AIDS, and we were ostracized. The homophobia was so much more rampant. But there was something dangerous, and I don’t know. A new frontier vibe in that era that’s really special to me. We talked about it when we were setting out to make this song. But that was sort of where we wanted to start from, in that way. A more poetic or a nostalgic sort of representation of queer culture.
It’s funny that you said that you had no help from the internet back then, because you also have a song on this called “Piggy,” which sort of gets to your ambivalence around hookup apps, and who’s on them and why they’re on them.
Bottum: For sure. We’re critical as fuck. We don’t like the internet, and we like the internet. Oh no, no, no. We make fun of the times before the internet. We make fun of the internet.
Holman: Just as a queer person in general, it’s a weird thing to have to navigate the dumb shit of just coming out. It’s such a ridiculous thing in the first place. To come out as anything is exclusive to queer people. There’s also a sadness to it as well. It’s a bitterness to it that we have to endure so much bullshit, just in our everyday lives, and the world around us doesn’t really affirm us, so it makes us second guess a lot of what we do.
And because of our environment, it creates these neurotic tendencies of only liking one type of person to have sex with or dressing a certain way or wearing certain clothes. It creates this whole sort of armor for people to hide behind because you’re just trying to make do, because emotionally and intellectually, it’s difficult to live in an environment that you don’t really see yourself in. And so with “Piggy,” with the internet specifically, I think that the lowest common denominator for queer men is closeted guys who have sex with men because statistically they are the most dangerous to queer people, in terms of stalking, in terms of physical harm, in terms of—
Holman: Using protection. Absolutely. And also murder, straight up. I mean, the way that closeted men are able to use queer culture as a sexual outlet, but not pay their rent when it comes to showing up in their families, and when it comes to showing up in the streets, voting, all of this shit. We’re living out loud, and we’re doing so in a way that tries to fight for something, and you get to just use it to get off and then hide behind your world that you created? It’s not fair.
I’m not talking about the closeted guys who literally don’t have a choice, because there’s a very big difference between guys who are living in the middle of nowhere and it’s just truly not safe to be out, versus the people who just have given it no consideration and who are just content to be—
On the down low, or whatever.
Holman: It irritates me. And then especially online culture is the dudes who just show their pecs, their torso. They message you and they’re like, “You got any more pics?” And you’re like, “Bitch, how about you show me a picture of your face?” I don’t care how perfect you think your body is. Face is 100 percent it for me. If you don’t have a face that I want to be talking to, I don’t want to talk to you. That’s the way it is. And then they’ll send pictures of their dick or something like that, and you’re like, “Where’s your face?” And they’re like, “I’m discreet.” We’re at a point in culture where it’s more appropriate to send a dick picture than it is to send a picture of your face. That is insane.
A dick pic is more discreet!
Holman: Yeah. It’s crazy to me.
Bottum: It is crazy. I mean, not that we’re face-specific. But for someone who’s comfortable sharing themselves, that’s who we want to talk to. We’re not looking to a specific face or anything, because I’ll talk to anybody. Absolutely. We both will.
Holman: Except ugly people.
Bottum: But people who are hiding their faces, not so much. That’s not a turn on.
Holman: And that’s the chorus of the song. There’s an element of loving yourself when you’re able to show yourself. I think that’s an important part of the song.
You also have a song that addresses a bit where you’ve gone as a band, and you talked about this a little bit at the beginning of our interview, how you’ve sort of evolved as a band. It’s called “Haute Couture.” There’s some tension maybe about the music you like making in the stereotypical taste of what the gay community wants, which you’ve talked about already. And that’s sort of all embodied in that song? Is that right?
Holman: This song really just came about from a place of going all over the place and playing these big pride festivals or something like that. And just coming to a point where it’s like, do people just want to see drag queens? Do they really want to deviate too far outside of the normal party culture that’s been given to them? ”Haute Couture” is the summary of the last few years on the road and just our experience. Roddy’s verse on that song is probably my favorite verse on the whole record. It’s just such good lyrics.
Can you say them or sing them? Or shoegaze on it?
Bottum: “We the people fuck in bathrooms. They’re our classrooms.” And then I’m like, “You don’t like what you see? Don’t you fucking look at me.” I think that’s intentionally button pushing. Throwing our sexuality and throwing our adventurousness and our flamboyance in the face of a, I don’t know, not-caring crowd or something.
Holman: I think that verse that Roddy did was the most explicit version of what our band is, to say it just so straight up. And it’s so powerful the way I think he says it too.
Do you think of yourself as in-your-face? Obviously we haven’t spoken before, but you’re almost soft-spoken in a way that contrasts with that, “Don’t fucking look at me,” chip on your shoulder.
Bottum: Yeah, that’s the setup, that’s the mislead, is to sort of set ourselves out as, “Yeah, we’re really just easygoing sweet people. Hey.” And then to hit it real hard.
Holman: It’s almost like a really sweet mom, but then you mess with her kids and she comes out in a way that is aggressive.
Bottum: She’ll fucking cut your face.
Holman: It’s the same thing. I think we feel very protective over what we do and over our community, because there are people who say shitty stuff about us online and we’ve seen those comments, and it’s like, “Okay, bitch. You want to start some shit, we’ll throw it right back at you and we’ll double down actually, and do it louder this time.”
Do you mix it up in the comments with the trolls?
Bottum: We don’t go there. Not with the trolls. We love our community though. The people who like us and who get us and who reach out and talk to us, they’re very much our family. We started a whole process when we did the first record, called Chosen Family, and we created a fan zine that was about people in our chosen family’s artwork who we compiled and wanted to propagate that, share us as a community, has always been super important to us. We lead with a pretty, sweet, caring, compassionate face, but only because honestly, that’s who we are. With our people, that’s who we are. There’s nothing better for us than hanging with those people, and being with our community and people who get us and people who encourage us and who we in turn encourage. But then the message I think that we’re shouting is maybe for those who are more unschooled. Maybe not. But it feels good for a community of queer people like us to hear these things that we all know, but just screamed from a stage. It feels good. The process of that is really powerful.
Talk about J Mascis, recording with the great J Mascis.
Holman: He’s such a bitch.
Bottum: J is so cool, right? We love him. I’ve known J for a lot of years. He was really good friends with Lynn [Truell], who’s the drummer in Imperial Teen. So I’ve known him through Lynn for a long time. He’s a very special individual. The first time I ever met him, we went out to dinner, and he ordered dessert first. So just start with that.
But then also, in terms of Provincetown and where we made the record, there’s people who are driven to that site-specific town and who appreciate it and live it for what it is, as very unique and eclectic. There’s weird people that go up there, like John Waters. Why is John Waters such a major part of Provincetown? But in that realm, J goes to Provincetown every year. We really got close with J and his wife Luisa and his kid Rory. We became close with them, being in Provincetown together. He’s such a crazy unique wizard of a man. His guitar playing just unto itself is crazy specific and just genius. He’s just good energy and good times.
Holman: There’s a lot of parallels between just working with J and working with Roddy. I’ve worked with people my age and younger, and then I’ve worked with Roddy and J now, and there’s an element of just grip it and rip it, just go, when you’re writing your part or you’re figuring out your part. I do see a lot of similarities in how Roddy and J make music. They’re just really confident, and I think that there’s an element that I really am jealous of in how they write music that I don’t know if my generation or younger generations really have that.
Do you overthink it?
Holman: It’s overthought for sure. I do. There is something to say about Roddy being an incredible piano player, an incredible keyboard player, and J being an incredible guitar player. There’s just an ability there that is unseen a lot today. Even with singers. I was watching a “We Are the World” behind the scenes thing, and everybody in that room was just wildly talented singers. And I was thinking, “Who would we even put in that room today?” There’s no one who can sing like that anymore.
So you brought up the age gap. Roddy, you’re 59?
Bottum: I’m 59. I’m going to be 60 on July 1st. Yeah.
Oh, it’s coming right up. And then how old are you, Joey?
Holman: I’m 39. I’ll be 40 in October. There’s a 20-year age difference.
Is that ever an issue?
Bottum: Not really. It comes up in weird ways. Joey’s from a different generation. I think it’s my generation’s place to be not very confident dealing with modern technology or something. I mean, it’s more my mom than it is me. But just, I think about when she was alive and the way that she would deal with a computer, and the way we as kids would roll our eyes and like, “Oh, God. She doesn’t get it. Mom…” I feel like that a little bit.
And Joey, his generation is way more adept at dealing with things like that. Also musical things too. There’s certain things that I just don’t understand. Musical flavors. And Joey does. But we lean into that more than not. I learn things from Joey, and Joey learns things from me. We have a song on our record called “Kids.” It’s not that, but it’s about a generational divide, and it’s about keeping yourself open to learning from a generation who might, surprise, know a lot more than you do, or be wiser in certain ways than you. And the song is about that. And it’s an extension of Joey and my age gap and what we learn or take from each other.
It’s interesting that you brought up “Kids.” We should all listen to the kids. I’ve got kids. And they’re not crazy. Listen to them, whether it comes to gender identity issues or just needing to support queer youth who were being literally targeted by legislation every day. I have friends who are 50-plus in the gay community who roll their eyes about the whole pronoun thing, gender queer things, which is… I would’ve assumed they would’ve been all on board. But I was surprised to see that rift even within the community. And I wonder, is that a thing?
Bottum: I mean, it’s not so much in our culture or the circles that we’re sort of involved in with our world.
Holman: But don’t you think there is though?
Bottum: But there is for sure. Yeah. Someone would be so embarrassed not to be getting on board with pronouns. It’s a shameful stance. And yeah. It’s far removed from where we are and our mindset, but for sure it exists.
Holman: I think everybody is figuring out these very complex things very quickly. And when you’re talking about gender expression, I mean, you’re basically talking about your expression as a person. So you’re having to go really deep on the first chapter and talk about who you are as a person through your gender expression. That’s a big ask for somebody who’s 16 years old. Or even fucking 50 years old who’s never even dealt with that before.
I honestly think any confusion from anybody, queer or not queer, I think that there’s just an element of either A, “I’ve not had to wrestle with this before,” B, “I don’t know if I need to express myself in ways that I haven’t before,” or C, “I just don’t understand your need to do that.” And I think that those are rational thought processes when you’re trying to digest anything around you, understand anything around you. You want to put yourself in that position. When you’re unable to just believe people, [it’s] because it has zero consequence to you. That’s the part that is just so bullshit. It’s like somebody who really loves the Beatles versus not understanding the genius of Led Zeppelin. It’s like, “Sure, I can believe you. But that doesn’t mean I agree with you, but sure. Okay. If that’s your thing, fine. I’ll never understand that, but great.”
I’m not going to write a law about it.
Holman: But also, you see these things threatening very powerful systems. Once people start changing what they’re into and how they express themselves, that brushes against the system or pushes back against the system that is very profitable and beneficial for a lot of people. And so there’s going to be pushback once a very real cultural moment is happening, which I think is happening now.
You said your birthday’s on July 1st, Roddy, so your Bowery Ballroom gig is a birthday party? What can we expect?
Bottum: Yeah, it’s a big old birthday splash. I’m turning 60 on such a monumental big date. I think I brought it up to Joey like, “I would really like all my bands to play.” Crickets is a band that can’t perform. But Nasty Band is a weird art rock band that I play with, and Man on Man and Imperial Teen are all being represented that night. And it’s sort of a special way in which I can get on stage and celebrate my birthday with my friends and the rest of the world. All I’ve done my whole life has been music. There’s no place I’d rather be than in a room with people listening, creating, sharing music with people who love to create and share music. It was also sort of a way in which I’m like, “Okay, I’m turning 60. This is what I’m going to do, bitch. I’m doing three shows in a row. What you got?”
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