THE JOBRIATH MEDLEY is A GLAM ROCK FAIRY TALE; a lushly-orchestrated musical and spoken word tribute by actress/performer Ann Magnuson to the spectacularly talented glam rocker Jobriath; an artist who was too far out – and OUT – for his time. The Jobriath Medley is an epic thirty-minute EP that combines good old-fashioned storytelling with extraordinarily pretty songs from Jobriath’s phantasmagoric catalogue. Think Mother Goose on LSD!
Short Q&A with Ann Magnuson:
WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS MEDLEY?
We made this EP to help expose more people to Jobriath’s heartbreakingly beautiful music. We initially created The Jobriath Medley in 1996 to perform in my show “Pretty Songs” because no one wrote prettier songs than Jobriath. My close friend and musical director, Kristian Hoffman – who produced and arranged the EP - agreed. We also believe Jobriath’s rise and tragic fall is a cautionary tale that every artist can learn from and ultimately be inspired by.
Jobriath was openly gay at a time when it was extremely dangerous to be so. Especially in rock ‘n roll. This was loooong before Elton John came out. Jobriath himself declared to Rolling Stone magazine at the time, “Bowie pretends to be gay but I am a true fairy!” As a result, his work was shunned by an unforgiving, homophobic culture. But mostly Jobriath’s career was destroyed by an excessive amount of HYPE that no one could possibly live up to. This is why his story is one that every creative person, gay or straight, can relate to, because who among us has not lost faith in ourselves because our unique expression was not in step with the marketplace?
The message embedded in the lush soundscape of The Jobriath Medley is: Don’t let anyone discourage you from expressing yourself! Especially the dreaded marketplace!
WHICH JOBRIATH SONGS DO YOU COVER?
“Heartbeat”, “I'maman”, “Blow Away” and, my absolute favorite, “Gone Tomorrow”. And the music from all four songs plays under our epic spoken word narration that is woven throughout this fantasy soundscape. We also incorporate hilarious sound effects and many psychedelic musical moments that should make any fan of my previous band, BONGWATER, very happy.
WOW! WHO DID THAT PHOTO OF YOU AS JOBRIATH?
The stunning cover art for the CD is by artist/photographer Austin Young who created our homage to Jobriath’s debut LP by transforming me into a Glam Rock Fairy Pin-Up (with a little Eurasian Pixie Vampire thrown in). What you see here is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The actual CD will be an 'eco-wallet' that folds out to reveal a full length gatefold photograph of Ann-as-Jobriath, our version of the original complete with chipped mannequin torso! Travis Pates did the ethereal make-up.
IS IT TRUE THAT RUSSELL MAEL FROM SPARKS SINGS ON THE CD?
YES! Legendary SPARKS frontman Russell Mael has graciously contributed backing vocals to our track of "I'maman" and they are GLORIOUS! Russell and his brother, Ron Mael, are glam rock icons as well as iconoclasts who have created amazing music for every decade and we are BEYOND THRILLED to have Russell's beautiful voice on The Jobriath Medley!
We are also thrilled to have Jonathan Lea (The Jigsaw Seen) playing all guitars (plus mandolin), Miiko Watanabe on bass and Joseph Berardi on drums. Our spectacular strings were arranged and conducted by Jeff Bruner and additional backing vocals are provided by Lisa Jenio, Kristi Callan and Weba Garretson. The CD was engineered by Mark Wheaton at CATSONIC and the mixing & mastering is by the equally legendary Earle Mankey, also of SPARKS fame (not to mention The Beach Boys)! It's an amazing group of musicians and the result is nothing short of PHANTASMAGORIC!
WHY GLAM ROCK?
Because glam rock ROCKS!! Plus it’s pretty to look at. And it inspires me and fills me with joy every time I listen to it. And that’s another reason we made The Jobriath Medley. Because we want Jobriath to inspire everyone else the same way Jobriath first inspired us!
Kristian Hoffman and I both bought the Jobriath albums when they first came out in the early 1880s. Uh, I mean early 1970s. Me as a baby glam rock hillbilly hippie back in West Virginia, Kristian in his suburban enclave in Santa Barbara – where he would sometimes appear along with his best friend Lance Loud on the first TV reality show, AN AMERICAN FAMILY. (FYI: Lance also appears as a character in a pivotal TRUE story told in our glam rock fairy tale!). Oh, and Morrissey also bought the Jobriath albums when he was also a teenage glam-rock-groupie-budding-music-critic-future-rock-star in Manchester England England! (That’s a HAIR reference, by the way. Did you know Jobriath played “Woof” in the original L.A. production? You will when you hear The Jobriath Medley!) Morrissey would later reissue select songs from Jobriath’s two solo albums on the CD “Lonely Planet Boy”. But when we created The Jobriath Medley in 1996 we were unaware of the Morrissey connection (until that Japanese import showed up with the photo of The Moz holding the original Jobriath LP under his arm. A culturally significant moment that was quickly integrated into the text performed at the next live performance of The Jobriath Medley.)
GRANDMA, TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE SEVENTIES.
Don’t worry kids, you’ll learn all about that decade of debauchery when you hear The Jobriath Medley! But suffice it to say that back in the early 1970’s everyone was blow, blow, blowing away in platform shoes, glitter eye make up, downing Quaaludes and red wine while being insanely & dangerously promiscuous as we dressed up in glad rags we found in thrift stores so we could emulate the movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s that we watched on The Late Late Show on TV. We were making like Liza Minnelli in CABARET (“divine decadence darling!”) and all we wanted to do was live our lives like we were in a Ken Russell movie!
Jobriath, just like David Bowie and Marc Bolan and Alice Cooper and the New York Dolls among many others, was one of those flaming creatures in the glam rock 70s who didn’t care what other people thought about them. Maybe they really were spacemen from Mars or androgynous aliens or strangers in a strange land OR just glorified hippies dressed up like Christmas trees…
But the point is: they were COUNTER to the CULTURE! And the mainstream culture back in the 1970s was bland, boring and monstrously restrictive in its conservativism. (Sound familiar?) And, more importantly, no one knew how to commodify what was ‘outsider’ yet! So the outsiders truly were OUTSIDE! And we wanted to be outside with them! We didn’t WANT to fit in with that boring mainstream culture - we wanted to be like our rock star heroes, the FREAKS! Because THEY were the ones who said, it’s okay to be YOU! Go for it, CREATE, don’t take the easy way, and don’t be a 9-to-5 buttoned down square - BE AN ARTIST! LIVE DANGEROUSLY!
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JOBRIATH?
Sadly, he was one of the first AIDS casualties, passing away – in obscurity- in 1983. The same week another unique iconoclast, Klaus Nomi, passed away. You’ll get the whole story when you get the CD. (Also when you see the new documentary, "Jobraith A.D." FYI: Kristian and I both appear in the doc as 'talking heads'.)
Ironically, long before AIDS claimed him, Jobriath was destroyed by the expectations placed upon him from the marketplace. Expectations to make HITS and MAKE MONEY and when he didn’t turn into a cash cow for other people to exploit…well, he was discarded. And that was truly, truly tragic.
But The Jobriath Medley: A Glam Rock Fairy Tale has a happy ending!
WHY IS THAT?
Because Jobriath’s music lives on to inspire us, and his story can be a beacon of light to all who become discouraged and want to throw in the towel. Jobriath speaks from the great beyond and tells all artists: DO NOT QUIT!
Because now Jobriath sits up in that Great Duplex in the Sky, tinkling the ivories throughout eternity and, with Lance Loud by his side, encourages each and every one of us to SHINE! SHINE ON! SHINE ON, STARCHILDREN!
Which, funny enough, is how our CD ends (on a special hidden track -track #8- that only YOU, gentle reader, will know about because you’ve been brave and patient enough to read THIS FAR!)
And if you choose to purchase this music, we will be so intensely and eternally grateful for helping us get this stunningly beautiful music – and the ultimate message of optimism - out there!