!! OMG, a Q&A with Seth Bogart from Hunx and His Punx !!
Readers that occasionally indulge in some of the non-naked or non-cat content on this website might recall that we declared the song "Can A Man Hear Me" by H.U.N.X. the second gayest song of 2010. If we were the gay version of Q Magazine, we'd probably also list it as The Fifth Gayest Song Of The Decade, The Third Gayest Song Of All Time By A Male Solo Artist Or Pop Duo and The Gayest Song Not Sung By RuPaul, Patti LaBelle or Gwyneth Paltrow On An Award Show Broadcast Between February, 1987 And April, 2011.
The voice behind that song (and many others) is the multi-talented Seth Bogart, a soon-to-be-Los Angeles-based musician, punk rock pin-up boy and hairdresser on fire extraordinaire. He's also the main man in the band Hunx and His Punx, which just released the enjoyable girl group throwback-sounding record Too Young To Be In Love on the indie imprint Hardly Art. Readers of the fully-naked content of this website may also remember his cameo in Girls' NSFW "Lust For Life" music video.
This week, Hunx and His Punx embark on a west coast tour and so we decided this was an opportune time to ring Seth in San Francisco to ask him for gay travel advice, chat about his various musical and TV projects and his near-misses with Courtney Love. Read the full Q&A after the jump!
Where are you?
I'm in San Francisco running around, doing stuff. Like boring errands and stuff like that. What's up with you? Where are you?
I'm in Toronto.
I love Toronto. I met [Canadian artist, musician and filmmaker] G.B. Jones there.
Oh really? She's very reclusive.
She came to our show and introduced herself after and I was seriously like, losing it.
What did you guys talk about?
I don't remember! I just remember she was really nice and we talked for a while ⎯ her and her two friends. I think one lady was in Fifth Column and they gave me an evil eye to protect me. They were very sweet.
Were you a fan of Fifth Column and her zines?
I'm, like, a huge fan. I feel like I never get to meet people like that. I mean ⎯ not never. That's not true. There are not a lot of people in the world, you know?
Who else do you want to meet that you haven't met yet?
Um, I don't know? I met Fred Schneider [of the B-52's], that was super cool. I met Kathleen Hanna and I went on tour with her a bunch. People always ask me if I've met John Waters and I've never met him before.
I actually just met him at a book signing.
I feel like everyone in the world has met him but me! I met Tammy Faye. That was amazing.
What were the circumstances around that?
She was doing a show at the Castro Theater with John Waters and I went and if you paid $5 you could get an autographed picture and go meet her. So I did it. It was hilarious because they both talked but she went on after John Waters and she talked for so long that people eventually started leaving. [laughs] She talked for like five hours. It was CRAZY.
What did she talk about?
Just, like, her life. She had a bed on the stage and like, all these diet cokes and a dresser and a mirror. She was like "I'm more comfortable if I feel like I'm in my bedroom." I actually had to leave eventually because I had to catch the subway at midnight but she was still going strong when I left.
Did you know what to say when you met her or were you just all starry eyed?
I was like "I love you!" and then she wrote "I Love You Seth" on the autograph but then I realized ⎯ when I was Google-ing her one day ⎯ that she apparently writes "I love you" to everyone. I thought I was special. I don't know why.
I met Courtney Love a couple times and every time I like, cannot say a word. One time we were at the same bookstore and she was looking at books right next time me and I couldn't even bring myself to say something. It was when she came out with her diaries ⎯ it was called Dirty Blonde. It's like, really retarded. She did a book signing and I went and there were all these rules: no photos, you can't bring a bag inside and you can't talk to her. When it was over and everyone left and I was waiting for a ride and she was looking at books right next to me.
Another time I saw her at a celebrity club in LA and she wouldn't take a photo with me and then my friend Tina started screaming at her from the balcony of the parking lot. There were a million paparazzi taking pictures of her and my friend Tina was like, "YOU WANTED THIS COURTNEY! ARE YOU HAPPY?" I was like "TINA STOP. She's gonna beat us up!" She was literally wearing pajamas and flip-flops.
With a Birkin bag.
It was like five years ago when she was really fucked up. She was hanging with Rod Stewart's daughter and they kept going to the bathroom, like, every 20 minutes.
Do you still run a vintage store?
Not anymore. I just gave it over to my friend Tina. I still work there a little bit but I didn't really want the responsibility anymore. I'm working on a TV show and I want to tour more and I'm probably moving to LA. I had the business for five years and I loved it and now I want to do something else. Maybe when I'm old I'll have another store.
What's the status of the H.U.N.X. project?
I'm supposed to do that this month and next month, actually. I have enough songs for a full album, but I work on it with different people that are scattered all over so it's hard. But it'll happen.
What's the vision for the album? Hi-NRG like the first songs?
It's gonna be like that but mixed with new wave and a French, '80s kind of vibe.
How did that project get started?
Well, I met this guy Nick [Weiss from Teengirl Fantasy] at one of his shows that my ex-boyfriend was performing at with him and we all, like, had a three-way and we became really good friends. He's an amazing prodigy in electronic music. He can make a really crazy song in two seconds. I had these ideas for songs and we just went to Guerneville for one weekend and recorded them together.
What was that like?
Do you know what Guerneville's like?
It's like, a gay resort area in California?
Yeah but it's not all gay. It's kinda like mountain men [laughs] but it has tons of gay people there and they have gay resorts and spas. It's kind of hilarious. It's also a river town. It's not fancy or anything. My friend Shane owns a cabin there so we rented it from him and there are two cabins and a hot tub so we just recorded music and went in the hot tub and had fun. We're trying to record the other stuff in Palm Springs but we'll see what happens.
So you can record in another gay resort area?
We set it up to be the gayest thing ever so I want to record it in Palm Springs, Fire Island and Guerneville.
Any recommendations for fun things to do in Guerneville?
Well, there was this amazing place called The Russian River Resort but it just foreclosed. They called it a 'resort' but it's actually just a really trashy motel with a pool in the middle, a courtyard and a bar and a hot tub. It's the most magical place. They always have parties and bands play there. They have comedy and karaoke. But I don't know what happened. It just foreclosed even though when they had bear weekend there they'd make, like, millions of dollars. But there's still the river there and places you can stay.
What do the H.U.N.X. songs have in common with Hunx and His Punx?
Like, nothing. Maybe if you took "Can A Man Hear Me" and played it with guitars it could be a Hunx song but it's totally different. I don't understand why you always have to do one thing... The last album that Hunx and His Punx did was a collection of singles and some of the songs I didn't write or anything so I just felt like Too Young To Be In Love was more ⎯ it's me and all the girls. We all wrote it together but I just felt way more a part of it.
How did you meet your bandmate Shannon Shaw from Shannon and the Clams?
We were playing at this gay bar in San Francisco called The Eagle and she came to our show and introduced herself. She already had her band and I obviously liked her right away. She's funny and really cute and stuff and I was doing this thing for a second where I didn't have a band ⎯ [voice becoming sheepish] I just had an iPod and played the songs. It was really bad and then I had her sing with me so it wouldn't be really horrible. We were going on tour and our bass player had to work so I asked her to come and ever since she's been in the band.
Why do you want to move to LA?
I want to be closer to Hollywood! No, I've lived in San Francisco and Oakland since I was a teenager and I'm, like, 30 now and I just need to get out of here for a while. LA is close and I want to be at the beach all the time.
How much time are you spending on your TV show, Hollywood Nails?
I was doing it a ton before I went on tour but now [the co-creator] Brandy is in Europe until June so we're gonna devote all of July to finishing our first episode. We just go slow because we make these elaborate sets for a 30-second taping. That's part of the reason I want to move to LA, to be closer to people there who are good at that stuff and can help us.
Is it inspired by your love of reality TV?
It's more inspired by Pee Wee's Playhouse and, embarrassing as it is, Saturday Night Live ⎯ old Saturday Night live when they had fake advertisements. It's me and Brandy and all of our weird friends.
When did you begin collaborating with Brandy?
She's been my good friend and she's in most of the Hunx videos and she always does most of the videos with me and does make-up and helps me with wardrobe and stuff like that. She's one of the most creative people I know and I love her vision. We actually thought of doing this show when we were making the video for the song "Cruising". It's all one shot where I'm walking around this giant room and I stop in this little shitty nail salon and she does my nails and that's when we decided we wanted to have a TV show. We made this set in like, two seconds sand it looked really funny and cool. So we were like let's have a talk show.
What's it like raising the money? Are you hustling and networking to make it all happen?
OMG we did one of those embarrassing Kickstarters, which is so annoying but I thought everyone else is doing it. We got like $3,000 and we're using our own money. Everything adds up. We spent $200 on glitter or more.
You spent $200 on glitter?
Hunx and His Punx June 2011 west coast tour dates:
June 16 - Costa Mesa, CA @ The Detroit Bar
June 17 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
June 18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Show Cave
June 22 - Seattle, WA @ KEXP In Studio
June 22 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile $
June 24 - Calgary, AB @ Sled Island
June 25 - Calgary, AB @ Sled Island
June 27 - Vancouver, BC @ Waldorf Cabaret $*
June 28 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir $
$ = w/ Shannon and the Clams
* = w/ Sonny and the Sunsets
Photo credits: Daniel Pitout (first), Alexis Penney (second).
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