28 Comments

I had never heard of Jobraith - so once again your articles are teaching more about music. This was a great read, and I have to say I am consistently impressed by how well researched, written, and presented your articles are. Thanks

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You're awfully kind to say so, Michael! I appreciate the devotion, and sharing your "process of learning"! What's amazing is that he WAS on a major label, so that had to be jettisoned as an "excuse"! Would you do me a solid, Michael, and free-sub? I'll be happy to, then, comp you for 6 mos, which will give you access to all the FR&B Paywalled articles, as well as what's coming this summer in the new "Summer Hot-Some Are Chill" articles! Those will be pieces (about 5 or 6) for Paid Subscribers Only, and will feature more personalized, still music and show-biz related that I not only don't want to "live" on the site in perpetuity, but may not be all that...uh, appropriate with my other content! So, they'll just go to my Paid subbie's inboxes! Hope to see you soon to take me up on my offer! Thanks again!😁👍

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I thought I already was subscribed to your page... (I’m confused)

Either way, I’ll subscribe now, and thanks for the comp offer.

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023Author

I checked your list of subbies on your site, and mine was noticeably absent....I thought you were, too! Let's blame it on 'Stack!! Your comp is on the way, Michael, and please feel free to rummage through the Attic of Archives! I know there'll be new bands and artists waiting for you to discover! BTW, if you're interested in guest-posting, lemme know....I'm fascinated by your skateboard mention (I did it in L.A. in the late '80s, when I was in my early 30s! I was a youth minister, and my high schoolers taught...and encouraged....me!). My e-mail (which I'll delete right after I send this, but you'll have it on your e-mailed comment notice).

I'd love to hear about your music likes, music history (in whatever form it takes), and of course, your skating exploits! Mine will doubtless pop up in my Paid Posts this summer! Here's a great story about the youths in my charge 35 years ago: https://bradkyle.substack.com/p/audio-autopsy-1989-it-bites-eat-me

Great to have you behind the velvet rope line, Michael, FRONT ROW & BACKSTAGE!

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Jun 29, 2023·edited Jun 29, 2023Liked by Brad Kyle

Thanks Brad, I really appreciate that.

And sometime in the future I would definitely be to do a guest post and vice versa.

I’m actually planning to launch a second substack soon all about skateboarding and so maybe one of those posts would be more fitting.

And I’m still kinda confused, about the subscriber thing, do you also write the substack page “Songs that saved your life”? Because if not somehow I confused your substack page with that page.

Either way glad to be a board and thanks again.

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No, I'm solely FRONT ROW & BACKSTAGE, with an occasional foray "Behind the Astros Dugout," which features personality profiles of a player here and there. "Songs That Saved Your Life" is a completely other Substack, and TODAY, they were kind enough to cross-post my article on Jobriath (which I wrote several weeks ago), which is what (and how) you were exposed to that one!

I eagerly await your skateboarding 'Stack!

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Okay it all makes sense now.

I received your comment/email (which contained your personal email address) so I will contact you that way when I get some time.

And thank you for the comped offer and the cross post offer and I will keep you posted about when I launch my skateboarding substack, it will still be a few weeks off yet. In the mean time if you want to stay connected to my writing it would be great if you could free subscribe to my current substack as well.

Thanks again Brad

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Jun 29, 2023Liked by Brad Kyle

I appreciate the focus on queer artists who broke ground but didn't rise to the level of Bowie, Freddy Mercury etc., Perhaps especially because of homophobia. They deserve to be celebrated and remembered! I had never heard of him but I'm glad I know about him now. Everything we have we owe to our queer predecessors. Thanks for this article!

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Thanks so much, Liz, for the kind words and encouragement! Speaking of Bowie, I've written about him a couple times, including this article, which highlights my meeting up with his pal, Iggy, with whom I was happy to press the flesh around 45 years ago: https://bradkyle.substack.com/p/pressing-the-flesh-with-iggy-pop

Thanks so much for subscribing, Liz! It's great to have you aboard, and behind the rope line, FRONT ROW & BACKSTAGE!

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Just thought I’d let you know I’ve listened to his self-titled album. The vocal control (especially in Movie Queen and Inside) is impressive. Not to mention the dynamics. He was the complete show. What a talent!!

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Glad you liked him, Andy! I think it can be safely (and accurately) said that he was ahead of his time!

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Absolutely! His musicality was just out of this world. Thanks for helping me discover his legacy.

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My pleasure, Andy! Job turned out to be a key piece in several genre jigsaw puzzles that decade.

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Fascinating. I don't remember Jobriath so this is a new story to me. Your point about "openly gay" touches on something important. The world of the arts has always been full of more or less flamboyantly gay or gender-bending men (Michelangelo, anyone? Liberace, many of the stars of New Wave). But mainstream culture could not accept gayness, so just pretended it away. The work adorning the Sistine Chapel, the heart of Catholicism, was put there by a gay man and his students (all boys) many of whom were also his lovers. How's that for cognitive dissonance? College students in the New Wave era were partying down to the Bronski Beat, Erasure and the Smiths while pretending not to know those bands were all fronted by gay men--as obvious as it was. People do weird things to protect their world view, and it's not always pretty. The Nazis loved Mendelssohn's music but tried to exterminate anyone like him. Poor humans. Great article!

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Great gay history reminder, Charles! Thanks for that and your compliment! As for Liberace, my grandma loved him back in the '50s and '60s....older people loved him, and the harshest word he ever got in his general direction was "flamboyant"! Again, the labels, networks, press agents, et al, simply ignored (and didn't "advertise") any male gayness!

Your new wave era left out (but, I know you remember) Frankie Goes to Hollywood and their "Relax." I was a youth minister at the time, and chuckled at all my high school youth groupers digging on a song they had no idea about what they were singing (at least I don't think they did)!

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Liberace is one of the funniest examples, because his audience were SO conservative. Re. Frankie, for sure, and there were more one could name. The Pet Shop Boys, Men Without Hats, the B52s... And yes, I found it funny that frat boys were boogeying down to songs about gay sex. Aside from that, I think the combination of emergent liberation and the suffering from ongoing persecution is what gave New Wave that unique blend of upbeat dance-ability and sadness--no better example than "Smalltown Boy".

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Had never heard "Smalltown Boy." Just listened and read the lyrics....Ah, yes, Jimmy Somerville! I've actually featured him twice on FR&B! If I may.....here, singing on a track on an Arthur Baker album, as a former Communard: https://bradkyle.substack.com/p/audio-autopsy-1989-a-and-m-records

and, featured on an "Inside Tracks" where we hear various covers of The Nerves/Blondie hit, "Hanging on the Telephone"! https://bradkyle.substack.com/p/inside-tracks-8-jack-lee-hanging

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BTW, did you ever see my posts on the U.S. music industry? Talking about protectionism and the songwriting mill. I figure you would have some insider insights I missed. https://zapatosjam.substack.com/p/are-you-a-foreign-artist-you-are

https://zapatosjam.substack.com/p/the-songwriters-who-ate-america-part

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Thanks! I have the Somerville "Telephone" version bookmarked, but am not familiar with Arthur Baker, so will have to check that out.

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founding

I am glad I am not the only one who wasn’t familiar with his music. The name of course rings a bell, I’m sure I read or heard something at some point, but wouldn’t be able to recognise him. Will revisit once I’ve had a chance to listen a bit more. Amazing coverage, as always, so I’ll know where to start! Thanks!!

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You're far from the only one unfamiliar with Job and his music, Andy! Hence the article!

As I mentioned in the piece, I was 18 in '73, and only was really aware of him from the constant rock-mag ads, reviews, articles, and interviews (Houston, unlike L.A. and NYC, didn't warrant a massive billboard!). He was getting no radio airplay in Houston.

As they usually did, the rock writers were saying enough about him and his music (and I was able to "hear" or grok music from their excellent writing) that I wasn't moved to buy the album.

To illustrate that (rather understandably unbelievable) point, jump to 1985, when the great Robert Hilburn's (L.A. Times) review of Scritti Politti's "Cupid and Psyche 85" album, and his ONE word description of Green Gartside's composing and the sound of Scritti, prompted me to buy the album the same day: "Precious"! I had to hear what a band whose music was described as "precious" sounded like. He wasn't wrong! My favorite '80s band, as it turned out!

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I echo Sherman's comment. Will spend some time listening to the music, then re-enter the conversation Brad!

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Great....thanks, Paul! I'm curious to get a sense (from readers in '23) of music versus hype....did the '73 hype machine kill any real chance of Job being taken seriously or listened to (did the hype turn people off from the get-go?), or was he somehow lacking in true talent, at least the prodigious talent that might've risen him above the hype (were it not for his drug/drink binges, etc)?

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Had never heard of Jobriath. What an amazing and tragic story. I'm eager to listen.

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He was but a rock-history footnote, Sherman, but one of those whose story is riddled with lessons, if-onlys and what-ifs, but ultimately, as you say, tragic. Only when the miles of time are in the rear-view mirror can the Elliotts, Morrisseys, and Numans step up and help contextualize what we all missed...and, good on 'em for doing so!

Speaking of Joe Elliott, by the way, he, Jack White, and Dave Grohl are emerging as rock's important statesmen, I've noticed, helping to shine a light on past and forgotten heroes, and (in White's case), keeping important elements like vinyl pressing plants, alive! They seem to be doing it all sans fanfare, and without much, if any, press coverage!

Would love to hear your reflections, Sherman, of Jobriath's music, if you're game to share! Feel free!

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On first listen, I hear Bowie and Bolan. And definitely a cabaret feeling, Bowie meets Morrison meets piano bar. I imagined an off-off-off Broadway musical about him and his music sorta like the one about Carole King...except not. So far, "Ooh La La" is my favorite, that trill he does is great.

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May 8, 2023·edited May 8, 2023Author

Nice.....yeah, that trill is an "instrument" not shared by many! I think I could detect a bit of growth from debut to "Creatures" (fortuitous he could get another album from Eddie Kramer...they might've been able to build something), but with like so many artists, if we're not given a longer artistic arc, it's hard to judge sustainable talent (nod to Bolan, there, with his sadly-shortened life).

On the other hand, we were fortunate enough to see a loooong Bowie career arc! It's interesting to note, too, that while Jobriath enjoyed the production talents of Kramer for both albums, Bowie went from Mike Vernon (1967) to TWO notable producers, Gus Dudgeon (later, Elton) and the "newer" producer, Tony Visconti, who grew his career in the '70s with Bowie!

Had Job been given more time, a producer might have been found who could showcase his sound more thoroughly.

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