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Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division Paperback – March 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a great inspiration - to succeed according to your own measure and to have a hell of a great time doing it. I've rediscovered their music and picked up their new stuff, and I must say the music and this book never fail to delight. Jon and company are heroes to more people than they will ever know.
You will love this book. I sure did.
His memoir, DEFLOWERED, accelerates this Rabelaisian mode, showing us that he was a late bloomer in a way; late to act on his nascent sexual feelings; late to leave the area where he had grown up; late to put together a band that would serve his vision. But once he had it all together, that pentup energy found expression, and at the exact time that would be most propitious for him, during the so-called homocore days when, in the wake of ACT UP and Queer Nation, it really seemed as though a new gay and lesbian culture was being born and even better, conquering the world.
It might not have always been easy dealing with Ginoli (and his right hand man, guitarist Chris Freeman), since the narrative arc in DEFLOWERED is consistently about badmouthing every drummer they play with. But he's so great one forgives him all the things he leaves out of this otherwise hard-hitting and fascinating tour through your pants.
For the uninitiated, Pansy Division was a pop-punk band founded by Jon Ginoli that, along with acts like Tribe-8 and Fifth Column, comprised the musical part of the homocore movement of the 1980s and 90s. Ginoli, who never felt at home with "mainstream" gay music, took up with bassist Chris Freeman and an ever-changing series of drummers to craft a sound that was anything but mainstream.In Deflowered, Ginoli chronicles the band's origins in San Francisco and takes the reader on a tour as amazing, but not nearly as exhausting, as those the band conducted throughout the United States and Europe.
Ginoli spares no detail in his descriptions of the way an indie band records music and conducts tours, and I found myself wincing at descriptions of the places the band had to sleep, the bad road food they had to eat, or the various other hardships they endured on the road, not least of which was harassment from the homophobes who were much bolder and more common fifteen years ago. Yet there's no sense that Ginoli grew cynical or bitter; indeed, he seems to view it all as part of a grand adventure, and the reader just can't help but agree. After all, how many other all-queer bands got to open for Green Day, or play at Madison Square Garden?
Through it all, Ginoli never apologizes for the sound Pansy Division created, and seems to accept that the price of blazing his own trail is, sadly, a lack of recognition from the wider musical world.Read more ›
Like many gay men, the author was a loner growing up in small town at a time when gender bending was in fashion but there were no but no out groups - so he ended up founding one. Like many, the only role models he saw were camp and he wasn't like any of them. So, he thought, it must be a passing phase. Indeed, he didn't have his first sexual encounter until the age of 21.
He likens high school graduation as leading to `the slaughter house that is adulthood' and doesn't want to attend his graduation ceremony. His taste for `outward signs' is similar to the protestations of religious leaders such as Guru Nanak who didn't want initiation.
Like so many teenagers who dream of being pop stars, and there are a few who make it. The author had his dream and had to risk a job he liked in order to make it. He succeeded. Risk is the name of the game: one member of the band wanted a more reliable income after he turned age forty.
Pansy Division is an important aspect of gay culture. With so many clubs of the time playing disco, especially high energy, it seemed like it was compulsory. This group offered something different.
There is also distaste for the ubiquitous Oasis with their `wholesale theft of riffs and melodies.'
Other stereotypes are busted too, such as guys who refuse to kiss.
There is a good account of the group's search for a drummer and for someone actually wanting to be asked and having the guts to say so.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pansy Division was a groundbreaking band. This is the story of how they got there. Engaging and informative. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chandler Adams
I enjoyed Ginoli's story about one of my favorite bands from the 90's. I still giggle like a little boy at some of their sillier songs and am moved by others. Thanks for the music.Published 5 months ago by StephenTBA
Basic account of one members view of the development of the band. Could have used more personal details of the tribulations if his liaisons along the way, since the mantra is so... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Bradley Dent