Posts Tagged ‘Kinsey Sicks’

You may remember the Kinsey Sicks from my recent enthusing over their unique brand of ‘dragapella’ extravaganza. Now this irreverent barbershop (nail salon?) quartet are celebrating their 20th birthday with a rather brilliant song and video.

Why The Fuck Aren’t We Famous? is not only a very good question considering the talent, wit and style of the Kinsey Sicks, it is also a timely comment on contemporary celebrity pop culture. Aping  A and R men and Pop Idol judges, the Sicks list reasons why they’re not Top of the Pops along with the Biebers and Gagas of the world.

‘if you wanna be commercial minimise the controversial, people want their chicks with sticks to cut off the politics’.

I think there’s a very serious point here, in amongst the make up, stilettos and oh so lovely harmonies. In a world where popular culture has pretty well entirely  gone gay – see Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Eurotrash, Jersey Shore, Big Brother, The Golden Girls, etc etc – actual gay men writing and singing candidly about their sexuality, politics, and gender, still come across as a bit too much for the mainstream. In other words, Kinsey Sicks, darlings:

‘why can’t you all be like Ru Paul?’

I particularly love the therapy sessions in the vid, with the Kinseys taking it turns to sit on the couch of ‘Dr Fraud’ and tell him their woes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the original, unacceptably intellectual and open-minded Dr Sex would be a fan of the Kinsey Sicks, should he be alive today.

Famous or not, I am glad these talented performers are still here…er…sticking it to polite yet often hypocritical, celebrity-obsessed, trash TV society, and proving that good old-fashioned Camp is alive and well, and as brash yet subtle as ever.

If you haven’t heard of The Kinsey Sicks yet then where HAVE you been darling? Shamefully I had not come across *ahem* this fabulous four part harmony vocal group either. Not until my younger, hipper, sexier friend Dan  shoved their delicious diamante oeuvre in my face. Dan is also funnier than me and he wittily calls the quartet The Chicks With Schticks!

The title of The Kinsey Sicks’ last album neatly summed up their unique genre of music and performance. Dragapella does exactly what it says on the tin: acapella in drag. And what drag it is. Without doing down some of our great drag artistes through history, such as Danny La Rue, Ru Paul or Mae West. Er, no, sorry, wait a minute… I am struck by just how tasteful the Kinsey Sicks’ style is. Though they are indeed very entertaining, their costumes are not played for laughs, or for grotesque parody, they look stylish in their gear, and comfortable. They look better in dresses than I do, damn it!

The ease with which the Kinsey Sicks wear their clothes is echoed by their natural talent  as singers. Their stage shows I have seen on YouTube are well choreographed and intricately staged, but really, it is the music that speaks for itself. Listening to their latest album, , Electile Dysfunction with no visuals to distract me, I am struck by just how good they are.

The songs are in the musical theatre tradition, and many are arrangements of well- known numbers, with new – and I have to say perverse – lyrics. ‘Eliminate The Schools’, a jaunty but damning indictment of the privatisation of education in America, is sung skillfully to the tune of ‘Three Little Maids From School’ from the Mikado. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers also get the Kinsey Sicks treatment, with their beautiful Barber Shop Choir style song about the hypocrisy of international diplomacy, called, of course, ‘Sikh to Sheik’.

I am more of a pop tart than a musicals moll myself, so my favourite of the sixteen tracks is T’aint It Love? Marc Almond would be proud of this version of his early 80s electro classic. He may even be a little envious of just how clever the lyrics are, as they convey the delicate dance of men who have sex with men, without being, you know… I think the Sicks are criticising some of the double standards of for example, right wing politicians who espouse ‘homophobic’ views whilst doing homosexual dos. But I found the song left enough ambiguity to satisfy this conflicted ‘homosociality’ aficionado. If we were all out and proud, if there was no ‘closet’ to hide our dirty laundry in, the song suggests, maybe life would be a bit boring?

Boring is not a word anyone could use in relation to Electile Dysfunction. It is an uplifting but also serious romp through some complicated political and ethical issues, which always keeps a smile on its face and a spring in its step. I am sure that it is in live performance that the Kinsey Sicks really razzle dazzle their audiences, but stripped down without the war paint and the dance moves they still dazzle me.

You can buy Electile Dysfunction at Amazon!

Visit the Kinsey Sicks Facebook page.  Or check them out on YouTube. You won’t regret it.

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I first heard of this brilliant acapella group, The Kinsey Sicks, via Dan. His great blog Overuse Of The Exclamation, now features a post about this wonderful quartet.  Dan calls them wittily,  The Chicks With Schticks! Of course, ‘Kinsey Sicks’ refers to the Kinsey scale, devised by Alfred Kinsey, aka  Dr Sex. ‘Kinsey 6’ indicates someone who is wholly homosexual. My favourite ‘dr sex’, [redacted], influenced by Daddy Dr Sex Freud, prefers to remain open to the idea that we are ALL capable of some ‘bi-responsiveness’. As do I. So I am not sure I really believe the number ‘6’ on the Kinsey scale represents ‘pure’ homosexuality.

But, regardless of numbers and who puts their schticks where, the Kinsey Sicks make me smile, and sometimes think too. This is what their fan Dan has to say about them:

‘Though The Kinsey Sicks clearly defy categorisation – it can be said for sure that they strive to do two things – push boundaries and cause offence. They do this both gracefully and very successfully, however, still attract a healthy population of left-wing, middle class Americans.

The majority of their songs are parodies of well-known tunes ranging from the hits of Britney Spears to numbers from the Broadway musical Chicago. The group sing acapella and so no instruments are to be seen in any of their shows. Below I have listed some of my favourite lyrics lifted directly from their songs on key issues.

Sexuality: ‘God Bless ye femme lesbians, may good taste you display. You don’t give up your fashion choices just because you’re gay. With baggy pants and baseball caps and shirts in disarray, there’s something inbetween a bimbo toy out of Playboy and dressing up just like a twelve year old boy’.

Politics: ‘Rent a homo for your party, it’s the something that you lack. For twice the price we’ll send a couple and make sure one, but never both, are black’.

Environmental Issues: ‘BP is creepy, drilling way too deeply. If you think the problem’s just Goldman Sachs and BP, there’s a walrus I can sell you in the Caribbean sea’.

Politicians: ‘I’ll send your kids into war, I just screwed an intern on the floor. I’m not a witch, I’m a corporate whore’.

Away from the playfulness and sharp wit that I’ve come to enjoy so much in the past months, there is something much more serious about the group. Dismissed, I assume, by many simply because they dress in women’s clothes, the political charge and strong message conveyed through their lyrics cannot be ignored. They stand up for civil rights, but most attractively they enjoy taking the piss out of themselves as four gay men. They’re politically incorrect and have yet to be crushed by the Gay Mafia.

Indeed they put the sin in syncopation, the chest in orchestration and the exclusive homosexuality into the Kinsey scale. They’re loud, they’re proud and they’re fantastic. I eagerly await the release of their new CD ‘Electile Dysfunction’.’

You can also find Dan on twitter.