are an American band that formed in 2001, who have had
massive success in the UK and Ireland. Their US record sales
are modest compared with their
sales, where they are now one of the decade's
biggest-selling acts. Their influences are disco,
glam-rock/pop and the gay-club scene of
New York City.
The group is named after a sex position between two women -
tribadism. The initial full name was Dead Lesbian and the
Fibrillating Scissor Sisters.
members of the band:
Jake Shears (born Jason Sellards) - Lead vocals,
Babydaddy (born Scott Hoffman) - Bass guitar,
Guitar, keyboards, primary co-songwriter, backing vocals
Ana Matronic (born Ana Lynch) - Vocals, percussion,
"Mistress of Ceremonies"
(born Derek Gruen) - Guitar
Paddy Boom (born Patrick Seacor) - Drums,
shows and performances have included John "JJ" Garden, son
of Graeme Garden of The Goodies, on keyboards/guitar.
Early career (2001-2003)
core of the band formed in 2000 when Shears and Babydaddy
met while attending college in Kentucky, and began to play
music together. After moving to
New York City,
the duo met Ana Matronic at a cabaret on Halloween, when she
was dressed as an Andy Warhol factory reject, and Shears was
dressed as a "back-alley abortion". The group soon began
playing gigs, and they met Del Marquis while Jake Shears was
still working as a stripper at a club called IC-Guyz. After
becoming a quartet, the band was signed to independent
record label "A Touch of Class" , and recorded a single,
"Electrobix", which had as its B-side a disco/glam cover of
the Pink Floyd classic, "Comfortably Numb". Paddy Boom
joined the band after they placed a classified ad looking
for a live drummer.
album and breakthrough success (2003-2005)
cover of "Comfortably Numb" became noticed in the UK when it
was picked up by underground DJs in electroclubs. The Cock
venue in London staged their first British gig at this time.
The song later got the attention of British label Polydor,
who signed them to a contract.
group's first single for the label, "Laura", had a limited
release in 2003 (reaching #54 in the UK singles chart),
receiving little attention with the exceptions of British
music paper New Musical Express, Channel 4's entertainment
programme V Graham Norton and same channel's music programme
Popworld for which they were interviewed. The track also
garnered plenty of radio play in Australia. 2003 also saw
the inclusion of the atmospheric "It Can't Come Quickly
Enough" on the soundtrack of the film Party Monster;
the song played over its ending credits.
first hit was in 2004 with the re-release of "Comfortably
Numb" (reaching #10 in the UK), featuring Paul Leschen on
piano and keyboards. This success was followed by fan
favourite "Take Your Mama" (#17 in the UK), a re-release of
"Laura" (#12 in the UK), the ballad "Mary" (#14 in the
and the gay/hedonist anthem "Filthy/Gorgeous" (#5 in the
singles came from the eponymous debut album Scissor
Sisters, which reached #1 on the UK albums chart and
became the best selling album of 2004, beating
Hopes And Fears by just 582 copies. As of 2006, it is
the 10th biggest-selling album of the 21st century, and the
51st biggest-selling of all time in the UK. Several media
outlets have noted that Scissor Sisters 'stick out like a
sore thumb' on the list of artists who have sold over 2
million copies of an album in the UK in the 21st century —
the others being James Blunt, Robbie Williams,
Coldplay and Norah Jones — all artists considered
'mainstream' or 'middle of the road', as opposed to the
Scissor Sisters' brash and controversial image.
substantial chart success in the
(which they refer to as their 'spiritual home'), the band
have had only a moderate impact on the public consciousness
in their home country. "Take Your Mama" received popular
radio airplay on US pop stations. "Filthy/Gorgeous" enjoyed
a following in stateside gay clubs.
album was banned from the shelves of
super chain Wal*Mart due to its "coarse language". The band
have shown their dissatisfaction with the decision on a
number of occasions, Jake Shears is even heard in a Spanish
live performance on the band's DVD saying, "Wal*Mart won't
stock our album...well, ya know what? Fuck Wal*Mart!".
Recording of the second album, Ta Dah commenced in
mid-May 2005; sneak previews of new songs were played at
live shows, including "Everybody Wants the Same Thing",
performed at the Live 8 concert, "Paul McCartney", "I Can't
Decide", "Hybrid Man", "Forever Right Now" and "Hairbaby" (a
title which refers to the phenomenon of tumours containing
partially formed foetuses).
Recordings took place at Discoball, the band's studio. The
band fulfilled one of its dreams:
Elton John collaborated
with them on I Don't Feel Like Dancin' (as pianist
and co-writer). The song reached #1 in the UK on 10
John also contributed to the "Intermission" of Ta-Dah.
album was released on September 18, 2006 in the
and will follow on September 26, 2006 in the
According to Jake Shears, the album is a combination of
sixties-era psychedelia, glam rock and disco.
band will play several gigs in the
continental Europe and Japan to promote the new CD. They are
currently an opening act for Depeche Mode's 2006 Tour. Their
first gig in the UK for promotion of the second album took
place at the KOKO Club, Camden, London, on 31 August 2006
and was filmed for MTV. 2006 performances at the Bowery
Ballroom and Siren Music Festival in
and the Coachella Festival have allowed for the band to
showcase an array of songs taken from the new album. A free
concert was given in Trafalgar square to 10,000 ballot
winners on the 16th September in order to promote the Red
album "Ta-Dah" leaked onto the internet on 13 September
2006, five days before its release in the UK.
rocketed to Number 1 in the U.K charts in its first week of
release, officially taking the topspot on Sunday the 24th
September 2006, completing an historic first for the Scissor
Sisters, a double consisting of a single and album at the
top of the UK charts simultaneously.
Content of music
lyrics of their songs, largely written by Shears and
Babydaddy, are known for their mixture of wit and tragedy.
The songs on the debut album dealt with a number of subjects
and issues in a variety of styles, from crystal meth abuse
in "Return to Oz", to Jake Shears' deep platonic love for
his best friend in real life, Mary ("Mary"). Mary died of a
brain aneurysm in April 2006, news that devastated members
of the band.
music can be generally described as a mixture of glam rock,
disco, and alternative music. They appear to have been
heavily influenced by Elton John (Shears' singing,
particularly, sometimes sounds uncannily like John).
However, Shears has gone on record as not having been very
familiar with John's work prior to the release of their
record, although he's stated he's since become a big fan.
The band echoes not only Elton John, but also the Bee Gees,
KC and the Sunshine Band, Duran Duran ("the reason we got
into music", as Ana says), Supertramp,
Queen, Chic and
various other dance/disco, rock, and funk acts, and they
admit that their music is hard to categorize. They prefer
not to be specifically labeled as a "gay band". In an
interview featured on the We Are Scissor Sisters... And So
Are You DVD, the band states, "The fact that some of us are
gay affects our music the same amount as it does that some
of the members of Blondie are straight".
band count David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Roger Daltrey of
Who, U2, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and
Elton John among its
fans. They were the opening act for Duran Duran's 2004
reunion tour and opened for U2 on some of their UK dates for
the Vertigo Tour.
Awards and press
2005 Brit Awards, the group won all the awards they were
nominated for: International Group, International
Breakthrough, and International Album. It was the first time
in the Awards history that an act won all three
International categories. They also opened the show with
"Take Your Mama", on a set made by The Jim Henson Company.
band won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Artist on
28 March 2005. On 2 July 2005, the group performed at Live
8. Their set included the previously unheard song "Everybody
Wants the Same Thing".
have received a lot of attention in the United States by VH1
and magazines such as Out and Entertainment Weekly.
So far in the US, two videos have received play: the "Take
Your Mama" clip and the second "Laura" clip. They have also
been interviewed on VH1's website and Del Marquis had been
interviewed by the music section of IGN.com. As their early
successes have been almost exclusively in
Europe, they are often mistaken in the
an import band despite their New York roots. It is a little
known fact that there are several tracks recorded by the
band before their eponymous debut which were never released;
these tracks have entered the fan community and, although
sometimes difficult to find, can be obtained freely. These
songs include "Someone to Touch", "Bicycling with the
Devil", "Electrobix", "Monkey Baby", a Billy Joel-Elton
John-esque cover of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", as well
as demo versions of "Laura", and "Filthy/Gorgeous".
Sisters' CDs, records and DVDs feature artwork by an English
illustrator named Spookytim, who has a studio in
Brighton called Studiospooky. The artwork is created by a wide variety of
techniques and mixes traditional paper-based processes with
digital and photographic elements in order to reflect the
multi-referential nature of the band's music.
fan societies have sprung up in the official forums. These
include the "Jake Groupies", "Ana Matronic Appreciation
Society", and the "Scissor Sisters Party Bus", the latter
two having spilled over to their own sites. The band have a
close relationship with the fan community, even holding a
small private gig for select forum members on 14 August
2005, at which a number of new tracks were previewed, and
fans had the opportunity to meet the band and give birthday
cards and presents to Ana Matronic. In the fan community,
those fans who hold a special affinity for Ana are known as
2004, Shears and Babydaddy co-wrote and produced the hit "I
Believe in You" for Kylie Minogue.
group were one of the headlining acts at the British V
Festival in 2005, where they collaborated on stage with
Scottish rock group Franz Ferdinand to perform a cover
version of David Bowie's "Suffragette
2005, "Filthy/Gorgeous" was licensed by Activision and
appears in Neversoft's Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.
10 September, 2006
saw them headline the Bestival festival on the
Isle of Wight. They closed the three day event with the most spectacular
show the island has seen for years. The band took to the
stage at Robin Hill dressed as clowns, and by the encore -
Filthy Gorgeous - they had been joined by dancers in 10 foot
high clown costumes. Singer Jake Shears ended the set
bare-chested and covered in fake blood. They succeeded in
thrilling a capacity crowd, although they spectacularly
failed to observe the "don't dress as clowns" advice, which
had been introduced for the annual fancy dress parade, so as
not to deter people with coulrophobia (fear of clowns) from
attending the festival!
September 2006 the group were invited to the BBCs Maida Vale
studios to perform different songs on every show broadcast
on Radio 1. The event, dubbed Scissor Sisters Day,
culminated in them actually standing in for presenter Pete
Tong and hosting his three hour slot themselves. The show
took an unexpected turn when a woman in labour telephoned
the show to share her experience with the band. Several
performances, interviews and a humorous jingle that was
written in an hour, were filmed and edited into a special
seven day looped broadcast on BBCi.
Scissor Sisters Official Website
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