Jake Shears Chats Kinky Boots, Scissor Sisters, & Pride

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this week’s On the Rocks. we spill the tea with musician/author/and actor Jake Shears as we chat about his return to Kinky Boots, his career, Pride, sexuality, his new projects, and what being a part of Scissor Sisters meant to him...with host Alexander Rodriguez. Raise a glass and let the drinks begin!

Hello on the rockers. On this episode we have a singer Songwriter, extraordinary pride, hotty memoir riding can keep boots wearing. SCISSOR sistery Jake cheers. So raise a glass and let the drinks begin. One more. Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are stopping today. I'd like to propose a toast. This is on the rocks. Alexander right, drink with your favorite celebrities. If we talk about fashion, entertainment, pop culture, reality TV and well, that's about it. So a pop acork. Lean back and raise a glass on the rocks. Funds imposed on the rocks podcast placement. Were too glad to give a damn. Like us on twitter and Instagram, at on the rocks, on the air and on facebook. On the rocks radio show. You can watch and or listen to our almost three hundred episodes. That on the rocks radio showcom watch us on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, fire TV, on the Outer Dot TV, up facebook. Watch streaming with pride on SVTV and on channel thirty one on the East Coast. The shows brought to you by Fan Daddy'scom support your small businesses as well as our vodka is powered by nept vodka. It's just damn good vodka. As for nept at the bar or get your own for home. Okay, things might look a little different because we're doing was a time time zone difference today, so I'm actually zooming from home because I'm so excited to chat with our guests from across the pond. Jake shears served as the front man and one of the primary songwriters for Bolti platinum selling Glam pop and scissor sisters. He's born in Arizona grew up in sanddle area before moving to NYC, where he studied fiction writing at the new school. He's written hits for Kylie Minogue, collaborated with Tigert Andy, bell of a raiser and boys noise. He's duetted with share. He also wrote the music for the stage musical version of tales of the city. He made his Broadway debut as Charlie Bryce and kinky boots,...

...and in two thousand and eighteen he releases debut book, the Memoir Boys Keep swinging, and that same year he released his debut solo album, Jake shooes, and continues to work on several projects, both in music and theater, including a musical based on the life of Tammy Fay Baker in collaboration with Mr Sir Elton John. That set to debut in London in the next year. And this July Jake will return to kinky boots for a limited engagement at the Hollywood bowl. Please welcome my future ex husband, Mr Jake shears. What's Love? Good evening, good morning, good morning for the evening. Who knows what Tiv it is. I just fought. It's always a good front. To say you've led a colorful life would be a huge understatement. So before we get into the Nitty Gritty, let's talk about Kinky boots now. You made your Broadway debut with Kinky boots, but your actual kind of first big stage production was in bent at the mark taper. That show is is quite dark and kind of a different side of jake cheers than we had seen in such a heavy play. All eyes were on you. What was it light going through that acting and creative process in relation to everything you had done up to that point? Yeah, that's awesome. That's a great question. I boyses Kaufman, who was directing been, I mean bet is a very heavy play. It's really dark. It's a beautiful play. But you know, moises came to me and wanted the cast me in the show and it was not a huge part, but it's a significant part in the first act and I just didn't know. I'm not a good actor. I'm like not an actor. I like I'm a bad actor, like our was, and I basically was like look, I'm really not good, like and he said I was like should I start going to acting lessons? What do I do? And he was like, don't worry, I promise I've got you on this. You're just gonna I'm going to help you through it, and he really really did and I learned so much and it was it was one of the most amazing times in my life. That summer, I think we...

...did like seventy shows and you know, it's such a beautiful show. I met amazing people on it and really it's just so exciting to see yourself kind of progress and learn new things and and I loved it. It was really funny. I mean this this show is so heavy and and every night, I remember after the show I put on, I'd set up my dressing room like a full on, like full bar there was like a big rug and, you know, fairy lights and stuff there's. I'm sorry. And and after after the show, every night, I mean was like so depressing. Everybody was like really down and I would run up to my room and played Donna summer, always a level. Always find you every night I would play level. Always find you. They're going back to the dressing rooms and kind of like got their good moods back on, but it was just it was an amazing moment and and look, I wouldn't have been able to do Kinky booch without it. Like you know, Kiki Bridge was bit Bush biting off even more than I could Choo, you know what I mean. There was another there was another moment where I was like I don't know if I can do this, but I'm sorry, there's my phone is going off. I Apologize, but I did. I did, and I really worked. I worked very hard on on on getting into that show and being able to do that show, and it wasn't that was just one of the best moments in my life. Kiki boots. I'm so excited to get to get back in it. Well, and what I love about it is as an artist, you know some of some of the temptation is just kind of stay where you are, where your fan bases and what I love about your career is you've always okay, what's the next step? What's the next step? Let's push through, let's challenge and I think that's important. It for any artist. And with Kinky boots, as you were saying, it's a whole different energy. It was mixing in your musicianship. You had written a musical at that point, you had acted and now would had all come together. But it's quite different doing that kind of performance, you know, eight performances a week,...

...and then on Broadway for you debut. How did you, I mean used to be on the road and performing, but it's very kind of strict to be in a Broadway show. How did you kind of have to modify your lifestyle to fit that kind of schedule? It was, it was, it was really like it was topsy turvy, you know, doing eight show weeks. We would do five show weekends. You get to the end of the weekend and you know, I would finish the wee. Can realize I've been on stage for like a chunk of my waking life. Like you're like living on a stage, which is sort of my dream, like I was really enjoying it. You know, that's just it's sort of when you're when you're in it, that's kind of all you can do and I I took it so seriously just because I wanted to be good and just preparing for it and getting in there was just a lot of work. I don't know if I've ever worked so hard on anything before in my life and it was insanely gratifying and you know, the I think the hardest thing about kinky boots was since it was such a special moment for me and I you know, I'm a lucky person with so many friends from from all over the world, you know, and and everybody you know came in and it's like I don't wanted to see everybody. So on top of the show's after every show I was I was taking people out afterwards for for for dinner and tonks or lunch and drinks. And you know, I wasn't drinking that much, but but it was, yeah, it was. It wasn't. It was completely exhausting but very satisfying. Now on a treport. Returning to the musical at the Hollywood ball with Wayne Brady and telling me truck Kelly, Marie Trand, by the way, over the four years since you've done the musical there's been covid. I know you kind of had a breakout. How are you coming back to this character different? What new energy are you kind of bringing to this performance?...

It's it's funny, I've been thinking about that actually, and you know, getting the get getting off book again and going back to the script and it's sort of naturally coming back. I just feel so comfortable. It's really like putting on a like a old leather jacket or something you haven't won for a while and I feel very and I hope this isn't I don't know, I hope this is. I feel we're confident with it. I don't feel that stressed out about it. I'm really excited. I think there's something else kind of coming out in the character with me. When I'm just working on it right now and you associate director, and it's it really does feel very comfortable and I'm I'm just so excited to do it again and with that confidence. Initially, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, the year your debuted on Broadway was a very big year for you. Not only did you release her memoirs. You also really uster deep. You Solo album, now your memoir. Boys keep swinging. What were you the most nervous for people to read about your life or to kind of experience through? It was all out there. Turn the page. It's all there. Yeah, yeah, got it. There's quite a quite a bit of stuff I was I was nervous about. It's a little strange kind of like opening up certain things it because I'm actually kind of a private person, like on social media, and so I don't like I don't like to spill everything out. I don't like for people to necessarily know where I met Amat all times or who I'm dating or what's going on. But but you know, that book definitely like expose myself in a way, and I think I think it was my mom I was most worried about. You know, it's just like making something like that and being it's very sexually explicit. There's a lot of drugs and sex and partying and when I you know, all kind of stuff in there and I was like, my God, my mom is going to read...

...this and you know, and she did. She's like wow, that was interesting. Yeah, and she's but she's totally fine. It was like it was. It was not bad and and I but I love writing that book and I look, I look at it now and I kind of wish I could write it again. I'm working on my second book now, Oh, Excellum, and yeah, it was, it was. It was definitely a really cool experience doing it. I learned a lot and I think that, I don't know, there's something about about writing about your life that's that's they can be eye opening to yourself, especially, you know, it's kind of I don't think there's like this theory that people shouldn't shouldn't write about anything that happens unless it happened like fifteen years ago before. So that's why I stopped my book in two thousand and six, because I figured I needed to kind of like have some more time to you know, the next book's going to be a little bit more about what happened after. Well, that's I can't wait for that because, girl, you spill the tea and it's funny. You were talking about going back to a role. When you write your memoirs, you kind of have to relive all those moments, the successes, the highs, the lows. So how did that kind of play with your psyche as well, because we talked to other celebrities that have written their memoirs and for for other people it's been kind of almost almost like its own trauma, because I have to kind of relive stuff that they've asked from and sometimes it can really bring this kind of darkness back. How did you kind of avoid that? Well, yeah, it's just I kind of be in denial a little bit. You're right about these. You're right about hard times. Sometimes it's fine, I'm just like you know, and it really doesn't can. You are really big stuff to a degree, but I you know it. I was totally fun with it. But it's interesting. It's like lately I've been thinking about like I was, I think, twenty four when the first scissors record came out, twenty five, and you know, that's good it.

That's eighteen years and that's I mean that versus of I was almost twenty years old, and so it's really interesting thinking back to that boy now that I'm forty three and, you know, thinking about all the crazy stuff that I went through to pretty young age and you know, I think about it a lot now and think and try to kind of give myself a little leeway sometimes and think about you know, I think I can be really hard on myself sometimes and and I try to go back and think about those, those points and and and remember that, like you know, I did go through a lot and I think sometimes you've got to be a little bit easier on yourself. I don't know if that was the answer to your question. Yeah, no, probably, and you know I this last week. I revisited your debut album, solo album, Jake Shears, and you know, the majority of your music has this joyful party, kind of euphoric energy, which is a contrast to kind of the Depression and anxiety that you've been very open about. And I'm so glad you are open about that because I think now we're finally able to talk about mental health and mental health awareness in our community, something that's been so shoved in the closet, even more so than our sexuality. So how does that as a musician and maybe far our audience that's listening that? You know, we've all gone through depression during covid and we're all going through through our own difficult points how did you kind of work through that to create this joyful tone? I guess I mean, I think joyful music just kind of comes out of me. I Love I love Writing Really Fun Music. I love writing. I love writing stuff that's he a little bit sinister to that's also kind of that as that, like Blen, I like stuff being theatrical. This, you know, I'm just I'm just wrapping up my second solo record. It's just about done and it's sort of interesting and like with with this question that you're talking about, it was over,...

...you know, over the last couple years it was people asking with the records about and it's not about anything other than the act of making like it made me happy making the record. It was the one thing I could do that made me feel good and that was fun, and so I just think it's important to just at least fine things that, like anything that can bring you some joy. And like over the last few years, like that's what really just brought me a lot of joy. was was was making music. And I think, you know, therapy is therapy is important. He think if you if whatever resources you can find, you know, people to talk to you. I think it's I'm a I'm a firm, firm believer in and therapy. It's helped me a lot and it's still does. And I think during Covid we saw a lot of artistic and creative individual working through their their stuff, so to speak, especially like digitally. There was different ways that we had to share our content and material and I think it was an exciting time for a lot of artists. So we're heading into pride. You're doing pride performances. You have talked about the infighting that happens in our community and I want to I wanted your opinion because I also have my own views up about that as well. Yeah, our community, all of us, having gone through Covid, having to survive the last presidential administration, present day, continually fighting inequality. Do you think our community has matured and come together, or do you think we still have a long way to go? I think, I think we're in a pretty good spot. I think you know, will see this pride. I mean I think. I think it's going to be an exciting pride this year. I think. I mean, I think...

...the main thing is we all just need to really listen to one another and we all need to keep us as of humor. I think those are like those are those are two things. Is just making sure we don't as queer people. You know, I think humor is part of I don't know, I think it's part of who we are, and I think we always need to keep that and we always need to listen to what each other have to say. I love that, because there is this in line, you know, of like jokes. But now I think we're trying to be so pec even with something, our own group of labels, and we have all these new letters and labels, which is great for people that never saw themselves represented. But at the same time, I think wouldn't take out that sense humor and were so careful around each other. Then we lose the communication, like, like we're talking now, being very open about our opinions and girl, nobody's funnier than a gay man after two cocktails. I mean, yeah, it's true. Yeah, I just think we've got to be you know, I I think got to be careful about about you know, life is a gray area. Things are not always in black and white, and I think it like things are not always like the strict rules. It's just not what being human is and you know, I think everybody's got to be flexible a little bit and everyone's got to be able to you know, there's no world with where there is no compromise, you know. So I think compromise, being flexible, having a sense of humor, listening to one another, all those things, loving one another, are the most important thing and that's what I want to see and continue seeing in our community. Okay, girl, let's talk about sex. Yeah, but what I told all my friends? Oh Right, I'm gonna I'm going to be chatting at chatting with Jacob, like, Oh my God, inappropriate comment, left and right, left and right. Like everybody conduct you have been very open about sex nudity. You...

...even worked as a as a go go boy and a kind of dancer in your youth. There continues to be the stigma about sex positivity in mainstream and even like our oh gays are putting down other gays who are doing like only fans or who are porn stars. Why do you think that they're continues to be this fight against Layton sexuality in our community. Yeah, they want to think that there's there's like a lean towards like. You know, the more accepted that we are, the more we kind of consort of likely into this sort of like header, an orbative outlook on, you know, who we are. Sort of. It's easy to kind of like, you know, you could see parts of our community kind of assimilating into the mainstream and kids growing up like not, you know, looking at it, older queers or, you know, older people in the community being like that's not that's not who I need to be, that's not me, that's not how I feel. So it's, you know, I think it's complicated. It's like a really complicated thing. I do think it's very important to stay sex positive and I think, you know, people need to do what they feel and I don't want to come up with with it better with a sex to your answer to this question now, I mean Lizard, I love only. That's yeah, no, I've I've got some great subscriptions to own fans. There's a few accounts that I'm a big fan of. But you ever slid into their DM's fill the tea? It's just it not a not a not really know. So I just I'm so bad at that. I'm so bad. I'm really bad at it's at that sort of thing. I don't really I'm not good at grinder. I'm not really good at dating APPs. You know,...

I'm got a really cute guy on hints here in London a couple weeks ago, though, which is, you know, go to is a big step forward for me. God. But no, I'm not great with DM's and stuff. I'm just kind of very awkward. I'm much better in person. I'm not great at texting. It's just not my my forte. So when you come back to the Hollywood bowl, I guess we won't expect to see you. I'm grinder in the La area. I probably not it all. You know the thing about grinders, it just kind of makes me. I wish it made me feel better, but I just can't. I don't like I feel like I can't really I can't really get laid on it and I don't know why. I think sometimes shears can't get that well, that that really is a headline. But but no, I think sometimes people like, like, because ill said I'll, I'll send my picture around. I'm not like drive out of or anything and then like, I don't know if people think it's not real or I think I have some that that's preconceived notions about me. I don't know, but, like I it's it can be. You know, I can get a lot of radio silence out there whatever see, you know, I guarantee people thinking it's not you. Now, before, nonbinaryan gender fluidity were popular themes like in today's with our youth. In your own use, you were a bit of and this is one of your quotes, a girly freak, with your own style, your kind of own energy. Where did this kind of exploration start? Because you grow up in Arizona, then Washington state. How are you exposed to that kind of energy and where did you get the confidence to say, you know, fuck it, I'm gonna be who I am. I needed attention, is what I needed, you know, and and I and that's that's that's that's something about just my personality. I'm a person that does me. I I need attention. I feel like I have channeled that now and to into into healthy,...

...healthy channels, and I in a positive ways. I think it can go kind of either way for people like me that that need a kind of attention. At the time, Um, you know, I just felt I felt different and I've I felt like I needed to break out when I was when I was a teenager and you know, I was still inspired by like all the music I was listening to. This is like kind of like right before Nirvana came out, and it was like schoosing the Banshe's and, you know, nine inch nails. Now it's super into Bowie and you know, they're just like a it was an amazing time for music and I was very inspired by by styles that I was seeing. And, yeah, I wanted to be different. I wanted to look different, I wanted people to see me. I wanted to feel like like I was sticking out. No, and no matter the costs. Yeah, even if people were going to like yell at me from their cars or like whatever. Like I it was it was more important to me to feel to feel like I did inside on the outside. Then then it did whether I was going to be made fun of or not. Now, what's your take on straight celebrities kind of exploring that gender fluidy, like on the red carpet, like we see she and Shawn Mendez is not wearing nail polished. We have certain straight actors that are wearing, you know, dresses and things. Do you think that's attention getting, or do you think this is where our gender fluidity should be going that it's not regardless of your identification, in terms of our clear community. I think it's just happening. I really feel like it's a it's a moment. I don't know where it's going to go. I really feel like it's just it's the moment that we're in and it's just like something that people are exploring and it's it's really fun and wonderful. I was I'm living right now in east London and I was I was just like locking my bike up or something like down...

...the street and I saw this. I saw this really like this this big guy right, it's like super tall, broad shoulder, you know, in this gorgeous I mean, I don't want to say I don't know how they identified, so I know I'm not going to I'm not going to say it's a guy, but they they were just this amazing being in this in like like a blue checkered like housewife thing going on, with like n high kind of like sky blue go go boots. It was the coolest look. It was amazing and I was I was just really that. I was just so I was looking at them thinking that that person looks incredible and this is like a great fashion moment, whatever's going on. I don't know what's going yeah, but it's fantastic and I'm like super down. It made it like really brighten my day. I I love that. Okay, we have to talk about scissor sisters. It was a, you know, a decade of your life. With all those successes, also came struggles with the group and individually, which what you talked about. Are you able to listen back and enjoy the amazing work that you all did, even though it came at the cost of a lot of hard work and challenges? Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, it was totally it was. It was puff. There were struggles, yes, but, like God, I loved every minute of it, like I you know, I wouldn't trade any of it. Like it's I'm I love singing those songs. I Love I still feel. It doesn't even though I'm not with the band anymore, I just I still feel, I don't know, it doesn't. Things don't feel that different from me. I mean I just feel like I'm still making the music I love making and, you know,...

...and hopefully like and able to, I can still I still perform and I can sing all the songs I've written over my career and the new songs that I do and and I yeah, I love what I do. When the luckiest people on the planet, I've never had to like get a real job. I've always been able to, like, you know, I think about them, like I have been able to like make my living off of off of my passion and and it doesn't feel like all the stuff I do. It just doesn't feel like work. It's fun it. But even though there are hard times and even though you can't really sacrifice a lot for it, it's to me it's worth it and it's a life I would never ever trade. Well, and being an artist, you know, the struggle is part of being an artist, overcoming those challenges and being able to be creative out of that. I have to tell you, like again, you know, I went back and and listen to Jake sheers over and over again. I was like, Oh, it really does feel with this positivity and you do see your through line of all your songwriting from the beginning of your career. So I cannot wait for you for your second solo album. It's it's it's a you're going to look it's by the way to complete presixty. It's it's like totally, it's it's very it's really fun. So, heading into prid season, you know, now's the time that we honor the trailblazers before us, and one aspect among many that I'm the chanted with your life is your friendship without and John. From the outside we see Elton the activists, we see Elton the trailblazer, we see him the iconic musician. You know him on a more personal level. What has he taught you about life in general, not the Biz, but about life? Oh my God, you know, he's somebody that's that's it's just a you know, he's one of the main figures in my life and you know, I what's been so amazing last couple years is he discovered ipads and facetime, which is amazing because you...

...know, he'll you I talked to mooth every day. You know, you just like while he's eating breakfast, he wants to wants to call and chat. I what have I learned from him? I think just like just exactly what we're talking about, just being being being grateful that you get to do what you love, being kind to people, you know, being true to yourself and also you know, the I feel like he's somewhere, he's gotten to some place that I still feel like I haven't. I mean he came to a point in his life where he looked around, like how am I going to make how am I really going to make the world a better place? Yeah, like what am I doing to like, what am I going to leave on this planet? Like, how am I going to make this world a better place? I don't know if I'm I haven't. I haven't hit that point yet. I still feel like, you know, I'm still too selfish and like caught up in my own shit, you know what I mean, and that's something that I that I look at and seeing him, that I that I want what want to be as well. If that is added, that is that a good I know that's a hundred percent, you know, and I think his energy is the energy that that I wish I saw more from our new generations coming through in our in our generations of instagram and selfies and how many likes did I get? How many views and all that kind of stuff in it is it's like what can I also give back to the community? So thank you for sharing, but he also you have just really quick. Like. The other thing that I've learned from him, and it's been occurring to me recently and just I basically, I've not talked about this as the first time I've talked about this, but I've moved to London and, you know, I know some people who I know, I know some people over here, but I'm like making new friends and stuff,...

...and and he's really taught me being he's taught me the importance of other gay musician, just finding other queer and gay musicians and how important it is for us to be there for each other. And that's something he really, you know, is important to him and it's become really important to me as well, and that's another thing I've learned from him. anyways, sorry, that's it. Thank you. Thank you so much. I cannot wait to see what the Hollywood bowl you're going to be returning to. You can be coming to the holly and Polt July eighth, to the tent, returning to your role in Kinky boots. What is your message to your fans, especially this price seons, Oh God, this pride season? You know, just not take our good times for granted, not take our community for granted, not not not take your friends for granted, enjoy yourself and, you know, don't believe all the corporate bullshit either. Yeah, it's like it triggers the fuck out of me. It shoved me, like it triggered me when I was like, you know, eighteen years old. Stuff would make me crazy, and now I'm like, I'm not going to start bitching, but it's just like, I don't know, when the CEO of Taco Bell Start Talking about safe spaces, I'm like this is that, this is now what it's about. Exam what does the other side to that though? That people say, you know what, but if some kid on some farm in the middle of nowhere that is doesn't have any friends or anybody like him in his community, he's hearing that message. His family's hearing that message on a bigger level. I'm just more cynical about it. I'm more cynical back. I just really don't feel like that. Yeah, I just I there's a really like I can be very cynical about a certain sort of corporate side. That happens with pride of a year. So anyways, I don't know, just keep your eyes peeled for it be. You know, that's I don't know what...

...we're I'm looking for, but yeah, anyways, but have a good pride. As my message, I can't wait for the new book. Can't wait for the new record. You can find everything at Jake Shearscom also on Instagram, Jake's shears. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. Thank you for having me. This has been so fun. I think it's five pm where you're at, so go out have a pint on us. I might. I'm going to do that, all right, night. Nice talking to you. Thank you for having me. Thank you, Jake. Well, that's all, folks. It's always a grab bag of fun here. Every become on the rocks. Big Thank you to our our guests. Are Engineer Tony Sweet our Social Media Clip editor Alexis menders. Coming up, we are kicking off pride with more musicians. We have danced EVA ICON pepper machee is coming with new music that she's gonna debut on our show, and that's going to happen right before prior so stay tuned, like share, subscribe so we can continue bringing you this fabulous programming for free until next time. Stay happy, stay healthy, stay sexy more importantly, stay tipsy. This has been another episode of on the rocks. tweet me and sliders my DM's on twitter and instagram and on the rocks on air. Find Everything on the rock sport free at on the rocks radio SHOWCOM. Subscribe, Blan, review and share. Until next week. Stay Fabulous.

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