IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Scissor Sisters revitalizing pop music

Theatrical band draws fans from all over
/ Source: The Associated Press

Jake Shears loves his fabulous wardrobe: plume-topped hats, flowing boas, formfitting bodysuits, tops adorned with glitter and fur. There’s only one thing he despises: his new pair of orthopedic sneakers.

“But you know what? If it weren’t for these orthopedic sneakers, I wouldn’t be walking,” the 23-year-old singer/songwriter/prolific pop purveyor said backstage at a recent sold-out show. “My feet are really messed up [from] the shoes on stage.”

“I’m starting to feel it in my knees just jumping around in heels and being really energetic,” said bandmate Anna Matronic. “It’s starting to take its toll on my joints.”

But bad feet aren’t going to stop the glamour-queen Scissor Sisters from fulfilling their mission to revitalize pop music one catchy tune at a time.

“The universality aspect [of pop], making something that someone who is 70 and someone who is 10 can pick up and still get something out of, is really important to us,” said Matronic.

“I’m really interested in unifying people,” added Shears, “and if that means Republican housewives coming to the shows, that gets me excited.”

The New York-based band’s overtly theatrical live performances (where inflated condoms have been known to fly through the air), sexy lyrics (they want to “take your mama out all night”) and flamboyant stage presence have drawn everyone from traditional pop fans to drag queens to hipsters. They’ve become one of the year’s biggest buzz bands, their self-titled debut album has sold over 1.2 million copies worldwide — mainly in Europe and Britain, where they first became sensations — and they’ve opened for household names like Elton John and U2.

Anything goesThe Sisters’ anything-goes vibe is rooted in a hybrid of ’80s pop, ’70s disco and classic rock and 90s dance music, with a bit of Motown and country thrown in. Shears writes the majority of the songs with keyboardist/bassist Babydaddy before the rest of the band “sprinkles their glitter” on them. He likes to pepper the songs with off-the-cuff sounds like a country riff played on an electronic guitar, video game sound effects or even robotic-like vocals.

“People use our shows as an excuse to dress up and go wild,” said Matronic, who in 2001 became the group’s fifth element (plus the sole straight and female member; the other four are gay men).

“At the end a show, we’ll have a bunch of freaks on stage with us; it’s just mayhem, very Muppet Show,” Shears said.

Not that the Sisters are method actors who slip on stage personas like skintight leather pants.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s playing a character, it’s more like taking one aspect of our personalities and blowing it up life-size,” Matronic said. “I just don’t really think doing a song like ‘Filthy/Gorgeous’ in jeans and a T-shirt would really work.”

And their audience wouldn’t want them to.

“We had a couple of people [at a show] holding up a giant banner that read, ‘You destroyed Pink Floyd,’ which was great,” said Matronic, referring to the band’s cover of the seminal “Comfortably Numb,” which, despite being released as a B-side, has become one of the group’s most successful recordings.

“When we came on stage, they held it up. And then they put it down so they could dance. It made me laugh. I really wanted them to send it up, because I’d love to make a dress out if it.”