By Matt and Mike LoCoco of Transit Method
“You’re gay? You don’t act gay…”
That's a line we hear a lot. How does one act gay? Do we need to dress like the Village People and sing Madonna songs on stage? We’re a hard rock band. We like metal and progressive music. We like to wear black t-shirts and ripped jeans and scream about roaches invading your home. We like to thrash around and headbang and make a lot of noise! Why does this behavior make others assume we are straight?
I’ve been playing in rock bands since high school. I was one of the better-known drummers in school, sporting a shaggy hair stoner look. Everyone assumed I was after chicks. Part of that assumption was welcomed because it deterred others from suspecting my homosexuality, but it was also a curse because it pressured me to hook up with girls. “How can you not go after groupies?!” I admit, I did indulge a bit, (sorry guys I don’t have my gold star) but after years of pretending to be into women, I soon realized that I wasn’t being true to myself. Men turned me on more, period. I would hook up with guys secretly in college, telling myself I was “bi” while hiding behind the excuse that girls weren’t into “dirty hippie stoners.”
In my senior year of college, I met the guy who became my first boyfriend and helped me come out to myself. A year later I began to come out to my family and close friends, and by the time I moved to Austin in January 2012, I was completely out as a gay man. For the first time, I was comfortable in my own skin, and for the first time I started exploring this new gay world.
Once in Austin, I would go out to gay bars and soon they all felt the same to me… dance clubs blasting the hottest pop remix, boys in tank tops, vodka sodas, drag shows, caged dancers… basically one giant stereotype. Don’t get me wrong - I do enjoy these bars. I have lots of friends who identify more with this scene and we all have a great time, but overall it’s not “my jam.” I don’t really like clubs in general. I found myself searching for other guys like me that like hanging out at divey rock bars with draft beer - dudes in Iron Maiden T-shirts, punk bands destroying the stage, crowd surfing and mosh pits, devil horns flying in the air… It doesn’t really exists, at least not specifically for gays. I’m not encouraging segregation, but if this scene was more prominent in the gay world, then people would be less likely to call me a “bad gay” for knowing every word of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” while never having heard a Robyn song.
When I was growing up, I had a hard time coming out. I didn’t exactly have an idol to look up to as a kid who loved listening to grunge and metal music. I spent hours posing as a rock star in my mirror; I’d pretend that tee shirts were long hair, wearing one on my head and head banging the day away. To me, the gays in music were only George Michael, Boy George, Freddie Mercury, and Elton John. But metal came with this expectation to be macho. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, right? But gay sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll? Not exactly part of that equation. Growing up, I thought to myself, “Wait a second, I can’t be gay. I like Megadeth!” It wasn’t until I mustered up enough courage five years ago to tell my entire family and friends that I liked men that I started to discover who I am.
In some backwards way, I owe my guitar chops to the closet. I always have known I’m gay, but I chose to ignore it because I had this notion that rock stars had to be tough. So what I did instead was practice. I was hell bent on becoming the best guitar player. Years went by and my insecurities started to catch up with me to the point where I was becoming too depressed to even want to play music. And that didn’t make sense! Music was the very thing getting me through all of this. I decided it was time to make a change.
Once I came out my confidence grew, my songwriting improved, and I developed a charisma I never had on stage before. Hell, I even started singing and took up lead vocal duties in Transit Method! Being in a hard rock band that is two-thirds gay is awesome, not only because we get to smash the asinine gay stereotypes, but also because of the support and admiration we get from the audience. Plus Danny, the one straight guy in the band, gets all the girls!
In Transit Method, we say, “Fuck it, we’re gay and we like to rock, and that’s what we’re gonna do.” Some of our gay friends are put off by the aggressive music we play and never come to a show. Others really dig how hard we rock and admit to having grown up loving Nirvana and 90s grunge. And we think, “Yes! There are more of you like us! Let’s hang out!” And that’s where we are now. We’re a rising Austin rock band, and we’re loud and intense and we’re gay (mostly.) We want to be an inspiration to young gay musicians who feel like homosexuality isn’t welcomed in rock and metal. We want to reinvent the stereotype, or rather widen the image of the modern gay man.
Transit Method will Music Video Release Extravaganza! be playing the Red 7 in Austin, Texas along with Aurora Wilde, MODAL, and Statalights on Friday, June 26th. We're sponsoring the show, so yeah...you should stop by!
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