Jobriath Boone: Rock's Fairy Godmother

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger.
If you've never heard of Jobriath Boone, don't worry, you're not alone. Obscure even by "rock snob" standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, "a true fairy." He wasn't just "out of the closet" he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven! I've been a Jobriath freak for about 20 years when I stumbled upon his first LP at a New York City flea market. "What is THIS?" was my initial reaction to the cover, obviously influenced by the artwork for David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs." Clearly from the image on the cover, Jobriath was a 70s glitter rock wannabe. Make that perhaps a "neverwas," for aside from a massive advertising campaign that saw his image on 250 New York buses and a 40 foot high poster in Times Square, two solid LPs (recorded with the likes of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Peter Frampton) and a memorable "Midnight Special" performance, Jobriath was a massive flop at the time. Too gay for mid-America in 1974? For sure, but that hasn't stopped Jobriath's Broadway showtunes meets glam rock oeuvre from being rediscovered by fresh ears this decade. Championed by Morrissey, Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys and singer-actress Ann Magnuson (who once told me that I was "the only straight guy in the world who's ever even HEARD of Jobriath" back in the early 90s), the tiny cult of Jobriath got a lot of new members when the CD compliation "Lonley Planet Boy" was released in 2004. His life was also a major part of the inspiration for Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine" although few people realize that fact (the Maxwell Demon album covers are direct homages to the original Jobriath records). Admittedly, his music isn't for everyone --some people just HATE it-- but for those of you who embraced the equally obscure Klaus Nomi, you'll probably love Jobriath. "I'maman" on The Midnight Special "Rock of Ages" on The Midnight Special "I'm Ready for my Close-Up" an informative Jobriath article from MOJO. Why You Should Like Jobriath


  1. I’m getting slow bandwidth at the moment, and the pauses during the introduction come at moments which make me think the network is editorializing.

    “What you are about to see” (five-second freeze, with bemused facial expression) “and hear” (another freeze, this time with amused facial expression) “is an unusual” (freeze with slightly disgusted facial expression)…

  2. That Something Awful list is the web equivalent of one of the Daily Mail’s perennial features about overweight female celebrities; a confirmation that someone knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    I’m A Man was featured on Jon Savage’s Queer Noises compilation which Trikont put out a few years ago. Some obscure gems in that collection, together with much silliness.

  3. I love the sound of this music and the rest of the entire genre of glitter/art/glam rock. I think it was after your last stint here, Richard, that I watched Velvet Goldmine. What a treat. And so is Jobriath. The costume takes it right over the top as I’m sure it was designed to do… Very pretty lighting effects, and a very pretty boy!

  4. I’m not GAY (nttiawwt), but I love this guy!

    This seems so fresh and smart, esp. compared today’s sound. What is he doing now (did I miss that part of the post)?

  5. Fucking awesome. The music reminded me of Suede (who pretty clearly reference the whole glam repertoire), but the boys got lungs, sounded a little like Tim Buckley!

    Gonna have to fill out some space on my iPod with Jobriath. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. “I’ve been a Jobriath freak for about 20 years when I stumbled upon his first LP at a New York City flea market.”

    Do you mean “since I stumbled upon his first LP”?

    — MrJM

  7. I’m another of the breeders who’s been a Jobriath freak for decades. I was first introduced in the mid ’80s.

    although I agree that he is no Klaus he’s still worthy to be amongst my top 3 fave queens with Nomi and Almond.

    this post made my day

  8. I didn’t remember who he was until I watched the video for “I’maman.” It’s a shame the guy was a flop; considering the time period, his sound seems like it should have been exciting and well-received. Plus, as was said, the theatrical bit was pretty slick.

    I’d like to see some modern-day rock operas acted out. Maybe even a metal opera! Fear Factory’s “Obsolete” album springs to mind…

  9. @ 11

    perhaps you should attend a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum show… preferably in the bay area.

    when Shinichi Moma Koga guests as the last living human or when a few of the ol’ Idiot Flesh crew show up it can be, well, it’s ineffable.

  10. So freaking cool. Jobriath rocks.

    I actually remember seeing Jobriath on Midnight Special as a child (though at the time I thought he was David Bowie). My uncle (whom I still miss very much) introduced me to so many great rock stars by sharing his night time TV viewing with me. I’ll never forget the fun we had watching The Midnight Special & Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert.

    It instilled in me my lifetime love of 70’s music. Seeing these clips has awakened some very fond childhood memories.

    Thanks Richard.

  11. This….was…way cool. At first I was so overwhelmed with what appears to be Bowie’s Diamond Dogs/Major Tom periods I felt like maybe I would find out there was no Santa Claus next.

    Then I saw the the elf/spock ears and I breathed a sigh of relief that I could continue to worship at the church of Bowie, but I just got an eye full of the Holy Spirit.

    So sad how AIDS steals so many great people.

  12. Now see. This is him for real. A man. A piano and mixing George Shearing, Cole Porter and a dash William S. Burroughs.

    I think “My razor blades stay very sharp.” will be my new answer to brainless inquiries.

  13. Wow…! I saw that Midnight Special performance when I was a teenager, and my feeling then was pretty much the same as now: A+ for Style, but F for Substance. Like a cross between Peter Gabriel and Bowie, set to bad music.

  14. Wow, you Bowie fans are interesting… his musical work pre-70s will either horrify or confuse you…

  15. Wow! Thanks for posting this, I’d never heard of the man before and I really like the sound. :)

  16. I really like Metzger’s blog entries here. I mean, I love the whole site, but he’s after my own former zine publisher’s heart :)
    And I’ve been looking for a Jobriath record for years

  17. Wow….I just got chills…

    then I realized it felt like food poisoning or like the feeling of having just quaffed a bunch of rancid milk or like having watched this video….

    So do people like him because he is gay or because he is over the top or because his commercial flop makes those in the know just a bit superior to the rest of us who…just…don’t….get it…?

  18. While I’ve been a booster of gay rockers forever and have had his records since I was a teen, I like Jobriath more as a historical idea and less as a performer.

    As far as flamboyant gay rockers, guys like Wayne Country or Esquerita do more to float my boat.

  19. Whoops forgot that the other account on this anti-censorship website here gets “held for moderation” (not published).

    So yeah like I already typed and may actually be published someday, Jobriath is a very pretty person. As a rock talent? Not so much. If you look at all the efluvia circulating about this guy in the last few months you’ll hear a lot about how rock-starish he looked, how rock-starish he acted, and how gay he was. Sometimes they even briefly mention his backing band before moving on.

    What they fail to mention is that as much as he looked the part (and that he’s gay don’t forget he’s gay he’s gay) his actual music was pretty… not so great. That’s why he’s dead (his career). As much as I love a gay-and-died-of-AIDS martyr (as much as the next guy if you must ask) I’d like to reserve that title for talent, no matter how good Jobriath here looks on a poster.

    What I wonder is who just found themselves executor of all this intellectual property, if we’re hearing “grassroots” groundswellings of support for a previously unheard-of “unappreciated genius”.

    At the end of it all, I’m pretty glad that Jobriath flopped as bad as he did, it may have put off the era of the boy-band for another decade or two.

    1. celeb8,

      What are you on about? Are you telling me that you’re a sock puppet and I need to ban your IP? Please elucidate.

  20. Wow, lots of comments in only a day. Very heartening that there is both a following for and curiosity about Jobriath. I am a filmmaker currently shooting a feature documentary about Jobriath (featuring many of the people mentioned in Richard’s above article). Though I have managed to make contact with a large percentage of the people on my wish list and have begun the process of interviewing them, there are still several I have not been able to find and I’m sure many I don’t yet know about who were involved with Jobriath one way or another.

    Our film’s temporary website is or you can reach us at Would love to hear from anyone we haven’t yet contacted who might have known him, worked with him, seen him live (especially as Cole Berlin). Thanks!


  21. I’m not sure, what’s a sock puppet? Does that mean I shouldn’t make new accounts when the other one gets “held for moderation” eternally? I guess if so then yeah I’m a sock puppet. Go ahead and ban by IP if you need to, it may not be as much use as you think it is. The only static I ever use is shared with many thousands of others, and they change my home IP every day or two (that’s Qwest’s version of p2p traffic throttling, they change your IP every few hours if you’re using the network heavily enough).

    I’ve found that the internet treats censorship as damage, and tends to route around it. If you’re bored and looking for a silly online pissing contest you can just declare yourself winner now, I don’t really have a lot of emotional investment in this forum and using TOR or redirects is more trouble than posting here is worth.

    1. Your account shouldn’t be held for moderation eternally unless you’ve been banned. What was your previous user name?

  22. Joeskunk is the name I usually use, but yeah whenever I post here it never actually shows, just says “held for moderation.”

    I’m watching this thread so honestly if I’m supposed to just be shutting up and not posting with ANY account here, tell me so. I’ll lurk, not post, and stop disagreeing with people. The big problem is that I usually tend not to post just to agree with people, and will only post to disagree. This will make me look cantankerous, contentious, contrary and all sorts of other C words and in general like a big fat troll.

    The biggest difference is I’ll actually go away on request/command when I’m not wanted :V

  23. If you’re going to watch just one of these videos, make it Rock of Ages (OMG THE BUBBLE SUIT!). Even if you don’t love Jobriath, he’s a hell of a lot better than that Space Ace kid.

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