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Laurice: GAYDAR guides a mysterious star back to the music biz

by Drew Rowsome

Laurice: GAYDAR guides a mysterious star back to the music biz

"It's a really strange story," understates Laurice. "In 2001 I gave up on music and settled into domestic life with Larry." Fortunately fate and the eternal  beats of rock n roll and disco had other ideas.

Blogger Robin Wills of purepop1uk.blogspot.ca developed an obsession with "When Christine Comes Around/I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In," a single by Grudge that is considered one of the first punk and/or glam/rock songs. Wills untangled the various pseudonyms of Grudge, Gabriel Ratchetts, Laurie Marshall, Paul St John to discover the man with the golden voice and producer's touch: Laurice.

"I was contacted by Harry Howes of Mighty Mouth Music who wanted to put "When Christine Comes Around/I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" out on vinyl," says Laurice. "I thought it was a big joke, it's a classic hit that's been released so many times but I of course never saw a penny from it. But they released it and it got picked up by a station in New York and went top 40."

The vinyl single did so well that Mighty Mouth compiled Best of Laurice Vol 1 and Best of Laurice Vol 2. Listening to the compilations is like a stroll through pop music in the '70s. The songs are uniformly catchy and sung in a distinctive but dizzyingly varied strong voice. But it is also a history of gay activisim. The singer of "Shy Baby" lusts after a girl but the very next song is a flat-out gay rights anthem, "He's My Guy" complete with deep butch back-ups. Next is "Born to Serve" a peppy ode to S&M and "Wild Sugar" that fully embraces male pronouns and man on man love.

Laurice shrugs off his ahead-of-his-time bravery with, "I wanted to do some gay stuff." And gay stuff he did throughout singing, writing and producing pop music, disco hits, jazz and blues albums, and finally his latest: GAYDAR, "I've had three different music careers," he says as he embarks on his fourth. "I'm so proud of my body of work. If someone had told me five years ago that I would still be recording . . . I'm having a blast."

GAYDAR came about with the same serendipity that is the hallmark of Laurice's career and life. "When they were releasing Vol 1, Harry asked if I would write songs for Hunx and His Punx. So I wrote 'Big Boy.'" The joyful confessions of a size queen,

I thought his thing would tear me apart
Instead his pole went straight to my heart

"Big Boy" seems tailor-made for the raunchy and comically porny Hunx. but, "He didn't like piano. I was left with all these tracks so I decided to re-mix them and produce myself. It was released a month ago. The whole album is supposed to be a sexual calling card." GAYDAR is certainly sexual with more salacious lyrics per beat than anything this side of Titan Media. "Busted" is the tale of a man who gets caught having sex with his boyfriend's best friend in a backroom. "I just can't keep it in my pants," sings Laurice milking a tragic vibrato.

"Hot Malibu Nights" lays "You were hot and I was horny . . . hit the beach we did it good . . . mad dirty sex 'til dawn" over a bouncy post-Beach Boys track. Laurice sings "Down the Road" to a boy who is tied to a bed in the singer's dungeon. He knows that they have "love forever, sex together" but "Down the road, Will you suck me?" He also wants to know if he will be blown, fucked, fisted, seeded, fed, rimmed, etc. "Fantasy Man" begins with explicit spoken word lyrics that are a cross between Donna Summer in her sex-kitten phase and Jeff Stryker in his dirty-talk porn prime.

The album concludes with a very gay and unabashedly smutty cover of "Sugar Sugar" that begins with sirens and the plea to "Hose me down man, you're making me so friggin' hot" because "You are my candy boy. And you got me wanting you." While having the cover-song advantage of instant familiarity, "Sugar Sugar" is the weakest song on GAYDAR. Lyrics that were already minimal only become comical when trying to support puerile single entendres. 


"Harry asked me if I would do a cover of 'Sugar Sugar' for a charity drive. I did it in 24 hours and it turned out so well, it went on the album." With lyrical modifications like "I just can't believe the sexiness of doing you," Jeff Barry and Andy Kim (and all of The Archies) will have their cartoon eyes popping out of their heads. But the track Laurice is proudest of is "Brokeback Mountain" and it is the first single and the first to get a video treatment. 

GAYDAR is just the beginning for the ever-ambitious Laurice who is at work on a rock album, Bad Boy, and an album echoing the third phase of his career, The Balladeer. "I'm very proud of the album, especially because it was so unexpected," says Laurice. "Harry is a wonderful guy, he thought it was criminal that my stuff wasn't released properly in the '70s." An oversight that has been corrected and has launched a new phase of Laurice's multi-faceted musical career.

More on Laurice - his early hits, his disco hits and leather gear - at drewrowsome.blogspot.com or lauricenow.com 

GAYDAR is available from Mighty Mouth Music at almostreadyrecords.com 

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