- Scissor Sisters
Infobox musical artist
Name = Scissor Sisters
Img size =200px
Background = group_or_band
Origin = New York,
New York, United States
Years_active = 2001—present
Polydor Universal Records Warner Bros. Records Jive Records
Nonesuch Motown Fueled By Ramen
URL = [http://www.scissorsisters.com/ www.scissorsisters.com]
Jake Shears Babydaddy Ana Matronic Del Marquis Paddy Boom
The Scissor Sisters is a
Grammy Award-nominated American band that formed in 2001. Their style draws from disco, glam rock, pop and the club scene of New York City.
The group was named after a sex position between two women (
tribadism).citation |title=Scissor Sisters: On the Cutting Edge |first=Richard |last=Harrington |periodical= Washington Post|date= January 7, 2005|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53256-2005Jan6.html |accessdate=2008-09-17 ] While experiencing only limited mainstream success in the United States, the band has been hugely successful in Europe, Canada, Australia, and particularly in the UK, where they have achieved a number of chart hits, as well as their debut album becoming the best-selling album of 2004 in that country. Their single " I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" was the fourth best-selling single in the UK in 2006 and stayed in the UK top 40 for 27 weeks.
The members of the band:
Jake Shears(born Jason Sellards) – vocals
Babydaddy(born Scott Hoffman) – bass guitar, keyboards, vocals, guitar
Ana Matronic(born Ana Lynch) – vocals, 'Mistress of Ceremonies'
Del Marquis(born Derek Gruen) – guitar, bass guitar
Paddy Boom(born Patrick Seacor) – drums, electronic drums, percussion
Live shows and performances have included John "JJ" Garden — son of
Graeme Gardenof The Goodies— on keyboards, guitar and bass guitar.
Early career (2000–2003)
The core of the band formed in 2000, when Shears met Babydaddy while visiting a friend in Kentucky. They began to play music together and were generally poorly received. After moving to New York City, the duo met Ana Matronic at a cabaret on
Halloween, when she was dressed as an Andy Warholfactory reject, and Shears was dressed as a "late-term, back-alley abortion". The group soon began playing gigs, and they met Del Marquis while Shears was still working as a stripper at a club called I.C. Guyz.
After becoming a quartet, the band was signed to independent record label " [http://www.atouchofclassusa.com/ A Touch of Class] ", and recorded a single, "
Electrobix", which had as its B-side a disco cover of the Pink Floydclassic " Comfortably Numb". [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53256-2005Jan6.html Scissor Sisters: On the Cutting Edge (washingtonpost.com) ] ] Paddy Boom joined the band after the quartet placed a classified ad looking for a drummer and, though a drum machinewas used for the majority of the first album (much of it was completed before he joined), he now performs drums/percussion, live and on recordings.
In September 2003 they were credited as the remixers of one of the versions of Blondie's hit single "
Good Boys," which appeared on the 12-inch vinyl single.
Debut album and breakthrough success (2003–2005)
Their cover of "Comfortably Numb" became noticed in the UK when it was picked up by underground DJs in electroclubs. The Cock club night at London Queer alternative venue Ghetto staged their first British gig at this time. The song later came to the attention of British label
Polydor, who signed them to a contract.
The group's first single for the label, "Laura", had a limited release in 2003 (reaching #54 in the
UK Singles Chart), receiving little attention with the exceptions of British music paper " New Musical Express", Channel 4's entertainment programme " V Graham Norton", and same channel's music programme " Popworld" for which they were interviewed. The track also garnered plenty of radio play in Australia. 2003 also saw the inclusion of the atmospheric "It Can't Come Quickly Enough" on the soundtrack of the film "Mandy Monster"; the song played over its ending credits.
Their first hit was in 2004 with the release of "
Comfortably Numb", a Pink Floydcover (reaching #10 in the UK), featuring Paul Leschen on piano and keyboards. This success was followed by fan favourite " Take Your Mama" (#17 in the UK), a re-release of "Laura" (#12 in the UK), the ballad "Mary" (#14 in the UK), and the gay/hedonist anthem " Filthy/Gorgeous" (#5 in the UK).
All the singles came from the eponymous debut album "Scissor Sisters", which reached #1 on the
UK Albums Chartand became the best selling album of 2004, beating Keane's "Hopes and Fears" by just 582 copies. As of 2006, it is the 10th biggest-selling album of the 21st century, and the 51st biggest-selling of all time in the UK. [http://rateyourmusic.com/lists/list_view?list_id=7481&show=50&start=50] Several media outlets have noted that Scissor Sisters 'stick out like a sore thumb' on the list of artists who have sold over 2 million copies of an album in the UK in the 21st century — the others being James Blunt, Robbie Williams, Keane, Dido, Coldplay, and Norah Jones— all artists considered 'mainstream' or 'middle of the road', as opposed to the Scissor Sisters' brash and controversial image.
Despite substantial chart success in the UK (which they refer to as their 'spiritual home'), [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/5332932.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Scissors score first number one ] ] the band have had only a moderate impact on the public consciousness in their home country. "Take Your Mama" received popular radio airplay on US pop stations. "Filthy/Gorgeous" enjoyed a following in stateside gay clubs, and was featured in the soundtrack and ending cut-scene of
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.
The album was banned from the shelves of U.S. super chain
Wal-Martdue to its "coarse language". The band have shown their dissatisfaction with the decision on a number of occasions. Shears is even heard in a Spanish live performance on the band's DVD saying, "Wal-Mart won't stock our album... well, ya know what? Fuck Wal-Mart!"
Recording of the second album, "
Ta-Dah", commenced in mid-May 2005, at the Discoball; sneak previews of new songs were played at live shows, including " Everybody Wants the Same Thing", performed at the Live 8concert, "Paul McCartney", "I Can't Decide", "Hybrid Man", "Forever Right Now" and "Hair Baby" (a title which refers to the phenomenon of tumours containing partially formed fetuses).
The band fulfilled one of its dreams:
Elton Johncollaborated with them on " I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" (as pianist and co-writer). The song reached #1 in the UK on September 10, 2006and remained in the top spot for four consecutive weeks. " I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" also peaked a number one on the Australian ARIA Singles Chartand the Euro Hot 100. " I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" became their biggest hit to date. Elton Johnalso contributed to the song "Intermission" on "Ta-Dah".
The album was released on
September 18, 2006 in the UK, and on September 26, 2006 in the USA. [http://www.stv.tv/out/showArticle.jsp?source=feeddb&articleId=23544359] According to Shears, the album is a combination of sixties-era psychedelia, glam rock and disco.
In 2006 they acted as an opening act for
Depeche Mode's Touring the AngelTour. Their first gig in the UK for promotion of the second album took place at the KOKO Club, Camden, London, on August 31, 2006 and was filmed for MTV. 2006 performances at the Bowery Ballroomand Siren Music Festivalin New York, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalhave allowed for the band to showcase an array of songs taken from the new album. A free concert was given in Trafalgar squareto 10,000 ballot winners on the September 16in order to promote the Red charity.
The new album "Ta-Dah" leaked onto the Internet on
September 10, 2006, five days before its release in the UK.
It reached number 1 in the
UK Albums Chartin its first week of release, officially taking the top spot on Sunday, September 24, 2006, completing a historic first for the Scissor Sisters, a double consisting of a single and album at the top of the UK charts simultaneously.
The band has also been in the Latin America Top 40 Airplay. "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" is still charting and is so far their biggest hit to date in Latin America, reaching #23, charting mostly in
South America, particularly Peru.
Land of a Thousand Words" was released as the second single from the album, peaking at #19 in the UK. " She's My Man" was the third single released in February 2007, only peaking at #29 despite moderate airplay.
Kiss You Off" was the fourth and final single released in May 2007 but failed to dent the Top 40, their first single since their debut "Laura" to do so. The " Kiss You Off" video centred around Ana Matronic in a futuristic beauty salon.
At the end of the band's 2007 World Tour, the band confirmed that they would be taking some time out to work on their next album. [www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00013526.html] [ [http://www.spinner.com/2008/01/16/scissor-sisters-hit-the-studio-to-work-on-new-album/ Scissor Sisters Hit the Studio to Work on New Album - Spinner.com ] ] The band has announced a possible cover for the album and collaboration with
Kylie Minoguein late 2007. Currently, there is no confirmed title for the album, and the release date is currently slated for the first half of 2009. Lead singer, Jake Shears, has openly stated that one of the band's original demos may make an appearance on the album.
Content of music
The lyrics of their songs, largely written by Shears and Babydaddy, are known for their mixture of wit and tragedy. The songs on their debut album dealt with a number of subjects and issues in a variety of styles, from drug abuse within the gay community ("Return to Oz"), to Shears' deep platonic love for his best friend in real life, Mary ("Mary"). Mary died of a brain
aneurysmin April 2006, news that devastated members of the band. [http://188.8.131.52/~sisters/board_bak/viewtopic.php?t=12433]
Their music can be generally described as a mixture of
glam rock, disco, and alternative music. They appear to have been heavily influenced by Elton John(Shears' singing, particularly, sometimes sounds uncannily like John). However, Shears has gone on record as not having been very familiar with John's work prior to the release of their record, although he's stated he's since become a big fan. The band echoes not only Elton John, but also ABBA, the Bee Gees, Blondie, KC and the Sunshine Band, Duran Duran("the reason we got into music", as Ana says), Supertramp, Siouxsie and the Banshees(Ana said at the 2005 BRIT Awardsthat "she wouldn't be here without Siouxsie"), David Bowie, 1970s-era Kiss, Queen, Chic, Richard O'Brienand various other dance/ disco, rock, and funkacts; they admit that their music is hard to categorise. During a public signing in Brisbane, Australia, Shears stated that The Beatles have been an influence for him, and that he is a huge fan of Paul McCartney and Wings.
They somewhat prefer not to be specifically labeled as a "gay band". In an interview featured on the "
We Are Scissor Sisters… And So Are You" DVD, Jake states, "The fact that some of us are gay affects our music the same amount as it does that some of the members of Blondie are straight".
The band count
David Gilmourof Pink Floyd, Roger Daltreyand Pete Townshendof The Who, U2, Thom Yorkeof Radiohead, Billy Joel, Elton John, TJ Stolk, M. de Groot and Anderson Cooperamong its fans. They were the opening act for Duran Duran's 2004 reunion tour and opened for U2on some of their UK dates for the Vertigo Tour. They also supported Depeche Modeon some of their dates of Touring the Angel.
Awards and press
2005 BRIT Awards, the group won all the awards they were nominated for: International Group, International Breakthrough, and International Album (Ana asked Siouxsieto present this award). It was the first time in the Awards history that an act won all three International categories. They also opened the show with " Take Your Mama", on a set made by The Jim Henson Company. At the 2007 awards, the group did not win any awards, but opened the ceremony with a rendition of "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'."
In 2004, the gay members of the band,
Jake Shears, Babydaddy, and Del Marquis, were honored in the Out 100, "Out" magazine's List of the 100 Most Intriguing Gay People of the Year. The band won a GLAAD Media Awardfor Outstanding Music Artist on March 28, 2005. On July 2, 2005, the group performed at Live 8. Their set included the previously unheard song " Everybody Wants the Same Thing".
In November 2006, they won the German media award "Bambi" in the category "Shooting Star".
They have received some heavy attention in the United States by
VH1and magazines such as "Out" and " Entertainment Weekly". They have also been interviewed on VH1's website and Del Marquis has been interviewed by the music section of IGN.com. It is a little known fact that there are several tracks recorded by the band before their eponymous debut which were never released; these tracks have entered the fan community and, although sometimes difficult to find, can be obtained freely. These songs include "Someone to Touch", "Doctor (I'm Only Seeing Dark)", "Bicycling with the Devil", " Electrobix", "Monkey Baby", a Billy Joel- Elton John-esque cover of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", as well as demo versions of "Laura", and " Filthy/Gorgeous".
The visuals for Scissor Sisters' self-titled first album and its singles feature artwork by an English
illustratornamed "Spookytim" (Tim), who has a studio in Brightoncalled [http://www.studiospooky.tv/ Studio Spooky] . The artwork is created by a wide variety of techniques and mixes traditional paper-based processes with digitaland photographicelements in order to reflect the multi-referential nature of the band's music.
*Several fan societies have sprung up in the official forums. These include the "Jake Groupies", "Ana Matronic Appreciation Society", and the "Scissor Sisters Party Bus", the latter two having spilled over to their own sites. The band have a close relationship with the fan community, even holding a small private gig for select forum members on
August 14, 2005, at which a number of new tracks were previewed, and fans had the opportunity to meet the band and give birthday cards and presents to Ana Matronic. In the fan community, those fans who hold a special affinity for Ana are known as "nuns".
*In late 2004, Shears and Babydaddy co-wrote and produced the hit "I Believe in You" with
Kylie Minogue, which featured on the " Ultimate Kylie" compilation. They also wrote the unreleased "(Everything) I Know", which leaked online in November 2004 and "Ooh (The Blues)", of which Kylie's version remains unreleased. The Scissor Sisters would go on to co-write a new song for Kylie entitled "White Diamond", which was showcased in her "Showgirl Homecoming Tour" that kicked-off in Australia in November 2006. A stirring ballad version of "White Diamond" was featured as an exclusive pre-order bonus track from Minogue's 2007 album, "X", as well as being the theme song of her 2007 tour documentary, " White Diamond". The live version is available on the " Showgirl Homecoming Live" 2-CD release. While the studio ballad version is not currently commercially available, it can be found on many fan-sites available for download.
*In 2006, Babydaddy remixed Louisville band
VHS or Beta's "You Got Me". VHS or Beta are huge fans of the Scissor Sisters and the two bands have toured together.
*The group were one of the headlining acts at the British
V Festivalin 2005, where they collaborated on stage with Scottish rock group Franz Ferdinand to perform a cover version of David Bowie's "Suffragette City".
*Also in 2005, "
Filthy/Gorgeous" was licensed by Activisionand appears in Neversoft's " Tony Hawk's American Wasteland".
*2005 also saw
DJ Earworm's hit mashup "No One Takes Your Freedom", combining "Take Your Mama" with The Beatles' "For No One", George Michael's "Freedom '90" and Aretha Franklin's "Think". [ [http://www.boingboing.net/2005/03/03/mashup_of_beatlesare.html Mashup of Beatles/Aretha/George Michaels/Scissor Sisters - phenomenal - Boing Boing ] ]
September 10, 2006saw them headline the Bestivalfestival on the Isle of Wight. They closed the three day event with the most spectacular show the island has seen for years. The band took to the stage at Robin Hilldressed as clowns, and by the encore — " Filthy/Gorgeous" — they had been joined by dancers in 10-foot-high clown costumes. Singer Jake Shears ended the set bare-chested and covered in fake blood. They succeeded in thrilling a capacity crowd, although they spectacularly failed to observe the "don't dress as clowns" advice, which had been introduced for the annual fancy dress parade, so as not to deter people with coulrophobia(fear of clowns) from attending the festival.
*The Scissor Sisters ended their first UK tour at
Wembley Arena, London, from the 24th to the 26th of November, 2006, supported by new artist Lily Allen, who performed during the three days there.
September 15, 2006the group were invited to the BBCs Maida Valestudios to perform different songs on every show broadcast on BBC Radio 1. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/presents/scissorsisters/] The event, dubbed "Scissor Sisters Day," culminated in them actually standing in for presenter Pete Tongand hosting his three hour slot themselves. The show took an unexpected turn when a woman in labour telephoned the show to share her experience with the band and they played "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepafor her. Several performances, interviews, and a humorous jingle that was written in an hour, were filmed and edited into a special seven-day, looped broadcast on BBCi.
*The group was the main event during the New Year's Eve celebrations for 2007 in Berlin.
February 8and February 9, 2007, the group appeared on the American daytime soap opera" Passions". [ [http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid40178.asp Scissor Sisters ignite Passions | Entertainment News | Advocate.com ] ] They performed "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" and " Land of a Thousand Words", from the album "Ta-Dah".
*In the "
Doctor Who" episode " Last of the Time Lords", the refsong "I Can't Decide" was used in a scene of the Master singing along to it in a mocking fashion towards the Doctor. Subsequently, the song debuted at #64 on the UK Singles Chart, despite not officially being released as a single. (Only the final verse of the song was used, as the previous two verses contain swearing.)
*In the "
Torchwood" episode "Something Borrowed", the song "Comfortably Numb" & "Filthy/Gorgeous" are playing in the club where Gwen Cooper is having her bachlorette party before the wedding to Rhys Williams.
*"Filthy/Gorgeous" is also featured in a scene from Season 2, episode six of the television program, "
*"I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" is featured in the Nintendo Wii video game "" And is also included in the game Singstar, by Sony Computer Entertainment, on the Playstation 3.
*"It Can't Come Quickly Enough" was featured in the movie Party Monster during the end credits.
* In ealy
2008, online record label"bastard pop netlabel WHA!?", in association with Scissor Sister fansite [http://www.idontfeellikedancin.com/ idontfeellikedancing.com] released a free-to-download bootleg album entitled "Da-Tah". The album featured "Mash-Ups" of Scissor Sister songs with songs by artists as diverse as Beck, Peter Gabriel, Lauryn Hilland Nine Inch Nails[ [http://www.whastudios.com/2008/02/da-tah-scissor.html "Da-Tah" Scissor Sisters mash-up album] at WhatStudios official website]
*Anderson Cooper said in an interview with
Us Weeklythat he is a fan of the Scissor Sisters.
We Are Scissor Sisters… And So Are You" (2004) [ [http://www.realbrighton.com/story/886 Scissor Sisters @ Brighton Dome ] ] [ [http://www.realbrighton.com/storyphotos/782 Scissor Sisters - The Afterparty @ Honeybar ] ]
Hurrah! A Year of Ta-Dah" (2007) [ [http://www.scissorsisters.com/news/ Scissor Sisters ] ]
List of number-one dance hits (United States)
List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
* [http://www.scissorsisters.com/ Official Scissor Sisters site]
* [http://www.musicomh.com/interviews/scissor-sisters.htm musicOMH.com Interview with Scissor Sisters]
* [http://www.kexp.org/aspnet_client/KEXPViewMediaGroup.aspx?rID=2229&pID=528&fID=539&artist=SZ KEXP Interview and Live Performance]
* [http://www.out.com/detail.asp?id=10078 Shear Madness] "Out" magazine interview.
* [http://www.out.com/detail.asp?id=5392 Out.com interview with Scissor Sisters]
* [http://professionalrockstars.com/backstage/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=253&Itemid=10003 Exit Fest 2006 Interview with Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters]
* [http://www.out.com/detail.asp?id=20096 Out magazine interview with Jake Shears and Baby Daddy, September 2006] by
* [http://www.elevenmagazine.com.au/content/features/2006/september/scissor_sisters_interview.html Scissor Sisters interview at elevenmagazine]
* [http://www.spin.com/features/news/2006/06/060606_scissorsisters/ Spin Magazine piece on new album, June 2006]
* [http://www.evolver.at/?story=2455 Manfred Prescher reviews "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" in EVOLVER.at]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/thehour/video.php?id=1515 A Scissor Sister on The Hour]
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