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San Francisco treats: the Bay Area boasts a burgeoning and mutually supportive gay male rock scene that's heading for national recognition. (music).

Patrick Goodwin is rubbing the sleep from his eyes. On this afternoon in San Francisco, the singer-guitarist is recovering from yet another late-night gig. Although he's best known as the axman for enduring queercore innovators Pansy Division, Goodwin's finding that his latest side venture, fronting the metallic Dirty Power, is keeping him far busier.

"This band is taking off in ways that I never expected," he admits. "It started out as a low-pressure, fun thing to do. I wasn't even sure that anyone would have a positive reaction to it."

But Goodwin has discovered what a growing number of other Bay Area bands are learning about the local gay music scene: Boys wanna rock. The unsigned Dirty Power, whose guitar-drenched six-song demo has begun to win the interest of major recording companies, is at the forefront of a burgeoning movement that boldly smashes the stereotype of gay male artists as purveyors of either trance-disco beats or gentle folk confessionals.

"We didn't set out to try to change stereotypes; we're just doing what comes naturally," says Duane Bryant, bassist for another local act, Ploughound, whose current self-made album, Shift, mines a rambunctious punk-pop sound that renders the group the queer counterpart of blink-182. "As time has progressed, we've become committed to being a gay band that breaks the mold."

At the same time, both Goodwin and Bryant assert that their bands are aiming higher than the top of the gay music heap. "We're working hard to be a great band, period," Goodwin says. Bryant adds, "We're ambitious; we want to play in the big leagues."

They're not alone. Besides Dirty Power and Ploughound, the Bay Area's burgeoning gay male rock scene includes jangle popsters ing, moody guitarist John Ashfield, prog rockers the moth wranglers, feel-good tunesmith Mark Weigle, and the alt-electronic act Pause, among others. No two acts sound alike, yet they represent a tightly intertwined clique of players who frequently stomp in support of each other's efforts, gathering in a widening landscape of showcase venues that includes traditional rock halls the Paradise Lounge and Bottom of the Hill and unusual rooms such as the Eagle leather bar.

Acoustic-rock artist Weigle has begun moving away from the club scene, opting instead to focus on breaking nationally by gigging a lot out of town. He's about to begin a spree of concert dates in support of his third self-made disc, Out of the Loop, a happy hybrid of rhythmic rock and easy-paced folk. Although he believes that it's essential to "work hard and reach far beyond the parameters of local fame," he also sees the upside of exercising mutual encouragement: "We all want to see each other succeed. We see the benefit of one of us breaking out. It's going to shine a light on the scene and the city, in general."

For Pause mastermind Ed Boland, who has just completed his full-length debut for midyear release, maintaining a tight bond within the Bay Area community is vital. He does his part by running Kuma Chan Records, an indie devoted to providing a haven for musicians striving to "make music that matters to them and elevate beyond the gay ghetto. This gay generation has the advantage of being more open than any other before us. We know that it's OK to be open and nonstereotypical. In fact, that's something to be proud of."

Flick is senior talent editor at Billboard.
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Article Details
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Author:Flick, Larry
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 5, 2002
Words:568
Previous Article:We want our Gay TV: showtime and MTV partner to create a gay cable channel--but will they be first across the finish line? (television).
Next Article:Getting the sounds out: Outvoice provides an online resource for indie gay and lesbian musicians. (music).
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