Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Jake Shears
1: In the 2007 Doctor Who episode ‘Last of the Time Lords’, which character dances to the Scissor Sisters song ‘I Can’t Decide’?
“I’ve never followed Doctor Who, but I remember somebody being in a wheelchair in that scene. I have no idea what character it is, but I know he’s a villain.”
WRONG. It was The Master.
“I saw it at the time and loved it. That song has had a strange life of its own. It became a video game meme and if you go on TikTok, loads of teenagers have made up little numbers to it. On Spotify in America, it’s our most popular track now.”
Where’s the most unusual place you’ve heard your music played?
“I was getting a lap-dance once at Swinging Richards in Atlanta, Georgia, and my music came on which was embarrassing!”
2: What was the first UK major label release to include a Scissor Sisters credit?
“It would have been ‘Laura’.”
WRONG. It was Bl..
“Oh wait! We did a remix for Blondie of ‘Good Boys’, right?”
CORRECT. ‘Good Boys (Scissor Sisters’ Gyad Byas Myax Ya Mix)’ was released on October 6, 2003; ‘Laura’ dropped on October 27.
“I’d forgot about that! I first met Debbie Harry when I was a go-go boy, and I got to dance at a night called Click + Drag in New York’s Lower East Side, when she did a solo set one night. Afterwards, I met her, and I was super-excited. She complimented me on how I had been dancing in a gas mask. I was wearing a camouflage G-string and I was telling her that, even with two cock rings, my dick wasn’t big enough to fill it!”
3: Can you name four people the judges mistook you for when you appeared as Unicorn on The Masked Singer?
“No offence to him, but the worst was probably Frankie Grande! Nothing against him, but I definitely wasn’t him! Adam Lambert? Chris Colfer? And Billy Porter – which was quite an honour to be compared to him. Of course, everybody thought I was John Barrowman.”
CORRECT. You could have also had: Louie Spence, JC Chasez, Matthew Morrison, Neil Patrick Harris, Zac Efron, Alan Carr and Peter Andre.
“Wait, the worst one is Peter. That’s like ‘What?!’.”
Have you been offered much reality TV?
“Every year, I’m always mildly offended when I receive the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! request in my email inbox – that kind of stuff isn’t for me. The thing I liked about The Masked Singer is it’s so ridiculous and an amazing performance challenge. It’s like this weird, really hard bootcamp – it’s difficult to be entertaining when you have none of your senses available and can’t see anything. It was a fun exercise in performance agility. It’s hard to breathe in those things, let alone sing.”
4: What drag name did Elton John give you?
“But now we’ve shortened it – he calls me Brit-Brit.”
What have been the most memorable experiences you’ve had with Elton?
“We’ve been working on a musical together over the last few years, and it’s special sitting with him at a piano making music. It’s about the ‘80s scandal involving the American televangelist couple Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. They’d built this huge, evangelist empire in North Carolina including an amusement park and their own TV channel, then the whole thing combusted into flames.”
On the Masked Singer, you mentioned pole-dancing naked at Elton’s stag party and Ozzy Osbourne seeing you in the buff. Who’s been the most famous person you’ve seen in their birthday suit?
“OH MY GOD! That’s where I draw the line – that’s where these lips get sealed!”
5: Queens Of The Stone Age’s frontman Josh Homme appears in a fake infomercial for the Scissor Sisters’ 2012 album ‘Magic Hour’. How much does he claim the record costs?
“Does he say $300 or something?”
WRONG. He says it’s 3.5 payments of $19.99.9.
“It’s so ridiculous! I haven’t watched that in a long time. So it’s around $60? See, and we wonder why the record industry went belly-up!”
You’ve collaborated with Josh Homme on numerous occasions…
“He’s a genius. I treasure our friendship. He’s like the brother I always wanted. We did The Desert Sessions last year and it was a blast. It was intimidating for me because I was in there with the likes of Mike [Kerr] from Royal Blood and [Autolux drummer] Carla Azar – all these virtuoso musicians, and I can’t play anything. I was really insecure, but realised although I don’t play anything, I write a fucking killer song.”
6: What number did Kylie’s ‘I Believe in You’ – which you co-wrote with her and Scissor Sisters member Babydaddy – reach in the UK charts in 2004?
“Yeah, there was a charity single out [‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?‘ by Band Aid 20] that week which was Number One. I love being in the studio with someone like Kylie who you love and respect. There’s definitely going to be more in the pipeline where that came from so I’m excited about that too.”
Have you got another collaboration planned with her then?
“You’ll just have to find out! All will be revealed – in due course!”
7: Which indie icon once denounced Scissor Sisters as “music for squares”?
“Well – rest in peace – but Andrew Weatherall did once call us “the new Showaddywaddy”. He hated us and would slag us off in the press constantly which really hurt my feelings because I think he’s so amazing. But music for squares? Was it one of the Gallaghers? Noel?”
“Yeah, he also called us a bunch of circus freaks! But that was one of those moments when I felt like we’d really made it.”
Ever meet him?
“No, Ana [Matronic, Scissor Sisters’ co-vocalist] did, but I steered clear. Bless him, but he was too intimidating for me.”
Have you ever bumped into anyone that you’ve slagged off?
“I know it happened a few times, but I tried to avoid slagging people off. The Sun did once dig up me calling Robbie Williams gay once and plastered it on their front page – as the main headline! – and I felt like such an idiot. But he was very sweet about it*, and they’d dug this quote up from an interview from before we even put our first single out. So you gotta watch what you say!”
*When Robbie Williams won the Brit Award for Best Song of the past 25 years for ‘Angels’ in 2005, he joked in his acceptance speech ‘I’d like to thank my boyfriend, Jake, from the Scissor Sisters’.
8: Name your four collaborations with Tiga.
“‘Hot in Herre’, ‘You Gonna Want Me’ – hang on a second! – ‘What You Need’ and ‘Make Me Fall In Love’.”
“I first met him while he was DJing at Sónar [festival] in Barcelona while I was dressed as a mime, really high on ecstasy. I must have looked like a mime that was cannibalising his own face! But he played one of my songs [‘Electrobix’] and it was the first time I’d ever heard one of my songs played on a soundsystem at a party. I was really, really high having the time of my life – and then I got to hear my song for the first time.”
9: You performed ‘Tits on the Radio’ live twice with Pete Burns in 2004. What was emblazoned on the late Dead Or Alive frontman’s T-shirt?
“Oh my God, I have no idea! What was it?”
WRONG. It was breasts.
“I’m sure that was a Vivienne Westwood shirt. Amazing! God bless Pete, that was a wild show – and one I’ll never forget.”
Apparently in the middle of the song, Pete punched a heckling audience member in the face and after the gig, hurled someone down the stairs who called him ‘a fookin’ tranny’.
“It was a rough and tumble one! I love Pete so much – rest in peace. He’s a really amazing person. My two older sisters are 10 years older than me and had the Dead Or Alive cassettes, so growing up, a lot of their pop music would drip down to me.”
10: In the ‘Land of a Thousand Words’ video, who is listed in its James Bond-style credits as the ‘Fluffer’?
“God, is it me?! I have no idea!”
WRONG. It’s Aimee Phillips.
“The magical Aimee Phillips! Who’s an amazing DJ in London now playing loads of parties. She was one of my best friends who took care of us on tour and stopped us going insane. She was actually one of my main muses writing songs for the Scissor Sisters – I would just envisage her when I was writing them. She’s still a good friend – and still the Fluffer!”
The verdict: 6/10
“I expected to do a little bit worse so I’m feeling pretty good about that!”
Jake Shears‘ new single ‘Meltdown’ is out now