So Gay It Rocks!

Punk icons and gay pioneers Pansy Division are headed out for their first headlining run since 2003 in support of latest release, “That’s So Gay.”

The band will hit the East Coast and Midwest for the first leg of the tour, beginning June 17 at TT The Bear’s in Cambridge, Mass. Other stops include Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York City.

A second wave of West Coast dates for September will be announced in the coming weeks, with Pansy Division expecting to stay on the road well into 2010.

Joining frontman Jon Ginoli and bassist Chris Freeman in the latest lineup of the band are Luis Illades on drums and Joel Reader on lead guitar.

Photo: Lauren Bilanko
Luis Illades, Jon Ginoli, Joel Reader, Chris Freeman

For readers too young to remember, Pansy Division was founded as a solo project in 1991 by Ginoli. After meeting Freeman and discovering he had also shared the experience of “being ostracized by other musicians for being openly gay and by other gays for being openly rock” the pair decided to become a full-fledged band.

The group’s in-your-face, gay-themed lyrics – coupled with a wicked sense of humor and a knack for catchy hooks – earned them a contract with Lookout! Records, where they released six albums.

The Lookout! connection also gave the band a chance to play to audiences they never dreamed they’d be standing in front of, when former label mates Green Day tapped them in 1994 to open on a two-month stadium tour.

“When we started our band, we thought we’d be playing our music to people in their 20s and 30s who were gay or gay-friendly,” Ginoli explained. “Suddenly, we faced thousands of high school kids each night – an amazing opportunity we never expected to have.”

Since then, Pansy Division has worked in the studio with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and onstage with Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, helping to mainstream openly gay musicians and pave the way for artists like Sia, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Baby Daddy and Del Marquis and, of course, Adam Lambert. Ginoli recently documented his 18-year journey with the band in his book “Deflowered: My Life In Pansy Division.”

For a preview of what to expect from That’s So Gay and Pansy Division’s upcoming trek, here’s a track from the new album for your listening pleasure.

Download “Twinkie, Twinkie Little Star” (Right click and choose “Save link as” or “Save target as”)