The Fags

The Fags

An influential Seattle band active between 1980 and 1985, The Fags were an aggregate music and performance outfit that revolved around vocalist Charles "Upchuck" Gerra, drummer Ben Ireland, bassists Barbara "Boots" Ireland and Jane Bronson, and guitarists Dahny Reed and Paul Solger (née Dana). The Fags met with success in the Seattle underground music scene with their anarchic and elaborate performances as well as their musical ability. Their vocalist, Upchuck was known for his wildly eccentric clothing and on-stage personality. He often performed in character as a Kabuki demon, a malevolent gremlin, or fin-headed as a half-man half-fish creature of indeterminate origin. In 1984 The Fags relocated to New York City where they achieved modest success in the Lower East Side music and arts community that was then flourishing. All of them appeared individually or collectively in film projects including "Nadaville" (dir. Kurt Feldhun), "Secrets" (dir. Barbara Ireland), "Desperately Seeking Susan" (dir. Susan Seidelman). By 1989 the band had more or less disbanded, although they remain collaborators on musical and artistic endeavors up to the time of this writing. There have been two notable onstage reunions, the first taking place in 1987 and the second in 1989. Both took place in Seattle and were dubbed "Fags Reunions and Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Offs."

Vocalist Upchuck Gerra pursued a singing and songwriting career in New York City until 1989 when he was diagnosed with AIDS. Gerra spent the last three years of his life in Seattle and continued to contribute to the underground music and arts community until his death in 1990.

The mid-2000s reassesment of Seattle's success as a major center of rock music in the 1990s led to more interest in the antecedents of "grunge". The Fags have been referred to as an influence on the musical careers of many successful Seattle artists. The influences most cited are those of guitarist Paul Solger and vocalist Upchuck Gerra. As of this writing Solger has retired from performance, living in Yakima, Washington. Drummer Ben Ireland is a member of the band Sky Cries Mary. Barbara Ireland is a filmmaker and sings in a side-project of Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard. Guitarist Dahny Reed pursues his life-long love of painting and poetry while raising two daughters. All of them reside in Seattle.

References


*LOSER - The Real Seattle Music Story by Clark Humphrey pages 34,59,60,74,85,103,116,150,182 published in 1995 by Feral House, Portland, OR ISBN 0-922915-27-X.


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