Albany, NY (PRWEB) September 12, 2013
His last studio album dropped almost 40 years ago, but Jobriath’s time may finally have come.
2013 has been a year of reckoning for rock’s first openly gay major-label artist, a glam-era victim of overhype and prejudice.
Kieran Turner’s acclaimed feature documentary Jobriath A.D. brought Jobriath’s tragic story to film festivals worldwide, and on October 29, New York’s Eschatone Records will release Amazing Dope Tales, a three-song EP featuring long-lost Jobriath tracks from 1971.
The EP will be released digitally and in a limited-edition of 500 vinyl records, the latter a split 10” with a new EP from Avi Buffalo side project Sevendys on the reverse.
Jobriath’s story is, for better or worse, legend. Born Bruce Wayne Campbell, he was a classically-trained piano prodigy who’d been brought to Elektra in 1973 by impresario Jerry Brandt. As Jobriath’s manager, Brandt secured the singer an outrageously large record deal (allegedly the most lucrative of its time) and began a New York City promotional blitz that included Jobriath’s nude image broadside on half the buses in the city and a 40-foot Times Square billboard. But all that hype backfired, and faced with an American public that was not ready for his combination of drag, Broadway and glam, Jobriath was dropped. As his albums slipped out of print, he retreated to cabaret, where he performed standards as pianist Cole Berlin until his death of AIDS-related complications in 1983.
But Jobriath left behind those two albums, a couple of musicals, and a pile of unreleased material—and, through the four decades since his first release, a growing legion of fans which includes among its champions Morrissey, who curated a retrospective compilation disc of Jobriath’s Elektra material called Lonely Planet Boy in 2004.
“The most exciting turnaround in the tragic story of Jobriath’s unsung magnificence as a songwriter and performer is that now, through archiving and technology, we can access his heart and soul and still reap the benefits of his music,” says Avi Zahner-Isenberg of Avi Buffalo, who appears on the flip-side of the Amazing Dope Tales EP with his other project, Sevendys. “It can be overwhelming and sad when a talented artist isn’t able to be heard by more people, and the unknown Jobriath catalog is full of surprises, amazingly recorded music at the height of a consciousness in hi-fi and a key evolutionary moment for rock and glam music.”
Jobriath’s performing career began with a 1969 stint in the Los Angeles production of Hair. The musical’s influence can be heard clearly on the new EP’s three tracks: “Amazing Dope Tales”, “As The River Flows” (which features backing vocals from several of his fellow cast members) and “City Freak”. While elements of the glam persona Jobriath would assume for his self-titled Elektra debut bubbled beneath, the emphasis here is on feel-good hippie grooves, recorded live-in-the-studio at Electric Lady by a crack band that included Billy Cross (guitar) and Jim Siomos (drums).
Long considered lost, the tapes from this session turned up for sale online in the early aughts, where they were purchased by Frontier Records’ founder Lisa Fancher. In partnership with Fancher, Eschatone was able to have the reels properly digitized, restored, and remastered.
“I’m so proud and happy that the previously unreleased Jobriath demos I bought online so many years ago are finally seeing the light on Eschatone Records,” Fancher says. “A portion of the proceeds will go to AIDS United so there are actually two great reasons to buy this record!”
With the blessing of Jerry Brandt and Jobriath’s family, Eschatone is proud to be able to make these lost tracks available for all to hear and enjoy, with releases of more unheard Jobriath music planned.
“IT’S ABOUT TIME,” says Brandt. Yes, he said it in all-caps.
“As controversial as he was in his time, his compositional talent is unquestionable,” says Jobriath’s touring keyboard player Hayden Wayne. “Here is an artist who is stil fresh and virginal as a ‘newbie’, yet not only an original but a visionary voice.”
Rounding out this split 10” vinyl release is Living In A Frame, a three-song EP by Sevendys. A multigenerational Justice League of Rock, Sevendys features three current and former members of Avi Buffalo (guitarist Zahner-Isenberg, drummer Sheridan Riley and keyboardist Jed Davis), plus bass legend Chuck Rainey and percussionist extraordinaire Jerry Marotta. Sevendys formed in 2010 as a recording experiment and has since turned into a lesson in geography and music history, convening for three far-flung sessions in Houston, Los Angeles and Woodstock, with songs written to match each location.
Living In A Frame features an indie-inflected title track mixed by Tchad Blake (The Black Keys, Suzanne Vega) and the epic “Northside”, both informed by the rootsy upstate NY ambience of Dreamland, where the band recorded them (like Jobriath, live in the studio). A third tune, “Congratulations”, was recorded in the room at L.A.’s EastWest where The Mamas and The Papas used to track, and is arranged in tribute to that California sound.
Amazing Dope Tales/Living In A Frame will be available for download at all digital retailers on October 29. The vinyl will be sold exclusively through Eschatone’s web site (http://www.eschatone.com), and can be pre-ordered now. Vinyl pre-orders include an immediate download of the Jobriath track “As The River Flows” in a choice of formats, with the full set of tracks released to the purchaser on October 29. Each vinyl purchase includes a download of both the Jobriath and Sevendys EPs.
Amazing Dope Tales/Living In A Frame is the first in a series of split 10” vinyl releases from Eschatone. The next, featuring Albany, NY’s Hand Habits and Long Beach, CA’s Peg, will be out later in 2013.
Eschatone Records was founded in New York City in 2006 with an emphasis on top-quality audio and design in formats from CD to cylinder record to 8-track tape. Eschatone has been the home of Brian Dewan, Michael Bassett, The Hanslick Rebellion, Jed Davis, wax.on wax.off, The Valley Arena and The Visitors.
Direct link to order this release, and listen to the track "As The River Flows": http://jobriath.eschatone.com
For more information about Eschatone: http://www.eschatone.com
For more information about Jobriath: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobriath
For more information about Sevendys: http://music.sevendys.com
For hi-res imagery and audio samples, contact Joseph Slevin at Eschatone Records: 518.227.0367 or press(at)eschatone(dot)com.