"For the record – I'm not a slut" – Michael from MEN
When most people think of a touring band, the first images that come to mind are on the stage, shredding guitar licks for adoring fans, partying backstage with celebrities, flying in and out of LA or London…AKA living the dream. While all this is certainly possible (for Guns N Roses and the like), us DIY queers have a little bit of a different life. There are still parties and the people, some fly-ins and always some shredding. But the time in between all that is usually spent sitting in a van for anywhere up to 8 hours a day. For those of you who have braved the cross-country US trip, you know that can often be quite boring.
Luckily, I have discovered an amazing distraction, the ridiculous iPhone app GRINDR. I was searching for apps one day using the keyword "gay" when i came across this one, and soon discovered its purpose: gay cruising. The application finds your GPS location, and begins to list all the other Grindr users in order of their proximity to you. So not only do you see their picture, age, height, weight and their witty headline, but you see exactly how close they are to you. The closest people are usually within a mile – looking at it now, I see the closest person is 2267 feet away (i'd say thats about a 10 minute walk). But when I first used Grindr as a tour distraction tool, we were playing the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. (Look it up if you don't know it). Needless to say, my Grindr was blowin up. People were literally 100, 30, even 5 feet away! I'm thinking, "These people are all in this hotel, and probably next door". Plus all their photos are in full leather garb – harnesses, leather shorts, gags, etc. I began speaking with a couple looking for someone to watch them…
Anyway…it's been pretty fascinating to be on Grindr in the van. You're moving at 80mph, through Idaho and Nebraska, and you realize how many gays there really are out there. Dudes in the middle of NOWHERE to chat with about whatever. Some are teenagers looking for anyone else to talk to about being gay. Some are really pervy dudes that will send you dirty pictures. Its fun to see who's out there, and it really makes the time fly. MEN decided to use Grindr with a band profile, like on MySpace and such, promoting our band and the tour. We'd talk to people on the ride into a city and get them to come to the show. Fans in the audience would contact us to congratulate us on the show…or otherwise to see if they can get backstage.
For the record – I'm not a slut. And in fact most of the dudes on there are the beefy muscly kind that I'm really not into…but you never know. Perhaps the art fags and radical queers will start infiltrating the system. Or perhaps a whole new app will be invented that makes it feel more like you are meeting people at a gallery show rather than a cheesy dance club – where the possibility of an intellectual conversation is just as likely as someone asking if you are a top or a bottom. Ideally it would be an app for genderqueers and radicals than "gay men". THEN, I might be able to get in touch with my inner slut.
Either way, come see us in the UK next week, and find us on Grindr!
Make sure you check out MEN on MySpace.