Interview with a Ladykiller
Jinx Titanic discusses his new album and experimentations.
You know you’re dealing with a serial provocateur when the troublemaker can’t even recall making fuss-causing statements. “I remember I did an interview with Windy City Times,” veteran rock & roll frontman Jinx Titanic, who performs at Jackhammer Friday 22, responds when I bring up some recent memorable quotes, “but what did I say?” After reviewing his declarations that “the gay community does not want to embrace the bisexual male,” and “last year my New Year’s wish to everyone was a year of bisexuality,” the artist born John Kamys is at no loss for words.
“We’re very quick to categorize in the gay community,” he says. “Are you a bottom, are you a top? Are you dominant, are you submissive? Are you masculine, are you feminine? What are you ‘into’? These specific lists truncate what would be the natural expression of human sexuality, and my wish was to encourage opening eyes towards sexuality more. Let’s face it, the bisexual gets a really bad rap. Basically, if you’re bisexual, women think you’re really gay and men think you’re really gay. I feel really bad for Clive Davis that he’s being slammed. This is an issue that should be of no care or consequence to anyone; if Clive Davis says he’s bisexual, who cares?”
Titanic bristles at all kinds of labels. Even when first rising to prominence in the Chicago music scene with his punk band Super 8 Cum Shot, he rejected the label “homocore” for the band that combined pop, garage rock and theatricality. “We love to categorize,” he spits out, “because we like to differentiate and rank things above each other. I’m most concerned with doing good work.”
Those concerns have been met on his new album, Mister Casanova. Although a departure from the aggressive, poppy Super 8 Cum Shot material and the more muscular rock that he later recorded under the Titanic name, it may be the best recorded work he’s yet produced. Drawing primarily upon ’50s rockabilly (and its many revivals), as well as old R&B, ska, gospel and Latin music, Mister Casanova spotlights not only humor, nostalgia and an appreciation for Elvis in his hammiest film roles, but also a deeper, smoother voice than Titanic has employed on his previous albums. And though songs like “Rocket to Uranus” don’t shy away from the explicitness of previous material such as “Everyone Here Wants to Fuck You” and “You Make Me Wanna Cum,” this is the closest thing to a Jinx Titanic record you could play for your parents. “I’m actually worried we may lose some audience because of that,” Titanic says.
But Titanic isn’t apologetic about moving away from more aggressive material. “When Super 8 Cum Shot started,” he offers, “I think we took a militant edge, because that was important to me as a defense. But the older I get, the more I don’t give a fuck. Anyone who’s in one of the gray areas—transgender, transsexual, bisexual—is fighting while they’re growing up, but as you get older you get to different levels of comfort with the different levels of shit society puts upon you. At this point I could give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks about how I express my sexuality.”
This level of comfort in his own skin is something that Titanic applies not only to personal expression, but also artistic expression, which is what makes the bold departure of Mister Casanova so successful. “If I want to experiment sexually, then I could give a flying fuck if you want to judge me,” the artist explains. “The same goes for if I want to experiment with rockabilly.”
Jinx Titanic and the Ladykillers perform Friday 22 at Jackhammer. TOC’s Homer Marrs opens.