[Cover photo credit to Devlin Shand]
Musical Project Commando was created with a lot of intention and “as an act of revisionist history”, wondering how the world might been different if that specific cultural moment in the late 1990s that birthed nü metal had been used to “dismantle homophobia, misogyny, racism/white supremacy and heteropatriarchy rather than reinforce them”. The project’s self-titled debut album is due out March 4th on Kill Rock Stars, and uses tools from Rock, Metal, Punk, Hardcore, Hip Hop, and popular music, featuring multiple vocalists.
Lead single and album opener “Hotel Essex” has been released alongside an official video. Created in homage to the life and work of Black gay poet, essayist and activist Essex Hemphill (1957-1995) and featuring the Blackberri who passed away recently, “Hotel Essex” is an interpolation of Hemphill’s poem “Now We Think”. It revisits conversations “on the intersections of the HIV/AIDS crisis, sexuality, identity, homophobia, anti-Blackness and racism/white supremacy in the lives of Black queer men through the perverse and anachronistic lens of nü metal”.
Andy Meyerson comments on Commando:
There was an intentionality that we set about with this project. There are obvious optics, dynamics and complications attendant to three white cismen–two of them straight–collaborating and supporting a Black and Brown and queer and Trans led project. The question for the three of us as a rhythm section who met at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and have devoted ourselves to the lifelong quasi-academic study of musical performance was: can we be of use to the folks whose voices, stories, perspectives, and creativity deserve the biggest spotlights and the most amplification?
Andy Meyerson: The Living Earth Show
Travis Andrews: The Living Earth Show; performed as featured soloist with San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
with an all-star team of legendary queer performers…
Lynnee Breedlove: Tribe 8, Homobiles
Juba Kalamka: bisexual artist/activist & co-founder/producer of legendary “homohop” group Deep Dickollective, curator of PeaceOUT World Homohop Festival
Drew Arriola Sands: lead singer of Trap Girl, founder of the TransgressFest concert series
Krylon Superstar: lead vocalist of Double Duchess and SF drag legend
Honey Mahogany: vocalist and first SF performer on RuPaul’s Drag Race, first Black and Trans chair of the SF Democratic Party