Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Curiosity corner: Jobriath

"I'm rock's truest fairy"-Jobriath
1972. Jerry Brandt listens to a demo tape at CBS. De3scribed by Clive Davis as "mad, unstructured and destructive to melody" Brandt thinks he can launch US version of Bowie. The truth turns out to be more Gary Numan than Bowie; so folk singer Bruce Wayne Campbell becomes Jobriath and is launched on an unsuspecting public amidst mad advertising, ridiculous claims and uber hype.

Brandt became obsessed with Jobriath the ‘artiste’ and Jobriath the person, at one point ludicrously spouting: “There’s Elvis the Beatles and Jobriath!”
Signed to Elektra he was exposed to the public via full page advertising campaigns in Vogue, Penthouse and Rolling Stone.Giant posters on 250 New York City buses and huge Billboards in Times Square. His live debut was scheduled at the Paris Opera at a cost of  nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The press were told that the show would feature Jobriath dressed as King Kong being projected upwards on a mini Empire State Building. This would transform into a giant spurting penis, with Jobriath turning into Marlene Dietrich. There was also talk of Jobriath having booked a seat on the first passenger flight to the moon. His publicity machine pushed him as the first openly gay rockstar, which is highly debatable.

i'm a man
Amid all this madness little attention was paid to the musical element of the Jobriath juggernaut.Ludicrous, trite, contrived, 'space age' drivel wrapped up in a film of pretension. Jobriath was a bit of Iggy Pop, a bit of Bowie and a lot of hot air.

Eventually and inevitably it all fizzled out after three awful albums; Pigeon (on which he was part of the band), Jobriath, Creatures of the streets.
run away
With a spell as a new creation, Cole Berlin, Campbell pursued his belief that he was special to no avail, although he was much better as a lounge pianist/singer than a would be superstar, and the unfortunate Mr Campbell became that sad cliche of the rock star dying alone in a grubby hotel room of AIDS symptoms. He wasn't discovered for a week. So ended the Jobriath 'phenomenan'.

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having said that;