Known for almost 40 years as the first ever openly gay rock star, the story of Jobriath is one that delves deeper than just the surface labels hung upon him at the time of his debut. “The American Bowie,” “The True Fairy of Rock & Roll” and “The Hype of the Year” were only but a few of the descriptions thrown at Jobriath and which ultimately overshadowed his music. His reign was brief, lasting less than two years and two albums, which up until recently were out of print and collector’s items. Done in by a publicity machine that turned off would-be fans and disgusted even his own record label, shunned by the gay community who were terrified of the image he projected and dismissed by most critics as all flash, no substance, Jobriath was excommunicated from the music business and retreated to the Chelsea Hotel, where he died forgotten in 1983 at the age of 37, one of the earliest casualties of AIDS.
However, in the twenty-six years since his death, new generations of fans have discovered his music through acts such as The Pet Shop Boys, Marc Almond, Gary Numan, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, and Siouxsie Sioux, all of whom have cited Jobriath as an influence. Probably the most important of these is Morrissey, who helped put out a compilation of Jobriath’s music on CD, the first ever of its kind for this long buried musical treasure. With this release came fan sites, web pages, a slew of fresh admirers and, more importantly, a newfound respect for Jobriath’s music and his talent.
In this film, we will tell the story of Jobriath’s life and career through archival footage, interviews, photographs and original animation sequences based on Jobriath’s paintings and artwork and also recreating the legendary never performed Paris Opera House Show. In addition to the narrative of Jobriath’s story, we will also explore the mid-70s in terms of the music scene and the gay liberation movement. We’ll look at the legacy Jobriath left behind; how his music influenced not only the previously mentioned musicians, but such current openly gay musicians as Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, Antony & The Johnsons, Adam Lambert and others. Lastly, we’ll look at Jobriath as iconoclast, a pioneer both musically and in the gay community. We’ll talk with family, friends, colleagues, ex-band mates, as well as contemporaries in glam-rock and members of the post-Stonewall gay movement. Also, with exclusive rights to the library of Jobriath’s music, we have arranged for some of the musicians who’ve agreed to be interviewed to perform on-camera covers of Jobriath songs. Those artists already attached to speak and/or perform include Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Ann Magnuson, Gary Numan, Marc Almond, Gavin Friday, Kristian Hoffman of The Mumps, Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, Patrick Fitzgerald of Kitchens of Distinction and several others. We have assembled an amazing group of people from Jobriath’s life, many of whom have never publicly spoken about him, but who are finally willing to come forward and tell the story.
We have been shooting for a year and have amassed close to 40 interviews from all over the country. The money we are looking to raise here is to fund our trip to the UK in order to interview and record musicians such as Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, Gavin Friday, Marc Almond, Gary Numan, Holly Johnson, Patrick Fitzgerald and several others perform on camera Jobriath covers (we will update periodically throughout the fundraising process to add the names of new musicians as we bring them on board). This is a hugely important component to the film and one which will help us to raise the final amount of funding to complete the film and move into post-production.
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