Over the sweltering Canadian summer, many adventurous friends and families embark on regional road trips. So whether you’re headed east from Ottawa to make the most of Montreal or tuning up for next week’s Toronto Pride, here are five queer-friendly road trip songs. Tunes to promote untroubled transit.
"I’m in Love with My Car,” Queen
Since you are reading Xtra, I doubt I need to explain to you why Queen are queer heroes; well, Freddie Mercury was to most, at least. Some music writers have said Mercury was always out and proud, while others journalists say he hid his sexuality, often distancing himself from his partner, John Hutton, in public.
Whatever the truth was, you can’t get more gay than a name like Queen.
"I thought up the name Queen. It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it,” Mercury is purported to have said.
"I’m in Love with My Car” was composed and is sung by Queen drummer Roger Taylor. This track is said to be about his fascination with his Alpha Romeo.
"Dirty Back Road,” The B-52s
B-52 Frank Schneider may be one of the gayest musicians of all time. Known for his recognizable voice and over-the-top theatrics, Schneider spoke of his sexuality on Howard Stern in 2010, divulging that he came out to his mother while she was vacuuming.
"She said, ‘Oh I know, Freddie.’ It’s like okay. I guess I’ll go back outside and smoke some pot."
Whether you find the B-52s’ music to be creative or campy, you can’t deny the catchiness of this new-wave track off their 1980 sophomore album Wild Planet.
Schneider’s odd sprechgesang vocals are absent, with Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s mellow harmonizing in its place.
With this euphemistic title and lyrics like “ride me like a road” and “feet in the air, sand in my hair,” there’s also no doubt this song is about anal sex.
"Driving Lesson,” Garbage
While no one in Garbage is out or even suspected of being gay, singer Shirley Manson’s lyrics have frequently lit a torch for gay and transgender rights (see "Queer,” "Cherry Lips,” Sex Is Not the Enemy").
In 2008, Manson took to Facebook and slammed the New York State Senate for voting down the same-sex marriage bill.
"It saddens and sickens me that modern government and society has learned nothing from history but continue the vicious cycle of ignorance and intolerance whilst quoting and twisting from a bible that at its root, preaches love and understanding and equality for all."
Manson ended her post by writing, “Love is love is love is love. And it is rare and divine. So let us all attempt to preserve it in any manner we can. And by all of us I really do mean all of us. Because lord knows there’s certainly not enough of it flowing around us in this life."
There’s nothing particularly gay about Cults. Neither Madeline Follin or Brian Oblivion are queer, yet their poppy, lo-fi music has garnered a large gay following for its originality and ‘60s throwback sound. While “Bumper” fits the road-trip-song theme of this post, it’s far from the best song on their eponymous 2011 debut (that would be "Abducted"). Cults has evolved into a five-piece since their initial release, so expect a fuller sound on their upcoming effort.
"Pacific Coast Highway,” Hole
Gay men love disasterous divas ("leave Britney alone!” anyone?), and Courtney Love is one of those trainwrecks gays love. So what if she has no descernible talent besides writing rambling lyrics (this song’s studio version’s music was mostly written by very talented lesbian Linda Perry). Watch an early, very rough Courtney and Micko Larkin version below or listen to the polished take here.