Chris Garneau Hub

News: Wanda Sykes, Mercy, PETA, Kara GioGuardi, Banksy

 roadTony Dungy, anti-gay former head of the Indianapolis Colts, is asked to serve on Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Banksybill roadMan pays for car wash with Banksy bill: "This chap gave us the note and said 'keep the change - it's worth a lot more than ten pounds!'."

 roadFirst photo of Mercy as paparazzi trails Madonna in Malawi.

 road"A fuller answer is needed.": The SF Chronicle on the case of Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado and the need for the Uniting American Families Act to pass.

 roadNo fooling: DVD-quality workprint of X-Men: Wolverine leaks to the internet.

 roadPedroPedro airs tonight.

 roadMelbourne Catholic Archdiocese denies it is "testing" prospective priests for homosexuality.

 roadWanda Sykes gets new show on Fox: "The Sykes show, which is expected to launch in the fall, would fill the void left by the recently canceled sketch series 'MadTV.' Hourlong show would air at 11 p.m. According to Broadcasting & Cable, which first broke the news, the Sykes skein would look more like a panel series similar to Bill Maher's HBO show, as opposed to a regular talker. Beyond the topical panel discussions, the series also will follow Sykes as she shoots field segments."

Statham  roadJason Statham cools off in Malibu.

 roadJoe the Plumber still doesn't know crap about anything.

 roadYoung and the Restless actress Clementine Ford and Broadway's Hair star Gavin Creel both say: "I'm gay."

 roadEndangered wildlife "camera traps" will soon tie in to Google Earth: "Cameras equipped with infrared triggers, known as camera traps, are used to identify, count and observe larger mammals in isolated areas. Now researchers from Earthwatch are adding the latest images from their camera traps in Ecuador's cloud forests to Google Earth. They hope to raise awareness of endangered species, encouraging donations and attracting tourists to the region to support conservation efforts."

 roadHow 'bout some beefy Mehcad Brooks?

 roadGroup to train LGBT people in civil disobedience.

 roadJudge allows Lawrence King's teen killer Brandon McInerney to attend his father's funeral: "Ventura County Superior Court Judge James Cloninger ruled Monday that Brandon McInerney can temporarily leave juvenile hall for the funeral. The date for the private family service hasn't been disclosed."

 roadPETA puts Cloris Leachman in cabbage.

Cytwombly roadWho knew that filmmaker John Waters is a fan of the often inscrutable fine art doodler Cy Twombly?

 roadStash of gay porn magazines causes fuss at Aberdeen, UK City Council office: "I have taken the liberty of removing these and they are available in my office to be collected should the owner wish to do so."

 road"Broken record": American Idol judge Kara GioGuardi hit by audience backlash. What you didn't see...

 roadGay indie artist Chris Garneau set to release second album.

 roadSoap opera Home and Away's lesbian kiss causes stir in Australia: "About 20 people gathered in Melbourne's Federation Square for a mass 'kiss-off' as the episode went to air on Tuesday night, despite an announcement by broadcaster Channel Seven that the programme would be shown in its entirety."

An Interview with Chris Garneau, Indie Music's New Gay Star

Chris Garneau photographed by Josh Koll in New York City

Guestblogger_2Last week Towleroad correspondents Josh Helmin and Josh Koll sat down with twenty-four-year-old singer and songwriter Chris Garneau to talk about his debut album, Music for Tourists. The indie record, with Garneau's softly sung vocals and heartrending lyrics, has garnered praise from mainstream media including The Advocate and National Public Radio, with word also spreading like wildfire throughout the blogosphere. Originally from Boston, and raised for a few years in Paris during his childhood, Garneau has settled into the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he's at work on a follow-up album and preparing for a nationwide tour that begins on May 12.

How did your debut album, "Music For Tourists," come about?

Musicfortourists Duncan Sheik produced it. I was in the first workshops of Spring Awakening [for which Duncan wrote the music] when it was being written. I was 16 when they first started it. I did numerous productions of it with the same team that is still working on it now. They were like, "Just sing this song, and that song, but don't say a word." I was so awkward and I hated acting. Anyway, that's how I met Duncan. I did these silly recordings in high school at a studio and I gave them to Duncan, and he said, "I'm going to produce your record some day." When I moved back to New York five years ago, we started working on it at his studio. It was a long process. He's a really busy guy, so there was a lot of down time. We started when I was about 21, three years ago.

Originally it was going to be really big and really produced, but the longer the process went on, the more eager I was to complete it, and we didn't really have any money going into it. We were recording everything on our own time, and he was engineering it at the studio in Tribeca. I had the studio to myself for a month, so I would just go in and set up, which I had no idea how to do. I was recording by myself. Four of the songs are just one take.

Do you read your reviews?

I do. I read all of them. I should probably stop. [laughter] It's really hard in the beginning to not do that. I don't know who would do that with their first album, to just be like, "I don't read them." I have to remember half the time that there are people writing to make a point, or to have people just read their reviews. There are writers who sometimes write really drastic reviews, really good or really bad, so it sticks out and people notice it. I understand that that's a factor. I also try and consider that there are writers who truly care about music and really know music, probably a lot more than I know, and there are things I can learn from some reviews. It's a first record, and I was young when I wrote the songs. I don't expect everyone to love it.

Chris_garneau_photographed_by_josh_While you were recording the album were you thinking about if you were going to be an openly gay artist?

Absolutely Kosher [the record company] asked me "How do you want to deal with press and publicity for being gay? Do you want it to be not mentioned at all, do you want to be out if people ask, do you want to be really forthright?" At that point I wasn't exactly sure. My feeling then was that I didn't want to be the gay piano-playing "fagitor" from Williamsburg who has a new album, "Music for Tourists." If anybody asks, or if gay press wants to run this feature or that, I thought, "Let's do it." I don't feel terribly political. I'm making music and I happen to be gay, and that's what's happening. If you want to hear about it, fine, and if you don't, that's fine, too.

So everybody's going to want to know: Are you single?

Why does everybody ask me that? That's so weird. [laughing, looking embarrassed] My feeling would be like, if I saw someone cute in a magazine or wherever, I wouldn't even care if they were single or not. I'd just be like, "How can I interfere? Who are they in a relationship with, and how can I fuck it up?" [laughter, then a pause] I am dating someone right now. He's a photographer. He just gave me a Polaroid camera -- he mainly does Polaroids -- and he's teaching me how to use it. It has a real lens so you can focus. It's a for real camera, not just a twenty dollar one you can get at a pharmacy.

Did you always know you wanted to be a musician?

When I was really young, and started playing piano, I thought I would want to play music, but I didn't know in what form. When I was in high school I started thinking about what I wanted to do, and it was music. As soon as I started writing music, that's what I knew I wanted to do.

How's the second album coming?

It's pretty much all tracked. There are a lot of big vocals. There's a big choir on one song. There are a lot of big string arrangements, percussion, and horn arrangements. There are a lot of things taken from "Tourists" stylistically, but almost simplified in a way. It's just smarter. It's better. I'm older.

For more about Chris Garneau and his touring schedule, or to listen to tracks from his new album, check out his website and MySpace profile.

Music for Tourists [iTunes]


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