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Friday, August 10, 2012

Jayne County is Man Enough to be a Woman

Who created punk rock? That's a hard question to answer but one of the names that always comes up is Jayne County. Did Jayne create punk rock? Well maybe not all on her own but she was a major player in the movement. Jayne of course at the time was known as Wayne County.
Jayne/Wayne was born and raised in Georgia and in 1968 moved to New York. She became involved in the downtown scene. She was a regular at the Stonewall Inn the dumpy gay bar where the riots that ignited the gay rights movement started. In 1969 Jackie Curtis was putting together his play "Femme Fatale" at La Mama. Jayne and Patti Smith were among members of the cast.  "Femme Fatale" had a very successful run becoming an underground hit garnering a lot of attention to the Downtown/Underground scene. Jayne then wrote and performed in her own play "World-Birth of a Nation". Andy Warhol was at the time putting together his play "Pork" and cast Jayne in a role. "Pork" played in New York and then moved onto a run in London. Jayne spent some time in London where she formed a band called "Queen Elizabeth" and caught the eye of David Bowie and his company MainMan. Queen Elizabeth performed for a while and Bowie's company spent a lot of money. There was a show called "Wayne County at the Trucks" that is believed to be the inspiration for Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour. The song "Queenage Baby" is almost universally belived to be prototype for Bowie's Rebel Rebel. Did Bowie rip off Jayne? Listen to both songs and see what you think.
In 1974 Jayne formed "Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys" yet another protopunk band. They performed frequently at Max's Kansas City and CBGB in New York and recorded 3 tracks for a compilation album of New York bands.
Back in London "Wayne County and the Electric Chairs" was formed in 1977. London's punk scene was gearing up and Jayne was there recording one of her classic songs "Fuck Off". After touring through Europe and putting out a couple of records Jayne returned to the US and at that time stopped using the name Wayne. Wayne was Jayne and he was a she.
In the early 80's Jayne was again on stage in a play this time with another Warhol Superstar Holly Woodlawn. Over the years Jayne has appeared in a handful of films as well as working as a DJ.
Her out put of work has been more or less none stop. She has released over a dozen records. Jayne appeared in several successful films including Derek Jarman's "Jubilee" and Barry Shils' "Wigstock". Jayne is also a visual artist having had gallery shows in several cities.
Now living back in Georgia Jayne has formed a new band "The Electric Queers" and has started performing live again. Do not miss the opportunity to see her live! Who created punk rock? It may just have been been Jayne County!

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