ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JAKE SHEARS
I spent the day of June 22 2010 with my very talented friend Jake Shears in London as he and his fellow Scissor Sisters unleashed their triumphant 3rd album; "Night Work" on the world. The day started with meeting Jake at his St Martins Lane Hotel room, and moved about through the city - culminating in a powerful show at Brixton Academy. We went to Pizza Express up the road for lunch and randomly ran into musician Nico Muhly who happened to be there - so we naturally ate pizza together! Stuart Price who produced Night Work was at the show and is featured in a photo backstage with Jake. The first copies of the record itself were delivered to the band that day and Jake proudly displays one (featuring cover image by Robert Mapplethorpe). As the confetti from the confetti gun fell to the floor of Brixton academy - I followed Jake to a waiting car and zipped off back to the hotel. The days work, as well as the "nights work" was done! The book was published in 2011, and features an introduction from Sir Elton John, Jake's text on the day, and an afterward by Kylie Minoque. All can be experienced below.
- Tim Hailand Los Angeles July 2023
As you can tell from the photographs in this book Jake is no shrinking violet. His genetic makeup will never let this happen. I first met him and the Scissors in London to launch their first album. The show was fantastic, full of energy and showmanship. We all went backstage to see them afterwards and have been close friends ever since. I cannot imagine life without Jake’s humour, intelligence, and love. He works so hard to achieve the best results for himself and the band – never short of an opinion, but always willing to listen. This book is a day in the life of Jake on the road and the overall feeling is ‘How does he cram so much in’ – well, that is the energizer bunny in his DNA. He is always interested in music, movies, theatre, art, sex and laughter. I see so many similarities between us in the pages, and I suppose that’s why I love him so much.
- Elton John Nice December 2010
Pictures are a bit of a scam. As I flip through this book, the thought that immediately runs through my head is : That's not me. And it isn't. It was me during the summer of 2010, but it isn't me now. When you get to experience so many soul stirring moments, in such a short period of time, you can't help but change. Highlights off the top of my head: a crowd of 80,000 people at Glastonbury, with the sun setting and Kylie Minogue resting her little hands on Ana’s and my shoulders, sunrise at the stone circle the following morning. I sweated so hard at the show in Paris at Le Bataclan that I almost passed out. I witnessed another blood-red sunrise in Barcelona with my Spanish friends—I won't ever forget the tender silence as we sat watching it change slowly like a Butoh dancer. I put prosthetic makeup on and walked out on British national television disguised as the world’s oldest Kylie impersonator. I stood on a street corner on the Lower East Side, about to get my hair done, with my phone pressed to my ear as I heard that a good friend had died suddenly in his sleep. I shook Trent Reznor's hand at our show at the Palladium in Los Angeles and told him how much his music has meant to me most my life. I joined a cross-fit team and ran down Polk Street in San Francisco with a 55-pound kettle bell on my back looking like I was about to die. So, as I look at these pictures I have a hard time seeing myself now.
It was also a strange moment in time when these were taken. I knew when we put out our third album, Night Work, there was a large chance of emerging from our most recent cocoon as caricatures of ourselves. I had no desire to imitate what the band and I and were doing six years ago. On top of that, this record came from a very authentic place; it is about different attitudes and sexualities that are very real. For the first time ever, it felt like my inner life was blending into the construct that I created. My performance was changing, too. The archetype I felt I had always inhabited onstage naturally was not as appropriate anymore. I no long felt like Puck, mischievous and light. Somewhere in the last few years I Frenched my boyhood goodbye
Relaying this new feeling through performance became important to me. Changing certain habits I'd always had, such as singing hunched over on my tiptoes, consciously evolved into more thoughtful movement—an elongation of the spine, limbs spread wide, back straight. Funny, this led to people telling me for the first time how tall I looked onstage. All of this has given me a newfound security, an assurance that quashes any nervousness, a rooting of my heels into the ground. Performance is a drug, and must be treated like one. Used in moderation, it's heaven and mind expanding; allowing it to lift you off the ground and sucking up that applause like coke through a straw just turns you into an addict. I've been both, and I now much prefer the energy coming from the ground than the energy coming from the air.
I've always resented being called "camp," a word that I find dismissive and neutered. I feel like any journalist or listener that uses that word to describe me has never really watched myself and the band or completely listened to what I've said through my lyrics. I’ve always viewed myself as a rather serious performer, drawing more fuel out of a reservoir of anger than irony. Sure, I'll do just about anything for attention if the moment calls for it. But my favorite, most memorable moments onstage have always come from a very dark, charged place. One of those moments was the performance in the dance tent at Glastonbury 2004. The druggy vibe in the air was so thick it caused a kind of morbid electricity. Coincidentally, that night I fell in love with my husband. Another was at Terminal 5 in New York City October 2010; the room in front of me looked black as hell and I felt like someone possessed. At one point, I threw a mike stand down on the ground so hard that I scared myself a little bit.
Maybe I'll always have a bit of a chip on my shoulder. Being classified and pinned like a brightly-colored butterfly in the Natural History Museum under the gay phylum has always been code to me for "second rate" or "sub par." Yes, I've come to accept that is the sacrifice we've made as band, to being unabashed about who we are. But that makes our words no less poisonous or barbed, and I will always feel that we haven't been taken seriously enough. I'll never forget watching one of my favorite bands, Queens of the Stone Age, and thinking, God, we’re never going to be them, are we? But on the other hand, I'll bet that group’s founder, Josh Homme, a self-proclaimed fan of Scissors, has stood on the side of our stage and thought the very same thing. The grass will always be greener.
In closing I’d like to take a moment and pay tribute to one of my performance heroes, someone who is talked about so rarely it's criminal; Lux Interior of the Cramps. If it weren't for that scary, doughy-yet-gaunt, perverted soul, gyrating lewdly and sweating on this inspirational hungry 13- year-olds face, I don't know if I'd be doing what I do today. Yes, the man sang sleazy songs with titles like "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns" and "Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?" Sure, he stalked the stage in black rubber smocks and makeup and simulated wild-eyed oral sex with the microphone. But don't you dare call him camp. He was real, he was savage, he meant business and you would by no means ever fuck with him. After his death two years ago—which the heartless media barely mentioned in passing, not even warranting an obit in the New York Times —my hope was that a little piece of his spirit would join me every time I walked onto a stage. And when I'm gone, I hope to join some kid I sweated all over in the front row at a show, a kid who I helped assist in his decision to give his life over to the Gods of Rock and Roll.
- Jake Shears Glasgow December 2010
Jake shears revels in random; a day in his life could involve absolutely anything. He bounces easily from one thing to another with a frenetic energy, insatiable curiosity, and one hell of a serious mission. Driven by creativity, he thinks outside the box - but he can work within it with a passionate discipline. He is a contradiction in terms and that, my friends, is why we get along so well.
Jake and I hit it off immediately. We bonded during a songwriting session and discovered we have this amazing understanding of each other. We laugh, a lot. We gasbag about the world at large, our musical existence, and how we survive orbiting, and sometimes penetrating, Planet Pop. We joke that we are, in some ways, a long lost brother and sister, with a shared love of the bright and shiny and its polar opposite: dark turmoil and soul searching. He reminds me to take notice of every facet of my character, and I love him for this.
Jake makes the effort to do things and has the charisma and gumption to convince me to join in. As a viewer, I hope you glimpse the man I'm proud to call a friend, the artist not afraid to take risks, and the performer who has the precious ability to connect.
Jake I salute you!
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