Although selling Jobriath as an "American Bowie" was wishful thinking, the story of openly "fairy" glam rocker Jobraith in 1973 and 1974 should make a fascinating documentary. Jim Farber, a talking head in the film, which screens Saturday night at Walter Reade, writes in today's Daily News:
"Jobriath (ne Bruce Wayne Campbell) recorded two albums in 1973 and ’74 that both benefited, and suffered, from historic hype. As you might expect from an aspiring rocker of the day, his albums sounded like David Bowie aping Mick Jagger, but with enough classical and theatrical flourishes to give it an original twist. Many New Yorkers of the era will remember the garish advertizing for Jobriath’s self-titled debut. Gigantic posters of the man not only adorned city buses, they occupied a looming billboard in Times Square, depicting him as an ancient Roman statue, dyed blue, and in the nude, no less.
"Suffice it to say, they were as discussed, and giggled over, as the muscled Marky Mark posters that appeared in that same space, courtesy of Calvin Klein, more than two decades later.
"Music fans may also remember the star’s famous self-description - “I’m rock’s truest fairy,” a banner meant to distinguish him from the rush of pseudo-gay, and faux-bisexual, stars who ruled the glam-rock trend of the early to mid-’70s.
"The original idea was to provide a more outrageous, U.S. answer to the sexually equivocating David Bowie, a notion advanced by Jobriath’s scheming manager, Jerry Brandt.
"The P.R. backfired spectacularly, not only because America wasn’t quite ready for such a creature, but also because of the hard sell behind it. Though Jobriath crafted his inventive music with esteemed classic rock producer Eddie Kramer, and while he got good reviews from Rolling Stone, Esquire spoke for many when it dubbed him “the hype of the year.”
(Hat tip and thanks to J "Ziggy" K.)