Charlie Recksieck of the Bigfellas says being known for their bawdy tune "I Wish That I Were Gay" has its plusses and minuses.
"The good side is it gives people something to remember you by, but we've taken crap for it. We know you won't get booked at street fairs and family stuff like that. It has cost us there. And [our booking agent] dropped out because she said she had a gay nephew. We were all scratching our heads. It's just a song."
The song begins with a piano "flourish" from Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue": "I wish that I were gay / Maybe then I'd understand ballet / I would be so gourmet / I'd get stuffed eating a petite filet / And soufflé / Read Armistead Maupin / Listen to Gershwin."
"When I wrote it I was listening to Rufus Wainwright," says Recksieck. "It took me into Gershwin. It occurred to me that this song sounded really gayish. So I added all the gay clichés.... It's like Lou Reed's song, 'I Wanna Be Black.'...
"Our drummer Shay Bell was watching Coldplay on TV, and they looked about as serious as you possibly could. He said, 'What the hell do these guys have to be all depressed about? They are the number-one band in the country and can pretty much get any girl they want and they walk around like someone just shot their dog.' "
Though the Beat Farmers, Mojo Nixon, and Steve Poltz gained prominence in San Diego, Recksieck notes that there aren't many current humorous bands. Members of the Bigfellas are in their 30s and 40s; Recksieck seems as if he couldn't care less about the band's image.
"This is not a farm team for us to get on MTV. We're not playing for any goal other than having fun. Our local scene is entirely too serious. Every local band with six people in their audience thinks they are rock stars."
The Bigfellas appear Saturday at O'Connell's in Bay Park and Wednesday at Portugalia in O.B.