beth ditto: jesse james johnson

beth ditto web3

When I was in high school (I graduated in 1999) there was a warning before the original Ellen show warning the viewers that some subject matter may be Inappropriate for some. How wild is that in present day? We had our own RuPaul show on VH1, I remember. It was incredible! And the evolution really began in those days. But really in a way I was so hung up on Boy George, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson in the 80’s . Very early 80’s when MTV was new and exciting! That feeling must be what kids 20 years younger than me felt about YouTube when they were younger kids. There was this no almost entirely unfiltered medium. No one knew then what they had and what a cultural turning point it was when MTV came on the scene. Like MTV, Napster or YouTube. No one knew what they had and let it be. Pure and wild. Creative. Queer. Because the underground and underdogs aren’t first on the scene, we’re creating it. There’s this beauty in going under the radar . Not knowing what your seeing. A man in lipstick. Moonwalking.

  beth ditto web2

I never held any bad feelings for disco. As a kid one of my dad’s favorite band was The Beegees. I grew up in a music filled household. Our sound in the very beginning was a direct result of not knowing how to make any other sounds! That’s the honest truth. So the older we got and more confident we would try new things . New instruments, sounds, And what resulted was a more disco sound. We were also learning more about punk, new wave, post punk and no wave. We started Gossip when I was 18 so there was still so much to more to discover and now, the learning never ends! That’s the beauty of music! Do all you want! Go to college, take music theory, buy as many records as you can, you still can’t know everything. And that is so empowering! What beautiful motivation! The hunger for more!

beth ditto web1

I’ll always have anxiety when releasing anything new. Mostly because you want it to be the best you could possibly make. You have these ideas inside you, gestating and then you give birth (gross) and they become their own person with multiple levels of development. Letting your baby go into the world unprotected is always frightening

beth ditto in conversation with jesse james johnson

illustrations jesse james johnson