LGBTQ + Lavender Pioneer: ‘If I could perform with Lil Nas X, I’d die gleefully and go to hell’

IIn 1973, Patrick Haggerty sat down to write a song about how angry he felt when he met men of the opposite sex. “I wanted to write a song about straight white male supremacy and what it felt like,” the 77-year-old recalled, speaking by phone from his home in Bremerton, Washington, outside across Seattle Bay. He called the song “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears”, and included it in his band’s eponymous debut. lavender land, First country music album recorded by an openly gay artist. “That song imprinted a scarlet letter on my back and made it impossible for me to reach,” he explained. “I had to choose between being a screaming Marxist bitch or going back to the closet and going to Nashville to try something out with country music. I made a choice with my eyes and never regretted it.”

Only 1,000 copies of The land of lavender was pressed and sold through advertisements in the underground gay press. When they left, they were gone. Haggerty spent a few years playing his songs for an audience of gay activists, then got a job as a social worker and moved on with his life. “The land of lavender died secretly and unnoticed,” he said. “It’s dead because I was married to my husband for three years before he even knew I did it.”

That all changed in 2014, when Brendan Greaves, an American folklorist and co-founder of the Paradise of Bachelors record label, retweeted a “Cryin ‘These Cocksucking Tears” video uploaded to YouTube. Greaves was enchanted. “He called me and asked me to sign a re-export contract The land of lavender,” Haggerty recalls. “I didn’t believe him. I thought he was selling encyclopedias and just waiting for the shoes to fall.”

Greaves sent him a check for $300 in advance, but Haggerty still suspects he’s being scammed. He told the teller at his local credit union to make sure the money was real. “She came back 10 minutes later and said, ‘I checked anyway to check and it’s valid. Here’s your $300,” he said. “I stepped out of the car and watched 300 years and 40 years of pent-up frustration burst. The dam broke, OK? ‘Oh my God, someone thought The land of lavender worth $300! ‘ Of course, I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out The land of lavender worth much more than that. “

Three years ago, nearly half a century after recording his first recording, Haggerty returned to the studio to work on his second Lavender Country album: Blackberry Rose. He recorded it at the home studio of his Lavender Country bandmate Robert Hammerstrom, and Hammerstrom incorporated it into his own signature Cyze-O-Graph Music. It is currently being released in full by indie label Don Giovanni. “Here’s the truth: I never stopped writing,” he said. “My bedroom is full of scraps of paper, pieces of songs that I imagine I will make one day.”

Patrick Haggerty: “When someone walks up to you and says, ‘Lavender land ‘saved my life in 1978’, it doesn’t get any more pure than that, right?”

(Sarah Wainwright)

Haggerty was born on September 27, 1944 in Hoquiam, Washington, and raised on a farm in Port Angeles. His parents, Charles and Asylda, were hired dairy farmers. Haggerty is the sixth of their 10 children. “My father was an old man with clodhopper boots and brown Farmer’s overalls, half a tooth missing, but that gruff, manly, hard-spoken exterior showed who he was on the inside. his,” he said, pausing with a lump in his throat. “It’s hard to talk about my father without being emotional. He saw me as gay very early on. He stepped on the plate and said, ‘This is the child God gave me to love, so I’m going to have to figure out how to do it.’

Life on the farm is hard. The family takes care of 50 cows, milking twice a day at dawn and dusk. All the kids were expected to work. At the age of 10, Haggerty lost control of the tractor he was driving. “I was probably singing the tunes of the show instead of paying attention,” he said with a smile. “The tractor-trailer crashed into the barbed wire fence, knocking down about 15 fence posts. A piece of barbed wire grabbed me and threw me behind. Then the tractor crossed the driveway, hit a dumpling tree and exploded.” His father saw the whole thing. “His reaction was to take his last $20 and go into town to buy me a guitar. He said, “Here, play this and stay away from my machines.”

A few years later, Haggerty ran for “Reservist” at his school, the equivalent of head cheerleader. He performed at a conference wearing a pink dress, bright red lipstick and glitter all over his face, but when his father arrived at school that day, he saw his son crouching down a hallway. to avoid him. On his way home, passing by a field of hay, his father gave him one piece of advice that would stay with him: don’t be sneaky. “Of all the things a father in 1958 could say to his gay son, my father revealed: ‘If that’s who you are, don’t be sneaky, because you’ll ruin it. your immortal soul if you do. ‘ Criticize! Who got it from their father in a hayfield in 1958 in America? He is a very profound hinge. ” Haggerty was 17 when his father died in 1961. “I’m still crying about it,” he said. “It’s something that never leaves you.”

After graduating from college, Haggerty joined the Peace Corps in 1966 and was sent to Bhubaneswar in eastern India. “I loved India so much but I was caught sexually compromising, in a gay act, and kicked out,” he recalls. “It was a very traumatic experience. It took me a few years to get over that trauma and realize, ‘Wait a minute. There’s nothing wrong with me. Something is wrong with you. ‘”

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After the Stonewall riots of 1969, Haggerty went public with his family, friends, and colleagues. He moved to Seattle from Missoula, Montana, the following year to attend graduate school, where he wrote and recorded music. lavender land, was born out of his fervent activism with the gay liberation movement.The Peace Corps experience has reoriented my priorities,” he said. “I will be a singer and an actor. After that experience, I turned against socialist ideas, transformed society and was a radical.”

Although he considered The land of lavender dead and forgotten for most of his life, it turns out his record has helped in changing society. Today, a whole generation of quaint country artists rightly consider Haggerty the ancestor of their scene. He’s collaborated with drag queen Trixie Mattel, and in 2019, crooner and Canadian fashion icon Orville Peck invited Lavender Country to open his show in Seattle. The couple became friends. “I think Orville found out The land of lavender even before the re-release, so it shows you never know what impact you’re having,” said Haggerty. “Many people over the years have told me The land of lavender changed their lives. When someone walks up to you and says: ‘The land of lavender saved my life in 1978′, it doesn’t have any more purity than that, can it? “

Of all the artists who have followed Haggerty, he has special praise for rapper Lil Nas X. “I haven’t met him yet, but I hope to,” he said. “He is my true love and I will tell you why: he is uncompromising. He is not bound. He’s not trying to be polite. He’s doing the real raw truth and he’s really insulting it. If I had a chance to perform with him, I would die happily and go to Hell the next day. It will never get better than that.”

With Blackberry Rose Haggerty is currently having a wider release, saying he has plans for a third installment. “I still have a lot of stuff in my hip bag,” he says. While a copy of the first Lavender Country album is now housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame library, Haggerty says he doesn’t expect it to be well received by the mainstream powers.

Blacks and transgenders and gays and lesbians and powerful women are knocking down doors in Nashville

Patrick Haggerty

“The Nashville Company was responsible for the classical image of country music and for creating divisions between blacks and whites,” he said. “[But] Dolly, Willie Nelson or Garth Brooks, they are not losers. They don’t believe it. The Nashville Company created this image and it’s falling over them right now. Blacks and transgenders and gays, lesbians and powerful women are knocking down doors and exposing the Nashville corporation for the racist, sexist crimes they committed against everybody. “

His decision years ago to reject that scene and remain a “screaming bitch of Marxism” has now been radically vindicated. “The Nashville Company would never push me forward,” Haggerty said proudly, “but I might get the last laugh in the end.”

‘Blackberry Rose’ is now out

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/lavender-country-interview-b2017281.html LGBTQ + Lavender Pioneer: ‘If I could perform with Lil Nas X, I’d die gleefully and go to hell’

Tom Vazquez

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