Wayne County At The Trucks!
by Jimi LaLumia

 
In 1974, as a music journalist and an David Bowie fan, I became aware of Wayne County in the pages of Hit Parader and Circus Magazine. While Bowie had seemed sexually threatening as Ziggy, he paled in comparison to Wayne County. Bear in mind, in 1974, the Pandora's Box of trans sexuality had not been opened in rock and roll. Lou Reed had dabbled in it, from a distance. Bowie and Alice Cooper toyed with the images but because they were straight, they would never fully embrace it. Rock and Roll was still waiting for the REAL THING! and then Wayne County showed up, and the 'real thing' had arrived. This recording is from a 'live' performance at the Westbeth Theatre in Manhattan; the show was titled Wayne County At the Trucks!, financed and produced by David Bowie's Mainman organization, which had worked with a solo Mick Ronson, Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople and Iggy Pop. Since the sight and sound of Wayne County was generating as much heat on the street as Bowie himself in the early 70s, Mainman thought it wise to sign Wayne. This performance was revolutionary in many ways. Wayne County was the most outrageous and challenging character rock and roll had ever seen, making Bowie look like John Denver in comparison, and the setting for Wayne At the Trucks was in keeping with Wayne's previous tenure as a star of theatre, in Andy Warhol's "Pork" (where Wayne first caught the eyes of Angie & David Bowie) and other productions.
 
Wayne At the Trucks brought something new to rock and roll. Every song had it's own scenery,  props, costumes, etc like a Broadway play. Breaking the rules of rock and roll, the band was off to the side of the stage, while Wayne stood front and center. The attitude and subject matter was punk before punk, hip hop before hip hop, blatant and obscene to a degree never seen before in pop music, at a time when it was considered totally off the radar. The show opens with Wayne's backup singers, in homage to the "King Kong" film of the 30s, summoning Wayne, chanting 'man made woman in the man made world", in front of a wall of Wayne's painted visage. As they finish, Wayne emerges from the backdrop and breaks into "Wonder Woman" ,a bracing rocker that made it clear that Wayne was not a fake glamster, but the actual item of every glitter fan's fantasies. The next song, which was accompanied by baby carriages on stage, is a song that many rock scholars view as a prototype for Bowie's  "Rebel Rebel". The song is "Queenage Baby", and it's the definitive song of the glitter era, period. Stones-ish riffs and strong language served as a taste of what NY crowds thrilled to whenever Wayne County & the Backstreet Boys did a "live' show. Wearing a 'dress" of inflated condoms, with 'shoes' that featured a cock at the tip and heels in the shape of a pair of balls, Wayne County was quite a sight to behold, "The Exorcist' with a rock band ,as one noted critic observed. The realization must have set in with the MainMan crew that releasing the film of  ‘Wayne County At The Trucks'  would make Bowie look and sound like yesterday's news, and so the footage of this show has never been screened, remaining captive in the mainman vaults. "Queenage Baby", still a great choice for a single, is followed by "Stick It In Me", yet another outrageous song dealing with sleazy, sexy decadence as only Wayne County could serve. "Queen of the trucks, if you're in luck, and if you wanna fuck, you can stick it in me!" Nowhere in the history of rock had such straightforward declarations been pronounced. "Stuck On You" is another fangs-out rocker, which clearly indicates how Wayne County was a rival to The New York Dolls in the early 70s, and an influence on the punk attitude and transgender rock that Wayne was inventing like a mad scientist in drag during this performance. The go-go 60s influence can be heard in "I Got The Time", another psychotic declaration of pervy love from the streets of NY, and watching the startled faces of critics and audience members was worth the price of admission, except for the fact that this performance was 'invite only' for the rock and roll elite of NY. I was sitting right alongside Johnny Thunders (who remained a County fan forever) and Sable Starr. During this period of time, Wayne was writing for Hit Parader, expressing an undying love for The Dave Clark 5 and all the garage bands of the mid sixties; how appropriate that the next song on the set list was a cover of "Are You a Boy or are You A Girl" by The Barbarians. While signed to Mainman, Wayne had expressed interest in recording an album's worth of 60s cover, and while Wayne was never given the chance to follow through, Bowie apparently liked the idea, and ‘Pin Ups' followed, while Wayne was kept in legal shackles, unable to record for anyone else during that period. For the big production number, 'You've Gotta Get Laid To Stay Healthy", Wayne donned a nurse's uniform and the stage was transformed into a hospital. This hilarious song followed in the footsteps of 30's star Sophie Tucker (as well as the obvious connection to another 30s siren Mae West, who might as well have been a drag queen.)
 
Wayne County At The Trucks is one of the turning points in rock music; obviously, Bowie's ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour, which came after "The Trucks" production, paid attention to the scenery, band off to the side, costume changes, etc. The 'street language' and generous use of the word 'fuck' in song lyrics opened the doors for the punk rock to follow, and the next generation of cosmetic punks (Holly of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive, Boy George) all acknowledge Wayne's initial presence as giving them the courage to do their own thing. I know that's where my courage came from when I started The Psychotic Frogs. The studio version of "Man Enough To Be a Woman", which may or may not have been produced by Mick Ronson, is the ultimate statement about Wayne County, a ground breaking transgender rocker, who influenced the high and mighty, like Bowie, and was never given the proper credit. Wayne was thought by many to be the unacknowledged influence for the film "Hedwig & the Angry Inch", which failed in it's attempt to create it's own version of the majestic reality that, these days, is known as the still rocking, more fierce than ever, Jayne County. Visit the website www.jaynecounty.com to remain informed on the latest adventures of this legend, and when she comes to your town, make sure you're in the front row, with your cock shoes on!
Jimi LaLumia
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