WAYNE COUNTY and the Backstreet Boys ‘Max’s Kansas City 1976’ 7”
Wayne County (later Jayne) with her 1976 roll-call of the famous NYC club. Reissued on limited white vinyl 7” to herald the ‘Max’s’ 40th anniversary album. Coincides with the recreation of the ‘Max’s’ club in Martin Scorcese & Mick Jagger’s coming ‘Vinyl’ HBO series.
In 1976 the New York City club ‘Max’s Kansas City’ entered a new musical phase, with the underground movement that became punk developing within its walls. Resident DJ Wayne County wrote a song for the club cataloguing the new bands that regularly played there: New York Dolls, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Television, Blondie, Iggy Pop, the Heartbreakers and many more.
The single is issued as a taster for the 40th anniversary of the ‘Max’s Kansas City 1976’ compilation album, due for a much-extended reissued in 2016 on double-vinyl and CD. Alongside Wayne County it features Suicide, Pere Ubu, Cherry Vanilla, The Fast and others; it’s now expanded with 20 more bands from the seminal scene.
Over the years the Max’s Kansas City club has become ever more legendary. Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger recently recreated the club for filming their upcoming ‘Vinyl’ HBO series, set in the mid-70’s New York City rock scene. It debuts in 2016.
Wayne County is rock’n’roll’s first transgender singer, a veteran of Max’s since 1969. She had been at the Stonewall riots and was a flatmate of ‘Warhol superstars’ Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis, appearing in and writing plays. Seeing her starring in one, Andy Warhol chose her for the lead role in ‘Pork’, which in 1971 came to the London Roundhouse, where the cast befriended the Hunky Dory-era David Bowie.
Later she signed to David Bowie’s Mainman management, front-page news in 1973, but the two-year relationship ended leaving nothing but the germ of Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’. By 1976 she was back DJ-ing at Max’s for the nascent punk scene, and naturally became the veteran MC of the scene, contributing three songs including this title track on the club’s ‘new bands’ ‘Max’s Kansas City 1976’ compilation.
In 1977 she relocated with the Electric Chairs to the London punk scene, and made a deal with Safari Records. Her anthem, ‘If You Don’t Want To Fu<k Me Baby, Fu<k Off’, became a huge single in the alternative charts and she featured in Derek Jarman’s punk film, ‘Jubilee’.
The debut album ‘The Electric Chairs’ alongside the ‘Blatantly Offensive’ EP gained notoriety, launching a career of many more albums and extensive touring. From 1980 her records were released under the name Jayne County.
Cat. No. JUNG076. Release date: January 2016.
Buy it now: ebay.co.uk/itm/221981904146 or on all digital services.
A JAYNE COUNTY / WAYNE COUNTY biography
Growing up in a small rural community in Georgia with parents from a strict religious background, she discovered a liking for dressing crazy and confusing people. Drawn to New York’s subterranean bohemian society, Wayne was soon to participate in the famous Stonewall riots. Hanging around the Max’s Kansas City rock’n’roll scene led to Wayne sharing flats with Warhol superstars Jackie Curtis, Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, all immortalised in Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’.
In 1971 Wayne took a lead role of ‘Vulva’ (Viva) in the Andy Warhol play ‘Pork’, based on tapes of his ‘gallery of superstars’ conversations. The play moved to London for a scandalous, scatalogical run at the Roundhouse – “makes ‘Oh Calcutta’ and ‘Hair’ look like a vicar’s tea party” fumed the News of the World. The company were befriended by a yet-to-be-famous, befrocked David Bowie, fascinated by their Warhol connections and offbeat sexuality.
Back in New York, Wayne became a resident Max’s DJ, got a band, Queen Elizabeth together, and became a fixture of the club scene along with the New York Dolls, stretching the limits of vulgarity. The Bowie friendship led to Wayne being signed by the Mainman management company, announced as front-page news by the UK’s Melody Maker in 1973. They filmed a never-released ‘Live at the Trucks’ extravaganza and almost recorded an album with Mick Ronson, but eventually that gravy-train dried up.
Wayne went back to DJ-ing at Max’s, formed a new band the Backstreet Boys, started taking hormones, and became immersed in the new underground scene at Max’s and CBGB’s that would become punk. Max’s booker Peter Crowley consolidated the scene by arranging festivals and a compilation album that featured three tracks from Wayne. The title-track ‘Max’s Kansas City 1976’ 7” was her debut record release.
In 1977 she relocated to the London punk scene with a new band, the Electric Chairs. Wayne was welcomed in London and after an Illegal Records single a deal with Safari Records was secured. Her anthem. ‘If You Don’t Want To Fu<k Me Baby, Fu<k Off’, became the biggest-selling single in the alternative charts and was followed by a performance in the Derek Jarman’s iconic punk film, ‘Jubilee’. The debut album, ‘The Electric Chairs’ alongside the ‘Blatantly Offensive’ EP gained notoriety and the band toured the UK and Europe extensively.
The album ‘Storm The Gates Of Hell’ followed, which like the first was produced by Martin Birch. Wayne then began spending time in Berlin and started rearranging her gender. Next came the album ‘Things Your Mother Never Told You’, produced by experimental artist David Cunningham. After more touring, back in Berlin her stage name became Jayne, and the live album ‘Rock and Roll Resurrection’ was the first released under the name Jayne County.
In Berlin a lead acting role in the film ‘City Of Lost Souls’ directed by Rosa Von Prohheim, along with songs on the soundtrack, was one of a number of screen appearances. Further live and ‘best of’ albums appeared on Safari before a new album ‘Private Oyster’ on Revolver, as ever along with more globetrotting. A new UK band were found to back Jayne, and ‘Betty Grable’s Legs’ appeared on Jungle in 1989, ‘Goddess of Wet Dreams’ on ESP in ‘93, ‘Deviation’ in ’95 on Royalty and yet more albums in the 21st Century. Her autobiography, ‘Man Enough To Be A Woman’ with Rupert Smith was published in 1995.