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The Homosexuals

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With a subversive name that didn't lend itself well to printed handbills, an art school D.I.Y. ethic, and a deconstructionist approach to music, cult '70s British punk rockers the Homosexuals were highly influential to those lucky enough to have heard them, but seemed doomed to obscurity from the beginning. Formed in South London from the ashes of the Rejects — who played at the Roxy alongside the Jam, the Damned, and Wire (probably the most direct comparison to the Homosexuals in terms of musical style) — vocalist Bruno McQuillan, guitarist Anton Hayman, and bassist Jim Welton adopted pseudonyms and changed their band name to the Homosexuals in 1978 as a move to break away from the punk scene and its limiting three-chord formula. After learning of the new name, previous Rejects' drummer Davey Dus departed. McQuillan picked up the slack, playing drums as well as continuing his role as a singer, and the trio started writing and rehearsing while squatting in Union Grove, Clapham Old Town. Apart from a few jam sessions at The Bull's Head, a local pub, most of their time over the next year was spent hopping from various studio sessions, with a rotation of a half-dozen drummers temporarily filling in from track to track. In 1979, McQuillan met and married conceptual artist Suzy Vida, who started collaborating with the group. She influenced them to incorporate performance art into upcoming live shows, appeared on some of their later tracks, and catalogued the majority of their output, which was becoming more and more difficult to locate — with the exception of 1984's The Homosexuals Record, pressed for vinyl on their own label Black Noise, the majority of their recorded material was comprised of EPs, bootlegs, and unreleased cassettes. By 1985, the band officially disbanded, shortly after Welton cited the rock-typical "creative differences" rationale as his reason for leaving. Various side projects ensued, including Sara Goes Pop, L. Voag, Amos & Sara, George Harassment, and Nancy Sesay & the Melodaires, but with only a limited number of copies available for collectors, it seemed that the Homosexuals themselves were all but a fading memory. Fortunately, in 2004, Bruno and Anton were united, and, with the help of Vida and Morphius Records, they compiled a complete 81-song overview of their output titled Astral Glamour.