SEE Magazine: Issue #493: May 8, 2003
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He said/she said?
None of your business, just enjoy Rae Spoon’s music

Opens for Wendy McNeill
Tues, May 13
The Sidetrack

Clean-shaven Rae Spoon could ink checkmarks in either the male or female categories found on any form; and in an open society that isn’t anybody’s business. But for a self-confessed banjo-plunking renegade cowboy-outlaw, there are more important considerations than fill-in-the-blank gender categories; like careers, touring and avoiding interviews, for example.

It’s true: PR probably works best when artists want to be found. Sometimes Spoon doesn’t want to be found.

Pierced, dyed and 21, Spoon is the Vancouver denizen with the ace of folk up his sleeve, poised to embark on his first cross-Canada music tour. Along the way, he’ll distribute copies of the CD Throw Some Dirt On Me, recorded last April with "friends." At Phase One in his career, Spoon already has the manager, agent, marketing angle, touring van and a singing talent that could blast a hole through the sky.

But whether Spoon tours as a boy or a girl, remains a tricky question.

"I’m uncomfortable with the pronoun she. I don’t get angry being called she but I don’t want it put out there. I prefer the pronoun he. I did go by the pronoun she until last summer then I decided I couldn’t live with it anymore. It was stupid to be one thing sometimes and something else another time. What’s the point of being an independent artist if you can’t be yourself?"

"Looking gay or transgendered in public is a form of activism; just by being there and being yourself. Yeah, I’m transgender."

There’s another confession. Right now Spoon says he’s stoked about engineering a new sphere of music, "New Skool Folk Music." According to Spoon, New Skool is a three-prong plug of punk rock with gutbucket and banjos, galvanized with sparks of controversial New World politics. Testing New Skool waters, he played this music at a recent gig in San Francisco.

"Okay, we played a leather bar in San Francisco and it was pretty funny. We played "Hello Mary Lou" and they seemed to like it; we were opening for a heavy metal band. We played the San Francisco Gay Pride [fest] and it was pretty hip. People liked the music."

Spoon’s ensemble includes a funky string-on-a-stick gutbucket that traveled Canada and the States before retiring a few days ago. The revised flowerpot gutbucket tours with a mandolin, washboard, fiddle and a crew of "old time" instruments, played standing in a circle. He adds that he’s played banjo for two years, but he began writing songs at 12 and performing in Vancouver coffeehouses at 17.

"I’ll mail you a copy of the new CD ’cause it’s so different from [the EP] Honking At Mini Vans.

"Sure I look forward to playing Edmonton but are there snow tires on the California touring van?

"Yeah, there are."

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