Semi Precious Weapons – All Dressed Up
“It’s not my fault I look better in her party dress,” sings Semi Precious Weapons’ frontman and gender-bender extraordinaire Justin “Precious” Tranter on “Magnetic Baby,” the kick-off single from the band’s first full-length album, We Love You. As New York City’s most forthright glam revivalists on the scene, Semi Precious Weapons, whom Vogue has described as “unashamedly crass and deliciously animated,” have been blazing trails everywhere they go. From partying with Kate Moss at London’s Death Disco club to nabbing top honors on Village Voice’s Best Band Reader’s Poll, the self-proclaimed “garage-glam” band seems intent on taking on the world one rock n’ roll lover at a time. And with their anthemic guitar riffs, sexually charged lyrics, and electric live shows, there’s nothing stopping them from doing so. movmnt’s Bruce Scott recently had a chance to chat with frontman Justin Tranter on playing live, fantasy sex with rock stars, and Tranter’s successful jewelry line, Fetty.
If you’ve seen Tranter onstage, you know the look: skintight flesh-toned pants, stiletto heels, tattered shirts, and waves of bleached hair over raccoon eyes splattered with glitter. Standing at six-foot (sans heels), Tranter’s dazzling onstage image commands attention. But this isn’t merely a persona contrived to entertain the fans, this is also Justin in real life, with a little help from his friends. “Tommy and Roy Couture are amazing designers and stylists that have a store in Brooklyn called Alter. They really helped to actually make me look the way I always thought I looked! They got me in heels and panty hose. My sexuality is very genderless, and so is my look.”
Inspired as much by Jessica Simpson as his friends at Alter, what some may find surprising is Tranter’s lack of acknowledgment in regards to legends of Glam’s past. While David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and T-Rex’s Marc Bolan spring to mind for most of us, they were furthest from Tranter’s when creating the band. “I didn’t even know who T- Rex was until SPW had been around for six months. We just embraced the glam thing because I have always liked to get dressed! And yes, Jessica Simpson inspires me, she is an influence. She is beautiful, blonde, and is a damn good celeb. If I can be as good of a celeb as she is, but actually have artistic talent, life will be good.” And apparently, Simpson isn’t the only blonde Tranter has his eye on. “I’d like to have a three-way with Courtney Love circa 1995, and Stevie Nicks circa 1976. They are stunning, passionate kunts (Tranter’s signature spelling) with blonde hair and huge personalities.”
Tranter’s look isn’t the only reason Semi Precious Weapons has landed legions of fans worldwide—among those Sylvain Sylvain & Steve Conte of the New York Dolls and legendary rock producer Tony Visconti. There is also the band: Cole Whittle on bass, Dan Crean on drums, and Aaron Lee Tasjan on guitar. With riffs that are sure to please glam-heads and frat boys alike, and a sound big enough to get even the stiffest crowd off their asses and tearing up the floor, Semi Precious Weapons is perhaps most fully realized live.
“Performing live is our favorite part. Hands down. I love an audience, I love my band, I love doing my makeup before a show, I love playing new cities, I love going to cities we have been to before and watching the audience grow. Let me say it again, we love an audience.” And audiences love them as well, especially New York audiences who voted SPW Best Band in the 2007 Village Voice Reader’s Poll. “We were pretty fucking excited. For reals. Our fans are very dedicated and they came through big time.” And SPW will come through for their fans with a new live DVD slated for release late summer, 2008. The DVD, which Tranter says is “turning out [to be] really ferocious,” will come equipped with a copy of their album, We Love You.
Aside from the band, Tranter has also had a good deal of success with his jewelry line, Fetty. “[It] started as band merchandise, but expanded so quickly that it took on a life of its own. It is sold at Barneys NY and Barneys CO-OP’s across the country. Our newest line is Diamond Braille. I am planning to expand into different price points and globally, bitch!”
But for the question we’ve all been wondering since “Magnetic Baby” blistered its way through our speakers, does Tranter really look better in her party dress? “Of course I do. Have you seen my legs and ass?”
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