Menergy: San Francisco's Gay Disco Sound (Paperback)
For most of the US, disco died in 1979. Triggered by the infamous "Disco Demolition" night at Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 12, 1979, a backlash made the word "disco" an overnight punchline. Major labels dropped disco artists and producers, and those mainstream musicians who had jumped on the bandwagon just as quickly threw themselves off. Gay men, however, continued to dance, and in the gay enclave of the Castro District in San Francisco, enterprising gay DJs, record producers, and musicians started their own small dance music record labels to make up for the lack of new, danceable music. Almost immediately this music reached far beyond the Bay, with Megatone Records, Moby Dick Records, and other labels achieving worldwide success, creating the world's first gay-owned, gay-produced music for a dancing audience. This music reflected a new way of life, a world apart and a culture of sexual liberation for gay men especially. With Menergy, author Louis Niebur offers a project of reconstruction in order to restore these lost figures to their rightful place in the legacy of 20th-century popular music. Menergy is the product of years of research, with dozens of personal interviews, archival research drawing upon hundreds of contemporary journals, photographs, bar rags, diaries, nightclub ephemera, and, most importantly, the recordings of the San Francisco artists themselves. With its combination of popular music theory, cultural analysis, queer theory and gender studies, and traditional musical analysis, the book will appeal to readers in queer history, popular music history, and electronic dance music.
Louis Niebur is Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. His research explores popular music of the post-war era, including the significance of music to LGBTQ communities, particularly as it has shifted between live music, the jukebox, and the disc jockey in the context of queer spaces. He is also author of Special Sound: The Creation and Legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (OUP, 2010).