Jayne County is an influential transsexual performer, musician and actress whose career has spanned several decades.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Born in 1947 as Wayne Rogers, County left her hometown of Dallas, Georgia in 1968 to move to New York City, where she became a regular at the Stonewall Inn and took part in the historic riots. In 1969, County was asked by Warhol superstar and playwright Jackie Curtis to appear in her play Femme Fatale at the La Mama Theatre, which also starred Patti Smith. In her autobiography, County says of Curtis, "...She was my biggest influence, the person who really got me started..." After a successful run of Femme Fatale, County wrote her own play World - Birth Of A Nation which she also appeared in, bringing her to the attention of Andy Warhol, who cast her in his own theatrical production Pork. After a run in New York, the play, with the New York cast, was performed in London for a few months. Upon returning to New York, County appeared in another play, Island, by Tony Ingrassia, again with Patti Smith.
Then, in 1972 County got her first band, Queen Elizabeth together, one of the pioneering glam rock bands. Despite being signed to MainMan Management, David Bowie's management firm, no records were ever produced, although the company did spend over $200,000 to film the 1974 stage show "Wayne at the Trucks", no footage of which has ever been released (even in bootleg form). The show featured numerous costume changes and some of Wayne's raunchiest material. The film remains (presumably) in Bowie's vaults, though eight live recordings from this show were released in audio form on the 2006 CD Wayne County At The Trucks on Munster Records. The show is claimed by County to be the major inspiration for Bowie's stage show for the tour supporting his Diamond Dogs album.  In particular, County maintains that the song "Queenage Baby" was a prototype for Bowie's song "Rebel Rebel", a claim which is supported by some rock critics.  
In 1975, with her new band "The Backstreet Boys," Wayne County recorded three tracks for the compilation Max's Kansas City: New York New Wave, which also featured Suicide, Pere Ubu and The Fast. Wayne County and The Backstreet Boys played regularly at CBGBs and at Max's Kansas City, where County was also a DJ. In 1976, she appeared in the film The Blank Generation, directed by Amos Poe and Ivan Kral. The film, the recording and the shows were the beginnings of what came to be known as punk rock, and helped define this movement for a generation of youth.
In 1977, County left New York to return to London, where the English punk scene was just emerging. Here, she formed a new band called Wayne County & the Electric Chairs. County released the EP Electric Chairs 1977, plus a single on Illegal Records. This was followed by her most famous song, "Fuck Off" recorded as a single for Safari Records, with a European tour in support of the records. While in London, County met Derek Jarman who cast her as the character "Lounge Lizard" in the seminal punk film Jubilee, which also starred Adam Ant, Toyah Willcox, Ian Charleson and Jordan. After this The Electric Chairs recorded their first self-titled album, which featured "Eddie and Sheena", and an EP named Blatantly Offensive, which contained "Fuck Off" and "Toilet Love." After touring, they followed this up with another album Storm The Gates Of Heaven. The next album, released in 1979, was Things Your Mother Never Told You which featured several songs based on Wayne's recent experiences in Germany. After it was released, the band broke up and County (along with guitarist Eliot Michaels) returned to the U.S. in 1979. It was at this time that she officially changed her stage name to "Jayne County" and began self-identifying as a female. The final release by County on Safari Records, Rock and Roll Resurrection (In Concert), a live album recorded in Toronto on New Year's Eve of 1979, was under this new name.
In 1983, County returned to New York where she appeared in the theatrical production Les Girls with Holly Woodlawn and other transgender performers. After this she returned to London for the premiere of City Of Lost Souls and stayed long enough to record another album Private Oyster. She then returned again to the U.S.
In the 1990s many of the earlier recordings were released, such as the early Safari tracks on a CD called Rock & Roll Cleopatra. She recorded the album Goddess Of Wet Dreams in 1993, followed by Deviation in 1995. That same year she appeared in Wigstock: The Movie and released her autobiography Man Enough To Be A Woman.
Since Deviation, several new Jayne tracks have surfaced on various compilations and through Jayne's official website. Many of these tracks, both live and studio recordings, were collected on the Ratcage Records release So New York, including collaborations with Lisa Jackson and former Electric Chairs guitarist Eliot Michaels. A thunderous live show (recorded on Jayne's birthday) was released on the 2002 CD Wash Me In The Blood (Of Rock & Roll)- Live at Squeeze Box by Fang Records, and features a boisterous duet on "California Sun" by Jayne and former nemesis "Handsome" Dick Manitoba of the Dictators.
Films[edit | edit source]
- The Blank Generation, directed by Ivan Kral and Amos Poe (1976)
- The Punk Rock Movie, directed by Don Letts (1977)
- Punk In London, directed by Wolfgang Büld
- Jubilee, directed by Derek Jarman
- City Of Lost Souls. directed by Rosa von Praunheim (1982)
- Wigstock:The Movie, directed by Barry Shils (1995)
- King of Punk, directed by Kenneth van Schooten (2007)
- Squeezebox!, directed by Steven Saporito and Zach Shaffer (2008)
Books[edit | edit source]
- Man Enough To Be A Woman, Jayne County with Rupert Smith, 1995, published by Serpents's Tail ISBN 1-85242-338-2
Discography[edit | edit source]
- The Electric Chairs 1977 EP on Illegal Records 1977
- The Electric Chairs on Safari Records 1978
- Blatantly Offensive EP, Safari Records 1978
- Storm The Gates Of Heaven, Safari Records 1978
- Things Your Mother Never Told You, Safari Records 1979
- Rock and Roll Resurrection (In Concert), Safari Records 1980
- Rock and Roll Resurrection (In Concert), Attic Records Limited 1980
- Private Oyster, Revolver Records 1987
- Goddess Of Wet Dreams, ESP Records 1993
- Deviation, Royalty Records 1995
- Wash Me In The Blood (Of Rock & Roll)- Live at Squeeze Box, Fang Records 2002
- So New York, Ratcage Records 2003
- Wayne County At The Trucks, Munster Records 2006
- Razor Clam, (single with She Wolves), Poptown Records 2007
- California Uber Alles, (single with She Wolves), Poptown Records 2007
References[edit | edit source]
- Lalumia, Jimi. Wayne County At The Trucks.
- Thompson, Dave. Wayne County At The Trucks- Review.
External Links[edit | edit source]
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