St. Vincent

Jake Shears has been doing a deep-dive on the gay anthems that have shaped pop culture through his fantastic podcast Queer the Music.

For the pod, the former Scissor Sisters frontman has been interviewing the LGBTQ+ artists whose songs have dominated dance floors and inspired many of our lives. Recent guests have included Erasure’s Andy Bell, Olly Alexander of Years and Years, Peaches, and Rufus Wainwright, among others.

In the most recent episode, Shears sat down with the superbly talented St. Vincent (whose real name is Annie Clark) to discuss her 2018 bop “Fast Slow Disco” and the scandalous shenanigans that went on while recreating a raucous night at a gay club for the music video.

For those who may not be aware, “Fast Slow Disco” is actually an upbeat reworking of St. Vincent’s single “Slow Disco” from her 2017 album Masseduction, which was co-produced by music whiz Jack Antonoff.

While loving the original, St. Vincent was inspired to turn the track into a more up-tempo pop song and so she re-recorded it with Madonna as her inspiration.

“I always thought the song had more life and more potential than what it needed to be on the album. So I was like ‘why don’t I just do it again’ and “Like a Prayer” is the very obvious tip of the hat,” she said. “We went in and re-cut the song with this different attitude.”

That different attitude included a “really fun” music video which featured St. Vincent and 50 queer men in various states of undress slathered with baby oil. They quickly turned the Brooklyn metal club St. Vitus into a raunchy gay leather bar.

“It was just a casting for gay men who want to have a really good time,” she added. “I was the one woman on the set.”

It was while shooting a crowd surfing scene that things got a little painful for the guys.

“Everyone is on the ground making out and I’m on top of them singing. I was wearing heels and I had to be like ‘Hey babe, I’m not stepping on your balls, am I?'” the Grammy winner recalled.

However, these horny dudes were apparently not letting the risk of injury stop them from getting busy with each other right then and there.

“People were full on f***ing. It was 2 in the afternoon. We had vodka going. It was a bar. People were full on f***ing on the set,” St. Vincent said boldly. “It was cool.”

After being completely “scandalized” by the revelation, Shears joked, “Why wasn’t I there?”

Despite having a blast filming the clip, the self-professed “clean freak” did have her limits. She noted: “In between sets I would have to slough off all the pubes.” Relatable!

Six years later, “Fast Slow Disco” maintains a special place in St. Vincent’s repertoire.

“It is my homage to Madonna and it has become a song that I always play live,” she told Shears. “It’s a fan-favorite. It’s an anthem. It means a lot to me. It’s always joyful for me to play.”

Elsewhere in the interview, St. Vincent shared how much the Queen of Pop meant to her growing up and getting blown away by seeing the opening night of her Celebration Tour in London.

“Growing up in the ‘80s, Madonna was truly everything,” the 41-year-old shared. “One of the things that really got me at the show was when she started playing ‘Live to Tell.’ I started weeping.”

During “Live to Tell” is when Madonna pays tribute to friends and others who have passed away from HIV/AIDS.

St. Vincent continued to praise the “Vogue” singer.

“Even her ‘Sex’ book, where you go, ok she’s the biggest pop star in the world and she’s genuinely posing in sexy, deeply erotic situations with gay men who have AIDS and what that did, what that meant, how powerful that actually was. It wasn’t a little tip of the hat, she actually helped a whole lot of people,” she said.

“In 2024, I don’t think we need a straight person as a spokesperson for gayness,” St. Vincent added, “but I didn’t realize how much my ideas of sexuality were very much informed by ‘80s Madonna.”

A generation (or two) of gay men would agree!

St. Vincent’s new album All Born Screaming drops April 26 and watch her entire interview on Queer the Music with Jake Shears below:

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