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Local flavor
Valley Queer Music scene is small, diverse
By Ted Rybka

www.echomag.com

Cities like Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles and New York are perennial heavyweights in the music scene. Although Phoenix's local scene has had some hits (Gin Blossoms, Meat Puppets, Jimmy Eat World), it's never been a big contender in the music world. And it certainly hasn't been synonymous with queer music.  Although there aren't a lot of queer music acts, the Valley scene makes up for that with diversity. Tina Angotti and her acoustic guitar entertain fans with folk, pop and rock. Everybody in the House is pure dance fun. And the punk-tranny group Insignificant Others tears it up with hard thrashing punk and rock music.

Everybody in the House

Everybody in the House has had some dance hits over the years and been immortalized in a Prince song, "I No" off his Lovesexy Album - 1988.

It's hard to imagine that such success would come out of a chance meeting between two teens at a gay youth group in Phoenix.  Lead singer Franki Ambrose said that he never sought to be an entertainer. He and some friends performed a Culture Club song in a talent contest at his high school.  The one-time gig was a self-proclaimed hit. Shortly after, Ambrose adopted Boy George's drag appearance for life offstage as well. Considering the time (mid 1980s) and the place (Apache Junction, AZ), not everybody was happy with Ambrose's choice of clothing.  "I showed up to school and got threatened by some jocks. But I thought, 'I'm not going to have these people tell me what I'm going to wear,'" said Ambrose.

Jimmy (QUBIQ) recognized Ambrose's spunk and attitude and saw a potential lead singer. According to Ambrose, immediately after meeting, Jimmy  proclaimed, "You need to get a band."   The two collaborated on some tracks and came up with the name Everybody in the House.

Although members have come and gone over the years, the core of Jimmy and Franki has remained for an astonishing 20 years.  The band's biggest success was kind of a fluke. They wrote and recorded a song called "Deeper Daddy" in 2000. According to Ambrose some friends heard it and started passing it around. It eventually ended up in local DJs' hands and then exploded in Europe.

Ambrose said the success of the band and even the musical direction has been accidental.  "I don't listen to a lot of dance music, which is odd. I wanted to do gay-themed pop music."  Ambrose should get his wish when the group's new CD Glamorama is released.  It is very "poppy" with some dance tracks to keep the fans happy.  Although Ambrose enjoys being in a band he doesn't want to be a slave to promotions and live performances, except where charity is concerned.  "If it's a benefit show, I'll do it in an instant. I didn't want Everybody in the House to rule me or my life. I do it for fun," said Ambrose. "Ca$h, $ex and Chao$, That sums up the last 20 years."

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