Hellogoodbye have been causing quite a stir in the gay community lately. Their video for their New Order-meets-Daft Punk single “Here (In Your Arms)” was an immediate add on Logo, and interviews with band leader Forrest Kline have appeared in gay publications all over the country. What’s the attraction, you ask? Could it be the refreshing combination of pop savvy, dance beats and zany lyrics? Or perhaps it’s that aforementioned video, which presents the boys in a daffy Revenge-of-the-Nerds-type scenario that many of us gangly homos fantasized about during our sometimes torturous youth? (Let’s just hope it’s not the fact that some gay journalists have compared “Here (In Your Arms)” to that perennial gay anthem, Cher’s “Believe”!)
Whatever the reason, their album “Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!” (which debuted at No. 13 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart and has sold almost 150,000 copies) offers multiple musical treats for fans of all ages, races, creeds and sexual preferences. Kline recently took a break from the band’s current sold-out U.S. tour to talk with us about topics gay and non-gay. The result is a typically wacky look into the mind of one of rock’s most irreverent talents.
Q: I know you have a lot of gay fans. You video has been on Logo, and you’ve done several interviews with gay publications. Why do you think there is so much interest in your music in the gay community?
Forrest Kline: I don’t know. I don’t have the science to figure it out. I just don’t know the chemical.
Q: There is a lot of humor in your music. I mean, even the title of your album – it’s hilarious. Where does that come from?
F.S.: We try not to take things too seriously. We like to have fun with our music. We’re just normal kids who grew up in normal neighborhoods. We don’t write songs about coming from broken homes. We just try to keep doing what’s fun for us.
Q: You once said in an interview with a gay magazine: “I’m not gay, but I’m not your straightest type either.” What did you mean by that?
F.S.: [laughs] I’m not very masculine. I’m not a huge, tough guy. I take things pretty easy. I don’t drink or party, and I don’t hook up with a lot of people. In high school, a lot kids would have thought I was gay.
F.S.: Because I was skinny.
Q: Did you ever get called a “fag” or a “nerd”?
F.S.: From a distance. From a car, maybe. That’s because they didn’t get a chance to see me close-up and know how awesome I am.
Q: Yeah, I’ve had the f-word thrown at me from a car, too. I know how it feels. What’s your most significant musical inspiration?
F.S.: I listened to a lot of oldies when I was I kid, ’50s music mostly. When I was in fourth grade, I started getting into the Beach Boys. And I was also into a band that is nothing like the Beach Boys. It was called Self — but they broke up. The band was basically just Matt Mahaffey, who wrote, played and produced every song. We ended up recording with Matt – he produced our CD.
Q: The song “Oh, It Is Love” showcases your romantic side.
F.S.: That’s from listening to all of those oldies.
Q: Speaking of love, are you seeing anyone?
F.S.: Yeah, I’ve got a girlfriend; we’ve been going out for three years.
Q: Which gay musician are you most like–George Michael, Liberace, or Melissa Etheridge?
F.S.: George Michael. He’s the only I’m familiar with. And I’m definitely not as flashy as Liberace.
Q: What’s your ultimate musical goal?
F.S.: Our goal has always been to not have a goal. I’ve just always wanted to have a band. I’ve started different bands since I was in eighth grade.
Q: And what about being famous? How do you feel about that?
F.S.: It’s cool when people are psyched about our music when they come up to us. All of us are the type to lead more private lives. If any of us were in a position to be huge celebrities. We wouldn’t be tabloiding it up.
Q: Anything else you want to say to your gay fans?
F.S.: Keep doing what you do. Pay it forward.
Q: [laughs] I love that expression. Are you paying it forward?
F.S.: Every day I am.