Rock Band GAYC/DC and Its ‘Hold Your Head Up’ Gives Us Power

If you just look at their name, you know exactly what they are, a gay AC/DC cover band. They are in fact my fave metal tribute band (a close but noticeable margin over Iron Maidens and Children of the Damned, another Iron Maiden tribute band) I have been a fan for a long time, and have covered certain members in other bands. They are all incredibly skilled musicians, who can deliver a rockin metal experience, as only a bunch of loud rude gay dudes can do. I have covered some of them in Pansy Divison articles, and The Dobermen. Here are excerpts from the interview that went off the rails too many times. GayC/DC just changed a few words, or even a single letter, to make the legendary AC/DC songs suddenly full of gay content, and example, if you changed the R to a C in “Let There Be Rock”, you get the idea.

GayC/DC have just recently released a video of their contribution to LGBTQ Youth Colorado Springs, the foundation supporting “The Brave Souls of Club Q in Colorado Springs”. They were brought into this by the music producer LEGEND Timothy Eaton. They curated a cover of the ’70s metal anthem “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent, as a gay rights anthem.

This interview was with Chris Freeman (Vocals), Brian Welch (Drums), Clint Yeager (Guitar), Glen Pavan (Bass), And Steve McKnight (Guitar).


It is also with great sadness that I explain, this is also in loving memory of the GayC/DC guitarist Clint Yeager, who word of his passing was sent to me while I was transcribing this interview. I was not sure how to even approach this, but I want to give all the love to this great guy, and his family and friends. It was very unexpected, and he passed during an emergency surgery. I hope this interview gives you all an idea of what a great goofy guy he was. On stage he was a mix of King Diamond (metal artist) Rob Halford (Metal GOD) and Richard Simmons. He passed on August 15th 2023.

JH: Well, Fellas, great to finally get all of you on a call, I have spoken to three of you in other bands, but glad to have you all here. So history here, I had 3 of you on my show with Frank (Meyer) as The Dobermen about two years ago. And you had all just released a video, and had talked about “Where are we going to stand?” at the video shoot, cause you had never actually met as The Dobermen til the video shoot. AND, that was the third most streamed episode of my show.

Steve McKnight: Wow, that’s so cool.


JH: Number two, was ManonMan, and number one, thank you very much, Brian, it was dUg (dUg Pinnick from King’s X). I would look and get thousands of hits more every week, his fan base is pretty rabid.

Chris Freeman: He MIGHT be making a cameo in the next GayC/DC video, just throwing that out there.

JH: Well Brian, thank you so much for setting that up, he was an absolute champ, we talked about bass guitars for about half an hour after the episode.

Glen Pavin: Aside from our partners, dUg has been to more of our shows than anyone.


Brian Welch: He’s also played with us.

SM: It was otherworldly to have him as an IDOL being in King’s X, and then to be sitting in his house eating dinner with him that he cooked, and I had to fanboy a little bit, and text my friends, I am and listening to the new King’s X record, in dUg’s studio before it comes out.

CF: That’s an LA moment.

GP: dUg is a total sweetheart.


JH: Well, he and I were talking bands, and he was saying “Oh I love Killing Joke, they are one of my favorite bands” or “I love Peter Hook, he is so innovative” or “Man, love the Bunnymen”, and after I hit pause we talked for 40 minutes about bass guitars. When I told him “You are like the left-handed, with a Mohawk, in an army dress jacket, playing a left-handed 5-string bass, and a gay black man, I mean, what about that isn’t absolutely cool?” and he said “I didn’t think much of it, I was just up playing, enjoying it”, and I’m seeing so much swagger in the guy.

CF: He is the walking definition of “Unicorn”.

JH: Well on stage, he has the swagger of Bono, or Mick Jagger, or David Gahan from Depeche Mode. He is almost superhuman on stage. Thanks for setting that up Brian.

BW: We also have another mutual friend Mr Chuck Panozzo.


(Glen is making the heart sigh with his hands).

JH: Yes, Chuck, a wonderful guy, gets me in to shoot STYX concerts and has NO idea of technology, he is amazed when the lights turn on. He is just a beautiful man with a huge heart.

CF: You mean we aren’t using dial-up?

JH: AND, Chris I also interviewed John for Pansy Division twice since we last talked, for those shows you were gonna do last summer and the upcoming shows here. You were going to finish last summer with a gig at “Southern Decadence”.


CF: Yes, we were there and true to form, the cops showed up, and there was a mini tussle, and then more cops showed up and started carting people off, so we grabbed our gear and got out of there.

JH: Was it a mini Stonewall?

CF: Well, it was a bar that set up a stage, that took over part of the street, and they didn’t have a permit. The promoter was crying.

SM: I’ve been there to “Southern Decadence” and let me tell you, with all the fluids being exchanged, they are going to worry about a live band playing without a permit?


CF: But we are inching up, and next year Pansy Division will play our 1000th show in San Francisco.

JH: So, Brian, thanks for that GayC/DC T-shirt, I sent a selfie back of me wearing it, and said “Does this t-shirt make me look gay?” and Brian wrote back “Not gay enough”, but I do love that shirt, and wear it all the time. I wore it to Gay Pride, and against all the other shirts I saw, it was the tamest shirt there, but I was still out showing my GayC/DC love.

SM: We actually all wore our GayC/DC shirts to an AC/DC concert at Dodger Stadium in force, and people were following us and asking for the shirts, and we said “We are a band” and told them they had to come to a show to get one.

GP: Chuck Panozzo wore our t-shirt on stage.


JH: When I took my wife to STYX, my wife asked “Which one is Chuck”, and I said he is the guy who looks like the Italian mafia Kingpin in a suit. And you’re saying he wore a GayC/DC t-shirt, that’s cool. So, you know you’ve made it when you get an “Art Director”, especially with Tim Eaton.

CF: Well, not so much, we have been commissioned by him to do this video. He saw us and had an idea, then he approached us, and said, “I’ll produce it and have the video made and you guys just show up”. So we showed up to our soundcheck and he filmed it. I would say it is the most hands-off video we ever had done.

BW: We had the gig booked in Detroit, and he arranged to come in in the afternoon and film our soundcheck, and we then got to go into the studio with a world-renowned producer who gets what we are about.


JH: So he is the art director and you guys were “The Art”?

CF: Yeah he was first in radio, then moved into production, the first album he produced was Greg Allman’s first solo album. So when we got to the studio he had it all in his mind already how he wanted to do it.

BW: We had one rehearsal with him, to work the song, and by the end of the night we had the song down.

SM: We just aligned with where he was thinking of going, not just for the video, but for the foundation. So we resonated with what they were doing too. It was a good connection, I was blown away with how the recording came out, then he brought in the video crew with actors, great combination, and a great kickoff for this foundation.


JH: I knew the song as a “One Hit Wonder” (British band Argent), but you guys did a great resurrection of it from the ’70s – ’80s. I knew the song from all the old good metal days, but the GayC/DC version of it was impressive.

CF: It was all in Timothy’s mind, very well orchestrated

BW: He had this vision and it turned out exactly how he wanted it.

CY: It was very rapid fire, he said “You play this, you play that, you play that, YOU play what you play.


SM: He took artistic license with some of us, the beginning beat with Brian, said, “Gimme something tribal with toms” and we started to build on that, then he let me do something to make atmosphere, then he said “Why don’t you solo over this part?” and I said “This is a POP song, that doesn’t happen” so I get to jack off for that part of the song, and after one run through, we took that as more of a “Rock N Roll” intensity he may have injected into it.

JH: What do you mean “MAY HAVE INJECTED INTO IT”? This is GayC/DC, if you guys were to do “The Final Countdown” by Europe you guys could actually make it sound cool.

CY: Somebody needs to. (Now they are all laughing) Jesus, that was supposed to stay in my head. We’ll call it “Shred Pop”.

JH: I know you all have worked with so many people over the years, then to have someone like Timothy Eaton show up and say he wanted to make some magic with you guys.


CF: Well to be fair, I didn’t know anything about him, this is one dark side of LA, but some people don’t have Artist’s best interests at heart.

JH: Say it isn’t so!!!

CF: So it’s best in L.A. to keep a little reserve, and he would say “This is what I’m going to do” and he did it. So I don’t care what your past is if you do what you say you are going to do, that means something to us.

SM: There was a moment when we went somewhere socially, and he brought some friends to the show, and he introduced us to the people who run the Grammys. Now there are a lot of unsung heroes out there that you don’t know their names, but they make all of this happen, and he’s kind of one of them. He’s proven himself, we keep people at arm’s length because anyone in the industry comes around and says this, you think he is going to play in the sandbox and then leave us to the side. Tim was there doing what he said he was going to do, and in the studio, I could tell he had years of experience working with musicians.


GP: Tim’s passion for all of this, just keeping the energy going, and was top-notch, he is so in love with the project and in love with us.

SM: He said that he called up the guy who wrote the song “Hold Your Head Up” to get the licensing rights, so we were able to do this whole thing for his foundation. And he got all the licensing rights through a phone call.

BW: We were all very happy that the video came out on June first, we wanted it available for all of Pride Month, we didn’t know til the last minute when it was coming out. We started pushing it and got some great reviews from people. I think in light of recent events, it’s more important than ever, not just physical violence, but that a government can bully you, and courts can bully you.

SM: Get out and propagate it, because the message is going to be more relevant as we go forward.


JH: Well what I loved about the video was that at the end there she was saying “I OWN THIS SHIT!!!” and how Steve said, “They tried to beat the gay out of me, and it didn’t work”.

SM: Hey, yeah, not for me, oh well. (quick note, Steve is a power-lifter, built like a Sherman tank, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could lift one).

JH: Now I know it was to be unsettling and in your face and heart turning, there she was, “I OWN THIS” but I love watching this happen, when the trans guy walks past the homophobes, and goes “Oh, hey….” then they realize they just turned head for a trans person, and then think “OH FUCK, WHAT JUST HAPPENED”, and we all know the most extreme homophobes jerk off to that. By the way, I know a Lexi Love as a pornstar, but that isn’t her in the video.

CF: Yeah, not the same one.


JH: So it reminded me of someone, I am a tactical commander in an airsoft unit, we all go out on a field and shoot at each other with pellets, a lot of dude-age, and testosterone. And there was one guy I knew, only on the battlefield. I had no idea what he was going through, then one day he posts “Hey everyone, I am transitioning”. I said, “I don’t care what your gender is, I just need someone to shoot at”. And that was the weirdest venue for him, now her, it was a hard pill for a lot of those guys to swallow, but this video made me very proud of her.

CF: That took a lot of courage for that person to do that.

SM: That’s a lot of balls there I have to say, ’cause not many people would do that. Some of the feedback we got just as a band, we didn’t have any role models where we are, even just punk musicians trying to be who we are. We played a show in Pittsburgh at the HardRock, somebody was going through transition, and her mother brought her to the show, and said “I want you to know that there are people out there just like you”. And she was dressed to the nines, she looked so good, she had this lederhosen, and this red/black hair, and of course needed to take a souvenir, so we had to let her have the inflatable cock. (They are all laughing right now).

CF: They had to figure out a way to get it into the Uber on the way home.


SM: WE had to sign it and put blemishes on it with a felt pen. So we had to mark it, and then just even better, she loved the whole thing, and the fact of “You’re not alone”. We told her mom “We all wish we had a mom like you”.

BW: Her mom was the hero.

CY: Funny that you mention that show, ’cause you were talking about role models, and that very same show, there was this 10-year-old boy, in front of me the whole show with his dad, and I was wondering if they were into it or horrified. And halfway through, I realized they are so into this, and I was giving him (guitar) pics and they were both blown away by what was going on. I thought it was so cool that your dad is here with you. And our show is not kid-friendly, and I think it’s amazing that your dad is here with you as you experience something that may or may not be confusing. But they are both in it together, and that blew me away.

SM: That level of support is amazing because we grew up in a time when that was what you wouldn’t even talk about with your family. As you said, you get beat down, and you have to go find your family somewhere else.


CY: You know kudos to that guy’s dad for being there for his kid.




Image from / , Studio photos by Dusti Cunningham

JH: I like to think I’m the great guy, I take my daughters to gay pride. AND, my oldest daughter works for a Disney Princess company, and all the guys play Peter Pan. She says “We got his dad”. I am in Utah where homophobia is the drug of choice, and 10 years ago I took my daughters and we marched with 450 Mormons, saying “Hey we are Mormons and we love you”. I wanted to show my daughters this is who we are supposed to love, and at the same time “Don’t look over there, at that tall woman with a beard on roller blades”, very much like a GayC/DC show, not a child-friendly event.

CY: I am glad you are there, but yeah, maybe 18 and older. I think that’s commendable, it makes parents the hero. I think of this song and the foundation, and the club Q situation, and people were talking to the shooter’s dad, and you see the people out there raising their kids, they spew off the hate, and that is why we exist, and why this foundation exists. Changing to minds of those people if possible, I love the people who are already on board, but the people who aren’t on board, let’s have a conversation.

JH: I love the fact that, ok Imma gloat here so thanks for indulging me, when the LDS leadership said “If you are gay, you have to be celibate, if you get married you will be excommunicated, and if you are the child of a gay person, you can’t be baptized”. You remember that in 2014, when they announced it, and then the backlash they got from that, the church leadership was shocked to get backlash from the rank and file members, not just the fringe people, all saying “That’s not cool man”. And I had to stand up and say “I am a loophole, had this policy been in place when I was 8 years old, I never would have been allowed to be baptized, or go on a mission for you people”.


CY: Yeah how messed up is that?

JH: I was so angry, I decided I am going to stay and fan the flames and make a stink about it. And they had to back off, they reversed their stance on that because so many people left and were not paying their tithing (church tax).

SM: Now we’re getting to it. It’s the same thing when the Dodgers threw a huge inclusive event, but excluded “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” who are a DIY charitable organization for 44 years doing nothing but good, and they were excluded.


BW: After they had been invited.

SM: Within a week the amount of support elsewhere for alternatives, the pulling of dollars and support from city council people and organizations that pulled the “gay” dollars, were a little more valuable than the Christian dollars. So within a week, they said “Wow, we retract our statement, all are welcome, and we’re gonna go through sensitivity training”. And a part of that was they had to offer up a “Christians only day” and, you know what? Go for it.

CY: Great, I have no problem with people being celebrated in every possible way, but you don’t get to say “Fuck you” to me, and do your thing. I’m not gonna say “Fuck you” to you doing your thing. I’m not gonna take part in it, but it’s not that you don’t like this person from being gay or trans or whatever, it’s about you want to stop them from being it, you want to stop them from existing. It’s totally fine if you don’t like them. But it’s not ok for you to try and stop them from existing, that’s where the line is in the sand, at least for me.

SM: My being gay is not an attack on your faith, you’re using your faith to invalidate my existence.


JH: I went to Harvard Divinity School, and what I learned as the entire message of Jesus can be summed up in two things. Number 1: The parable of the good Samaritan. Number 2: Thou Shalt Not Be A Dick!!!

CY: Thou Shalt Not Be a Dick… I’m making shirts.

SM: That’s a good tenant, but when they are starting to try and sway your opinion or make it difficult to live in this town, I think there will be the lowest percentage of that.

JH: Yeah, that makes me wonder how the hell does Ron DeSantis maintain Florida? I have been to Ft Lauderdale, and that place is like WeHo, does he even know this place exists?


SM: Yeah, don’t poke the bear, how about don’t poke the mouse? I think it’s gonna come back to bite him, cause I think the mouse can afford a lot more council than he can, so let’s just see where this goes.

JH: So how was it as King’s X fans having dUg Pinnick on stage with you playing “Let There Be Cock” I mean, he is a deity of prog metal, but there was so much queer metal awesomeness in that video clip.

SM: Well, he shows up at our rehearsal, and we’re playing it, and he said “Can we run through that again?”

CY: Yeah, yes you can…

JH: That reminded me of this Frank Zappa bootleg called “The Texas Hotel” where they retold the story of Jimmy Baker with “Norwegian Wood”, “Strawberry Fields” and “Lucy In The Sky”, and it was done very Zappa-esque, every opportunity in that bootleg to throw a one-liner bad joke in, they did it. I was watching how you guys were up there bantering, and Chris reading a bible, were those lines on the fly, or do you think of them when you are putting the piece together?

BW: It was NEVER scripted.

CF: Well, if we do it, and it works, I’ll start to use it, but good comedy is always best when it’s right off the top.

CY: It has the most energy when it’s brand new and being born at that moment.

GP: Yeah our rehearsals are us going through 50 minutes of music, but it takes us two hours to practice it. But on stage, there is so much spontaneity and we just go with it.

SM: The unhinged elements are part of what we do live, and we have to be able to go out on a limb to do this, I’ll give Clint a look, and we will end up walking on the bar, and Clint will play a guitar solo in the men’s room, or I’ll see a guy in a chair with his legs open so I’ll give him a lap dance while I’m playing my solo. That is just what happens when you let us in the door.

CY: We are always scouting the environment looking for ways to keep things fresh and be unpredictable and keep things interesting for the audience.

GP: We are invited back to these places, but with a new set of rules… for ALL bands who play these venues.

CY: I like the word “inspirational”.

JH: Ok guys, Clint and Glen, I ask everyone this, what would you tell the young kid who is afraid and in the closet?

GP: Like the campaign says “It gets better”, unfortunately, you have to wait it out if you are not in a safe spot. Going through high school I never thought I would be able to come out, then when I went to college, I found the right group of people and I came out during my freshmen year. I didn’t have any queer role models in the metal and punk scene, then I was in the indie section at a record store and there I find “Pansy Division”. So Pansy Division became my role models about coming out. You’re gonna find your people, your clan, people are going to appreciate your honesty when you come out to them. You just gotta make sure you can do it when it’s possible and be safe to do it. Hearing Chris’s story growing up with the church, and you get bullied, and the church piled on top of him. You find the right people and live it. Life is short, you got one chance, don’t hold back, just embrace all you can. This band has been my best friends for the past 10 years.

CY: I definitely agree with “Find your tribe” If you don’t feel accepted and loved where you are, find that somewhere else because it exists. Find that tribe, live your real fucking truth, don’t ever be afraid to do that, don’t ever think you deserve less of a life, or less happiness or less respect or less joy than heterosexual people or anybody that would tell you that you are less than them because you aren’t. I know it’s hard to believe that sometimes, but you are only as sick as your secrets, if you don’t live your authentic life, and you don’t find your people, your joy, your voice, and a way to respect yourself, that shit’s gonna kill you, and your soul. It’s not sustainable not being yourself, it’s dangerous.

BW: I agree with Glen and Clint, find your tribe, but sometimes it’s hard, people might not have a big social circle, but if you have access to the internet, or you have a phone, you can find an LGBTQ center close by, reach out for help and that’s where it starts. When you get to the point that you can help somebody like that, I tell you “Be someone’s light in their darkness”.

CF: You will be too much for some people, they aren’t your people. (Everyone is laughing).

JH: I could say that about all of you guys. Ok, guys, this has been awesome I finally got to interview GayC/DC. Thank you for your time, I’ve been a fan for a long time.

The full audio for this interview can be found here.





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