Since Season One of RuPaul’s Drag Race, California’s own Tammie Brown has always been a fan favorite. Whether it was her snappy catch phrases (“Tootsie-Loo”)! or the always consistent celebration of individuality, Brown has always been a champion of those that march to the beat of their own drummer. As she comes up on twenty years in the business, she is being celebrated by some of her Drag Race sisters as well as some true legends of the drag world, on October 19th at Hamburger Mary’s in Long Beach, CA. I caught up with Brown, and whether she was reflecting on twenty years in the business or giving me the scoop on her new album Schubert, she is always, undeniably “Tammie”!
Michael Cook: You were recently at RuPaul’s DragCon NYC, where the fans were definitely happy to see you, grab merchandise and take some pics with you! What is that experience like being able to meet your fans up close and personal?
Tammie Brown: It is definitely overwhelming. There are people that could be some real “kook-a-roos”, but there are people that scramble sometimes at the end of the event also (laughs) It’s a lot of work and I provide my services for the fans, which is fun.
MC: You’re about to celebrate your twentieth anniversary at Hamburger Mary’s in Orange County on October 19th. Does it seem that long to you?
TB: Twenty years. I can’t believe it’s that long. About a year ago, I realized it had been twenty years and I came up with this idea. I wanted to have it in Long Beach, CA because I started by career here in Long Beach, a bit of respect to Long Beach, you know?
MC: What is your first memory of working at Hamburger Mary’s?
TB: Probably the first memory is when I was first applying for positions as a cocktail waitress. Then I moved here in 2003 and Jewels Long Beach, she is the one that referred me to the brunches. I was determined to work, and I actually ended up working with her. We are actually the ones that started all of those brunches nationally, it started here in Long Beach. There were others, but this is where it really started off. It went to Hollywood from here and then across the nation. It started here in the Fall of 2003; trust me I know, I analog everything (laughs)!
MC: What do you think it is about those drag brunch-style events that keep the fans coming in and make the fans love them so much?
TB: They always are so busy, yes. I think people come because it’s fun, it’s something different and it keeps you in your seat, clapping and really enjoying yourself you know?
MC: At your 20th anniversary you are going to have a mix of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni, as well as some true legends of the drag world like Sherry Vine & Jackie Beat. What can the fans expect from this event?
TB: They can expect a rip roaring really good time. We are actually going to be dancing the night away with DJ Chris and Tank Boy, right after the gala. We have Jackie Beat, we have Milk, we are just gonna have a real good time, and for the ones that paid third tier, they will be having a meet and greet. A real good time and definitely some nostalgia!
MC: You also will be performing from you new album Schubert right?
TB: Correct, I will be performing from Schubert and I will actually be doing most of the album that night also. I got a special garment made by Michael Schmidt just for the gala as well.
MC: Tell me about the new music; the new single “Round n Round” is a very dance-y side of Tammie Brown!
TB: Well, there have been some dance numbers in the past, like “Discos Undead” which was more euro-disco, but this is going more retro, and retro disco as well. My producer gets my rhythm. I will shoot him over some words or I will purchase some songs and he just gets it. On Schubert, most of the songs will be dance-y as well. There will be an activist song, there will also be “You’re In My Blood” which deals with AIDS. We also will have “Sexy Sexy Orangutan” which is more of an activist song.
MC: Many people will say that entertainers should not be speaking about politics or activism as public personas. What are your thoughts on that?
TB: Well I have always spoken out. I have always taken action to make this world a better place. As far as politics are concerned, celebrities should encourage people to go out and vote and to take action, because our politicians are our civil servants. They have fallen way far away from being our civil servants. We do have a voice and celebrities should speak out when something does need to be spoken out about. Of course, study what you are doing and what you are talking about, don’t just go out and run your mouth on something that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Many celebrities get more rigid and change the way that they think the older they get also. For example, Joan Crawford and Josephine Baker would get into political areas that they did not know what they were taking about and would get more rigid in certain areas that was unhelpful. I think it’s important for celebrities and people with a voice to say something. It’s a right and it’s an opportunity to take action.
MC: From the first season of Drag Race all the way up until now, you have been in the public eye and on our screens and on stages all over the world. What would the Tammie Brown of today tell the Tammie Brown that walked into the Drag Race workroom on that first day?
TB: Just take a deep breath actually. The problem is though, you can’t take a deep breath there, there is no time for that.
MC: Speaking of Drag Race, I would be remiss if I did not ask you; there is always the possibility of going back for All Stars correct?
TB: There is a possibility of that, who knows. I know the fans want be back on there, and of course I would do it just for them.
You can purchase tickets to Tammie Brown’s 20th Anniversary Gala here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/