In the bestselling tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, the lead singer of the multiplatinum-selling band Scissor Sisters explores his evolution as a young artist: coming of age in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona, his entry into New York City’s electrifying, ever-changing music scene, and the Scissor Sisters’ rise as they reached international fame in the early 2000s.
Before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy in Arizona living a double life and unable to hide it any longer, resulting in a confusing and confining time in high school as his classmates bullied him and teachers showed little sympathy.
It wasn’t until years later, during a trip to visit a childhood friend in New York City, that Jake met a talented musician nicknamed Babydaddy—the stage name of Scott Hoffman. Jake had found a kindred spirit, someone thirsting for stardom and freedom. Their instant bond led them to form Scissor Sisters. First performing in the smoky gay nightclubs of New York City, then finding massive success in the United Kingdom, Scissor Sisters would become revered by the LGBTQ community, reach platinum status, and also win multiple accolades with hits like “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’,” as well as their cult-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
Candid and courageous, Shears’s writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Following his development from a misfit boy who grew to a dazzling rock star, this entertaining and evocative memoir will be an inspiration to anyone with determination and a dream.
About the Author
Jake Shears is the lead singer of the multiplatinum-selling glam rock band Scissor Sisters. Born in Arizona, he grew up in the Seattle area before moving to New York City, where he studied fiction writing at The New School. He wrote the music for Tales of the City, a 2011 stage musical based on Armistead Maupin’s bestselling book series of the same name. He divides his time between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
"Boys Keep Swinging goes beyond the origin story behind some of my favorite music . . . A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium. From the fringes to the top, it's a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us."-Andy Cohen
"Jake Shears puts it all on the line. He draws you in and you can't look away. Boys Keep Swinging is the book everyone will be reading and talking about."-Sandra Bernhard
"On the stage, Jake Shears is a triumphant explosion of unembarrassed carnality and charm. On the page, he's very much the same. Boys Keep Swinging is one courageous joyride of a memoir. It should be illegal for rock stars to write so beautifully."-Armistead Maupin
"This is a beautiful, fascinating memoir by a beautiful guy who has lived a fascinating life-and he has the insights and receipts to prove it. Wonderful!"-Dan Savage
"[Shears] writes fluidly and often affectingly, giving shape to his peripatetic, never-dull life . . . readers will be captivated."-Booklist
"Fun and compulsively readable, precisely the kind of book one would expect from someone who sang about getting his mama jacked up on cheap champagne....Boys Keep Swinging is no ghostwritten autobiography; Shears studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York. But what he has written is splendid: a star-studded memoir, a cultural history of gay millennial New York, and an origin story for one of the most important pop acts of the 2000s."-Lambda Literary
"[Chronicles] not just the ups and downs of rock stardom but a saucy slice of downtown New York in the aughts." - New York Times
"Entertaining and honest."-New York Post
"A thoroughly endearing portrait . . . an exhilarating yet poignant account of one boy taking flight. And [Shears] is just as clever a narrator as he is a lyricist, keenly sketching the gay bars and nightclubs that fostered the electroclash scene in which the band spawned. Boys Keep Swinging is an absolute joy, even for those who don't feel like dancing."-Dave Wheeler, Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears shows a whole new side of himself in this candid account. He sensitively reveals his lifelong struggle with self-acceptance while also detailing New York's queer scene with salacious ease."-Entertainment Weekly
"Well-crafted and entertaining."-The Advocate