In the heyday of the ’70s, Chris Robison was a New York-based indie rocker — when touring didn’t have him nationwide, of course.
As much as he was a singer-songwriter, Robison spent much of his time as a touring musician. He has played with bands like Elephant’s Memory (John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s backing band), Steam and the New York Dolls.
He wrote two original studio albums, Chris Robison and his multi-handed band (1973) and male child (1974). From the first album, he openly and shamelessly sang about his sexuality on tracks like “Lookin For A Boy Tonight” and “Italian Boy.”
The executives didn’t want to touch his explicitly queer songs, so he took out a loan, rented a studio for less than a day, and made the entire LP himself.
“I went around and recorded the whole album in 20 hours,” Robison said. Queer musical heritage. “And I was going to play the piano on every song, and then I was going to put the bass on every song… I did all the parts.” Hence the Lots of hand tape.
Perhaps the rockiest track of all is “I’ll Be Your Man”, its male child opener. The track features a chorus of “You can be my boy, I’ll be your man” over jagged lead guitar and keys that get more and more out of control the longer the song goes on.
In the late 70s, he split from the New York Dolls and formed his own band, Stumblebunny. The band released their only record, While you were outside…in 1979.
The power-pop outfit has continued to perform on and off for the past few decades, with their last performance at the festival being in 2012. The music continues!
Rock out with Robison solo on “I’ll Be your Man”: