By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Ask anyone from the '90s music scene about Diggie Diamond, and you'll get quite a reaction: shock, fear, awe, reverence, gagging noises. You might even be regaled with tales of a few dozen legendary gigs fraught with seared retinas, scorched lungs, ruptured eardrums and flagrant displays of genitalia. As the lead singer of the local group Foreskin 500, Diamond pranced his way through an insane mangling of punk and disco, oozing makeup and musk like a Kabuki-painted satyr. His stage show was an extravaganza of orgone energy, a sluice of sleaze that sent people slipping and sliding like seasick epileptics all over the dance floor.
And now, it's time to lubricate that booty all over again: The International Male cometh.
"We're just trying to be a fun party band. That's the main thing," says Diamond of the International Male, his first serious music project since Foreskin 500's demise in 1997. "We want to look cool, and we are succeeding."
With Mr. Pacman, Magic Cyclops
and Compact Draculas
9 p.m. Saturday, August 16
Monkey Mania, 2126 Arapahoe Street
Diamond is a tall, gangly guy with bulging features and the kind of impish, beatific grin you might smack off the face of an angel. He giggles like the satanic clone of Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. His fashion sense is off the meter; he's been known to sport everything from feather boas to codpieces to navy uniforms -- often all at the same time. And along with bandmate Roman Pietrs, for the last eight months he's been pumping up New York City's sagging electroclash scene with a white-hot enema of soul and style.
"We thought about costumes and imagery when the International Male first started," Diamond explains. "That stuff is important. We have these flight suits that we wear with thick welding goggles. We dress sexy."
Diamond's knack for exhibitionism first surfaced in the ninth grade, when he formed a riotous punk band called the Letches in his native Boulder. After interviewing the Warlock Pinchers for his school newspaper, he struck up a friendship with the Pinchers' Mark Brooks. The two bands played together a few times, and soon Brooks asked Diamond to join his new side project, Foreskin 500. Initially just a duo with Diamond on vocals and Brooks playing everything else, the group eventually rounded out its lineup with Dave Kerr and Dave Moore. When the Pinchers broke up in 1992, Foreskin 500 hit the ground running.
"We started touring pretty much immediately after that. Most bands were pretty boring at the time, and we felt it would be cool to put on a whole arena rock show in little clubs and bars," says Diamond. "We found a bunch of lights and stuff in some catalogues; the first thing we bought were these rotating siren things. I can't remember where we got them from, but we had to lie and say we were a rape-prevention team. They wouldn't sell them to us otherwise."
The outfit's notoriety as an orgiastic live act soon skyrocketed. "There was this one show in Rhode Island where we got in trouble for being naked," recalls Diamond. "Some college girl actually claimed she threw up because we were naked. I think that's when I started getting naked for every show. I thought it was kind of cool to make the little guy angry."
Um, the little guy?
"I mean the club owner," he quickly clarifies.
After touring heavily on a couple of well-received albums -- 1993's Moustache Ride and 1994's Manpussy -- the group signed to Priority Records, a massive indie label known mostly for its stable of hardcore rap artists. But after only one Foreskin album -- 1996's groove-pounding opus Starbent but Superfreaked -- Priority dropped its entire roster of rock bands, Foreskin included. "They were trying to sell us to some other record label for a lot of money," says Diamond. "They owned us. The way it ended up, we basically couldn't use our own name for three years. So it was kind of a forced breakup."
After Foreskin 500's dissolution, Diamond relocated to New York City. "I had no plan whatsoever," he says with a laugh. "I just thought it would be cool to move here. But New York is huge; I kept getting lost."
He soon became reacquainted with Pietrs, a New York native who had attended the University of Colorado years earlier. "When I first met Roman, he was in a rock band in Boulder called Für," Diamond says. "After he moved back to New York, he was a roller-disco dancer in an off-Broadway play called The Donkey Show. He went to London to do that for a little while. When he came back, we realized we were both bored, and we both had Casio keyboards. We would practice during our lunch breaks from work. We called it lunch rock.
"I was getting super-excited about electroclash back then," Diamond continues. "It was really pure for its time, I think, that hollow, empty, electronic sound."
Electroclash -- spearheaded in New York by Fischerspooner but represented around the world by acts like Peaches, Adult and Chicks on Speed -- is a loose-knit genre of theatrical, digitized dance pop. While the music ranges from raw and punky to slick and rococo, it's all presented with a flourish of art and fashion that favors image over substance. Although "electroclash" was a buzzword just a few months ago, it now seems headed for the scrap heap of obsolete, media-contrived categories like Brit pop and electronica.