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Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  121 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
"We're the buttfuckers of rock-and-roll, We want to sock it to your hole!" With these words written in a notebook, Jon Ginoli sets off on a journey of self-discovery and musical passion to become the founding member of Pansy Division, the first out and proud queercore punk rock band to hit the semi-big time. Set against the changing decades of music, we follow the band fro ...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Cleis Press
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TheFountainPenDiva
To me, Pansy Division is one of the great gifts of San Francisco's once eclectic rock scene. Even though much of the 1980's/90's was dominated by the AIDS crisis, there was also a lot of brash, in your face life to counteract all the tragedy. It was a time that many in both the gay and lesbian communities along with younger feminists were recreating sexual politics that was edgy, hot and safe. And, it was the era of Pansy Division.

Over the years I've read quite a few first person rock n' roll bi
...more
Robert
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully readable and occasionally dishy account of Jon Ginoli's experiences singing, playing and touring with his groundbreaking gay pop punk band, Pansy Division. One thing I found particularly fun was learning various little cultural mores that Ginoli encountered through his experiences playing abroad; for example, why one shouldn't necessarily expect to give an encore when playing a gig in Italy, or why having a problematic audience member in Germany might be particularly proble ...more
Erica
Apr 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A memoir of the man who started the first gay punk band in the U.S. The book switches between a straight forward narrative, to a diary when on tour with Green Day, with some chapters simply being lists of the inspiration for songs on a particular album. The album focused chapters were probably the least enjoyable part of the book for me, but a die hard Pansy Division fan would probably find them fascinating. My favorite part was the beginning of the book, when the author focused on the divide be ...more
Mark Farley
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read about Pansy Division back in the mid nineties. Green Day mentioned how great they were in an interview and I remember Tre Cool wearing one of the band's t-shirts on their MTV Live and Loud special that I religiously watched every day for about a year when it aired in 1995. Of course I had to check this band out. I don't actually think I did until a year later. The album 'Wish I'd Taken Pictures' had come out and I thought it was the most wonderful cover and I actually had no idea ab ...more
Neil McGarry
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A good memoir delivers a sharp writing style, a compelling tell-all story, and a clear theme, and I'm delighted to say Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division brings them all with a fiery pink vengeance.

For the uninitiated, Pansy Division was a pop-punk band founded by Jon Ginoli that, along with acts like Tribe-8 and Fifth Column, comprised the musical part of the homocore movement of the 1980s and 90s. Ginoli, who never felt at home with "mainstream" gay music, took up with bassist Chris Freeman
...more
Paula Coots
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-themed
If I had known about this band in 1993, I'm sure I would've loved it. In 1993, they were one of the first gay pop/punk bands who were proud and out and funny, too. Green Day took them under their wing right as the single, "Longview" was taking off, so even though the guys in Pansy Division were making $500 a night as their opening act on that tour, at least they got to play Madison Square Garden! And talk about the homophobia they faced! At one of the shows, some jerk off yelled out something to ...more
Alex
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't read many autobiographies, especially about bands. I love music, but I really enjoy music for music, the sound, the motion, the colors, not for who is producing it. So it is rare for me to fall in love with a band, but I did and they are called Pansy Division.

So when my friend offered to let me borrow his copy of the lead singer's autobiography, I thought about it, but didn't take him up on the offer until I'd listened to all their music and was besotted. Half way through I put down his
...more
Daniel
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Entertaining memoir from openly gay punk musician Jon Ginoli. Being from the bay area, I've always considered PD a local band but am not as familiar with their music as I could be. I love queer music but not necessarily punk rock, though many of my favorite artist have roots in that scene. The memoir is a lot of fun and a quick read, really more of a 3.5 star book.

When I started this book I found it very interesting. I have a few records from PD and got a thrill from reading mentions of shows I
...more
Gary Lee
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: music fans, Pansy Division fans, jaded punk
It's nice to see a Rock bio in which the author doesn't have an axe to grind against former bandmates (though, I guess Ginoli's feelings on Lookout! Records might fall into that category) or isn't apologizing for an alcohol or heroin addiction. Ginoli's book is simply an interesting, compulsively readable, straight-forward account of Pansy Divsion.
It's start off as rather Ginoli-centric, but once Chris Freeman (and the revolving door of drummers) enters the picture and the band begins to take fo
...more
Devin Tait
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a really fun book to read. I had been aware of Pansy Division for awhile but didn't really get into them until their latest album, "That's So Gay," which I highly recommend. After hearing the album, my boyfriend and I went to Jon's book reading at Skylight Books in Los Angeles and he was very nice and signed the book for us and chatted with us. The book itself is very entertaining and nicely described the highs and lows of Pansy Division's career, giving plenty of juicy details of sex a ...more
Larry-bob Roberts
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: punk-rock, music, queer
It's great that Jon has documented the history of Pansy Division with an insider's view. Could an openly gay band like Pansy Division ever again get a start and achieve the underground success of PD? In some ways, I think they are a product of the times they lived through - from Jon's being a fan of 60s pop and then punk music, the activism of Act Up and Queer Nation, and then Pansy Division's rise during the surfacing to the mainstream of Green Days, whose coattails PD were invited to ride on t ...more
Carrie
Interesting for the commentary on being gay but not feeling like part of the gay clubbing scene, and being gay in the very straight and sometimes homophobic alternative music scene.

Annoying because Ginoli had to prove his indie cred by dissing the sucky sellouts. Also a little bit annoying because it never really touches on anything in-depth. Fans of Pansy Division might be more into it, but for the rest of us, condensing it to a feature magazine article would have probably been enough.
Mark
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
From a critical standpoint, I feel I can only give this book two stars. Ginoli really seemed to lack a sense of what facts would be important or interesting to the reader. This book read like a grocery list.

Nevertheless, I'm a fan of Pansy Division, so I'm glad I read it and found some interesting tidbits along the way. But they were hidden among the dull facts.

If you are a fan of Pansy Division, I recommend you go ahead and read this. If not, I don't think you will want to endure the banality.
Chloe
Apr 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was like a really long magazine article, full of facts but lacking in a complete and compelling narrative. It's probably a fun read if you are obsessed with the band and would be satisfied with lots of random stories and facts you didn't already know. For me, there were some interesting tidbits of 90s independent rock and punk that were interesting to learn about but it got long fast. I left feeling like I almost knew less than I did before when I had only seen documentary.
Ocean
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
this book, much like pansy division's music, is a lot of fun. & super-gay. whee! i don't think you'd like this book if you're not into the music (or early/mid-90's queercore, at the very least), but i've loved pansy division since high school, so for me it was a fun behind-the-music book full of gossip, cute anecdotes, a lil' dose of drama-queen-ness and generally a conflict-free quick read that made me really happy.
Sam
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jon Ginoli & I worked in different departments of the same record company when he first started recording as Pansy Division. It was fun catching up w/ his story two decades later -- how he formed a real band & got swept up, to an extent, in the Nirvana/Green Day '90s bubble -- eventually playing nearly 1000 shows.
Kevin
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Very highly recommended for Pansy Division fans and / or LBGT individuals & allies who are into alternative music and punk. Jon is an amazing storyteller, and his story is told humbly, with all the heart, sincerity, and humor of his band's songs. He's currently on a nationwide book tour and stops in Philly tonight (4/11) at 5:00 PM!
CuriousLibrarian
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
This was a fun book to read. The best parts were the excepts from Ginoli's tour diaries and the stories behind the various songs. Ginoli is not the best book writer, and I oftened wished for stories to go a bit deeper into what they were actually feeling. But the anecdotes were very enjoyable, and I love this kind of human document.

Vance
Apr 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Like Pansy Division itself, I can't say this is essential reading ... but like pansy Division itself, it makes for a fun time, even in its more serious moments. One of the more interesting aspects is getting a sense of the mechanics of being an indie band and how that can work in and against your favor as an artist.
Andy
Feb 23, 2015 added it
He get's points for trying, this is a history of being queer in punk rock in the 90's and while parts of it reads like a book report it turns around into a fascinating about defining what is 'important' in music.
Rowan
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pansy Division fans
I really enjoyed this book. I first heard Pansy Division in 1994 and have followed their career ever since. I was interested both in the PD stories and in the description of the life of an indie touring band. Now I'm going to listen to all my PD albums again.
Hey Sailor!
Apr 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, gay-shit
While much of this reads as a tour diary, Ginoli's "golly gee" ness makes it endearing. It is sad to note that not much has changed since the early 1990's to fuse the gay and punk communities.
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Jon Ginoli is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of Pansy Division, a punk rock band whose CD's include Undressed, Deflowered, Wish I'd Taken Pictures, and more. An Illinois native, he's played both dive bars and arenas, and his favorite color is purple. When not on tour with the band he lives and works in San Francisco. "
More about Jon Ginoli...