Paul Olsewski, VP, Publicity Director











     A vibrant coming-of-age story told with sharp insight and self-aware wit, BOYS KEEP SWINGING (Atria; February 20, 2018; $26.00) is a fiercely candid memoir from Jake Shears, lead singer of the iconic glam rock bank Scissor Sisters. A trailblazing downtown band embraced by the LGBTQ community, Scissor Sisters would become an international, platinum-selling sensation, making Shears a star in his own right. But before his personal transformation, Shears was Jason Sellards, a misfit growing up gay in the less-evolved America of the 1980s and 90s.

     Sellards grew up in Mesa, Arizona and San Juan Island, Washington, the only child of a second marriage. His parents were largely accepting, or at least tolerant, of his idiosyncratic approach to life—a need to be liked that manifested itself in a desire to perform coupled with a bravely flamboyant sense of style. In school he was often the odd man out, embracing his differences even when that daring act resulted in social isolation or bullying. His struggle was not so much with being gay as with figuring out how to be gay amid the fear and loathing of the AIDS era. His youthful sexual exploration was somewhat restrained, though marked by occasional poor choices. His friendships, honest and devoted, were often with other perceived outcasts.

     Moving to New York City to finish college, he encountered both the horrors and delights of life there. He shared questionably-converted digs in an old factory in Williamsburg with a strange array of oddball roommates. His jerry-rigged room flooded whenever it rained. The long subway rides to then-ungentrified Brooklyn could be tiresome, and he chronically struggled to make ends meets. But the life Jake encountered in downtown Manhattan was anything but mind-numbing. At clubs and bars he encountered people like himself, inhabiting a world where people could wear their differences openly and proudly. Suddenly the once-closeted boy from Mesa was making extra money dancing in a g-string on the bar—and having the time of his life.

     When Jason reconnected with Scott Hoffman, whom he had briefly met years before, their shared love of horror movies and video games morphed into something greater, and the Scissor Sisters – and Jake Shears the persona – were born. Beginning in the wake of 9/11, the band provided a refreshing antidote to those tremulous times. They performed in smoky gay clubs in New York, and found their first massive successive in the UK, with such hits as “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’.” Suddenly, the former Jason Sellards was socializing with such personal idols as Elton John, Debbie Harry, and Lou Reed.

     Like Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, BOYS KEEP SWINGING brilliantly captures the youthful frisson of a transformative era in our music and our culture. More than simply a rock star’s memoir, it is a poignant book about growing up different yet defiant—an enveloping story of dreams made real through originality and honesty.



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.  Additionally, he will release his first solo album in 2018.




by Jake Shears

Atria Books Hardcover | On-sale:February 20, 2018 | ISBN: 9781501140129, $26.00

eBook: 9781501140143, $13.99




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