William DuVall – RuPaul Showed Hardcore Punk Fandom for Neon Christ
Alice in Chains singer-guitarist William DuVall has been focused of late on an upcoming reissued from his '80s era punk band Neon Christ and during a recent chat with Metal Hammer, DuVall recalled Drag Race host and drag icon RuPaul turning up at shows during their days in Atlanta's underground punk scene.
According to DuVall, when Neon Christ were playing Atlanta's clubs in the mid-'80s, one of the spots they hit was Atlanta's LGBTQ+ venue The Celebrity Club as they hosted punk rock gigs in addition to cabaret nights.
“We’d play anywhere that would have us," DuVall explained. “Our gigs at the Celebrity Club would have different countercultural mixes: you’d have the punk rockers coming to see us and mixing with gay crowd and the drag crowd. Everybody was: ‘Hey, we like high energy music’, and we were so committed to our thing. I think people recognize that level of commitment no matter where you're coming from. And RuPaul was part of that scene.”
He recalls that even though RuPaul had not yet reached breakout national acclaim, there was a star quality about him. "[He was] a really industrious guy at a really young age… just like we were,” stated the musician. "He was promoting himself as a superstar way before anyone knew who he was. He was plastering his flyers all around the city - we were wondering what kind of glue he was using, cause I swear the flyers he put up in 1985 were still there in 1995!"
"I think he recognized something he liked," added DuVall. "He would come to our shows - there are tapes of him screaming at us from the audience. We really respected him and think he respected us.”
DuVall says that while their paths have gone different directions, he would love the opportunity to meet up. "I swear to you, I would love the chance to reconnect with that guy to say hello, because there's so many memories we would have – there's probably so many things that he'd remember and I wouldn't, and vice versa," says DuVall adding, "“He came out of the same pond that we did, and he made it. His story is a triumph. I wasn't surprised at all, cause boy you saw it back then.”
DuVall found his own success, now spending his days in Alice in Chains. But his teen years Neon Christ band is about to be revisited with their 1984 recordings on Record Store Day's June 12 drop.