Photos by John Ellis (1991)
Helot Revolt grabbed national attention in 1991 with a transgressive combination of music, sexuality, performance art, activism, and spectacular live shows. Music press praised Helot Revolt's 1992 CD, In Your Face / Up Your Butt, with write-ups in RIP, BAM, Details, Billboard, as well as in many zines that promoted the counterculture of the period. Helot Revolt coincided with the homocore and queercore movements, but had its own unique, polished, metal sound.
Producer, songwriter, lead vocalist, and mastermind Jack Curtis Dubowsky was working in Los Angeles as a recording engineer with Kiss, Bob Ezrin, Megadeth, Max Norman, Warrant, Beau Hill, Tom Werman, Ron Goudie, and many hair metal bands and producers of the day. This immersion influenced what would become his third record, the Helot Revolt CD, which musically was another studio project following Diazepam Nights (1989) and The Duchampians (1991 with architect Eric Kahn). Glen Meadmore appears on the Helot Revolt CD on electric guitar.
For live shows, Jack assembled a performance art troupe that played benefit shows for ACT UP, Queer Nation, City of Angels Hospice, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Helot Revolt shows were spectacular performance art extravaganzas with slide projectors, tape machines, costumes, dancers, and sing-alongs. In Los Angeles, Helot Revolt performed on bills with Tim Miller, Wayne Karr, Wendell Jones, Curtis York, Robbie Daniels, Molest Station, Daniel McVey, and others. In San Francisco, Jack put together a live band that performed on bills with Pansy Division, Malibu Barbie, and others.
To top the whole thing off, Alex Meconi directed a rockumentary about the band: Helot Revolt the World's Greatest Faggot Heavy Metal Band or They Were Out of Bette Davis so I Got This. (1993, 27 minutes, Dir. Alex Meconi.) The film screened in San Francisco and at festivals as far as Honolulu and Melbourne, Australia.
Original master tapes, photographs, negatives, lyrics, album artwork, flyers, fan mail, documentation, and ephermera are held in the Jack Curtis Dubowsky Papers in Special Collections at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge.
In Your Face / Up Your Butt