I had no idea what he looked like at that point, but as my eyes scanned the room, I knew who he was instantly. Standing tall, statuesque and impeccably dressed in the smoky blue light of the shitty Austin bar we were hosting him at, he radiated warmth and enthusiasm like a god damn friend furnace. Before I even opened my mouth to say “I like your frosted tips,” I knew I wanted to ask him about masturbating in cars. He had that good of posture.
Then I saw him live.
Many people liken AVAN LAVA’s live shows to religious experiences, which I don’t disagree with. The band performs with the kind of energy normally only displayed by televangelist gospel preachers who believe the power of prayer can heal erectile dysfunction. They’re intensely athletic and theatrical, with all sorts of confetti cannons and boner-popping inverted yoga poses that not even Gumby can do. Their music is fierce, pop-y and intensely motivating. It makes use of the kinds of upbeat major chords that totally cream any life dissatisfaction you may be experiencing, and places those into synth-and drum-forward electro jams which force your resting bitch face into a resting bitch grin.
Speaking of faces, it melted mine right off. I’m running around right now without a face.
After that, I REALLY wanted to ask him about masturbating in cars and other weird sex stuff. He’s got ‘perfect Neurotica subject’ written all over him in edible body paint.
TC’s known for his open, sex-positive attitude and for being a bit of a gay idol. As one of the only out-and-proud band front-men in the game, he’s inspired countless listeners to embrace their own sexuality as well as be more accepting of that of others.
I finally got to talk to him on the eve of AVAN LAVA’s upcoming L.A. show at The Echo. We had a very dirty, but also very inspiring conversation about how he feels about gay idol-ville, why he loves jacking off in cars, his love of seducing straight boys, the history of his many boners, and his personal favorite, the things he’d do for some buttery mashed potatoes. He’s hilarious and awesome and I love him, and if you don’t, you’re probably a cryogenically frozen head in the year 2085.
You’re the first gay artist I’ve gotten to talk to me for this column. First of all, thank you. Secondly, what’s it like being a gay music idol?
Wow, what an honor!! Thank YOU! Well, I’m not sure I’m a “gay music idol,” but I will say that I love my people. I know that kids in smaller cities all over the world need artists and/or people in the spotlight to represent them and let them know that they’re totally fine and deserve everything they want. I’m happy to be a spokesperson for the LGBT community, even if that just means that I’m a gay artist following my dreams.
A lot of people credit you and AVAN LAVA for helping them open up their sexuality. Is that an intended effect or just a happy coincidence?
Do they!? That’s amazing. I mean, the band helped me open up my sexuality, or at least how I present myself in society. Our intention is for people to be themselves and fully experience life, even if only at our shows ;)
What are some artists that did that for you?
Boy George, for sure. And Madonna. I was obsessed with her as a child.
Do you think gay artists should embrace their sexuality as part of their performance or separate themselves from it? A lot of artists seem to want to be be known as straight up good artists, not good gay artists, which makes sense. For them, that’s like saying “You’re hot for a redhead” or something.
I think the best artists are genuine artists, true to themselves. For most people, sexuality is a significant aspect of their life, so … I don’t know, I guess it’s different for everyone. I’ve seen artists get pigeon-holed by their sexuality and that sucks. But I think if something is good (especially these days) it will translate!
You’ve said in other interviews that you could never live without sex. AGREED. What’s your relationship to sex like these days?
I’m a little confused by sex right now. I go through sexual spurts, but I can’t say I’m having one right now. I don’t really do the whole app thing, so I’m always looking for a face-to-face meeting, which is harder to come by. That being said, I’m always looking.
You also like to jack off when you drive, which is awesome and hard! (Sorry, there’s like one interview I’m getting like 104% of my intel from.) Is it the adrenaline? Do you like that people can see you?
Well, like most guys I can get horny at inappropriate times. Growing up in L.A., I spent up to three hours in a car daily. So I just took advantage of the privacy one gets in their personal vehicle. I did get a rush knowing that I’m mere feet from people jacking off without their knowledge. Haha God am I disgusting!??
Fuck no you’re awesome. BUT CAN YOU DO IT DRIVING STICK?
I finally learned to drive stick in IBIZA this summer! Unfortunately, the opportunity to relieve myself behind the wheel did not present itself. Also, I really suck at driving stick so … I can only handle one stick at a time, I guess. It’s probably good to always have at least one hand on the wheel.
How did you come out?
People have this misconception that you only come out once. I came out to so many people over so many years. It took a long time to finally feel ready to publicly come out. I remember coming out to my parents at Hershey Lodge (I used to sing in a dance show at Hershey Park during my summers at college) and I thought they got the message. I was wrong. They continued to ask about girlfriends until last year when I nearly crashed the car on PCH because I was screaming “I’m a homoooooo!!!”
I think I love you. What was your first boner like? What about your last one?
I can’t remember my first boner, but I remember the first time I had a boner at an extremely inappropriate time. I was probably 10 years old, hanging out with a musical theater friend (a boy) at his home, and I’d forgotten my swim trunks. He threw me Speedos. For whatever reason I found it so sexy and I couldn’t get that boner to deflate. I felt a sense of pride with this boner, so I walked through his house back to the pool, fully erect, totally pitched tent. I still get turned on by swimwear. To this day I still get so turned on by swimwear that I usually have to jack off in the store when I try stuff on. My last boner was at the gym this morning. Classic.
You’ve said you love straight dudes, and you even told a story about how you kissed one in public during a show; you really liked that he let himself have that experience, consequence-free. I found that really cool. Have you had any experiences like that since? Do you have any advice/ messages for straight dudes about how they can let themselves experience their own sexuality better?
I recently hooked up with a friend who identifies as straight. We’d been flirting for months, but he’d dated my best friend for a few months so it didn’t seem appropriate. Cut to a late, boozy night that brought us alone together in a mutual friend’s apartment. We finally gave into the urges. I recently found out he’s now identifying as bi. Should I take some credit??? I guess my advice would be that life is short, why not enjoy all the earthly pleasures that you can?
Amen. What musician would you most like to experience sexually? What would you do to them?
Fuck it. I gotta say Bieber. Judge me all you’d like, that boy is HOT. What wouldn’t I do to him?
What tip do you have for straight women on how to understand men or communicate with them better?
JJust know that they’re never going to be that into you and you’ll always care more.
What’s one thing a guy can do that makes you weak in the knees?
Take care of me. Arm around the waist. It’s all about the romance for me.
You and Kim Davis miraculously both get in the same Uber, and you have five minutes with her before she gets to her stop. What do you do?
Beat her?? Haha, no I’d probably ask her about her horrific sense of style. It’s like, I don’t care if you’re a boring bigot, this is your fifteen minutes of fame! Look cuter.
Yeah, she’s dressed for infertility for sure. Let’s talk about fantasy, which is something your live shows incorporate a lot of. What role does fantasy place in music for you? What about in the bedroom/tour bus/sex swing?
Fantasy is everything. I love my life, but I love envisioning an even more glamorous one. It’s fun to create idyllic life scenarios in music. And as for the bedroom, I like things to be REAL. I’m not looking for a fantasy there, but I’ve had a couple threesomes lately and it’s been fun to feel like I’m fulfilling a couple’s fantasy.
This question isn’t sex related (or maybe it is), but how did you create your stage persona and how do you maintain a level of performance and energy that many people compare to a religious experience?
During the early days of AVAN LAVA I really cared about the stage persona, but now I focus more on the connection with the audience. That relationship gives me all the energy I need to do seven shows in a row or whatever is necessary.
What would you do if I called you up and told you I made you a big pot of buttery mashed potatoes?
I would probably cry, and then ask you for your hand in marriage, and then probably hop on a direct flight to L.A. where I presume these delicious potatoes would be located.
You can see TC and AVAN LAVA live and in person tomorrow night FOR FREE at The Echo. Doors are at 6pm, and AVAN LAVA slinks on precisely at 8pm. RSVP here.
In the meantime, AVAN LAVA’s debut EP “Make It Real” is right here on SoundCloud for all your listening needs.