In this “exhilarating yet poignant account of one boy taking flight” (Shelf Awareness, starred review), one of rock music's most entrancing figures transforms the vividness of his musical world into an unforgettable literary account of overcoming the odds and finding his true voice.
Long before hitting the stage as the lead singer of the iconic glam rock band Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, a teenage boy living a fraught life, resulting in a difficult time in high school as his classmates bullied him and few teachers showed sympathy.
It wasn’t until years later, while living and studying in New York City, that Jason would find his voice as an artist and, with a group of friends and musicians who were also thirsting for stardom and freedom, form the band Scissor Sisters. First performing in the smoky gay nightclubs of New York, then finding massive success in the United Kingdom, Scissor Sisters would become revered by the LGBTQ community, sell out venues worldwide, and win multiple accolades with hits like “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’,” as well as their cult-favorite cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.”
“Brutally honest” (Elton John), candid, and courageous, Shears’s writing sings with the same powerful, spirited presence that he brings to his live performances. Boys Keep Swinging is “a wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium. From the fringes to the top, it's a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us” (Andy Cohen).
Jake Shears is the lead singer and a primary songwriter 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, and he has played the role of Charlie Price in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Jake Shears recently finished his debut solo album, which will be released in mid-2018. He divides his time between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
"Boys Keep Swinging goes beyond the origin story behind some of my favorite music . . . A wild, sexy, emotional ride through underground New York at the millennium. From the fringes to the top, it's a tale that speaks to the outsider in all of us."—Andy Cohen
“Jake Shears puts it all on the line. He draws you in and you can’t look away. Boys Keep Swinging is the book everyone will be reading and talking about.”—Sandra Bernhard
“On the stage, Jake Shears is a triumphant explosion of unembarrassed carnality and charm. On the page, he's very much the same. Boys Keep Swinging is one courageous joyride of a memoir. It should be illegal for rock stars to write so beautifully.”—Armistead Maupin
“This is a beautiful, fascinating memoir by a beautiful guy who has lived a fascinating life—and he has the insights and receipts to prove it. Wonderful!”—Dan Savage
“[Shears] writes fluidly and often affectingly, giving shape to his peripatetic, never-dull life . . . readers will be captivated.”—Booklist
"Fun and compulsively readable, precisely the kind of book one would expect from someone who sang about getting his mama jacked up on cheap champagne….Boys Keep Swinging is no ghostwritten autobiography; Shears studied creative writing at Eugene Lang College in New York. But what he has written is splendid: a star-studded memoir, a cultural history of gay millennial New York, and an origin story for one of the most important pop acts of the 2000s."—Lambda Literary
“[Chronicles] not just the ups and downs of rock stardom but a saucy slice of downtown New York in the aughts.” – New York Times
“Athoroughly endearing portrait . . . an exhilarating yet poignant account of one boy taking flight. And [Shears] is just as clever a narrator as he is a lyricist, keenly sketching the gay bars and nightclubs that fostered the electroclash scene in which the band spawned. Boys Keep Swinging is an absolute joy, even for those who don't feel like dancing.”—Dave Wheeler, Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears shows a whole new side of himself in this candid account. He sensitively reveals his lifelong struggle with self-acceptance while also detailing New York’s queer scene with salacious ease."—Entertainment Weekly