'Country Music Made Me Gay,' Confesses John Waters at Orville Peck Concert

Friday July 30, 2021
Originally published on July 28, 2021

When John Waters appeared onstage at a recent Colorado Orville Peck concert, he made a confession: "I hate to say this because some of you might take this the wrong way," Waters told the crowd, "but country music made me gay."

"Waters, 75, was the 'special guest host' for Peck's July 22 'Rodeo at Red Rocks' concert in Morrison, Colorado, a multi-artist event that included country bad boy Charley Crockett and the British singer and songwriter, Yola," writes LGBTQNation.

As a child in the 1950s, he remembered how Elvis Presley stirred something in him. "When I first saw Elvis Presley gyrating," he said, "and I heard him twitching and moaning and hiccupping through that song, 'I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine,' oh when I heard him go, 'We're gonna kiss and kiss and kiss again,' I tell you, I knew something was up down there, but I didn't know what it was."

Those early stirrings "confused me," he said. "I started thinking: Other cowboys, are they all sexy? I didn't know. Was Gene Autry hot? Of course, I graduated. I went on to Warren Smith and Jerry Lee Lewis and of course Roddy Jackson later."

When his mother told him she hated the cowboy singers pictures he put on his wall, he knew he was on to something.

"Isn't it true that the first music we love that our parents hate, that becomes the soundtrack of our life — and we should listen to it ever since?" he mused. "I'm still listening to it. I mean, Outlaw Country's on my radio. And every time I hear 'Snake Farm,' oh God, that makes me horny, that song. And when I hear, 'If I Could Make a Livin' Drinkin,' I feel ambitious. And every time I hear Hawkshaw Hawkins sing that sad song, 'Lonesome 7-7203,' I cry my eyes out, I really do."
"Peck is the gay crooner from Canada who wears a fringed mask to hide his identity — so people will pay more attention to his music, he says. He collaborates with fashion brands such as Dior and Michael Kors," adds LGBTQ Nation.

"Waters took a break from his summer beach routine in Provincetown to join Peck in Colorado. Dressed in a dark suit with a thick white stripe, he looked rested, tan, and happy to be on stage at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which he described as 'Hollywood Bowl meets Jurassic Park.' He said he read that dinosaurs once roamed the area — 'and I don't mean The Grateful Dead, who played here.' He promised to take the near-capacity crowd on a 'Hillbilly Hayride to Heaven' and complimented everyone for getting vaccinated.

"Look at you all," he marveled. "You've been freshly released from self-imposed home detention. You're all needled-up and ready to go, right? It's a perfect audience. Part hipster, part gay, and part real country fan. Perfect. The Holy Trinity of audiences."

Out country singer Peck, whose voice has been compared to Roy Orbison, recently appeared with Lady Gaga in a reimagined version of "Born This Way." "He sang 'Cowboy Take Me Away' with Miley Cyrus on her 'Stand By You Pride' special on Peacock. He teamed up with drag performer Trixie Mattel for a campy cover of 'Jackson,' the Johnny Cash-June Carter duet. Ryan Murphy featured him singing 'Dead of Night' on a trailer for American Horror Story Season 10."

This week he announced his "Drive Me, Crazy" tour that will begin in September and conclude October 30 and 31 at Madison Square Garden where he will open for Harry Styles.

Watch Orville Peck and Trixie Mattel sing "Jackson"