Queercore pioneer Scott Moore was introduced to punk by a high school teacher, an instrumental turning point in his creative future. He recently spoke with Pitchfork’s Jesse Dorris to discuss his extraordinary body of music—notably as guitarist with Limp Wrist and the more noisy-pop Flesh World—that harvested the sound and energy of punk minus the homophobic knuckleheads hogging the mosh pit. Last month this manifested in Facades, the first release from Limp Wrist in nine years, as well as an album from Flesh World called Into the Shroud. In addition to the hardcore mentoring in high school, Moore attributes his success and escape from rural Pennsylvania to another key factor.
“…I was a fag. Being a fag gives you the desire—and not only the desire but the necessity—to go somewhere where you feel like you can be yourself. Even if you don’t know what that self is yet, you just know that you’re never going to find it there.”
The “somewhere” for Moore is San Francisco, but he made it there after a journey through the Cleveland hardcore scene where he met up with “queer Latinx rabble-rouser” Martin Sorrondeguy, of the defunct Los Crudos, who puts out Limp Wrist’s records in the U.S.
Aesthetically, Limp Wrist band members appear scantily clad in fetish gear, leather harnesses and easily unbuttoned Levi’s, though “Leigh Bowery-esque drag” was utilized in performances when “I Love Hardcore Boys/I Love Boys Hardcore” was their nascent anthem in the late 1990s
Along with Fifth Column, Tribe 8, Vaginal Davis’s Black Fag, and Pansy Division, Limp Wrist reclaimed the energy of early punk, initially made up of diverse misfits, queers among them, an energy later hijacked and tainted by suburban white boys. Though the queercore scene went dormant for a while, the remarkable, current widespread embrace of all genders despite MAGA Trumpism made it a perfect time for the release of Limp Wrist’s Facades, as Moore explains.
“We were actually getting ready to play a show after the trans march in San Francisco, three years ago. We were just putting on our outfits, like we do, doing our little dress rehearsal in our apartment. The photo [ending up on the cover of Facades] is on the stoop outside our old apartment. We were about halfway done writing the record and Martin set a camera up on a box and did the timer thing and there you go. We were like, “OK, we definitely have to finish this record now.”
Moore has observed more trans and non-binary people attending their shows in recent years, in smaller cities too. He says, “To see these young trans kids coming to our shows and feeling like it’s their space is really great.
“The thing about being a queer man is that, unless you are a shut-in, you’re forced into situations where you are in the same room with people who might not understand where you’re coming from. Limp Wrist facilitates a conversation.”