[ARTIST: GOSSIP] [SONG: HEAVY CROSS]
Shooting squirrels to eat as a child and being the overweight teenager with short hair who realizes that she is a lesbian in the middle of an intolerant Christian community are just some of the harsh realities that have made Beth Ditto who she is today: A strong, raw and wonderfully voluminous power dyke with a punk attitude who isn’t afraid of wobbling her bits and loudly supporting GLBT and feminist causes.
“Heavy Cross” is from Gossip’s 2009 album, “Music for Men”, which was a title that Beth Ditto, Gossip’s charismatic front-person, came up with as a feminist joke. After having been to a concert with a girlfriend where they were the only two women in the audience, and seeing all the men totally into the show, the notion of gender-pleasing music stuck with her. A lot of the material for the album was written in the Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, where it was also recorded. In the back stood Bob Dylan’s old tour bus, and Brace Paine, the guitarist and music creator, converted the bus into a little studio where he and Beth Ditto would work on the songs together.
Beth Ditto grew up in Arkansas in a trailer park with 6 siblings, right in the heart of the American Bible Belt. She came out as a lesbian when she was 18, and even though there was not much acceptance from the surrounding Christian community, her mother and siblings have always supported her and encouraged her to be herself. Beth Ditto met her girlfriend, Freddie Fagula, when she was 19, and they are still together.
Vocalist Beth Ditto explained “Heavy Cross” to the NME June 27, 2009: “I know so many amazing people who devote their lives to undoing things, and I feel that’s the essence of punk now because punk’s already been done, it’s old. It’s about recreation and my friends, who I feel like are the ultimate creative re-creators.” The “heavy cross” is a symbol of the pressure that society puts on people who find it hard to fit in, and is most probably also a reference to the conservative Christian community in which she grew up.
The cover artwork for Gossip’s “Music for Men” is a photograph of Hannah Blilie, the band’s drummer who replaced Kathy Mendonca in 2004.
In 2009, Beth Ditto designed a limited edition clothes collection for the British plus size chain store Evans.