Brontez Purnell is an indie zine maker, trained dancer and queer punk rocker who's fronted Bay Area bands like Gravy Train!!! and the Younger Lovers.
No, let’s try that again. Brontez Purnell is an utterly fearless indie zine maker, trained dancer and queer punk rocker who's fronted Bay Area bands like Gravy Train!!! and the Younger Lovers.
Inhibition, trepidation, self-suppression . . . these concepts are not part of Purnell's emotional lexicon. As a result, it’s hard to look away when he's performing, and hard to stop reading what he pours out across the pages.
Brontez grew up gay in Triana, Alabama (population: 400), an experience he describes as “its own specific brand of horror.” There, he began to learn an important lesson: that making art to document one's experience is also a very effective method for survival.
Like so many who’ve navigated tough times in hard places, Purnell is very attached to and in awe of those who came before him. He’s “home” when playing Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland – pictures of his uncle J.J. Malone, who owned the club when Eli’s was a blues and soul mecca in the ’60s and ’70s, adorn a special photo shrine there.