Jakes Shears, best known as the lead singer for the internationally renowned and openly gay pop-glam group Scissor Sisters, is on the road after releasing his debut eponymous solo album and autobiography, “Boys Keep Swinging.”
Scissor Sisters first exploded onto the scene in Europe, then in North America, in the early 2000s with an eclectic sound born in the New York club- and performance-art scenes. After four albums and whirlwind world tours, the Sisters announced an indefinite hiatus in 2012.
Shears has kept himself busy ever since by collaborating with other artists and taking his talents to theatrical stages, most recently playing Charlie Price in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway.
But now Shears is finally back to doing music. Fans of Scissor Sisters’ electro-infused pop-rock sound will find a lot of familiar territory on Shears’ solo album, which also delves into funk and moodier-ballad territory.
Shears said his solo album is just the next chapter in his music career.
“In certain ways, it is starting over because it’s building a whole new infrastructure for performing and putting a new band together. In certain ways, it’s a new beginning. I wanted to do something different and I feel like this record is a progression, but I do think there is a pressure for total reinvention.”
He added that penning his biography during the creative process for the latest album helped him figure out the direction of the new music.
“Once I got that first draft done, I had a lot of fun. It was a good way to examine and reassess my past while I was making this record. Both things went hand-in-hand. With this album, I was really reassessing who I am now and what my life is like now.”
Scissor Sisters were groundbreaking for their sound, as well as their success as a group of openly gay musicians who were loud and proud from the start. Shears said he thinks the group did have an impact on how queer artists were perceived and accepted in mainstream pop music.
“I hoped that I paved a trail for queer artists,” he said. “I think that it’s amazing what is happening as far as queer visibility in music. It’s important to take care of what we’ve achieved so far and stay alert.”
Shears was also known for sporting all kinds of outlandish, fashionable and sometimes-outrageous stage attire, something he said takes a lot of work.
“To tell you the truth, I can barely dress myself,” he admitted. “I was wondering why on this record I really didn’t just dress down. It’s just more fun to try out looks. I make glam-rock music and wearing very intense looks is part of it. Lately I’ve been dressing like a Rockette on stage. Maybe it was being on Broadway last winter or something. I do get inspired to have certain looks, but in executing them, I need a lot of help.”
Shears said his tour will focus on the album, with some Scissor Sisters songs performed for good measure.
“This album to me is a continuation of what I’ve always done, and it’s a pretty big catalog to pull from. I like playing those old songs and they go well with each other. When you hear them together in the live set, it makes a lot of sense.”
While Scissor Sisters seem to remain a thing of the past, Shears said the return of the group could be possible when the time and circumstances are right.
“It’s just a matter of finding inspiration for it. I would love to make another Scissors’ record if a great idea emerged. I would never write it off, but it would have to be a good idea.” n
Jake Shears performs 8 p.m. Nov. 1 at The Foundry, 29 E. Allen St. For more information or tickets, call 215-309-0150 or visit www.jakeshears.com.