Some of the details are lost in the haze, but one thing is for sure – Miss Guy of the Toilet Boys and Theo Kogan of the Lunachicks formed a bond in the early 90’s that was the beginning of a truly beautiful friendship. They actually met in the late 80’s in Los Angeles, when Guy was briefly living there and 19 year-old Theo was on her first tour with the Lunachicks, a band she formed in NYC when she was 16 with friends from the LaGuardia High School. She happened to be staying in a friend’s apartment across the hall from Guy who, dressed to the nines to hit the Sunset Strip glam scene, walked in to find “five girls lounging all around the living room.”
Theo clearly remembers his entrance. “It was our first time in LA,” she recalls. “I was blown away by him. He was so sweet and so beautiful. I had never met a beautiful drag queen before – I was confused! I didn’t know if he was male or female.”
Guy had caught the tail end of the LA glam movement but nothing came of it. “I loved music and I was really into the scene there in the 1980’s, but I was a little late. I knew Motley Crue a little and I tried to get something going in LA, but I was too intimidated to talk to anyone about a band,” Guy notes. “Then I met Malcolm McLaren, who told me I should really be in New York.”
Which brought him back to the East Village, where he met up with Theo again. He remembers seeing “a gorgeous girl with orange dyed hair” on the street; she recounts that their reunion happened at Webster Hall. Either way, they became “fast friends,” according to them both. Guy began to influence Theo’s style, helping with her hair and makeup, as well as lending her clothes and shoes (“We were the same size,” Theo confirms ) and pushing the band into a more fabulous direction.
“She was my muse,” Guy explains. “I saw this beautiful, glamorous creature in the rough. The band was going onstage in their street clothes and I wanted to push them in a more glamorous direction. I even made her custom false eyelashes.”
“He influenced my whole style,” Theo confirms. “My look onstage grew and refined due to Guy.” Not only did he influence her wardrobe, he had something to do with her personal life as well. “I had been through a breakup and Guy and Kembra Pfahler were both telling me that I had to meet this guy, Sean Pierce,” says Theo. ” Now we’re married with an 11-year-old daughter.”
For her part, Theo encouraged Guy to start the Toilet Boys and convinced Pierce to join the group, a partnership that has lasted since 1995. She also encouraged Guy to take vocal lessons and learn to take care of his voice. Guy had been performing in drag shows, although his goal was “not necessarily to be a drag performer” and was singing live to recorded tracks with JoJo America, as well as with the house band at Squeezebox, where he was also a DJ. “The band name was supposed to be a one-off,” he admits. “I didn’t want to be called ‘Miss Guy’ either, but the two names I didn’t want just stuck.”
Putting aside a promising career as a makeup artist despite the encouragement of his mentor Kevyn Aucoin, Guy went with his love for music and played all over downtown, criss crossing paths with the Lunachicks and sometimes sharing a stage. The roll call of venues they both played is a walk down memory lane for anyone who was lucky enough to be around at the time. CBGB’s, Continental, Pyramid, Coney Island High, the Ritz, Roseland, Don Hill’s, Brownies, Limelight, Meow Mix………..the list goes on. Eventually, both bands found themselves opening for Rancid, where Guy was a bit frightened to go on in front of ” a very testosterone crowd of 5000 boys in baseball caps,” but Theo gave him some advice that he has never forgotten. “Just go out there and pretend you’re at Squeezebox,” she said, advice that Guy also found helpful when opening for 20,000 Red Hot Chili Pepper fans in Milan.
Guy, who still does makeup gigs when he feels like it for the likes of Debbie Harry and makes a good living as a DJ, wouldn’t mind seeing the two glam/punk bands do a tour together, something they have never done. “It’s a no – brainer,” he says. Theo, a prominent makeup artist herself as well as an actress and a model, relishes the time they spend together. “I call him my brother/sister,” she says. “We’ve experienced so many years cracking each other up. He’s just family.”
Guy concurs, saying that “We are relatives! I adore her, she’s an amazing creature. I’m really thankful for our long friendship. Friends become family.”
For further adventures, check out the new Lunachicks memoir “Fallopian Rhapsody” , their site Lunachicks.com and Instagram @lunachicksofficial. Toilet Boys can be found on Instagram @toiletboysnyc, online at toiletboys.net and merch at another-riff-raff-label.
Photo by Krasner/Trebitz