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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 12:06 GMT
Scissor Sisters: A cut above the rest
The Scissor Sisters won three prizes at the Brit Awards on Wednesday, a year after their debut album was released in the UK - but they are still virtually unknown at home in the US.

The Scissor Sisters at the Brit Awards
They won Brits for best international group, album and breakthrough
Last year, The Darkness triumphed at the Brits after reminding rock fans it was OK to have fun, dress up and hark back to the classic, colourful songwriting of the 1970s.

This time, it was the turn of the Scissor Sisters to win after giving pop a similar kick up the backside by cutting through the pretence and predictability with a riotous mix of glam sing-a-long anthems and floor-filling dance tunes.

They have resurrected the forgotten tradition of flamboyant, playful pop stars such as Elton John and David Bowie that seemed to get lost in the 1980s.

With the UK's best-selling album of 2004, beating Keane and Robbie Williams, they have rapidly become a huge commercial success in Britain, if not in the US.

That success has also stretched to the singles charts, where they have enjoyed five UK top 20 hits in a year, including Filthy/Gorgeous, Comfortably Numb and Laura.

Their story began in 1999 when singer Jake Shears, real name Jason Sellards, met Scott Hoffman - now known as Babydaddy - and the pair started making music in New York's ill-fated electroclash scene.

Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears at Brit Awards

Shears became a stripper and go-go dancer, saying he liked the attention as well as the money, and his group was originally called Dead Lesbian and the Fibrillating Scissor Sisters.

That was shortened to the Scissor Sisters, and their logo shows wide open legs on the end of a pair of scissors.

Another singer, Ana Matronic (Ana Lynch), was recruited after the duo played a show at the cabaret club she hosted.

The line-up was completed by guitarist Del Marquis (Derek Gruen) and drummer Paddy Boom (Patrick Seacor) - the only straight man in the group.

"We're not the most conventional rock or pop band," Shears said last year.

"We don't look or sound like everything else, and we have no desire to," Babydaddy added.

The band featured in the BBC News website's Sound of 2004 talent list and attracted attention in the UK with a house cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.

It infuriated Floyd fans so much that the Scissor Sisters reportedly got death threats.

But Pink Floyd themselves apparently liked it and the new version was championed by dance DJs and reached number 10 in the singles chart, showing their pop potential.

The Scissor Sisters
They have sold ten times more albums in the UK than the US
That was followed by Take Your Mama, a high-octane Elton-esque anthem about coming out as gay to your mother, while Laura was a disco-tinged piano stomp and Mary was a ballad reminiscent of Robbie Williams.

Filthy/Gorgeous, their most recent single and biggest hit to date, was a more rampant club track and reached number five.

Other songs on their self-titled debut album include Return To Oz, about the gay community's problems with crystal meth abuse, and Tits on the Radio, which rails against the conservatism of New York mayors.

But they have so far failed to make the breakthrough in their home country, where they sold 154,000 copies of their album in 2004 - compared with 1.6 million in the UK.

"Something's up with America," Shears recently told the Washington Post. "It's like teenagers here aren't even interested in being bad or walking that line.

"Times have changed, and American tastes have gotten really boring."


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