Dean Johnson passed away this week. Details surrounding Dean's
death, along with the death of another young man are still uncertain,
and an investigation is, as of this writing, still ongoing.
I have included details and links about Dean's life below.
Dean is survived by his father is Ellis Johnson and his sister is
Beth. For several years, Dean cared for and visited his mother
Linda, who succumbed to a battle with cancer in 2006. He was a
devoted son, brother and friend to scores of people who comprised of
Dean's chosen family.
History of Wigstock (update coming soon)
The crowd grows to a few thousand. John Sex works the guys (and girls)
a frenzy with his gyrating cover of "Secret Agent Man". 6'6" big, bad,
porn star Dean Johnson rocks the house with his original "Bourgeois
Underground band 3 Teens Kill 4, featuring artist David Wojnarowicz on
piano, hypnotises the masses with their trippy sound effects. John
Dagmar Onassis sings his version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" which
becomes the traditional Wigstock finale for years to come:
"By the time we got to Wigstock we were several thousand falls...
And I dreamed I saw the drag queens spraying hairspray in the sky and
made all the yuppies die"
The "Lady" Bunny is bewitching!
A-Listers in Mortar: The Velvet Mafia
Interview by Derek de Koff
When did you form The Weenies?
Back in '85. Dean And The Weenies. We were a club band. We used to play
And Roll Fag Bar and some of the other clubs. It became something of a
phenomenon. I did this song called "Fuck You" in the film Mondo New
From that I was able to get a recording contract with Island Records.
signed me based on my performance of "Fuck You" but when they realized
a gay activist and a drag queen, they freaked out and found an excuse
dump me. They released my record in an unmarked brown paper wrapper and
said that they were dumping me because the album wouldn't sell.
They printed out thousands of CDs of "Fuck You" and then decided to get
of them. They dumped them into a dumpster behind the Island offices.
Homeless people pulled them out of the garbage and sold them for a
St. Mark's and it became a huge phenomenon. That's how I really
myself as a performer back in '87.
by Walter Cessna
Dean Johnson has been so many things in his life, it's hard to keep
them all. Besides fronting the band THE WEENIES, he was the first
SAVE THE ROBOTS and also ran the legendary ROCK 'N' ROLL FAG BAR before
heroin addiction landed him in jail.
Staging a comeback, Dean started a new band called THE VELVET MAFIA.
looks at this band, as the first focused thing he's ever done. "I named
band after my idols Barry Diller and David Geffen because of how
they are. Like them, THE VELVET MAFIA is definitely a commercial
Geffen actually caught the band's gig at the nightclub JACKIE 60, but
didn't exactly rush backstage. "I heard he freaked when I sang a song
dedicated to him called 'Hello, Good-bye!'" As New York's reigning
6-inch bald drag queen (and that's without heels), Johnson gives the
sarcastically bittersweet songs an added punch.
Review/Film; Seeking the Outrageous In New York By WALTER GOODMAN
Trip Records Press Release 27 May 1998
NEW YORK -- With the founding of Rock & Roll Fag Bar over 10 years ago,
Johnson created a venue which quickly took hold and helped to define
growing East Village scene of the 80's. It's only fitting, then, that
Johnson leads his band The Vel vet Mafia onto the stage for the release
their debut album "We Know Where You Live" during the "Rock & Roll Fag
Reunion Party." A much-lauded event, the show will take place
27th at Lust for Life in New York City.
The Freak Shows of days gone by may never return as we knew them, but
Velvet Mafia weaves a circus side-show mystique, conjuring flashbacks
Siamese twins, Bearded ladies and unicorns that look mysteriously like
Refugee of the 80's Island Records act Dean and the Weenies, Dean
(New York's reigning six-foot-six-inch bald drag queen who also spewed
attention-grabbing tune "Fuck You" in the film Mondo New York) plays
ringmaster to his caustically catchy clan of degenerates and outcasts
full frontal assault on 'normal' America. "We Know Where You Live"
stories of queer life in their own unique feisty and poignant
style - a Ritalin-free Dr. Seuss for adults.
As Head Mistress to his seven-member menagerie, Johnson is joined by
Mary Feaster (on permanent suspension from St. Ignatius School for
Bass and background vocals, guitarist in boy-drag the ever-evasive
Bettelheimer (aka Susanne Hassenstein), cellist from Hell Satan (aka
Spreitz), Holy Jazz-man and sexy-saxist Father Josh Atkins, nautical
percussionist and background vocalist Sailor McDrum (aka Tom McCrum),
the deceptively friendly and always firm-handed Nurse Wanda Hill (aka
Walsh). A true cacophony of irreverence which creates a recipe for a
in-your-face queerer-than-thou delivery that slams your brain and
flying well above the carnival world below, all anchors of comfort
Advocate, The, Dec 5, 2000 by Cathay Che
Queer club life is alive and well in New York City, thanks in part to
Longtime New York club denizen and musician Dean Johnson is turning 40
year. Most infamous for New York City's popular late-'80s weekly party
& Roll Fag Bar, Johnson is now drug-free and in love, involved in the
healthy relationship of his life. He's also just started a new,
much-buzzed-about monthly showcase for queer musicians called HomoCorps
the legendary CBGB's. But don't suggest that this survivor, also
for his punk anthem "[Fuck You" (by Dean and the Weenies) and for his
current band, the Velvet Mafia, is now a gay role model.
"How dare you!" says Johnson, laughing. "I've never been accused of
before." As much as Johnson, who is bald and a striking 6 feet 7 inches
without heels, bristles at being anything but irreverent, he does talk
talk of a queer activist. "Well, I've always said that the recording
industry is like the Army: It's run by homosexuals and is completely
homopbobic," says Johnson dryly. "The fact that there are a lot of gay
people actually works against queer musicians because either they are
closet and afraid of being outed or out of the closet and afraid of
accused of having an agenda."