Interview: Queer Indie Rock MAN ON MAN Share About Personal History and Second Album 'Provincetown'

Written by Gordon Beck, Photography by A.F. Cortés

MAN ON MAN is the rock n' roll, sonic pairing of Roddy Bottum and Joey Holman. Roddy hails from Faith No More fame and a long career of playing in bands, scoring films, and producing operas; Joey has played in bands as a youth and cultivated a solo act. The two of them are not only bandmates but a loving queer couple, something they and their music display in equal parts tender and proud. Their band was largely an accident, their second album Provincetown a result of such an accident suddenly picking up speed while the once new couple deepened their relationship. Written in the very place that gave the record its name, Provincetown isn’t afraid to show off its zeal while posing complicated questions about queerness and love in modern America. I sat down with the duo to talk about the start of their relationship, the band, and what it means to them today. 

The two of them met after Holman reached out online. He was working on his own music while trying to recreate a drum sound off of an Imperial Teen record - one of Bottum’s bands of which Holman is a massive fan. He looked up the band’s members on a whim and realized Bottum and he shared a mutual connection through Taylor York of Paramore with whom Holman was then recording. The rest is history. Their music together was initially just a means of coping through tough times during the pandemic, never something they thought would become a part of their careers. The soft love songs they penned to make sense of the bewilderment all around them would be turned on their head as their sound developed to something triumphantly rock and roll. It wasn’t until releasing their music video for “Daddy”- which they filmed on a whim on their iPhones - that traction urgently caught on. People across the internet were messaging them thanks for bringing a sound lacking in music at large that represented queer love and relationships. 

The video contains visuals very much of the norm if the roles were heterosexual, yet it was taken down off YouTube before being reuploaded after the decision received backlash. This is something MAN ON MAN’s audience knows all too well, the marginalization and exploitation of the queer community,  though Bottum and Holman insist their music isn’t meant to rile crowds over progressive change. They are simply trying to be authentic. They describe their place in the industry as strange, not fully fitting into a gay music crowd or a heterosexual one either. Holman describes the media as often spinning them as comedic due to their colorful antics or part of a movement. But to them, MAN ON MAN is just Bottum and Holman being themselves and connecting with the fans who truly get them. 

Provincetown is where they first said “I love you.” Bottum describes the sea town as a place of pure open-mindedness and where the relationships made stick. It’s themes like these that emanate and explode from the duo’s songs which showcase both members’ wide musical inspirations. Holman’s favorite record is Silverchair’s Diorama, an album he first heard at age 11 when Silverchair’s members were just a few years older than him. Bottum describes Nirvana’s Nevermind as his, having known Kurt Cobain at the time and finding the songwriting so casual and powerful. The provocative sonic pairings these men bring together are on full display throughout Provincetown in a way that embraces individuality and celebrates who one is without a care. MAN ON MAN is now on tour and have just played shows with Le Tigre that the duo describe as simply empowering. Catch them across the US and Canada on these dates.

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