HOLLYWOOD. For nearly a decade, Michael “Silky” Vincent seduced his largely female audiences with satin-smooth song stylings that enticed them figuratively, and often literally, to his bed. “I had a pretty good run there,” he says with a tone that suggests he misses the days when, as he once told Tiger Beat magazine, “I was combing the chicks out of my hair.”
“I hate it when I have to grow up!”
But Vincent is pushing thirty now, and it’s starting to show; with a receding hairline and greying temples, he’s come to realize that he’s grown older while the target audience for his type of pop music will remain forever young; the 13-to-20 year-old female demographic with disposable income and stardust in their eyes.
So the formerly-semi-famous face retreated with his management team to a studio high above the hills of Hollywood for some soul-searching and a drastic about-face in his approach; his new “high concept” album–“For Lesbians Only”–will target fans other male singers have overlooked.
“Hop into my car, and I’ll take you to your favorite all-girl bar.”
“The numbers are off the chart,” says Vincent’s manager Abe Shulkin. “There are literally millions of lesbians in America who don’t have a man in their life.”
Working with a team of androgynous song writers who can turn a lyric from hetero to homo on a dime, Vincent says he will try the ultimate in male-female musical seduction; persuading, in Shulkin’s words, a “same-sex babe to switch to the other team.”
Last night found the singer in a small club overlooking the city as he stress-tested some of his new repertoire before a CD-release party on Friday of this week. After a raunchy standup comic warms the crowd for him, Vincent bounds on stage with his guitar in his hands and launches into “I’m Gonna Break Your Girlfriend’s Heart,” an uptempo number Vincent’s label hopes will get its share of dance club play.
“I know you thought your love would never end,” he sings as a band of studio musicians pushes the beat–hard–behind him. “But I’m the kinda guy who won’t pretend. I love ya baby, I don’t break, I bend. Let’s dump your lover-girl, I know she’ll mend.”
The women in the audience exchange confused and skeptical looks at first, then get into the rhythm of the song and by the second chorus they’re singing along, shouting “I’m gonna break–your girlfriend’s hea-a-a-rt, if she’s not careful I’ll tear it ap-a-a-rt.”
After the band brings the music to a dramatic conclusion with cymbals crashing and a clanging guitar chord, Vincent thanks his audience profusely for their warm reception. “You guys are so kind, thank you very much for accepting the way I’ve–‘come out of the closet’–musically.”
“Let’s try it one more time, but less Y chromosomy, if you know what I mean.”
The audience laughs, and Vincent softens his tone to announce his next number, a soulful echo of his former stock-in-trade entitled “Lesbian Lover.”
“Lesbian lover . . .” he croons, “I love it when we’re . . . under the covers.” There are audible sighs from the audience, and out by the maitre’d’s station Abe Shulkin nods his head with approval. “I think we got a winner there,” he says as he rolls a cigar around in his mouth. “This could be bigger than Michael Jackson and the toddlers.”
Afterwards, Vincent unwinds backstage as he picks through standard fan-presents from audience members; long-stemmed red roses, teddy bears and a specially-made t-shirt that says “If I Wasn’t Gay, I’d Let You Have Your Way,” a message that prompts a question from this reporter; what would the singer do if he actually coaxed a member of his target audience to spend the night with him after a concert?
“No problem,” Vincent says as he picks up his guitar and plucks the chords of a song he’s been working on: “I don’t want to get graphic–but I’d like to get Sapphic–with you.”