Yesterday, Kelly O covered the basics of the antigay onstage freak-out by Michelle Shocked, the popular-in-the-late-'80s/early-'90s singer-songwriter who this week drove a San Francisco audience to flee her show by pronouncing that God hates fags. (In the wake of the freak-out, a Shocked show scheduled at the White Center restaurant Meander's Kitchen has been canceled.)
Today, I want to take you back to the time I first heard that Michelle Shocked (whose first album I loved the shit out of) had a taste for the crazy. This was in the early mid-'90s, a year or so after the release of Shocked's Arkansas Traveler in 1992, and a friend had just come back from a national booksellers convention, where this friend had had an unfortunate run-in with Michelle Shocked and her furious husband.
The cause of the husband's fury: A claim that Shocked came out as a lesbian that apparently appeared in a book published by the publishing house my friend worked for. To make amends for this "false claim" of lesbianism, the husband angrily and loudly demanded that my friend stand in a trash can and apologize for publishing such garbage. He actually dumped out a wastepaper basket and ordered my friend to stand in it. Shocked hung back and watched the scene, along with everyone else in the vicinity. My friend did not stand in the trash can, and Shocked and her wacko dude eventually went on their way. The end.
Update: Here's a 1990 interview that might have led people to believe Shocked had come out as a lesbian. (Key quote: “I was with my first woman lover about a year and a half ago. To be honest, the real fear of coming out of the closet, not fear, but the real pressures of coming out of the closet had been if you had certain problems identifying yourself one way or the other.”)