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Uh…HOW DO YOU SAY, DEEE-LOVELY?!?! Our current reigning queen, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 10 winner Aquaria, has been burning rubber ever since snatching the crown. This week, the 22 y/0 served-up a MAJOR Fellini-esque five-page editorial spread for Vogue Italia … and her new Moschino x H&M collection by Jeremy Scott was just ru-vealed!!! Aquaria is the face, featuring […]

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Monti Rock III is Not Dead, Darlin!!!

Submitted by on Tuesday, 28 September 20102 Comments

NYC in the 70s would have been just another cesspit had it not been for the sparkle provided by the head queen himself Monti Rock III. Having scored two top 40 hits Get Dancin and I Wanna Dance Wit’ Choo, produced by Bob Crewe (The Four Seasons, Frankie Vallie, early Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack), under the group name Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes, Monti provided the soundtrack for many gay men who were celebrating newly found sexual freedom on the enfranchised dance floors in New York’s underground disco scene. After fame and notoriety hit from over 80 appearances on talk shows like Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin and a feature spot in mega movie Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta, Rock exited stage left with an addiction to booze, a severed relationship from Bob Crewe and a self-imposed moratorium on anything having to do with the glitz, glamour and gayness that made him beloved and in his words ‘a joke’. Now at 72, Monti is talking again…about life as a hustler, endowment (not talkin about money here!), the effete glitter years and… a new life as an ordained minister?

Zeitgeistworld

Hey Monti! What’s up with you?

Monti Rock

First of all, I thank you for searching me out. I guess most people think I’m dead. Right?

Zeitgeist

To be honest, I don’t think most people under 40 have any idea about you and your contributions. I was a bit surprised that your still doin’ it in Las Vegas.

MR

I’m working on a movie. The focus of the film is ‘hope and never giving up’. I see it as a guy, the first openly gay man in the 5os and 60s that got on television. The story should start with that. How being openly gay was very romantic in that era. What it was like to be a trailblazer. Everyone knew I was gay. I was very over the top, darling! If you donned long hair and beads and wore pancake make up in 1961, if that wasn’t openly gay, what was it? The ‘queens’ didn’t do that back then.

Zeitgeist

But I couldn’t find anything about you calling yourself gay. It seemed to always be inferred. You said you were bisexual.

MR

I loved women at one point, but I’ve always been trisexual- a man whose sexuality has always been his power. That’s what the film is about…my seduction! It shouldn’t be about getting old and out to pasture, darling!

Zeitgeist

You saw yourself as a seducer back-in-the day? How’d that work out for ya?

MR

I’m a romantic. I need to be seduced or be the seducer. Back in those days, sex was free of course. But I was different, I wanted my sex to count. My sex was very important to me. People talk about me being well endowed. I always felt I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t special enough. In the late 60s and early 70s, New York was the most innovative. We had Ondine’s (60s private discotheque in NYC)! We were having fun! The subculture, the LSD, coke, we couldn’t have enough of it. We couldn’t have enough sex. We didn’t want to sleep because we thought we’d miss something. But my whole world changed when I went to Europe…from a Puerto Rican little boy to an Italian noble member with a Spanish accent. My whole career began when I went to Paris and spent two years drinking up the culture. I learned the finer things in life. You don’t have to be Puerto Rican. You have to be glamorous and interesting! I was ashamed of being Puerto Rican. I was ashamed that I was a male hooker and that people knew I did porn movies. I was afraid that I’d be found out. I came back to New York and it was cultural fabulousness! It was the time of the hairdressers, from Kenneth (Battelle) to Annie (Humphreys) and me at Saks Fifth Avenue. We were kings, darling!

Zeitgeist

So how does a hairdresser from the Bronx end up on stage?

MR

In 1970, my life took a turn for the better when I became this underground disco Trudy Heller (70s NYC night club) act and I began to get the power of fame. I performed at the Cheetah with The Chambers Brothers and Halston did my clothes! It was an era when you didn’t have to have an act…You were the act! And then I got bored again and tried to commit suicide. I invited 600 people to my home and decided to die beautifully, like Lupe Velez (1920s Mexican actress who died from a drug overdose). I ended up in Roosevelt Hospital in a coma. After I recovered, my friend picked me up in the limo and I asked him ‘On the way to the hospital, were there sirens going (laughs)?’ I was a drama queen before drama queens were drama queens! I didn’t want to be underground.

Zeitgeist

You certainly served up lots of drama with Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes, two hit songs and instant fame.

MR

Get Dancin and I Wanna Dance Wit’ Choo sold 7 million worldwide! I’m finally getting paid. I never got paid for all those millions I sold. Everybody’s rich and living in mansions. Those of us who were trailblazers ended up with no money. It’s a long story and process of anger which I let go.

Zeitgeist

I’ve got some time

MR

I left New York in ’72 and went to Hollywood to become a night club act. I was drinking a lot, ended up crashing my car and Bob Crewe took me in and told me that I could have a hit record. But nobody wanted to buy Monti Rock! By that time, I was 28 and they don’t buy 28 y/o tired faggots who try to commit suicide and dance on The Tonight Show. So, Bob changed my name to Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes. I gave a promise that Monti Rock was dead! I go back to New York and met up with entertainment lawyer Freddie Gershon and my life started again. Being a disco artist was the real beginning of my life. That thrust me into money, the limelight. I became a gay disco queen, along with Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summers. I did three albums and toured for about three years. But I hated the shows! You have all these people and they want to play, they want to sing, and everybody has a problem. It became like I was the Mother Superior of a bunch of losers! I decided I wanted out and I became an actor. That’s when I got Saturday Night Fever. I did nine minutes as the DJ, playing myself. I never thought it would be a hit. It was, and by that time I had become quite a big night club act.

Zeitgeist

But you didn’t really play yourself. The character you played was straight. Many people say that you had an opportunity to really represent for the gay community, but you didn’t. Why?

MR

In those days, there were no press agents. You were totally guarded by the media. They were very cruel to me because I didn’t want to talk about Bob Crewe and his money situation. I wouldn’t talk about Disco Tex. They tried to pigeon-hole me as a joke, novelty! It wasn’t until I met my agent Ruth Bowen of Queen Bee Booking who gave me the idea that I could ‘break through’ by being a Black act. It wasn’t a gay act anymore. I became an R&B act. The money stopped. The performing stopped. I became angry. I never allowed myself to talk about it again. Two years ago Vanity Fair did an article on me and I started to speak again. I became obsessed with getting Monti Rock back again, and realized that Bob Crewe and what he had created with Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes was genius! I forgave him.

Zeitgeist

So you’re back in action now?

MR

Now I’m a columnist. I’m the Hedda Hopper (legendary gossip columnist) of Las Vegas! I’m an ordained minister. I do weddings by Reverend Monti Rock III. And I’m trying to do a show called Two Kings and a Queen- where you have Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and me, The Queen!…It’s about survival. When your name is a myth, people don’t know if I’m alive or what. You change your ways if you wanna survive. No matter what card has been dealt me, I will survive! It’s never been about the money. It’s about the fame. I believe so much in my legacy!

More from Monti Rock at montirock.us

via World of Wonder

2 Comments »

  • joan says:

    Monti Rock III!! Couldn’t wait to see him on Merv. Wish we could see more of him today.

  • Angel Robinon (Sherborne says:

    I met Monti Jan 1 1964 at his Apt.In N.Y.city Lost him when I move to England in 1968.At the time Monti had a club on the east side.We had more fun at that Club.

    I’m trying to fine him.I hope it you can help me.If you can help me fine. Please tell I’m Carl Gurevin dancer Freind.

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