Jake Shears: ‘I’d like to say sorry to the Scissor Sisters. I could be an absolute monster’

Born in Arizona, Jake Shears, 42, fronted the band Scissor Sisters. Their 2004 debut album went to No 1 in the UK and the following year they won three Brit awards. Shears’ latest solo single, Do The Television, is out now. He lives in New Orleans.

What is your greatest fear?
Ending up alone.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My tendency to do everything I can not to disappoint anyone, even if it makes me miserable.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Having a complete blank on live TV two years ago. I was exhausted, it was as if my brain drained away for a minute and I stopped talking. I was mortified. It still gives me anxiety thinking about it.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A Henry Darger painting. Sadly, I lost it in the divorce, but it was a great parting gift.

What is your most treasured possession?
My library – it’s irreplaceable. I have books signed by Helen Keller, Raymond Carver, William Burroughs and John Updike.

What makes you unhappy?
Social media, love sickness and large groups of gay men.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My laugh lines.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
A music economy that doesn’t rely on subscription services.

What was the best kiss of your life?
Glasto 2004. I was very high, making out with the man who would become my partner for 11 years, with Little Richard playing on the jukebox.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Mae Martin.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
Years ago, I got in a verbal snip with someone at an airport, and he said: “What are you? One of the guys from the Village People?” If only he knew that I took that as a high compliment.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To the Scissor Sisters. Back in the day, I could be an absolute monster; I was a real asshole.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
The realisation that I am no longer young.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To last summer and do things differently – breaking up in the worst part of Covid was not a good idea.

How often do you have sex?
Definitely not enough.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Five years ago, a concrete plug, a little bigger than a baseball, fell off a building on Hollywood Boulevard when I was riding in an open convertible. It shattered the windshield. It really shook me. I still have it on my mantel.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A boyfriend.

What has been your closest brush with the law?
I threw a massive party 10 years ago and it was raided by police. It was hilarious: people thought they were strippers.

What keeps you awake at night?
Getting older and dying.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To pay attention to your gut.