Bear duo MAN ON MAN discuss their new tour

Back in 2020, MAN ON MAN — a rock duo created by Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottum and his partner, Joey Holman — released the video for their first single “Daddy.” 

The video was a definite hit, particularly with the Bears. It featured Roddy and Joey embracing each other in their tighty-whities, sharing a banana, and seductively pulling on each other’s underwear! GRR! 

But, while the video obviously has some hot sexual overtones, it isn’t all about being sexy.  

“The statement of the song and video for ‘Daddy’ maybe is a celebration of love in isolation and is a love letter to the not-so-distant past of a place and time where we communed physically together with our queer community,” Bottum told Rolling Stone recently.

You must be living under a rock if you missed it, but in case you did here it goes! 

Since then, the duo has gone on to release more songs and videos, including the “1983”, “Stohner” and “It’s So Fun (To Be Gay)”. They also released their debut self-titled album. 

Recently, they’ve announced the dates for their upcoming US and European tours, with a handful of the West Coast dates to feature none other than the big, beary Big Dipper himself! We grabbed a chat with MAN ON MAN to discuss the tour and fulfilling their dream of bringing their music to Europe! 

Kyle Jackson: When speaking of your hit song “Daddy”, you made the statement that it was a celebration of “Love in Isolation.” Can you talk a bit about this concept and how/if it set the tone for the entire project?

Roddy Bottum: We created a collection of songs after driving from NYC to California at the onset of the pandemic. We’d been a couple for almost a year and though we’re both musicians, we hadn’t gone there yet; making music together.

Quarantining was a real ripe opportunity to explore that. We knew we’d be biding time for a while and wanted to stay creative while in isolation. At a small house in Oxnard we sat down with an upright piano and Joey’s guitar and a microphone and started recording. We didn’t have big designs for making a record. We were just passing the time. We wrote about each other and our relationship mostly. Daddy was one of the early songs we wrote together and we created the video together. 

Will from Imperial Teen came up from LA for an afternoon and helped us shoot the final shot of the video but otherwise we did it all ourselves. The isolation in quarantine was definitely a source of inspiration for us. It set the tone for the collection of songs.

Photo by Steven Harwick @schmuck.everlasting
KJ: The Bear community seems to have truly embraced MAN ON MAN for very obvious reasons, and you seem to have become figures in the body positivity movement. Can you discuss your decision to embrace the sexy “tighty whities” in so many of your promo shots and how you feel about the response?

Joey Holman: When we finished mixing and mastering Daddy, we were really excited about it.  We decided that if we were going to release a song, why not shoot a music video too?  Keep in mind this is in the middle of lockdown in early April, so there was absolutely nothing going on, so we had a lot of time on our hands.   

When we started talking through the concept of Daddy, the general feeling was that we wanted to have fun, and really the idea we had for us to be in our underwear was more a lack of self-awareness than anything.  We just thought we’d release the song and video and share it with our friends, so we had no idea it would get the traction it got.   

Us in our underwear became more of a statement than we had initially intended, which is a good thing. I personally deal with a lot of body issues that stem from childhood bullying from my dad and my brother, so to be simultaneously celebrated and hated for showing my body was a real new thing for me.  

At this point, it’s been almost two years, and getting in our underwear seems like second-nature.  It’s cool to see listeners of our band gain some confidence in their own bodies after seeing us in our underwear. It’s so simple but it’s powerful.

Photo by Steven Harwick @schmuck.everlasting
KJ: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming tour and what we can expect?

RB: Our live show is just the two of us playing our songs. Initially ,we were performing with a full band, and we’ll get back to that eventually. But, for now, it’s just the two of us.

We were a little hesitant to perform in that way — We’re both definitely more ‘band’ guys. Just the two of us onstage felt vulnerable and exposed but honestly, that seems to be working for us right now. It feels right to be starting the project this way, the same way that the songs were written. Just us.

Photo by AF Cortes (@afcortes)
KJ: What sparked your decision to team up with Big Dipper for your West Coast tour dates? 

JH: Dipper reached out to us after he saw a string of shows we had announced for the West Coast.  He asked if we were looking to have an opener, and we’re fans of what he does, so we figured out how to make it work. We’ve seen him play a couple of times in NYC, and I listen to his podcast (Sloppy Seconds), so it was a thrill to get the opportunity to take out someone as great as he is. 

KJ: You are taking MAN ON MAN to Europe! That’s exciting, especially considering I’m currently located in London (an American expat). What made you decide to add European dates to your schedule? 

RB: Getting to Europe and the UK was always a dream. It didn’t feel possible in the throes of the pandemic, but here we go. We’ve got a lot of sweet reach outs from fans over there and it felt only right to go where we’re appreciated.

We’re into meeting our people and bringing our people together. It’s a perfect opportunity. This first tour is a smaller one, maybe just 15 dates or something. We weren’t able to make it to all the cities we’d have liked to. Our plan is to go back for a more thorough tour in later 2022.

Photo by Brendan McGowan @unholyroman
KJ: Are there more dates/cities to be added? 

JH: For the tour coming up, it’s pretty locked in. But we have plans to probably go back later in the year and revisit some cities and add new ones. We really wanted to play in Italy and Spain, but it’s not as easy to get there as it would seem.

KJ: If you could invite any additional artists to tour with you one day, who would they be? 

RB: OMG like dream bands? Long list. We like to keep it in the family, so to speak and we’ve got a lot of family bands we play with in NY. Christeene, Liam Benzvi, Macy Rodman. I love DRMCRSHR a lot, we haven’t played with them yet. We really wanna play with IDLES. Perfume Genius would also be fun. Le Tigre. I love Machine Girl, Prolapse, Kill Alters, Galpal. Big Dipper’s gonna be a lot of fun.

Photo by Ross Halfin @rosshalfin

For more information on tickets and tour dates, visit manonmanmusic.com/tour.
MAN ON MAN’s music is available to stream on Apple Music, Spotify and all other streaming services.
Visit MAN ON MAN’s website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.