EXCLUSIVE: Queer singer-songwriter Homer Marrs chats new music, debuts new music video

Known nationwide for his live performance of “The Facebook Song” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in support of the first National UnFriend Day, the Los Angeles–based indie rock musician Homer Marrs is back with his newest single “Ben!” 

After the success of his song “Happy Pride from the End of the World”, which hit #8 on the LGBTQ Music Chart, and his cover of Danzig’s “Sistinas” that stayed 12 weeks on the AltQ Radio Top 20, and reached #1 in August 2021, Homer Marrs is back with “Ben” — which he describes as “the acoustic ballad Morrissey and Billy Corgan haven’t had the chance to co-write yet.” 

An alt-rock pining for unrequited love, the song features bleeding-heart crooning over undulating chords. The title was selected as a nod to Michael Jackson, Crispin Glover, and Veruca Salt.

Homer Marrs celebrated the release of his new video at Precinct DTLA in Los Angeles, on Sunday, September 5. He was joined by queer sensation Zee Machine and singer/songwriter Alex Shafer.

The video will be released to the rest of the public officially on Friday, September 10th. However, it is now available to watch EXCLUSIVELY on Bear World Magazine from September 6th to 9th! Check it out below!

The video explores a performer’s process of coping with heartache and trying to make art during the grieving process while forcing himself to continue in his craft. The lyrics allude to alcoholism, substance abuse, regret, humiliation, and shame.

We had a chat with Homer to discuss the new video and what you can expect from him in the near future! 

Kyle Jackson: Can you tell us a bit about the writing of “Ben?” What is the song about or what inspired it?

Homer Marrs: Oooh, this is tricky. On one hand it’s about seeing someone you once dated go from being taken to being single again, and then realizing that just because they’re available doesn’t mean they’re available to you. So, that all-too-common feeling of “Hey, he’s single! …wait…” that we all go through with at least one person. 

On the other hand it’s about realizing your drinking or drug use is sabotaging your life. That was certainly true for me. I had to realize if I ever wanted to have the kind of relationships I was hoping to have I needed to get sober. The lyrics touch on that, but the focus is more on the other person, Ben, which in itself is an avoidance of looking at the real issue—the person in the mirror. Because it was easier in my past to whine that so-and-so didn’t have a crush on me than to address my own behavior.

As for inspiration for the title, there are three. I always loved the song “Ben” that Michael Jackson sang for the sequel to the horror movie Willard. I loved that they managed to make a sweet song about friendship from such dark source material (in the movie, Ben is a killer rat). When they rebooted Willard with Crispin Glover as the lead, he did a one-off music video for his own rendition of the song, which made an indelible impression on me when I saw it. It was strange, funny and sexy all at once. 

Lastly, I’m a big fan of 90s alt rock, and Veruca Salt had a song called “Benjamin” that I overplayed when it came out. But, the biggest reason for the name is easy: none of my ex-boyfriends are Bens.

KJ: How is “Ben” different from other songs you have released?

HM: In the past I wrote more from my head than my heart. I wanted to be clever and cute and have witty lyrics. I don’t regret that, but I realized I was doing it to avoid feeling. I had a lot of unpleasant feelings and I was trying to avoid writing about them. 

I don’t know if it’s that I’m growing up or just got tired of always trying to be cerebral, but the songs I’ve been writing the past year or so are much more emotional and rooted in feelings than thoughts. “Ben” is a good example of that.

KJ: Is there an album in the works? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?

HM: No! I am on the singles train for now. And I love it. The way music is disseminated and consumed these days is different from how it used to be, for better or for worse, and I have decided while I’m not on a label I will stick with releasing singles every few months. 

I go back into the studio in October with something new to share after “Ben.” I definitely have a lot of songs I’d like to record but because I’m independent I have to be selective about what gets produced.  

KJ: Now that things are returning (somewhat) to normal, how does it feel preparing to perform in front of a live crowd again?

HM: Well funny you should ask, because I literally played live Sunday evening for the first time since February 2020. We had the “Ben” video premiere at Precinct in L.A., and while it was awesome to play for actual human beings instead of squares on a screen, it was also a little scary. 

Some people liken playing live to riding a bike—once you know how, you never forget—but I think it’s more like calluses on your fingertips when you play guitar. If you do it regularly, your calluses are intact and you’re good. If you stop, you lose your calluses and get all tender and it’s uncomfortable. 

Thankfully I had a lot of friends and family come out tonight and shared the stage with some crazy talented guys (Zee Machine and Alex Shafer), and that made it easier. I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again. 

KJ: Should we look forward to any more songs or live performances from you in the near future? 

HM: Oh, absolutely. I would like to be a part of more bear events as I really dig the vibe they engender, but I’m also putting myself back out there to play all kinds of gigs as things start opening up more. I enjoy collaborating with different kinds of artists, not just musical, so I’m exploring opportunities for that as well. 

But, as for the follow-up to “Ben,” that’ll be later this year.

KJ: You recently curated the Bear World Magazine playlist on Spotify. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?

HM: Curating the Spotify playlist for Bear World has opened my eyes to the volume of untapped talent we have in the international bear scene. But because most of the artists are indie, few people know about them outside their immediate towns or circles. 

Something I would like to help foster and see develop is a greater community within this musical subculture. I’ve already seen artists collaborate who met via the playlist and I think that’s so awesome. It’d be great if we could get live music woven more prominently into the fabric of our bar, run, and party scene.

“Ben” is available to Pre-save on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Amazon. 

Follow Homer Marrs on Instagram, Facebook, 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.