Strange Flesh

by Steve Slagg

  • Streaming + Download

    Pre-order of Strange Flesh. You get 3 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.

    If you pre-order, you'll get a download code for the full 10 track album + album artwork by Allison Van Liere in advance of the public release on 6/27.
    Purchasable with gift card
    releases June 27, 2019

      $8 USD  or more


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Will include Digipak with artwork by Allison Van Liere (photos by Jonathan Randall Grant.) Includes immediate digital download of three streaming singles, and you'll get a download code of digital files for the full 10 track album + liner notes in advance of the public release on 6/27.

    Includes digital pre-order of Strange Flesh. You get 3 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
    digital album releases June 27, 2019
    item ships out on or around June 26, 2019
    edition of 100 

      $10 USD or more 


  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 4 Steve Slagg releases available on Bandcamp and save 30%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Strange Flesh, All Souls' Day, All Saints' Day, and Pigshit and Glowing. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      $14.70 USD or more (30% OFF)


A Thousand Tongues
Craters of the Moon
Blessed Assurance
Dismemberment Song
What I Need
Saint E.
Still Waiting for the New Man


Steve Slagg's third album, Strange Flesh, is the culmination of Slagg’s life as a musician and his work–both personal and public—as a queer person raised in the Christian church (Slagg has been involved for most of his adult life with organizations providing LGBT support within faith communities). The album’s songs mingle intensely personal details from Slagg’s own life with stories that are not autobiographical but could be—the types of stories one hears over and over again when building long-term relationships within a marginalized community. A lot of these songs’ “I”s are really “we”s, and in their triumphs and tragedies, love and sexuality, excommunication and communion, they aim for truth, whether through memoir or fiction.

When choosing collaborators, Slagg chose to highlight his deep bonds within the Chicago music community, working with producers (and longtime friends) Lee Ketch and Kit Shields at Harlot’s Progress and engineer Dorian Gehring at Foxhall Studio. Contributors to the record include members of Mooner, Contorno, Dusk, and The Obleeks, as well as cellist Cathy Kuna and singer-songwriter Allison Van Liere. Ketch and Shields complement Slagg’s sad choirboy vibe by drawing out the inherent camp and humor in these songs, with arrangements that pay tribute to the baroque pop singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s, as well as queer artists from Queen to Judee Sill to Labi Siffre.


releases June 27, 2019

- Steve Slagg (piano, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, organ, vibraphone, melodica, harpsichord, harmonica, micro-KORG, EML-101, other synths & VSTs, vocals)
- Lee Ketch (bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, EML-101, Roland JP-08, other synths & VSTs, percussion, vocals)
- Kit Shields (acoustic guitar, vocoder, EML-101, stylophone, glockenspiel, vocals)
- Andy Ketch (drums, tambourine, shaker)
- John Gargiulo (12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel, acoustic guitar)
- Cathy Kuna (cello)
- Allison Van Liere (accordion)
- Julia Blair (viola)
- David Ketch (guitar)
- Dorian Gehring (synths)
- Choir vocals by John Bagley, Brent Bailey, Alyssa Barringer, Blade Barringer, Julia Blair, Josiahduke Harrist, Lee Ketch, Amy Myers, Kit Shields, Allison Van Liere


produced by Kit Shields and Lee Ketch
recorded by Lee Ketch at Harlot's Progress and Dorian Gehring at Foxhall
mixed by Dorian Gehring at Foxhall
mastered by Greg Obis at Chicago Mastering Studio
cover artwork / design / digital collage by Allison Van Liere
photography by Jonathan Randall Grant:


thank you to lee & kit, erin mckeown, linford detweiler, karin bergquist, daniel knox, david rubin, tim hunt, allison van liere, matt jones, blade barringer and brent bailey


for nancy, ray, gramma, and dr. foster


all rights reserved



Steve Slagg Chicago, Illinois

God-haunted, gay-of-center weird singer-songwriter with death problems

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Track Name: Strange Flesh
I was given strange flesh
And then for 29 years
It grew and it stretched
From my broadening shoulders
To my muddying shoes
It’s been flogged and it’s been coddled
It’s been worshiped and abused
They still get it wrong in the movies
They still get it wrong on the news
And it leaves me confused
It’s a mystery, but it’s pointing me to you

Boys like us bleed strange blood
It flows out from us like the songs that we sang in our old neighborhoods
Where we walked down the street, but we could never be sweet
Where we flew hand-in-hand, but we could never find land
Where we wanted to be the men our parents longed to see
No, what we wanted
Was to be
Not another sad history to repeat
It’s still a mystery
When you kiss me, it’s complete!

These arms I wrap around you:
They lost a friend
His heart was pumping strange blood right up until the end
Now I carry him in my bones
The world was too much with him, now my heart’s his home
The voice that whispers in your ear:
It sang in a choir
My feet danced in the Spirit, and my chest held fire
Now I sing that tune alone:
Dominus vobiscum, et cum spiritu tuo
But I can also sing with you
You look me in the eyes, man, there’s nothing I can’t do
But you’ll have to share my heart
It lies broken like Communion
And mine is the smallest part

Lover, we make strange love
When I’m with you, I do things I’m proud of!
We’ll walk down the street and go ahead and act sweet
We’ll fly hand-in-hand to every corner of this land
Help me say what I mean
I’ll help you do what you should
Our love may not be clean, but love,
I think it might be good
And if we are wrong, like they have told us all along
Call me a fool, love, cause I am
He’s a mystery, this strange man
Track Name: Barbara
Some moments flare out with love
Others, love sneaks silently in
We met on the sidewalk in slanted Spring light
We talked for hours and hours ‘bout the things that bothered us then
It didn’t mean nothin’ but it passed the night

You sat beside me, Barbara
In Blanchard Lecture Hall
The man with the bowtie was church
He said we are beautiful
But the beauty’s not from us at all
Neither one of us believed him at first

Barbara, oh Barbara
I’ll see you in September
When the poplars wear the night air like a glove
Barbara, oh Barbara
I think I’m starting to remember we are loved

When life was shit, we shot it and tossed back rum & coke
And then we learned better and prayed instead
And I still remember the letters
You wrote me when my Daddy died
Those letters were my food for weeks
Those letters cleared my mind

(And so we live)

Oh, Barbara
I’ll see you in September
When the longest aisle in Memphis bears you up
Oh, Barbara
May this song stand as a witness
We are loved
Track Name: Learning to Sing
I am a man’s body
Strung up on an old buck fence
In Wyoming
The arms are tied with twine
The head slightly inclined
As though listening
I have never been mine
At first I was a scarecrow
If you look twice, you can almost behold the man
I was chosen to stand for those who couldn’t stand

I am a school-kid walking
Southbound on 71
Ohio is frozen
I’m seventeen years old
I know all about this world
And it’s broken
Why and why and why
Should I call these people my people? 
Why and why and why 
Should I call this place my home?
I have never been mine
Now my body moves the nation
If you look twice, you could almost believe I’m  free
I was chosen to speak by those who wouldn’t speak
For me

When we go out walking
I’m still scared to hold your hand
I’m still afraid
When we go out walking
I’m still scared to hold your hand
I’m still afraid
On Belmont and Halsted
I’m still scared to hold your hand
I’m still afraid
When we go out walking
I’m still scared to hold your hand
I’m still afraid
But I was made to look just like the one who formed me
So hold my body tight, cos it never was for me
Someday I’ll learn to sing
Like those who learned to sing
Before me

Billie singin’ Strange Fruit
Johnny singin’ Lush Life
Nina singin’ My Sweet Lord
Antony sings Another World
Neil is singing Alabama
Randy sings Louisiana
The Duke sings Word on a Wing
My mother taught me to sing
Like my Daddy sang Jesus, Priceless Treasure
Like my cousins sang Great Is Thy Faithfulness together
Like my sister sings Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Like my lover sings Book of Love while he’s undressing
Like Nonna sang the Holy, Holy, Holy when she died
Singing Holy, Holy, Holy
Like Nonna sang the Holy, Holy, Holy when she died
Singing Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy Holy
Holy, Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy