May 2003
By Steven M. Housman

Barnes Makes It A Three-Way

Anybody that’s bought a dance CD or been to a dance club knows who Thunderpuss is. Even if you aren’t the “circuit type,” the name Thunderpuss has shown up on CD’s from Madonna to Tina Turner. If you’re not familiar with them, they are comprised of two remix masters, Barry Harris and Chris Cox. Now, with a new number one single, the artist Barnes joins the duo to make up a terrific trio called Thunderpuss & Barnes. Their very first collaboration “(Welcome To My) Head,” recently went straight to Number One. Now the threesome just launched their second single, and if my ears are tuned in properly, they should see life atop the charts once again. My conversation with Barnes included the topics of their songs, their success, and his take on their sexuality.

Your song “(Welcome To My) Head” went straight to number one, congratulations. Did you expect this to have the amount of success with Head as you have?

There was some early word from the clubs that “Head” might actually be a hit, but you never really know. There’s just a lot of traffic out there in clubland with every pop diva having a remix. So, with us having a darker underground record take the charts by storm was surprising, gratifying, and hey, lots of fun!

Can you tell when you have a hit song, or is it something that takes you by surprise when it happens?

That’s a really good question. Speaking for myself, I really do know when I feel a piece of music at a really deep level. I think, “Oh my God, if I connect to this as much as I do, certainly the rest of the human beings will.” Sometimes you have to throw a lot of money at a song to make it a hit in the present climate. Not every song gets its fair chance. But yeah, I think it’s instinctive and I think the public, the normal people who aren’t in the business, know when they hear a good song. We don’t give the people enough credit. Music is part of our lives.

I understand that you are gay and Barry Harris and Chris Cox [Thunderpuss] are straight. Is there ever any conflict, or does sexuality play a role at all when it comes to collaborating and the creative process?

Barry is gay and Chris is straight. As far as I’m concerned, I consider all offers! Chris is married and has two fabulous little daughters. Chris is a DJ and plays a lot of gay clubs, he’s probably the gayest straight man I’ve ever met! He is funny the way a gay man is funny and smart the way a gay man is smart. He’s been working in club music since day one. I think his first dance remix was a Paula Abdul single. In terms of working with him as the straight man, he’s actually more savvy with club music. Sometimes, more so than the queers in the room (Laughing). It’s kind of a fun discretion because with Chris, music is closely aligned to sex, so everyone likes to talk about sex in the studio.

What are you presently working on?

We have a fabulous second single that’s a really sexy little song. It’s called “Kissing In The Rain,” We’ve done a version with Thunderpuss and a version with Ricky Crespo of C+C Music Factory.

Are you currently involved in a personal relationship?

Well, let’s put it this way, I’m definitely a relationship-oriented guy. My image is the nasty rocker and I do have a good time, don’t get me wrong. You don’t write a song like “(Welcome To My) Head” and not get to play on that.

Well, I hear a lot of Bowie and Depeche Mode in your music.

That is so sweet for you to say. They are two of my favorite acts. Thanks for that, I feel even more inspired than I already did. Thanks!

© 2003 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.