Tom Robinson with Carrie Chesnutt at the Rivoli (332 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, July 19), 9 pm. $18. 416-870-8000.
gay activist and musician tomRobinson is about to get a little straighter. No, he's not talking about his sexuality, which has seen some changes (see below). He's talking about overworking and aging.
"My whole back is locked up, and the chiropractor is kindly going to re-open this afternoon," he says after playing two shows at the Vancouver folk festival last Saturday. "It's good to have connections."
Which he definitely does. The 51-year-old gay rights message man and founder of the Rock Against Racism movement was first signed to Ray Davies's label, Konk Records, in 1974, recorded 25 albums as the Tom Robinson Band and the short-lived Sector 27, and created UK hits like 1977's 2-4-6-8 Motorway and the politically charged Glad To Be Gay, which climbed UK charts despite a total ban on the BBC.
He brought AIDS issues to the mainstream and was one of the first musicians to address human rights concerns on his album jackets.
The award-winning documentarian and father of two is still playing his folk/rock songs of protest, love and forgiveness.
But he's starting to mellow out. He just returned from working in Greece at a holistic retreat, teaches digital moviemaking in London to 12-year-olds and continues his radio projects on the BBC. But it's his music that keeps the finances afloat.
"The radio work is a labour of love, because it gives you an outlet for self-expression," he says, prepping for tonight's (Thursday, July 19) gig at the Rivoli. "The music actually brings home the bacon."
Home is in Wimbledon, where he lives with a female partner and their two kids. He won't give any details about his personal life, after getting burned by a British tabloid in 1988 that reported he'd said it was better to be heterosexual.
"Oh, "Gay star turns straight' -- what a great story. Of course, I didn't talk to the scumbags, so they made it all up.
"I really hate those celebrities in Hello! Magazine showing off their beautiful home and lovely children. It's not fair for those kids -- they need to be known as their own person. So I know that I'm fair game for anything they write about me, even if it's off. The kids just have the misfortune to have me as father and partner."