Jayne County

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Jayne County
Jayne County 2 by David Shankbone.JPG
County at the première of Squeezebox! at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
Background information
Birth name Wayne Rogers
Born 1947
Dallas, Georgia, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actress
  • DJ
  • Vocals
  • harmonica
  • percussion
  • Safari
  • Attic
  • Revolver
  • ESP
  • Royalty
  • Fang
  • Ratcage
  • Munster
  • Poptown
Associated acts
Website www.jaynecounty.com

Jayne County (born 1947) is an American performer, musician and actress whose career has spanned five decades. Formerly known as Wayne County, she went on to become rock's first transgender singer.

County did not think her birth name Wayne Rogers "sounded very glamorous" and decided to adopt the name of the county in which Detroit was located because she admired bands from that city "like Iggy [Pop] and all those people."[2] Though she has never been a commercial success, she has been an influence on a number of musicians including David Bowie, The Ramones, Patti Smith, Pete Burns and Lou Reed.[3] Pianist Jools Holland's first studio outing was with County on her single "Fuck Off".

County is known for her outrageous stage antics and her songs "Are You Man Enough to Be a Woman", "Fuck Off", "Stuck on You," and "Night Time". She also appeared as an actress at Andy Warhol's The Factory.


Early years[edit]

Born Wayne Rogers in 1947, County left her hometown of Dallas, Georgia, in 1968 to move to New York City, where she became a regular at the Stonewall Inn and took part in the historic riots.[4] In 1969 County was asked by Warhol superstar and playwright Jackie Curtis to appear in her play, Femme Fatale. The play had a successful run at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and also starred Patti Smith. In her autobiography, County says of Curtis, "She was my biggest influence, the person who really got me started."[5]


After appearing in Femme Fatale, County wrote the play World - Birth of a Nation (The Castration of Man). The play was directed by Tony Ingrassia and promoted as a "homosexual fantasy." The play was set in a hospital and related to castration of the male sex. Wayne played both Florence Nitingale and her sister Ethel Nitingale, and the play also featured Cherry Vanilla who played a nurse named Tilly Tons.[6]

After seeing County in the play, Warhol cast her in his own theatrical production of Pork, which was also adapted and directed by Tony Ingrassia.[7] After a run in New York, the play was performed in London with the same New York cast. Upon returning to New York, County appeared in another play, Island by Tony Ingrassia, again with Patti Smith.[8]

In 1972 County formed Queen Elizabeth, one of the pioneering proto-punk bands. County was signed to MainMan Artistes, David Bowie's management firm, no records were ever produced. The company spent over $200,000 to film the 1974 stage show, "Wayne at the Trucks", but footage has never been released. The show featured numerous costume changes and some of County's raunchiest material. Eight songs from the show were released on the 2006 album, Wayne County At the Trucks, on Munster Records. County claims the show was the inspiration for Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour.[9] In particular, County maintains that the song "Queenage Baby" was a prototype for Bowie's song "Rebel Rebel", a claim which is supported by some rock critics.[10][11]

In 1974 County formed Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys, which recorded three tracks for Max's Kansas City: New York New Wave, a compilation that also featured Suicide, Pere Ubu, Cherry Vanilla and The Fast. Wayne County and The Backstreet Boys played regularly at CBGB and Max's Kansas City, where County was also a DJ. In 1976, she appeared in the film The Blank Generation, directed by Amos Poe and Ivan Kral. The film, the recording and the shows were the beginnings of what came to be known as punk rock, and helped define the movement.[12]

In 1977 County moved to London, where the English punk scene was just emerging, and formed Wayne County & the Electric Chairs. County released the EP Electric Chairs 1977, plus a single on Illegal Records. This was followed by "Fuck Off", recorded as a single for Safari Records and supported with a European tour. While in London, County met Derek Jarman, who cast her as "Lounge Lizard" in the seminal punk film Jubilee, which also starred Adam Ant, Toyah Willcox, Ian Charleson, Little Nell and Jordan.[13] County and band are also featured in The Punk Rock Movie, by Don Letts, containing part of a 1977 performance at The Roxy club in London.

Shortly after this, Wayne County and The Electric Chairs recorded their first, eponymous album, as well as another EP, Blatantly Offensive, which contained "Fuck Off" and "Toilet Love." After their touring in support of these releases was done, they recorded Storm the Gates of Heaven. Their next album, released in 1979, was Things Your Mother Never Told You, which featured several songs based on County's experiences in Germany. The album was produced by David Cunningham.[14] After it was released, the band broke up and County, along with guitarist Eliot Michaels, returned to the U.S.

When County moved to Berlin in 1979, she changed her stage name to "Jayne County",[15] publicly identifying as a woman for the first time. County's release of Rock and Roll Resurrection (In Concert) on Safari Records, was under this new name. The first live show under County's new name in Toronto, Canada, sparked erroneous rumors of a sex change operation.[13]


In 1983 County returned to New York where she appeared in the theatrical production Les Girls with Holly Woodlawn. Shortly thereafter she returned to London for the première of City of Lost Souls and stayed long enough to record and tour another album, Private Oyster, with Warren Heighway as manager. Her band included members of various UK based rock bands, including Manchester-based guitarists, Stu Clarke and Chris Lynch [Rockson], Mark Pearson on bass and Bazz Creece on drums.[16] Following widespread media attention, she returned to the U.S.

In the 1990s, many of County's earlier recordings were released, including the early Safari tracks, on a CD called Rock & Roll Cleopatra. She recorded the album Goddess of Wet Dreams in 1993, followed by Deviation in 1995. Later that year, she appeared in Wigstock: The Movie and released her autobiography, Man Enough to Be a Woman.[5]

Since that time several new tracks have surfaced on various compilations and through County's official website. Many of these tracks, both live and studio recordings, were collected on the Ratcage Records release So New York, including collaborations with Lisa Jackson and former Electric Chairs guitarist Eliot Michaels. A live show, recorded on County's birthday, was released on the 2002 CD Wash Me in the Blood (of Rock & Roll)- Live at Squeeze Box by Fang Records.[17] The CD features a duet on "California Sun" by County and former nemesis "Handsome" Dick Manitoba of The Dictators.

After leaving New York City, County settled in the Atlanta area where she has a band called the Electrick Queers with guitarist Jet Terror, bassist Gary Yoxen, and drummer Rob Kirkland. In 2014 she released a DVD of Wayne/Jayne County and The Electric Chairs, Live in Germany from 1978.[18] On July 22, 2015, Jayne County & the Electrick Queers headlined ARMageddon, to benefit Blast-Off Burlesque's Trey Chic.[19]

Personal life[edit]

According to her autobiography, County has not had a sex change operation, but does take female hormones.[5]



Year Title Director(s)
1975 Night Lunch Ivan Kral and Amos Poe
1976 The Blank Generation Ivan Kral and Amos Poe
1977 Punk in London Wolfgang Büld
1977 The Punk Rock Movie Don Letts
1978 Jubilee Derek Jarman
1982 Stadt der verlorenen Seelen (City of Lost Souls) Rosa von Praunheim
1995 Wigstock: The Movie Barry Shils
1999 Born to Lose: The Last Rock and Roll Movie Lech Kowalski
2001 Freaks, Glam Gods and Rock Stars Tim Ryan
2003 End of the Century Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia
2007 King of Punk Kenneth van Schooten
2008 Squeezebox! Steven Saporito and Zach Shaffer
2009 Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB Mandy Stein
2010 Beautiful Darling James Rasin
2012 Jobriath A.D. Kieran Turner


Year Title Label
1978 The Electric Chairs Safari
1978 Storm the Gates of Heaven Safari
1979 Things Your Mother Never Told You Safari
1980 Rock and Roll Resurrection (In Concert) Safari/Attic Records Limited
1986 Private Oyster Revolver
1993 Goddess of Wet Dreams ESP
1995 Deviation Royalty
2002 Wash Me in the Blood (of Rock & Roll)- Live at Squeeze Box Fang
2003 So New York Ratcage
2006 Wayne County at the Trucks Munster
Extended plays
Year Title Label
1976 Max's Kansas City 1976 Ram Stereo 1213
1977 The Electric Chairs Illegal
1978 Blatantly Offensive Safari
  • "Twist and Shout"/"Boys" with Jimi LaLumia & The Psychotic Frogs/also featuring Johnny Thunders and Cherry Vanilla-Beat This Label-1981
  • "Razor Clam", (with She Wolves), Poptown Records 2007
  • "California Uber Alles", (with She Wolves), Poptown Records 2007
  • "Hail Satan!", (with Sharon Needles), Independent 2013


  • Man Enough to Be a Woman, Jayne County with Rupert Smith, 1995, published by Serpents's Tail ISBN 1-85242-338-2


  1. ^ "Wayne County - Singles". Punk77. Retrieved September 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ Zehentner, Steve. Jayne County, The Lower East Side Biography Project, excerpt from 28 minute biography. Vimeo. Event occurs at 00:15. 
  3. ^ Auslander, Philip (2006), Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music, retrieved 16 September 2015 
  4. ^ Why was transgender punk idon Jayne County banned from Facebook?, 23 April 2014, retrieved 15 September 2015 
  5. ^ a b c County, Jayne; Smith, Rupert (1995), Man Enough to Be a Woman, Serpents's Tail, ISBN 1-85242-338-2 
  6. ^ World - Birth of a Nation, retrieved 16 September 2015 
  7. ^ Lalumia, Jimi, Wayne County At The Trucks 
  8. ^ McNeil, Legs; McCain, Gillian (1996), Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, retrieved 15 September 2015 
  9. ^ Fox, Katrina (August 24, 2006). "Complete and Utter County". SX News. Archived from the original on September 5, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Punk Globe Magazine Online". Punkglobe.com. Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Wayne County At The Trucks- Review". 
  12. ^ Finney, Ross (2012), A Blank Generation: Richard Hell and American Punk Rock (PDF), retrieved 15 September 2015 
  13. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (2007), The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Omnibus, retrieved 16 September 2015 
  14. ^ Thompson, Dave, Jayne County & the Electric Chairs: Things Your Mother Never Told You, Allmusic, retrieved 16 September 2015 
  15. ^ Summers, Claude J. (2004), The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance, & Musical Theater, Cleis, retrieved 15 September 2015 
  16. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000), Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, retrieved 15 September 2015 
  17. ^ Mason, Stewart, Wash me in the blood of rock and roll, Allmusic, retrieved 16 September 2015 
  18. ^ Nichols, JamesMichael (10 August 2014), After Dark: Jayne County, Transgender Musician And Nightlife Icon, retrieved 15 September 2015 
  19. ^ Williams, Jonathan (21 July 2015), Jayne County & the Electrick Queers bring ARMageddon to the Earl, retrieved 16 September 2015 

External links[edit]