Amber Taylor: ‘I’m the sexual side effect’


The Sexual Side Effects

“The ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ is what we got going — except the one-inch part,” Taylor says in deadpan humor.

So how did the band come up with the name The Sexual Side Effects?

We came up with the name after all those drug commercials started coming out and talking about “sexual side effects.” Everyone has heard the term. It’s easy to remember. Basically, I’m the sexual side effect.

When was the band formed?

I’ve always had my solo projects and in 2007 came across our drummer, who is the founder of The Sexual Side Effects. Earlier this year the bass player and I started talking about reforming the band and all the stars started to align. All these opportunities came up. We found the right producer. We have a video person we are working with, photographers. The band is more than the four guys in the band — it’s all of us, from the booking agent to the photographer.

How long have you been performing and what goes into promoting SSE?

I’ve been playing music for 20 years. I learned to play the guitar when I was 13. I had a knack for it; I was born with a gift to understand the guitar. It’s just taken this long to get the momentum going as far as business. You have to understand business aspects of [the music industry]. There’s been very little sleep this year for me. If we do it right, we can go all the way.

When did you transition?

I started transitioning (with hormones) at 23 and didn’t live full time until 27. I’ve been slowly changing for 10 years. It basically took a long time to live different. The past five years people have been switching from saying sir to ma’am. I really haven’t told people in the straight world I’m transgender. They have no clue. The time is going to come when it will be time to announce it. Some will be upset, others will be like “wow” — trans people are just normal people.

I’ve been very lucky and that also gives me a sense of obligation to go out into the world — I have a greater purpose.

Tell us about the trans musician documentary that includes you.

I was contacted by the director — he does “Survivor” and “VH1 Storytellers” — because he loved one of our songs, “Aurora,” which is one of the big singles we are working on. We emailed back and forth and he had no idea I was trans. We talked about a friend who was trans and I told him I was trans. He was floored.

Then he said he was putting a show together and taping the pilot in L.A. It’s about trans musicians, spoken word artists. Being a trans musician is different because you are exposed to everybody. He’s shopping it around and the series will also go on tour.

Share some of your experiences being a trans musician.

One of the biggest things personally that I feel, as I change, is I’m not being feminine enough. I’ve come to realize that I’m the Joan Jett. Part of me is still a boy.


Top photo: Amber Taylor is the transgender lead singer/guitarist for Atlanta band The Sexual Side Effects. (Courtesy photo)