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Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall reveals RuPaul’s secret punk rock past

Maggie Baska
·2-min read

Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall has revealed the Drag Race host RuPaul was a familiar face in the underground punk rock scene in the 1980s.

DuVall said in an interview with Metal Hammer that he remembered the LGBT+ icon being in the crowds while he played punk music in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1980s. He said he would often cross paths with RuPaul when he played punk rock gigs at the Atlanta LGBT+ venue, The Celebrity Club. The club also hosted drag shows in addition to punk rock music nights.

At the time, DuVall said he played the guitar with local band Neon Chris, and RuPaul was studying performing arts in Atlanta. Duvall said his band “wanted to play for everybody, everywhere”, and they would “play anywhere that would have us”.

“Our gigs at the Celebrity Club would have different countercultural mixes: you’d have the punk rockers coming to see us and mixing with the gay crowd and the drag crowd,” Duvall said. “Everybody was: ‘Hey, we like high energy music’, and we were so committed to our thing.”

He added that RuPaul was “part of that scene”, and he remembered the future global drag sensation as a “really industrious guy at a really young age”. DuVall revealed that RuPaul was “promoting himself as a superstar, way before anyone knew who he was”. He even said he asked RuPaul for some tips.

Duvall said: “He was plastering his flyers all around the city – we were wondering what kind of glue he was using cause I swear the flyers he put up in 1985 were still there in 1995!

“We were doing the same thing in terms of promoting ourselves, and in terms of that and the energy and the music, I think he recognised something he liked.”

Duvall said Rupaul would “come to our shows”, and there are even “tapes of him screaming at us from the audience”. Show the tapes, DuVall!

The Alice in Chains frontman also told Metal Hammer that he would love to reconnect with RuPaul and swap stories of their times at the punk rock scene. He even said he would accept an invitation to appear as a judge on Drag Race “in a heartbeat”.

“Our roads have parted,” DuVall said. “He’s gone off to do what he’s done, I’ve gone off to do what I’ve done, but I swear to you, I would love the chance to reconnect with that guy to say ‘hello’ because there’s so many memories we would have – there’s probably so many things that he’d remember and I wouldn’t and vice versa.”