After 50 years of Searching, Elkton Punk Rock Legend Nathan Gray Has Found Himself

Fans of the famed Newark-based rock outfit Boysetsfire witnessed something new when 50-year-old Nathan Gray took the stage in Jersey City, New Jersey, a month ago. Members of Gray’s band shared this sentiment.

Gray was wearing a pink tank top in place of his customary black T-shirt. Jeggings were substituted for dark wash jeans. Gray’s neck tattoo expands to show off her makeup and lipstick when the post-hardcore punk music kicks in.

It was a novel turn in the career of a band that has been popular for over 30 years.

A few days ago, Gray finally made an Instagram post proclaiming that Gray is pansexual and gender-nonconforming/nonbinary/gender-queer; this was a milestone that had eluded Gray for half a century. (From this point on, they/them are Gray’s preferred pronouns.)

 

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After struggling with depression, substance misuse, and anxiety over their sexuality for a long time, Gray was able to let it all go.

They decided to stop being so self-conscious about things like how they shook hands. They’d wear anything they want. In the second half of their lives, they intended to be more at ease than they had been in the first.

With that burden no longer pressing down, Gray is free as a bird.

Pressing the “share” button on August 21, only four days before the Boysetsfire gig in New Jersey, caused Gray to have a sense of “Oh my, God, I may float,” he claimed.

The punk music scene has always been a safe refuge for misfits and the socially marginalized, but even that acceptance had its limitations. Gray almost escaped numerous times but always managed to get back inside in time.

Gray thinks this week’s European tour with Boysetsfire will likely be their last, but he has high hopes for his new punk band, The Iron Roses. (Other celebrations, like as Boysetsfire anniversary gigs, may be placed in the future.)

Gray and his diverse bandmates have a common goal of creating a community where people from all walks of life may enjoy music together without fear of judgment.

Nathan Gray Has Found Himself

A new Nathan Gray

Becky Fontaine, a member of the Iron Roses and the mother of a transgender adolescent daughter, has witnessed Gray’s transformation firsthand, both as a bandmate and as a neighbor in Elkton, Maryland, where Gray lives with his wife Katie and their two young children, Aleks (9) and Sophia (5 years old).

Gray had used several guises throughout the years to conceal their true identity.

There was a time when they joked that their long gray beard was a “wizard appearance” meant to convey manliness. At one point, to appear “rough and dark,” they came out as a member of the Church of Satan, rebelling against their background as the child of a Presbyterian pastor. They went so far as to adopt a Southern accent when they needed to conceal who they were.

In this new light, Fontaine perceives a new individual. As a result of no longer needing to conceal who he is, “even in his eyes, there’s less of a cloud, less of a panic attack happening,” she explained.

During the late ’90s and early ’00s, when Gray’s band Boysetsfire was at its most popular, he had a legion of female admirers who were enamored with the idea of having a handsome frontman like herself. It was true that they occasionally revealed their true identity to select individuals, but they always felt the need to hastily retract their statements.

She stated, “Nathan has the honor and the weight of being someone to which many people have connected such an ideal, and they want them to be what they have always viewed them as.” It was a huge deal that Nathan was able to perform with Boysetsfire in front of their fans as he and the band have always been, without the mask.

As the saying goes, “It’s a huge thing. It’s possible their followers won’t appreciate how much courage it takes since they have a certain ideal for what the artist should be capable of.

Gray and Boysetsfire didn’t glance down to observe blank stares from the audience when they stepped out on stage. As usual, the crowd came there to enjoy the music. Moreover, many of the audience members probably weren’t familiar with the band because they were only the opening act.

“They were really psyched to see somebody up there so lively,” Gray added. To quote the crowd’s reaction: “Oh, hell yeah when they saw someone like him on stage. Someone dressed like this and making such a racket has my attention immediately.

The Iron Roses Will Perform in Philadelphia

Starting on October 24th, The Iron Roses will play 12 shows around the United States, conveying a message of love and tolerance through the same roaring punk rock that Gray has been playing for years. The difference is that this time around, the audience will get to see the real Gray. Also, all you have to do is look at their happy face to know they are pleased.

Beginning on November 2 at Philadelphia’s Dobbs On South (304 South St.), the tour will continue around Europe in the months of November and December, where it will feature performances of all new material.

In the album’s last track, “That Said,” Gray digs into the band’s history while looking forward to its future. The fact that it was written during the epidemic suggests it may have some predictive value for Gray. While the song’s lines describe the agony, suffering, and terror they’ve endured for so long, the chorus gave listeners a taste of hope:

“That being said, I’m on the mend; that being said, I’m back on my feet; that being said, I’ve put my gloves back on and I’m ready for another round.”

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