From the land of grunge have emerged two sons of a preacher man who make infectious pop music, and whose personalities are as bright as the clothes they wear. Meet Liz Scarlett and Shazam “Tea Time” Watkins of Tacoma, Washington, the two youngest brothers in family of five boys and a pair of traveling ministers, who perform as The Fame Riot.
“We started playing music at a young age in church. Music was a spiritual thing for us, it’s how we began to create,” recalls Liz. “Our parents don’t travel for ministry any longer, and lots of things have changed. I’m sure they never imagined their children would become rebellious rock n’ rollers who play at bars and have women clawing at their skinny butt-less hineys,” he adds with a laugh. “Actually, our parents are our biggest fans, they’re so supportive of us.”
The pair admire gods of glam like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, and find style inspiration from their great-grandmother’s attic and the women’s sale rack at Forever 21. “We’ve always looked up to glam—the lycra, the spandex, the glitter, the shirtlessness, the big hair. It catches people off guard,” says Liz. “I like wearing what I like looking at. Not many people feel comfortable doing that, but I bet they would if they tried. Who says you can’t pull that off? Who says you can’t dress however you want?” “We have something different here, you don’t need to be or look a certain way to come to our show and be accepted. It’s very inclusive, it’s like a communion between us and the audience,” adds Shazam. “Our fans come in all shapes and sizes and shades and it’s just beautiful that everyone can come together and have a good time. We want to uplift people and bring positivity to others. It’s a party.”
Flamboyance aside, The Fame Riot makes seriously good music; they recently released—under their new partnership with Sony subsidiary Another Century—a new single, “Heart Stray”, a dance-floor ready popstravaganza that dares you to sit still. “We’re amplifying the signals of positivity inside us, things that resonate with us; we love to dance, we want people to have fun, enjoy themselves, and of course, dress outrageously and be free. It’s so freeing to be the weird one in the bunch,” says Liz with a laugh. “We challenge people to break outside of themselves and be ridiculous, and our music encourages that.” “Really, when you’re not genuine, nothing else matters,” adds Shazam. “We have a vision for what we want to accomplish, and music is only one piece of that. We’re ready to crash into some shit and get people talking.”