Page 295 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 11                       277

             during his 1996-1999 involvement with the Dutch owner. He asked specifi-
             cally for my comments. Similar to my take on early Drummer, his take on
             final Drummer was:

                I had landed in the land of lunatics....the tension in the office was
                so thick that it was impossible to get anything done. The company
                had serious problems that could not be...tackled by this backbiting,
                screaming, hysterical rabble.

                Overall, Davolt’s writing about Drummer is more about the economic
             collapse of greedy queers doing “bad gay business”—like John Embry and,
             as he alleged, Martijn Bakker—than it is about the esthetics or the erotica
             of Drummer, which, of course, was the essence of Drummer.
                However long Davolt was conscious he was ill, he sought to share his
             eyewitness experience with me because he figured that, among others, I
             would outlive him and could promote his book. He alleged in his 2001
             “Outline” to his Rise and Fall:

                The real undoing of Desmodus [DeBlase’s iteration of Drummer]
                was a December 1997 agreement signed by then General Manager,
                Greg Byfield. It transferred all the [Drummer] trademarks [as pur-
                ported to exist] to an AKKV, BV, a Dutch holding company.

                His expose continued at length with details I don’t feel free to disclose. I
             will note that Davolt, trying to keep Drummer afloat, felt more than a little
             betrayed that he did not know of this two-year-old agreement—allegedly to
             gut Drummer and drain its money—until 1999. Davolt had been kept out
             of the loop. He felt he had been used as a Dutch puppet with hollow job
             titles like “publisher” and “promoter” to keep Drummer and the Drummer
             Contest looking alive and legitimate. While that Dutch insult contributed
             to his suffering in the last days of his life, did he ever realize that Embry
             was also a famous puppeteer? All puppets have strings, unless there’s a hand
             up their ass.
                Davolt never pretended to be an artist, a critic of art, or an erotic writer.
             He was a talker. A producer. Blogging made him a “journalist.” He was a
             business manager. He appreciated our old-school Drummer mystique and
             was desperate to be identified as part of that mystique. Like John Rowberry,
             Davolt was exploited by Embry as a virtual and complicit sex-slave hire.
             Our 1970s origin story and development of Drummer, predating him, was
             beyond his ken and capacity. He knew it. He died with that disappointment.

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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