The ‘you’re tacky and I hate you’ kid from School of Rock is all grown up and writing songs about being gay in the Catholic church
Brian Falduto, better known as the camp, costume-designing Billy “Fancy Pants” in School of Rock, is now writing songs for queer religious youth.
Falduto appeared in the 2003 film School of Rock alongside Jack Black when he was 11 years old.
Now 28 and a rising “gay country” star, he is set to perform his new single “God Loves Me Too” at a Queer Youth of Faith Day organised by Beloved Arise, a organisation that supports and celebrates young, religious LGBT+ people.
But Falduto’s own relationship with faith and his sexuality has been complicated.
Despite finding fame for being the “gay kid from School of Rock” – and for the iconic line “you’re tacky and I hate you” – he actually grew up in a conservative Catholic school.
School of Rock star ‘was labelled gay’ for his role.
In 2018, Brian Falduto wrote for Advocate: “Believe it or not, in a private Catholic school in suburban New Jersey, it was not cool to be labeled gay.
“Not only was it uncool, being called gay was meant to be insulting. Because of my role in the film (as well as the way I carried myself, lesbi-honest), I was labeled gay.
“I didn’t know why my tendencies were considered wrong, but I just knew that I was meant to change.”
He added: “When I first auditioned for School of Rock, I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about me. That’s why I got cast. I walked into that room with so much pizzazz that they literally created a role for me.
“Then from 2004 onward, I spent about 10 years building up reservations about myself.”
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Falduto only started to accept that he was gay in college, and he began a journey of self-discovery that eventually led him to music.
Brian Falduto thought he ‘wasn’t worthy of love’.
On his new song, he told Out: “‘God Loves Me Too’ is powerful for me because I feel like it does a good job at encapsulating my life in a way.
“It really paints the picture of those painful, dark days when I thought I wasn’t lovable or worthy of love and then it celebrates where I am now, which is in a process of healing from that destructive mindset I grew up in, all within the confines of a storyline based in religion.”
He added: “I waited my whole life for the truth that God loves me just the way that I am — and that I don’t have to change myself or do anything to earn that love.
“This song is for that kid sitting in a church pew somewhere that hasn’t been told that yet.”