Five years ago, college student Jake Shears was wiggling his undies-clad butt for dollar-clutching horndogs in a New York City wormhole appropriately called I.C. Guys. Five weeks ago, his electro-glam quintet the Scissor Sisters -- an earnestly campy crew whose outre costumes and sweeping pop songs recall early Elton John -- was opening for the knight himself (a devoted fan) when Shears unintentionally gave an all-new peep show to 25,000 mystified English fogies. ''My trousers burst open and my d -- -fell out,'' sighs Shears, 24. ''So I walked over to my drum tech and had him stick a big piece of gaffer tape on my crotch. I had a total ''Velvet Goldmine'' moment.''
Such over-the-top shenanigans are what make the Scissor Sisters so damn fun. They've built a devoted European following over the past year with dazzling live shows, and their just-released debut album mixes new wave, power pop, disco, and a bumping cover of Pink Floyd's ''Comfortably Numb,'' which recently hit the top of the British music charts. Their first Stateside single, ''Take Your Mama,'' is a VH1 staple, and Shears hopes that the U.S. is finally ready for the Scissors' genre-busting gems. ''The American music industry would have no clue what to do with us without somebody showing them,'' says Shears. ''But I think we have a chance. My mom is hearing `Take Your Mama' at the gym.'' We.C. Success!