To the queer community on L.A.’s Eastside, Clint Yeager was not just another bartender — he was a rock star.
A longtime bartender at the Eagle LA, the queer leather bar on the border of Silver Lake and East Hollywood, Yeager was beloved by patrons and staff alike.
“He was an amazing light, an amazing individual,” said Eagle LA co-founder Charlie Matula. “He was my main lead frontman; if I wasn’t around, he was the go-to.”
Yeager, 53, died Aug. 15 due to complications from an emergency procedure for a respiratory infection, according to a Facebook post written by his sister-in-law, Bryn Yeager. Yeager himself had written about his struggles battling the infection in his last Instagram post.
The two posts generated hundreds of replies by people who had crossed paths with Yeager and spurred tributes across social media. One such tribute was written by Tom Walker, who described the night he first met Yeager. The pair would go on to date for five years and remained close friends until Yeager’s death.
“I think working at Eagle LA made his light shine brighter,” Walker said in an interview with The Times.
Matías Gomez Constenla, a fellow bartender at Eagle LA, called Yeager a “rock star” who drew his own following to the bar, where crowds would often congregate around where he was working.
“Even if he was so busy,” Gomez Constenla said, “he’d make the two to three seconds he interacted with you count.”
The bartender recalled a time when he was moving to a new apartment right after receiving his driver’s license; he was nervous to drive the large moving van, so Yeager offered to drive for him.
“He was such a great big energy to be around,” Gomez Constenla said.
Yeager grew up in Lubbock, Texas, where his mother worked as a professional clown, according to Walker. He moved to Los Angeles in the early ’90s and began performing in a variety of rock acts amid the burgeoning alt scene. Daisy Face, Sour, Speed Queen, Superfiends and BC were some of the many bands he performed in over the last 30 years.
Most recently, Yeager played rhythm guitar with the touring band GAYC/DC, an all-queer AC/DC cover act.
“You could completely relax around him and feel like you could say anything,” said Chris Freeman, who sings lead vocals for GAYC/DC.
Freeman first met Yeager when they were part of separate rock acts in the 1990s and had a lingering desire to work together. The opportunity came when GAYC/DC’s guitarist quit during the pandemic, providing an opening for Yeager to join the group. He went on to perform with them on tour this year.
Freeman never expected that would be the last time he saw Yeager.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Freeman said. “By the time we found out, it was like — wait a minute, he was going to be at rehearsal.”
When news of Yeager’s death broke Wednesday, Gomez Constenla helped organize a tribute event that night at the Eagle. Hundreds of people showed up to grieve together.
“As queer people, we have to look out for each other. We have to make our own families most of the time,” Gomez Constenla said. “Times like this, we lean on each other. We really showed up for each other.”