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The GoPride.com Interview

Boy George


by Jerry Nunn
The legendary Boy George made androgyny a household word in the eighties as the lead singer for the group Culture Club. Born from the club scene, George led the band into having hit after hit before embarking on a solo career. His new album Ordinary Alien was just released and a tour is in the works. In the following exclusive interview the chameleon seems happy, while he reflects over past endeavors and is no longer playing "The Crying Game."

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, George. Where in the world are you calling from today?

BG: (Boy George) Hello, Jerry. I am in my kitchen.

JN: What are you cooking up?

BG: I have some broccoli steaming. I am a bit of a raw foodie. Do you know what that is?

JN: Uncooked vegetables?

BG: It is a bit more complicated and I could talk about it for days! I have been trying it for a while now and been hardcore with it for a few months. Occasionally I add a few cooked things but it is so rare.

JN: I imagine it was hard to maintain a diet when touring again. Were you on a solo tour this past year?

BG: I was with Grace Jones and John Fogerty. Who would imagine that I would do a tour with John Fogerty? It was quite crazy. It was an amazing experience. I would do it every year if they would have me.

JN: I wasn't aware that Grace Jones was still out performing.

BG: Grace had a new album out last year called Eye of the Hurricane. She is such a force. She is about to record another album. I am hoping to do something with her as well. We started this idea when we were on tour so we will see if we can get into the studio.

JN: The new album Ordinary Alien seems very positive. Does it mean you are in a happier place now?

BG: I am in a pretty gorgeous place right now. It makes people uncomfortable when you say they that. They want to hear your life is awful. That is easier to deal with I suppose. People look at me like they can't believe my life is gorgeous. I wouldn't say it if it wasn't true.

JN: You quote President Obama in one song called "Yes We Can."

BG: I thought his speech was very powerful and very moving. It reminded me of Martin Luther King. There was that kind of element.

"I Have a Dream" is a big house record. When I would go out dancing that was a big record. I wanted to make something a bit like that. Obama has a similar quality and I think he is a really good person. In a sense that is why he is probably doomed to fail because he actually has integrity. I have read both of his books and I do think he means well.

JN: Have you met him?

BG: No, I watched his inauguration when I was in prison (laughs). I remember thinking contrast…I wish him well. I think his intentions are good and that is why I used him on that song. I was my way of saying, "Yes I can."

JN: "Turn to Dust" is the current single right now?

BG: It is here in the UK. It is really nice to be working with a label again. I haven't done that for so long. It is great because things get done. It is nice to have organization to what I am doing. I am loving it.

JN: Your song "Same Thing in Reverse" from the album Cheapness and Beauty meant a lot to me as a gay man.

BG: Oh thank you so much. It is one of my favorites. I love that song and the video I did in New York. That album for me was a very important record.

JN: The music business has changed so much since you started.

BG: It definitely has. I find live music very exciting because it is the last tangible thing we have as musicians. Every thing else is downloadable. You can copy anything but you can't be someone live. No one else can be me but me.

JN: Is it harder to reach this generation?

BG: My generation had a real sense of musical history. I don't think people do now. People only really understand things that are in context to them. People say, "You are not my era." What the fuck does that mean? Pearl Bailey was not my era but I loved her. Bessie Smith or Sinatra wasn't either but all of those things were hugely influential on me as a kid. Our culture is very different now. We were talking earlier on how the industry has changed but I think people have changed. People aren't interested in things that are not on their iPad. You download it and there is an app. I think part of the reason is that there is so much music everywhere now. We are saturated with music.

JN: You have been working with producer Mark Ronson.

BG: He is a lovely guy and came around at just the right time. He is like a fairy prince. I was going to say fairy godmother but I don't think he would appreciate that. He came around at perfect time for me. I think he is very good at timing.

JN: What do you think of artists like Lady Gaga?

BG: I think she is amazing. When I went to see her live, my favorite part of the show was when she just sat at the piano. It was a bit like Elton John or Freddie Mercury. It was beautiful and I thought I wanted to more of that. I am not into the whole dance thing that she does but I do think there is real substance there. I hope she takes it to another level.

JN: You were going to be writing for Kylie Minogue?

BG: I did write for Kylie, a song called "Survivor" which wasn't used. It is floating around on the internet. It is one of those things that could happen. I will never understand record label people. The response that I got was it was "too Kylie."

JN: Really? That's unusual to say.

BG: That was the response we got but it did make me laugh. How can you ever be "too Kylie?"

JN: Would you ever do another musical like Taboo?

BG: I am not particularly known for doing musical theatre but I could do it. It would have to be the right project but if Andrew wants just call me, honey! That would be precious. There is a Tim Burtonish quality to what I do. I was obsessed with his movies. I have that in my genes I think.

JN: Would you write another book?

BG: When I was younger I didn't have an off button. It is not that I am more guarded but I think, "Do I really need to say that?" "Is it going to change anyone's lives?" "Will it make my life better?" So now there is more purpose when I am talking about things. Maybe I will write another book at some point. It will certainly be more positive than the last one I wrote.

JN: It seems like you are more positive now and are taking care of yourself.

BG: Yeah, and that is one thing about Grace Jones, she knows how to have fun. She gets pampered. She goes to the spa everyday.

She knows how to enjoy herself. When I was working with her last year I thought, "I need to do more of this." To love what you do and make a living out of it is such a rare and beautiful thing. I don't take things for granted anymore. I don't know what happened. Some big clouds are lifted from me head.

I was watching the Anna Nicole Smith opera the other day about her life. I was sitting in the box seat and thinking what a beautiful place this is. I have been there before but I don't remember being so awed by it. I feel like I look around more. I do see the wood for the trees.

JN: Do you think the law is harder on someone who is a public figure?

BG: Sometimes the law is harsh but there are consequences to things that you do. You learn unfortunately sometimes the hard way. Sometimes it's timing. Timing can have a great effect on your career but also what happens to you when you get into trouble.

JN: You are doing a reunion next year with Culture Club?

BG: We are doing a worldwide tour in 2012, which is our 30th anniversary.

JN: And doing some touring with this current album?

BG: Yes, in June in the UK. It is called Here and Now. It is a big eighties extravaganza with Jimmy Somerville and Belinda Carlisle is doing it. That is going to be fun. I have my own gigs as well.

JN: When are you returning to the United States?

BG: Unfortunately at this moment I can't get into America. I have my people working on that. I might be doing something for Oprah. If she can't get me in then there is no hope!

For more information on the man better known as Boy log on to www.boygeorgeuk.com and his new album Ordinary Alien may be purchased on iTunes.
 
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