Icon Boy George has been unveiled as the cover star of the new ‘Gay Times’ magazine as the publication undergoes its relaunch, thirty years after he first appeared on the cover.
In conversation with Adam Lambert for the accompanying interview, George speaks his upcoming Las Vegas residency show, releasing new music with Culture Club, finding inspiration to write music, his desired collaborations, his magnum opus, and reflects on how his life has changed since he first covered ‘Gay Times’ 30 years ago.
On his upcoming Las Vegas residency show:
“We are going to try and build a show in Vegas. I don’t really know whether it’s going to be like an extravaganza [or] whether it’s going to be something more of a one man show. So at the moment we are meeting with various people to sort of see what the view is. I am probably going to perform with guests.”
On recording new Culture Club music:
“At the moment, the next thing is the Culture Club record which we sort of half did over the last two years. We are also updating the records and this week we have been writing. It’s been such fun, I have to say we’ve laughed a lot. Bands are like families; you don’t really choose who is in your family and often you do not choose who is in your band. You end up with a group of people that you often have zero in common with and you kind of have to learn over the years to let people be who they are. It’s the trick of life!”
On finding inspiration to write new music:
"You have to go out and listen to what people are saying and observe and for me, as a writer, I write my best stuff when I'm trawling around. I don’t have to be on the bus — I could get a helicopter [laughs] but I like that mad contradiction. One night you’re doing a massive gig to 20,000 people and then you’re on your way to Waitrose to get some pickled gherkins!"
On his desire to collaborate with people he hasn’t yet had the chance to do so:
"Well Bowie was the big one. That was a real big dream of mine. I met him a few times and he was adorable and he knew that I was a massive fan. He was very respectable, he was always lovely! I like the idea of doing things with people that you don’t expect. I’d like to work with Eminem or Dr Dre, or something that that just shouldn’t happen. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work."
On what he sees as his magnum opus:
"Taboo: The Musical is my most complete moment. Ironically, when I was selling records I was never really having good reviews. I come from an era where critics used to really slag you off and it was kind of a sport, so I never really expected to anyone to say anything nice about what I did musically, but when I did Taboo, I got a [positive] review that made me cry. It was like about something that meant something to me. I was writing about characters that I knew very well [and] that I wanted to kind of play tribute to; people that had influenced me, that were part of my teenage experience and it was just so nice to go “right, I’m going to write a song about this person.”
On how his life has changed since his first 'Gay Times' cover 30 years ago:
"God, well, it’s got better! It’s taken a while, but it’s definitely got better. I feel that life is about growing into who you are. You know Quentin Crisp used to say “you have to push your neurosis around in your body until it can sit somewhere that you can live with it” and I think that’s so true. I don’t feel like I have a lot of neurosis. I’ve got a different type of confidence now that I didn’t have when I was 20, or 25, or 30 or even 40, where I just used to be so controlled by outside forces...inside forces. I also work harder, I eat well, I exercise, I’m very conscious of what I do to myself, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, so my life in that respect has improved. I think in our business, having self-control is such a revelation. It’s like “I didn’t do that, isn’t that amazing!” so I kind of enjoy that feeling of self-control, being in charge and just getting shit done!”