Moulin Rouge: Boy George from the iconic band Culture Club returns to Broadway in a musical he calls ‘slap of joy’
It is well known that rock stars do not rise before noon, and rock stars are abundant Broadway shows every night sure to wake you up late in the evening. No Boy George.
“I’m not really rock n’ roll,” he said, laughing. “I’m more frock ‘n’ roll.”
The singer-songwriter and heart of the iconic band Culture Club is currently playing the role of the impresario in the Tony-Award winning. Moulin Rouge in New York City until May 12.
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The jukebox musical is a stage adaptation of the director Baz Luhrmannthe iconic 2001 film of the same name starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor. It’s full of pop tunes with Katy Perrythe Rolling Stones and Elton John.
“One of the great things about it Moulin Rougewhich proves my point, that pop music works in a theater space and theater music works in a pop space,” Boy George says.
Boy George, which was previously on Broadway in 2004 with taboois a spectacle in fashion and music, with a series of hits including Karma Chameleon, Do you really want to hurt me and Clock of the Heart.
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In a recent interview, he spoke to The Associated Press about returning to the Great White Way, his musical inspirations and how he is extremely happy.
AP: Welcome back to Broadway. How does this feel compared to taboo?
BOY GEORGE: It’s very different from my last experience, because, obviously, breaking a show on Broadway is a completely different story. Stepping into this big, boisterous, colorful show is a completely different experience.
AP: Is singing live with a band very different from being part of a stage show?
BOY GEORGE: It’s very different because you’re the boss. You have to decide what happens. If you want things to stop or change or take a different path, you can do it. You are in charge. And in this kind of environment, you’re part of a kind of well-oiled theater machine.
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AP: You get to sing a few Culture Club songs at the end of each show, Do you really want to hurt me and Karma Chameleon. Is that fun?
BOY GEORGE: If you want an honest answer, I would have picked 100 other songs besides those two, because I don’t necessarily think they’re the most important things I’ve ever done.
AP: Is it fun to play an over-the-top nightclub owner?
BOY GEORGE: One of the good things about it Moulin Rouge is it such a pleasure. He doesn’t need me, so I just add something. Do you understand? He works without me. But if you can bring something else to it, that’s really exciting.
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AP: The show has old and new songs. Do you find many fans out there going back to find the roots of today’s music?
BOY GEORGE: There are a lot of kids who dig a little deeper the same way I did. When I was a kid, I could have just hung on to what was on the radio, but I went through my parents’ record collection. I went into junk stores and found records like, “Oh, this looks interesting. Who is this?” I had that kind of positive spirit to find things. Even now, I get excited about discovering a singer I didn’t know.
AP: You have tattoos of musicians like Marc Bolan from T. Rex and David Bowie. Are they both in your music too?
BOY GEORGE: I think all the best music is a combination of everything you like. You know, people say to me all the time, “Oh, that sounds like Bowie.” And I’m like, “Not by accident!”
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AP: What does new music look like to you?
BOY GEORGE: You’re always going into this collection of ideas. There’s this kind of creative pantry that you go into and depending on your mood, you might pick out a bit of Nina Simone. You might find Drake and think, “Oh, that’s interesting. What would Bowie do with Drake?” That’s what I think: What would Bowie do with a disco record?
AP: It seems like you’re always putting out new music – on Instagram, or with the band We Are Brando, or on the Argyll noisy
BOY GEORGE: I’m probably the most prolific songwriter I know. I just write every day. I’m not saying all of them are gems, but I think when you keep making stuff, you get better at it, you know? When people talk about writer’s block, what does that mean? Because all the words you could use are already there. Where is the block?
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AP: Which comes first for you – melody or lyrics?
BOY GEORGE: I tend to hear a melody and then think of an interesting lyric. I always think that if you find what you want to say, you will find a way to say it.
AP: In your latest memoir, Karma, you write that you have become kinder to yourself and to others. That’s nice, right?
BOY GEORGE: If you had told me 10 years ago, 20 years ago, that I could really change the way I think about things, I would have laughed at you. I’d go, “Yeah, no, I’m definitely weird and opinionated.” And, you know, it’s nice to find out you’re wrong.