September 2018 - Cover Story: Boy George & Culture Club
“Do you think we’ll have a great audience?”
I was surprised to be asked that question by Boy George, the flamboyant, soulful, lead singer of the legendary band Culture Club. I mean, it’s Culture Club! The moment we discovered that they would be stepping foot on the Sandia Amphitheater stage on September 27th, the community lost their minds. For many, Culture Club was a musical staple in the 80’s. With hits like Time, Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, it was not surprising to see the responses we were getting about people assuring us that they would be there to see him and the rest of the band live. The idea of performing together again wasn’t extremely new for the band. “We have been performing on and off for awhile now,” shared Boy George. “We would take breaks to work on our own projects then come together to perform at different gigs.” While Boy George love the experience of touring around the world there are other in the band that don’t see it as glamorous. “Jon is not a fan. He can’t stand riding on the tour bus and doing all that. He can do without that part.” But when it comes down to it it’s the love of the fans that keep them going. “It’s wonderful to be on stage,” says George. “The roar of the crowd is electric. There’s nothing like it.”
Culture Club formed back in 1981. The four men and the sound they wanted to create was one that took on a mind of its own, but it all meshed well together. “You know, I was goth,” remaninced George. “My musical influences were Siouxsie and the Banshees. But we also loved Marvin Gaye and music was changing from glam rock to punk rock, then electronic music. Soon I was asking myself when it came to what we were creating, ‘What is this noise?’ But we were creating this unique sound - Jon, Mickey, Roy and me - we were a potpourri of stuff we loved.” That love has given fans a discography of hits. But even when fans might know what’s coming, the band still surprises them when it comes to their sets. “We always play the hits, but we also do cover and new songs. I sometime find myself stepping on stage and saying, ‘You don’t know what we’re going to do tonight.’ It makes for an entertaining concert.” So, for New Mexico fans who wonder whether they will play the hits, now you have your answer.
The band has traveled the world performing their hits that span over a 30 year history. When the band started, they didn’t know where the road would take them, but as Boy George explained, he remembered when the band had that moment of accomplishment. “I could say it was the moment we landed in Canada for one of our first gigs and fans were screaming when we took the stage. Or it could have been Australia. I mean, who’s going to know us in Australia? But we still saw the some reaction. But I think the moment was when we played Madison Square Garden. That was the moment we stop being a club band and became a stadium band.” The band would go on to touring around the world supporting their albums including Kissing to be Clever and Colour by Numbers. The time on touring is something George looks back on and realizes that he was going to do things differently when it came to his personal time. “I realized that during the times we would tour and do shows that I wasn’t really taking time out for myself. People were recognizing us and because of the way I dressed I immediately stood out. I know now that need to take those personal moments, like getting to your hotel room and realizing how comfortable the bed is. I realized that happiness is a choice and if I want to be grumpy, I can also be grumpy. Being 57, I now take the moments I didn’t take before.” Culture Club is currently on tour promoting their new album, Life. This is the band’s first new material in twenty year. The album will official drop on October 26th and pre-orders are available now at https://bgcc.lnk.to/LIFEPR. Of the show Boy George says, “We put together an amazing show that is going to be filled with hits and fabulous memories.”
Even with the band’s original split in 1986, Culture Club continues to come together and bring the joy that many experience listening to their music. When Boy George thinks about career, both with his bandmates and solo, the thought of a legacy is a question that George was not ready to answer. “I hate this questions,” expressed George. “I was with Dolly Parton when a reporter asked that question and she handled it so well. I feel that I still working on that legacy, which is why I’m still doing tours and projects. Ask me again in 30 years.” If the first 30 years of their career is any reflection, it’s safe to say that he will be still be providing the world with more music 30 years to come.
Boy George and Culture Club will be playing the Sandia Casino Amphitheater on September 27th. For more information or tickets, visit www.sandiacasino.com/entertainment