Boy George talks pioneering career as Culture Club prepares to dazzle Wolf Trap
Boy George chats with OMCP’s Jason Fraley before his show at The Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. on Thursday.
OMCP’s Jason Fraley introduces Boy George to Wolf Trap (Part 1)
They were one of the biggest new wave bands of the second British invasion in the 1980s. Boy George & Culture Club will dazzle Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va., on Thursday.
“There’s a lot of hits because that’s what keeps the crowd in your pocket, so you always start with the biggest songs and then we find some obscure songs to stick with,” George told WTOP. “We feel lucky to be so successful. We make great, unexpected covers. There is a lot of love for us and we return it. The energy of the show was electric.
Born in Kent, England in 1961, George founded the Culture Club in 1981 during the neo-romantic era. Their debut album, “Kissing to Be Clever” (1981), featured a string of hits with “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya”, “Time (Clock of the Heart)”, and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”
“When I look at what I’m writing now, I’m not writing from a victim’s perspective anymore, but those early songs are a lot like ‘Everybody Hates Me, The World Is Horrible, Nobody Loves Me’ , so I was just expressing my younger, inexperienced self,” George said. “I wrote that song before I even traveled! It’s so crazy that I made that song that touched so many people .
Culture Club followed up with arguably their most acclaimed album, ‘Colour By Numbers’ (1983), including the hit ‘Karma Chameleon’ about someone who’s so worried about fitting in that they’re not faithful. to himself, ultimately paying a price for it.
“When you write about other people, you first write about someone in an accusatory way, ‘You did this to me,’ [but] remember you’re only speaking from your own experience at this point…but once you’ve made a song it almost becomes the property of the listener and they are allowed to see how it suits their own relationship said George.
After winning the Grammy for Best New Artist, their third album “Waking Up with the House on Fire” (1984) featured “The War Song”, singing “War is stupid, people are stupid”. George also sang with Band Aid on “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise funds for the famine in Ethiopia. George is the second voice between Paul Young and George Michael.
“You meet other artists and you think I understood what they’re talking about, but very rarely,” George said. “That moment, Band Aid, Live Aid, it became more iconic because of the distance. … I don’t think anyone realized how huge that was until we lost Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, suddenly that moment becomes huge. The story can change.
Other albums followed like “From Luxury to Heartache” (1986) with “Move Away” and “Don’t Mind If I Do” (1998) with “I Just Wanna Be Loved”, but the group’s lasting legacy could well be the whole set of music, visuals and a club of different cultures.
“What you wear says a lot about who you think you are, how you behave. If you look extreme when you walk into a room, you have to have some personality to be able to wear this. … I’ve had so many public experiences that I feel a little uneasy about who Boy George is. … The way people treat me when I’m in my finery is very different.
OMCP’s Jason Fraley introduces Boy George to Wolf Trap (Part 2)