Audacy host Annalisa at Chicago's 93XRT got a chance to speak with music, fashion, and LGBTQ+ icon Boy George this week about his upcoming Culture Club tour dates, as well as his biggest inspirations, the impact his late mother had on his life, and more.
LISTEN NOW: Boy George talks with XRT's Annalisa
Boy George and Culture Club are heading back out on the road this summer with fellow new wave favorites Howard Jones and Berlin, as well as a number of U.K. concerts with Rod Stewart, before heading back overseas for even more dates in Australia. Quite a busy time for the band, but an exciting one for sure.
"It's a lot more fun now," Boy George says. "There's just a different vibration that was always there but I think is just more now, about connecting with the audience and having that relationship with people that you've known for a long time. These people have followed you for years, some of them and it's really nice to go back... I would say, 'Everything is better when you arrive smiling.'"
Growing up a music lover in the '80s, Annalisa looks back on how she would use her clothing and records the same way kids do today as a sort of armor, while remembering Boy George as one of the most up-front proponents of self-love, individualism, and pro-LGBTQ+ messaging.
"I will say to my audience, as a kind of joke, I'll say, 'Everybody's OK, right? Nobody's had a funny time following me... Has anything happened to anyone? You're still married? The kids are good?' The audience laughs because they know what I'm saying; that we have less influence than you think. I was raised in a world that was very heteronormal, but I was still always gonna be who I was. My brothers and I ate the same food, drank the same water but I was born gay and I was always gonna be gay."
"A lot of my audience is not gay," he acknowledges. "I don't go on stage and think, 'How many homosexuals...?' I think Culture Club has always been this real eclectic mix of everyone. Lots of girls, lots of women -- the girls love me and I love them back," he smiles.
Family has always been at the heart of his support network. Although unsure of what to make of his personality at the very beginning, he says it was his mother, Dinah -- who passed away at the age of 84 in March of 2023 -- who first recognized that "it came from a really creative place. It was about self-expression. Once she realized that -- because my mother had been held back in a way by society and by my father -- allowing me to kind of sparkle was so important to my mother."
"As a son, I have no regrets. My mother was a beautiful, beautiful woman. I love talking about her, I celebrate her. I probably tell her every day I love her now more than I did when she was around, which is a shame. I think my mom really facilitated me being freer because she wasn't able to do it."
David Bowie, he explains, was also a huge inspiration in his life and life's work. "He was the light at the end of the grey, suburban tunnel for me," Boy George says. "When I discovered Bowie, I first heard him through my brother's bedroom door, 'The Man Who Sold the World,' and then 'Ziggy [Stardust]' came along. I think my brother moved on to Rod Stewart and The Faces, who I also loved, but Bowie was the one that I adopted because I suddenly realized that there were other people like me out there. Interestingly, Bowie wasn't weirdly gay, I just think he was very open-minded, and even if he was a bit, it wasn't complete. He just played with all those boundaries."
"I think people aren't interesting because of their sexuality or their gender," he adds, "they're interesting because of their imaginations and he used a very wide palette in terms of what he wrote... I suppose his way of writing really influenced me because now I realized you could write a song about anything and you can decide what it's about after you've written it. There isn't really some formula to writing music, it's about so many things."
"I feel as a writer, you've got to keep pushing yourself, and also looking back at what you did instinctively in the beginning," Boy George says. That's why these shows are always fun because you really get to see what certain writing does."
Listen to Annalisa's full talk with Boy George above, and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.
Boy George and Culture Club's upcoming The Letting It Go Show 25-city tour with Howard Jones and Berlin, kicks off on July 13 in West Palm Beach, FL making stops in Atlanta, Nashville, Toronto, Chicago, and Austin before wrapping on the west coast in mid-August. Tickets are on sale now via Live Nation. Check out the full list of upcoming North American dates below.
Boy George and Culture Club 2023 Tour Dates:
07/13 – West Palm Beach, FL @ iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
07/15 – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
07/16 – Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place Amphitheatre
07/18 – Atlanta, GA @ Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
07/19 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
07/20 – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
07/22 – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
07/23 – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theatre
07/25 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
07/26 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
07/28 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
07/29 – Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheater
07/30 – Philadelphia, PA @ TD Pavilion at the Mann
08/01 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
08/03 – Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
08/04 – Clarkston, MI @ Pine Knob Music Theatre
08/05 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
08/08 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
08/10 – Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion
08/11 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
08/12 – Austin, TX @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater
08/14 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
08/18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre
08/19 – San Diego, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
08/20 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion
08/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
08/26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
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