“It’s really down to the fact that everyone was asking, ‘Is George in the band?’”
So explains Boy George why his classic Eighties pop outfit Culture Club now has his name topping marquees.
“They did briefly attempt to replace me. I’m told it was a total disaster,” laughs the singer.
There’s no replacing London’s George O’Dowd, 57, nor his Culture Club bandmates: Roy Hay, guitar; Mikey Craig, bass; and Jon Moss, drums. They owned the Reagan/Thatcher years with an infectious string of hits that deftly referenced Trojan Records reggae, Motown, and late Seventies electro-pop on dance floor fillers “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” “Church of the Poison Mind,” and “Karma Chameleon.” George’s croon and inability to be anything other than himself brought cross-dressing sexuality right into American homes via MTV. For many a misfit kid of that time, Boy George was their David Bowie.
Though he admits his references emanate from his Seventies youth, and that Culture Club will give us the hits live, the UK quartet is also serving up their forthcoming album, Life. If astonishing 2014 ballad “More Than Silence” is indicative, this may be the band’s best music.
“[‘Silence’] was the beginning of saying, ‘We really need to embrace who we are now,’” explains George. “You can’t be what you were 30 years ago, and it would be insane to try and be that person. This album is called Life, and it’s really a reflection of everything we’ve been through personally, emotionally, publicly. It’s quite inward-looking.
“It’s a little bit cynical, it’s a little bit optimistic [laughs]. It’s got everything, every emotion.”
Tue., July 10, 8pm