Boy George interview: Culture Club legend announces new album and recalls 'beautiful' Band Aid

16 December 2020, 16:03 | Updated: 23 December 2020, 16:10

Virtual Coffee Break: Boy George on Culture Club's special gig and new solo album

By Tom Eames

Boy George and Culture Club are back with a new special concert, which he hopes will provide some light and laughter after a challenging year for many.

Culture Club will be staging a one-off concert at Wembley this Saturday (December 19), which will be live streamed to fans around the world.

Rainbow in the Dark promises to be a must-watch event for Boy George and pop fans everywhere, with tickets available here.

Smooth's Jenni Falconer caught up with George ahead of the gig for our latest Virtual Coffee Break, where he revealed how Taylor Swift inspired him to release a new solo album Cool Karaoke, looked ahead to turning 60 next year, and looked back on his time in Band Aid.

Watch the interview in full above.

Boy George & Culture Club In Concert
Boy George & Culture Club In Concert. Picture: Getty

Speaking about the gig, George told Jenni: "We’ve made a lot of plans this year and almost got there and then it was thwarted. So I think the main thing is that you’ve just got to try, you’ve got to try and do something.

"And hopefully this won’t go on forever but for now let’s try and support each other. We’ve given free tickets to anyone who’s a first responder or a health worker, so if you’ve got a nurse’s outfit or anything like that and you want to have a night in watching us sing some old songs, be our guest!

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"It’s a nice thing to do and I think when this originally was put to me I was like, 'Sounds really complicated!' But now I really want to get it done."

George also spoke of his excitement about his next plans, which includes a surprise brand new album called Cool Karaoke.

He explained: "I think the music industry, there’s too many restrictions. This is supposed to be rock and roll! So many people are telling you, 'You can’t do this and you can’t do that and we can’t play this and we can’t play that.'

Whatever happens, what has gone wrong that it’s become almost like a bit of a cliché, really, pop culture and to be rallying against it at almost 60, I don’t know, I feel kind of invigorated by it.

"People keep saying, 'Don’t put an album out, nobody likes albums.' And then Taylor Swift drops an album like out of nowhere. And I’m thinking, 'Well, if Taylor Swift’s doing it, I’m putting out an album!'

Read more: Culture Club's greatest ever songs

"So I have an album ready but I wasn’t sure whether people had an interest for albums, but it seems my audience wants albums, they want complete bodies of work. So it’s coming at Christmas, Cool Karaoke’s the name of the album and it’s all new stuff and I’m very, very proud of it."

George also reflected on his appearance in Band Aid, where he famously took on the iconic opening lines of 'Do They Know It's Christmas'.

"I got a phone call from Bob Geldof, I was in New York," he said. "I didn’t even know Bob, I just had this guy shouting on the phone saying, 'You must come back to London, we’re doing this studio session, it’s only one day, you have to be here or you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life!' Something along those lines.

Do they Know it's Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984

"So I thought, 'Alright, I better go back.' And I don’t think anybody knew what we were going back for but now obviously, all these years on...

"What was interesting about Band Aid, you had Bob who was quite belligerent and he was tough, he was a tough guy, but the basis of it was, I think there was a real deep need to do something loving.

"And so it kind of over-rid all these egos, you had all these American promoters that were trying to stop it and saying it’s never going to happen, and somehow, against all those odds, Bob Geldof managed to pull off this huge, not only Band Aid but Live Aid.

"It was a beautiful, passionate project, it’s incredible to look back and think I was part of that, accidentally, and I loved it."

Culture Club's Rainbow in the Dark show airs live on Saturday, December 19.