Culture Club — then, now … and foreverSection 4A, Entertainment News, Entertainment Feature Thursday, November 13th, 2014
Boy George has reunited with the band that brought him international stardom, Culture Club, for a new tour and album which is preceded by the lead single “More Than Silence”.
With a career spanning over 30 years, the Grammy Award-winners first shot to international stardom in the 1980s as one of the U.K.’s biggest exports of the 20th century. A multi-racial band, with an openly gay frontman, Culture Club was ahead of the curve. They went on to become the first group since The Beatles to have three Top Ten hits in the United States from a debut album alone, selling in excess of 100 million singles and over 50 million albums worldwide, with top 10 hits in every country.
Culture Club leap into the 21st century with tracks from their new album, “Tribes”, which will be released in early 2015. Boy George explains, “We took everything we loved, unashamedly, all of our influences. The album is very eclectic with guitar-focused tracks, not typical Culture Club.” Featuring all of the original band members – Boy George, Jon Moss, Mickey Craig and Roy Hayes – Culture Club first reunited almost three years ago. George and the rest of the band are in this for the long haul, a sentiment that suggests ideas have been explored well beyond a tour and an album.
The album will be the band’s first new music in 18 years. Produced by electronic music pioneer and producer, Youth (The Verve, Killing Joke, The Cult, Crowded House, Primal Scream), it promises to be both innovative and intimate. George has cited Depeche Mode and U2 as inspirations for this new release. The single “More Than Silence” easily echoes their contemporaries’ influence as George describes it as, “a different kind of sound for us,” but acknowledged that it has had great reactions. One of the band’s other new tracks is the show-closing encore song, “Runaway Train” which George describes as “channeling our inner Johnny Cash”. George has also Tweeted about remixes for the aptly titled “Moody Monday” and the first single. Both songs will appear on the new album.
Culture Club has already performed a couple of warm-up shows to prepare for the upcoming tour. “The last time we toured was about 14 years ago,” said George. “After all that time when we were all on stage together it was quite magical. What we do together – it’s special.” As TheGuardian reports from their recent show at the infamous London club, Heaven, their sets promise some new music supported with now timeless classics such as “Karma Chameleon” and Boy George’s quite personal “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”. In a conversation with Boy George last week, he shared that Culture Club will actually be playing “The War Song” on their U.S. tour. Kitty Empire from The Guardian, described the version played at the opening of the tour as “not, perhaps, Culture Club’s greatest hit, but tonight it hits hard, with a gospel crescendo and a crowd-pleasing segue into Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Two Tribes.’”
Breaking out in 1982 with their No. 1 single “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, Culture Club crossed the pond to the United States from the U.K. and had huge success with their debut album. Their second album, Colour By Numbers went quadruple platinum in the U.S. Considering Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 is the first album in 2014 to reach platinum status, Culture Club achieved a level of success that few of today’s artists ever achieve.
Culture Club only disbanded once, in 1986. But the media insisted on encouraging the band to reunite. With some tense on-camera moments behind them, the band has toured several times from the late ‘90s onward. They had one of their most warmly received albums recorded because VH-1 invited them to share the story Behind the Music. In its own way, the tension that brought the band into chaos has also delivered its most touching and human moments, as each song’s roots and story is given true context as progressively the audience learns of the struggles of identity versus culture.
Boy George, also known as George O’Dowd, is a modern living legend. He has written two best-selling autobiographies and even a cookbook. Along with Rosie O’Donnell, he produced a Broadway musical, Taboo. Never one to rest, Boy George has even designed his own clothing line. George is also an internationally acclaimed DJ, having spun at hundreds of venues around the world including The White Party in Palm Springs.
Boy George is active with his wit and personal flare on Twitter, @BoyGeorge. He also has posts through Facebook, Google+ and You Tube channel. Culture Club is on Facebook @CultureClubOfficial and Twitter @RealCultureClub.
Culture Club begins a nine city sprint across North America this month including a stop at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Nov. 19. The band then heads back to the U.K. for several shows and a break for the holidays and New Year.
Culture Club North American Tour Dates
11/15 – Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage, Calif.
11/16 – The Masonic San Francisco, Calif.
11/17 – Fox Theater Oakland, Calif.
11/19 – Shrine Auditorium Los Angeles, Calif.
11/22 – The Pearl Las Vegas, Nev.
11/24 – Sony Centre for the Performing Arts Toronto, Canada
11/25 – Beacon Theatre New York, N.Y.
11/26 – Beacon Theatre New York, N.Y.
11/28 – Etess Arena Atlantic City, N.J.
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