Culture Club is back on tour

Culture Club — with Roy Hay on guitar and keyboards, Mikey Craig on bass, Jon Moss on drums, and the legend himself, Boy George, singing lead — owned the 80’s with mega hits like “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” and, one of the biggest earworms of the decade, “Karma Chameleon”. The band's biggest album, Colour by Numbers, went quadruple platinum here in the US.

Earlier this month Culture Club brought its first major tour in twelve years to Nashville to the world renowned Nashville symphony center. In advance of the show, drummer—and former boyfriend of Boy George—Jon Moss spoke to O&AN about the tour, and a little bit of his side of that love story that is so often left untold.

“George always has his various things going on, and we all have had other stuff, but we’ve always wanted to do this,” Moss said, explaining why the tour has taken so long to organize. “We all love doing the band. We get along okay, but when we get on stage, it’s the same as it ever was…. It’s got the magic that it’s always had. It’s weird, but it’s never worn off even after all these years, through all the ups and the downs, the arguments, the soap opera… So why wouldn’t we want to do it?”

Thinking of the seven years Moss spent romantically involved with Boy George, I asked him about whether there was some sort of rekindled romance between them that brought the band together again.

“You mean as a couple? Romantically?” he asked. To my affirmative reply, he responded, “No, no, no…. Oh, no, no, no… I don’t think that was in the cards for either of us, actually. I mean, I get along with George alright, but I mean, we’re [older] now… 55. He’s got worse sets of problems now, really.”

When asked about whether their history made it hard for them to work together, he said, “I think what happened originally was there were lots of factors that led to the end of our relationship. Main thing being George decided heroine was a good career move. It wasn’t entirely that, but obviously it doesn’t help things. It was just one…”

“It’s fine,” Moss added. “We’re fine. George is fine. He hasn’t changed very much, really. So as long as you know that with him… I understand George well, and then I don’t understand him at all if that makes any sense. You know sometimes there’s tension and occasionally you avoid flashpoints. I mean the thing about George is he’s always been quite acerbic and everything. He’s gotten a lot better: he’s a bit more human now than he used to be. But occasionally that cat comes out, Georgina comes out, and you just have to learn that he’s trying to get a rise, really. George likes to push the buttons just to see what’ll happen occasionally. And ya know it doesn’t bother me anymore, I tell ya. I’ve had too many buttons pressed in my life. I haven’t got any left to push! Well, that’s not true, I’ve got two left. You don’t wanna go there.”

At that point in the interview, the moderator broke in and asked us to get back to the tour. Jon laughed and said, “Listen darling, this is Out and About Nashville! We’ve gotta talk about…” I confirmed we were the LGBT paper, and he said, “But I suppose she [the moderator] wants to talk about the tour, so I guess we’ll have to get on with it. Back to the tour, back to the tour. It’s great!”

With Pride month in mind, I asked Jon what he was most proud of when it came to Culture Club.

“I think the thing with Culture Club is that we have a much bigger effect than people realize. But it’s been sort of forgotten with all of George’s colorful career things, ya know. And I don’t mean the bad,” he said. “I don’t know if Culture Club played a part, as in the gay movement. I mean when we first came to America, you really couldn’t say anything then. I know some places are still like that. But on the whole, people see it as part of everyday life on the whole. I’m not going to say we were responsible for that, but I think, maybe in some way…”

“The interesting thing is, people originally thought George was a girl and thought he was a really hot chick, ya know?” Moss asked. “Then they found out he was a man, the cat was out of the bag. How do you deal with that one? Once they figured that out, it was like ‘Oh, shit!’ But it depends on the way you think of it. You know, with that, I think we really helped people who didn’t know how to express themselves, maybe. Whether or not it was sexuality, some people just wanted to dress up, ya know? People wanted to express themselves. Like even if they didn’t have the talent, musically or artistically. I think Culture Club represented that, which is where we set ourselves apart from with the music sometimes. I think that was very much our element, you know? It was the otherness; we represented the ‘others.’”

Given the the counseling bill that was passed in Tennessee and the well-reported loss of HRC’s Time To Thrive Conference, as well as the ACA’s annual convention and the Spiritual Life convention, I was interested in Moss’s take on whether Culture Club was considering any cancelations due to discriminatory laws against LGBT citizens.

Being from England, Moss was mostly unaware of the situation developing in America. “I have heard a little about it, but I don’t know,” he said. “I know Bruce (Springsteen) canceled a show, but we didn’t really get that sort of any big news story about it over here. If Bruce feels like that’s the right thing to do, that’s it. But I can’t comment on it at the moment because I really don’t know enough about it…. Are you asking me to cancel the show now?” We both laughed and he added, “Maybe once we’re there you can introduce yourself and we can talk about it.”

 

Jon Moss and the rest of Culture Club, including his (very) ex-boyfriend Boy George performed at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on July 26 at 7:30 PM. Tickets, including VIP experiences, were available. There was also a pre-party for an extra $50 to benefit Nashville CARES and the Symphony’s Music Education Programs.

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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