Foxy: Very nice to have you here.
GM: Nice to see you again.
Foxy: Now before we start to talk...just clear up one thing for me. This
song, I want to know the absolute true story, when and where you wrote it.
GM: I was working at a cinema, which is why there is the reference to the
silver screen, so early in it. I was working in the cinema and I used to
write in my head as I was waiting for the bus there and home, to the degree
that I remember where I wrote the sax line. I was walking onto the bus and
it was going round in my head and it had words, it was gonna be a chorus. So
I wrote that sax line which is I suppose my most famous moment, getting onto
the number 32 bus. And I won't tell you what the words to it were gonna be
because they were dreadful but it was gonna be sung, you know that dadadada,
there were gonna be words to it. So I remember everything about writing
Foxy: And how old were you?
Thank you for clearing that up, once and for all. Now, let's talk about the
press...did you drive here tonight?
GM: No, I've already been asked that twice today. No, I didn't drive, I have
a good driver with me today.
Foxy: I have laughed reading the press about you because you...
GM: Well luckily so have I actually...
Foxy: ...it's been quite light recently about you, hasn't it?
GM: I swear to god, whenever they're really having a go at
me, now...I just don't read it. And then when it's calmed down, I'll be able
to look at the papers again. And I swear, I mean I know the whole industry
has changed but in the last week I've read 6 entirely fictional
things about myself. Entirely.
GM: Some of them involving other celebrities,
you know...I'm not even going into any detail, but it's absolutely amazing
how much pure fiction there is. I must be in a completely unique situation
because this has gotta be about the 5th or 6th time that they've tried to
stick the knife in and hope that they could really wound me, you know. And
eh, you know...it just helped, it does the promotion that I don't wanna do.
Do you know what I mean? I know it sounds ridiculous, and it's a horrible
form of promotion as it goes, but you know...these days if your crime is
anything other than murder, rape or paedophilia I really think people don't
care...so, it doesn't really matter to me whether
it's true or not...you know what I mean, it's all just there and it would be
churlish of me to pretend that it doesn't
actually keep me in people's consciousness, in a way that I'm not prepared
to do by going on television...so long may it continue. (laughs)
Foxy: Well yeah, cos at the time there was one of the pictures where you
sort of slumped...someone said: you know what, that's posed, I reckon he
posed, you know...he posed that picture because he's trying to sell tickets.
GM: Well, can you imagine if I wanted to go, I mean this is how much
publicity I've got out of nodding off and hitting a parked car. Can you
imagine if I wanted publicity what I could get. But I decided to
misbehave for an evening. I've had them, they've all been following me
around for about 8 weeks, one particularly persistent guy. But
the other day...I just thought, I've really had enough of this, and I just
pulled over, let him pass me and then I just got right on his tail and
followed him for about 20 minutes until he was cutting up other people,
trying to get away from me...and I was just thinking, this is fantastic, the
guy knows what it feels like. But I just found it amusing because you know
he's been sitting there for months.
Foxy: Is there not a danger that you might have hit him then and that it
creates another whole story?
GM: No no no no no.
Foxy: No no no no no. So every time I see you we always have this, always
touch on this strange conversation of you and the media, but why is it? I
cannot understand because you seem a very nice guy, you got your life in
order, you've written some amazing songs...why do they wanna give you so
GM: I think maybe they don't actually understand why they do it to me, but I
genuinely think I have something really special with the public, I really
do. After 25 years I think, even people who don't necessarily buy my
records, I think I have goodwill from a lot of people. Unless the people I
meet on the street are all lying to me. So I think it's an attempt to chip
away at that isn't it? It's just like...you know, scratching the paintwork
on a fancy car.
Foxy: Talking about other people that have voiced their opinions about you..
to us it seems, or the press make out this on/off feud you have with Elton
John though you guys have been mates for years and years and years. He said
some odd things about you, but partly I just go... I'm sure they're all
taken out of context.
GM: I don't think they are unfortunately.
Foxy: Oh really? Oh no!
GM: No, but you know...ultimately he had a bad day and he said something. He
didn't mean to do any harm, I'm sure he didn't mean to do any harm but
unfortunately I really do believe that that was very harmful. In the sense
that, you know, my family especially have been dealing with stuff for 18
months that they may not have had to deal with. Like I said, he didn't mean
it, but it's the reality. And I did write him, we didn't speak for awhile
and then I wrote him, (laughs) I was rather rude in that response, but it's
fine now, it's all fine now. And I'm quite sure when they write about
Elton's 'reaction' I don't suppose it happens at all. You know, I don't
suppose it's any less fictional than the stuff they write about me. Cos I'm
certainly not gonna be angry with him again.
<Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me>
Foxy: You have been this kind of character that's shunned publicity and
tried to keep yourself away and have this private life do you think that's
fuelled this desire of...
GM: Oh totally! Unfortunately me being fairly reticent about promotion has
meant I think a harder time from the press.
GM: I do understand that actually I think a lot of people appreciate the
fact that I don't hardsell them, you know.
Foxy: People, where I say people, 'the press', find that quite hard to
understand because we live in a world now where artists whore themselves
everywhere to do anything, anywhere, anytime. And you just get fed up of
seeing these people.
GM: And big stars as well.
Foxy: And you haven't.
GM: Well it's a different world, now people do that because they want to
maintain their position. I've always felt the only way to maintain my
position was musically, was to keep doing what I do and stay sane enough to
keep giving people what they want and I genuinely believe that this new
single is exactly that, you know what I mean, it's me genuinely doing
something that makes me happy and makes other people happy and I've never
wanted anything more than that and I've always been confident enough in the
music to know that I didn't have to play the game with the media. But you
see, whether you play the game or not, they're gonna play the game. So hence
I get followed around and...but you know, they're already getting bored,
they'll move on to someone else. And they've tried 5 or 6 times before to
stick the knife in and it's entertaining for a couple of weeks, but it
Foxy: Is it a game, I mean, is that how you sort of see it?
GM: Well, I can't help seeing it as a game because god knows, if people
believe what they read I'm screwed. But I don't believe they do, I really
don't believe they do these days. I mean they do when it's fun to believe
it, but deep down if you ask them do they really believe some of the stuff
they'd say no. Because the media has changed and people understand that. Did
you see I'm losing my hair as well apparently? I did this already once
today...pull it, pull it.
Foxy: Ok. My god.
GM: It's real, it's still there.
Foxy: You can see Tony Blackburn about that. No no, it's fine.
GM: Did you see that picture?
Foxy: I did see that picture. How did they do that?
GM: I swear to god, I sat in front of the mirror for about 10 minutes
going...no, surely not, no...and then I realised, there's no way. They must
have actually doctored the picture, because they're just that nasty.
Foxy: That's just ridiculous. Actually there used to be a shred of truth in
those stories, but they would enhance and blow out of all proportion.. is it
now that they think, look we've got no story let's just make something up?
GM: Well I think to be honest they've also realised I'm not gonna sue them.
You know, these days if you're stupid enough to sue a red top paper then
you're gonna get, you know...all hell breaks loose
Foxy: Yes it does.
GM: And you're absolutely pounded for for as long as the case takes.
Foxy: That's terrifying though because it means..
GM: So nobody does it, if they got any sense nobody does it and I think
they've realised...for a long time they've thought, well he's been in court
many times, I've sued the Sun before, I've sued them in the 80's and of
course I've sued my record company and blablabla so they're thinking I'm
quite litigious and being reasonably careful. But I think after the stuff
that they printed after the Hyde Park thing, the stuff they printed after
that they must have thought...if we print this then he's not gonna be
bothered about it and we can print anything. So out came the crayons and
they thought...ah baldy biscuit George.
Foxy: What next? What can it be, double belly and a...
GM: Exactly, you have to laugh otherwise you'd be annoyed...I just have to
Foxy: Now George, the other new songs that you've talked about, you've got
some new songs on the album...we haven't got them yet, what are they like,
are they sort of uptempo, dancing?
GM: One is a wonderful remake of 'Heal The Pain' with Paul McCartney, which
sounds just fantastic, cos I always, I wrote that song as a tribute to him...
it was supposed to represent some of the earlier Beatles records and hearing
Paul McCartney sing it is just such an honour. And it sounds absolutely how
I envisioned it in my head, the Paul McCartney song I was trying to emulate,
hearing him sing it, it just sounds perfect. It's just such a thrill for me,
yeah. I think it's much better than the original.
Foxy: Is that one of those times when you stood in the studio and just
GM: Couldn't believe it...no, it's true. In fact when it came to recording
the vocal co. it's his bass, you know, he brought in...that's an old
Rickenbacker isn't it?
GM: He's brought in his bass, you know...the famous bass and redid the bass
and when it came to doing the vocals, I had to leave it to someone else and
go out of the room because I just thought...I can't, I can't tell Paul
McCartney what to do.
And also I'm doing a track, I've written a track and she's already done like
a guide vocal which sounds fantastic so I think there's gonna be a single
with Mutya, that just left the Sugababes.
Foxy: Oh really... she's got a cracking voice.
GM: Cracking voice yeah...and she sounds fantastic on it actually, so I
think that's gonna happen..ehm, I've admired her for a long time actually,
for many years, right from their first album I thought she was special. And
there are two other tracks, both of which I think very strong.
Foxy: Is there a killer ballad?
GM: Ehmm...there are two actually, one is called 'Understand' and the other
one is called 'This Is Not Real Love' which is the one that I think I'll be
doing with Mutya. But I'm very pleased with them all. Really, I've had no
problem writing for quite a long time.
<Heal the Pain>
Foxy: George Michael tells us about the brand new song and what it's all
GM: This track is really, it's not really about being gay, it's about being
anywhere outside the desires of straight white male business. And whether it
be the business of newspapers or radio or whatever. If you're a black man
that doesn't want to conform, who happens to be crap at sports and singing...
this song is for you. If you're a woman who's favourite colour is not pink
and doesn't wanna straighten their hair, then this song is for you, same
thing. But from my perspective it's about saying to a great number of
people, don't let them give you the impression that I'm less happy as a gay
man than I was as a closeted gay man cos the truth is I'm fantastically
happy as an out gay man and my life has never been better. All people need
to know about my sexlife is it's fantastic (laughs), that's all they need to
know. And gay people in particular and people worried about coming out, that
kind of thing. I just hate the idea that I'm a negative for those people so
this song is as positive, about being on the outside of anything as it can
<An Easier Affair>
Foxy: Now you touched on that you think you have a very good, a very special
relationship with the public and you have done for a long time.. .hat would
absolutely explain how you sold out so many tickets so quickly.
GM: To be perfectly honest with you, because of some of the, we've had
sponsors coming to me over the years and say: we've done a research and you
are the number 1 artist that people would like to see, if they haven't seen
you. So I knew it was gonna be fast, but Barry Marshall, the promoter, said
it was his fastest sale in the 30 years that he's been doing business. So
that surprised me.
Foxy: Cos obviously when we talked before there's always part of you that
wants to do it and there's part that doesn't for reasons that you hate going
on tour and not being at home, that you hate doing all that.
GM: Well, it's not just not being at home, it's being in a professional
environment 24 hours a day where you are the boss. I spend a lot of time
trying to have a life away from the idea of George Michael really, and on
tour you can't just go away from it...that's what you're there for you know.
Foxy: What made you change?
GM: Eh, I just feel strong enough to do it. And guilt really in all honesty,
a sense of guilt and a feeling that I might be kindof wrapping up my
commercial career as it were and I think to do that without touring, I'd
always regretted it. I know I would sit there at 50 or 55 and think... god,
I should have done it when I had the chance, when I could still stand
unassisted. It's a combination of feeling strong enough to do it and also
just feeling that I owe it to people. The amount of support I've had it
deserves at least one tour I think.
Foxy: Now you look very trim at the moment, are you beginning to get
superfit for your tour?
GM: Well I'm trying.
Foxy: How do you get fit?
GM: I got a treadmill arriving tomorrow in the house because I can't go to
the gym over the road anymore cos the photographers are following me
backwards and forwards. I decided to go to a gym that was so close to the
house so I couldn't avoid going to the gym. So I go to the gym over the road
and I can't do that now, I just get chased backwards and forwards. As though
I'm somehow gonna crash my car between there and the gym.
Foxy: What will the show be like cos I'm sure, live shows have changed so
much now, I mean very interactive, big screens, what are you can do now is
GM: Well, I'm kindof in a bit of shock because I just found out that I'm not
gonna make very much money out of it at all because the set that I've been
helping to design with an amazing team actually of people, I just found out
that it's gonna cost me 15 million which means I won't be going home with a
lot of dough and that we seriously underpriced the tickets.
Foxy: But what can cost 15 million?
GM: Ah, you have to wait and see.
Foxy: Is there a part of you now cos you obviously enjoyed this process and
enjoying going back on tour, will it be...you got a greatest hits album
coming out with sortof 4 or 5 new tracks...are you already working on
another album beyond that?
Foxy: Or can you not see beyond there?
GM: I think beyond that may well be free music on the internet, which
horrifies everybody in my professional life of course. But I think it's what
I wanna do. I think there's only so much time you can expect to be in the
commercial business like this and still be relevant. And there's only so
much time that you can do it without becoming a self parody and I'm not a
greedy man, I've had an incredible run of luck, incredible privilige to
write for people for 25 years I never would have believed it would last that
long. But I do think that there's a time limit for everybody.
Foxy: Can you imagine stopping?
GM: No I can't imagine stopping, I'll always write and sing it's just that I
don't necessarily want to be part of the industry anymore. I don't wanna be
still here when I am bald.
Foxy: Not when that story is true. 20 years from now they'll say.. see, we
told you so.
GM: I still be here with me brushover.
Foxy: Hey George, you're looking fine. Look, lovely to have you at Magic.
Foxy: It was so nice to have you in. Can't wait to see you on tour.
GM: Thank you. Sorry, all the tickets are gone, you can't have one Foxy.
Foxy: Go on.
GM: And there's nowhere for babies. There's no creche, nothing.