To preface this: Sorry for the delay, I'm not sure who's at fault, my modem
AND AWAY WE GO...
CE: So you want to go all the way?
GM: I want to go all the
way, I want to work until the day I die, I want to
have some thing creative to do, somewhere to take things, you know,
creatively, I want to drop dead in the studio.
CE: Do Sony, the battle which we have to talk about, what was all that about,
because I was very worried at that point. I mean
GM: I can imagine, you weren't sleeping were you Chris?
CE: No, that you care
whether or not I was worried or not, but I read the
papers everyday, because I have to, it's part of my job, and I was very
angry, and I was angry probably completely incorrectly, that you were
spending so much time in court, and here's a guy who's job it is, whether he
likes it or not, to write music, to play concerts...
GM: That annoyed you did it?
CE: Well yeah, because I
was thinking why is he spending, you know, it is not
your job, to be in court.
GM: It wasn't my choice Chris, it seriously
CE: Yeah, I know, and I know that.
GM: I tried every other option first. I really did.
CE: But you spent
so much time, doing what you don't do for a living, why?
GM: Well because I really, really, believed that a working
creatively, I mean, ultimately, I'm not interested in compromise really. I'm
not interested in compromise in terms of what I do for a living, and that was
what I was being asked to do. I was constantly being asked to compromise,
In what way?
GM: In ways like, the main problem of course was that Sony was particularly
unsympathetic to the fact that I was really unhappy, at the end of the whole
CE: Why were you unhappy?
GM: I was unhappy because I just
didn't spend enough time doing what I had
originally wanted to do, which was making music, writing, it was all about
promotion, you know, it was all about the videos, it was all about the
touring and , touring is just not rewarding when you get to the stage of
playing in huge arenas and you sing, and you can't hear what you're singing
either because people are making too much noise,
or because you're playing in a big cavernous hall or, you know. Playing the
way I did in the Radio One session, that to me is what musicians do. Doing
what I ended up doing was doing what entertainers do. Right, and as I've said
before, I never expected to be an entertainer, I thought I was going to be a
singer, songwriter, and you get to a certain status, in the pop field where
you can't do that any more, it is impossible for you to play a reasonably
small place, even secret shows, or anything like that. You can't do the
things that would actually improve either your singing or your, well, mainly
your singing actually, live, I would love to think, I would love to do
something that would improve my voice greatly, and the way that I sang in the
eighties and the places that I sang at and the types of shows and the whole
thing, was just not about me being a musician at all. It was about me selling
the record, and about entertaining people, and it really wasn't what I was
out there to do. And after ten months of that
I didn't know what was going on basically.
(Look, I really enjoyed the creative process
of writing my last two plays,
but nothing beat the applause I got as an actor...I guess George is just not
a true exhibitionist. OH well... AG)
CE: But if somebody had of offered you that when you were eighteen you would
have jumped at the chance.
GM: Of course, of course.
CE: That's why I didn't understand.
GM: The thing is it's not about what you
thought when you were eighteen is
it? It's about, because everyone feels the same when they're eighteen,
they're entering the business and they're just desperate. And bus really.
CE: But you lost the court case didn't you?
GM: Oh yeah. I lost the
court case but I was expecting to lose the court
case, after about two or three days after I got in there.
CE: Did you pay
for it yourself?
GM: I paid for it myself at the time, and then it was paid for by the
companies that bought the contract.
Now, can you remember, because you lost the court case, I don't know if
you expected to lose it when you said you did or not, I can't imagine that
you really, truly expected to lose that otherwise, I know you, and you
wouldn't have gone into it.
No, no, I expected to .... I thought it was 60/40 in my favour, easily,
on what the case was, then I got in there and felt the atmosphere and saw the
judge, and his reaction to the two QC's, and I knew. So, yes.
CE: So, you had lost, did you
immediately start making any inroads as to how
else you could get out of it?
GM: No, to be honest with you, David Geffen
had been talking to me about, a
lot of, you know, David Geffen was initially trying to talk to me in terms of
stopping us all going to court, because I didn't want to go to court.
CE: David Geffen owns a record company?
GM: Yeah, David Geffen was
obviously hoping that I was going to sign to his
label, which I eventually did, but he also, believed, much as, I agree with
him, and I agree with your premise as well, that a successful artist should
not be spending their time in courts, a successful artist should be making
records, you know.
CE: So what happened, how did David Geffen get you out of this? Did he just
pay millions, and millions of pounds?
GM: He paid millions and millions of pounds, and I think that his
relationship with Sony, was good enough to spur things on, and I honestly
think that without David Geffen, it would have been very possible that I
would have been in the court of appeal
CE: Did he pay more money for your contract than you were worth? Not worth in
the future, but worth at the moment?
GM: My contract? Did he pay......
CE: So how long are you
contracted to Geffen for?
GM: I'm contracted to both labels for two albums, a period of two albums. Had
I been, had I not been, you've got to remember that they'd been paid
somewhere in the region of fifty million dollars, just to get me out, so I
couldnt, if I had really been in a position where I was free, I would have
done a one album deal with Virgin and a one album deal with DreamWorks in
America, because I think that that is the way that business should be done.
At the end of a business project, if one partner is failed, or the
relationship is not good, I think people should be able to walk away.
CE: Business wise,
record company wise, contractually wise, are you happy
GM: Yeah, very.
CE: Have you any idea, any thoughts about
the future, about who you are going
to go with, who you are going to be with?
GM: No, I've got no, I mean I'm very, very
happy with the job that Virgin
have done, they've done an excellent job around the world, and I'm very happy
with that decision.
CE: Do you like them?
GM: Yeah, I do yeah.
CE: Are you your boss?
GM: Err, absolutely yeah. I am a
complete and utter, I freak, I do freak at
anyone trying to control me, there's no question about that.
CE: Why do you want
to give up smoking? Why do you smoke first of all? Why do
GM: I smoke because ....
CE: You don't like it
really, do you?
GM: No, I don't like it.
CE: Do you smoke incessantly?
GM: I smoke incessantly when I'm with
people who smoke incessantly, Chris. I
smoke because I started, when I had a real kind of, real kinds of reasons,
but I had a real low point about five years ago, and I smoked, I started to
smoke grass to relieve stress and whatever, and because I didn't want to be
on any kind of sedatives or ..
CE: C me that you desperately want to stop, and you've tried
three different ways of stopping, I think you said?
GM: No, not three different ways, I've been to three different hypnotists,
Why? Only pop-stars do that stuff. Don't do that.
GM: No, lots of people do that. Lots of people do that.
CE: Not three
GM: No, not three different ones, they normally give up after the second
because they can't really afford the third one.
CE: Why don't you say you like it?
GM: Why did I say I like it?
CE: No, why don't you say you like
GM: I don't like anything that has control of me basically.
CE: Give up now.
GM: Would you stop this? I get
this the whole time, I get this at home, I get
this everywhere. Stop this.
(You're even getting it on YOGMAEL...but I will
give you the advice I was
given the day I quit: "Go ahead. Keep at it, I don't care. In fact I
encourage you too." Never tell me what to do... AG)
CE: Stop now, just put that out and stop now. Just stop.
GM: I've stopped Chris, look,
we're on radio. I've stopped. I'm just putting
it out now.
CE: I think you should do what you want mate.
Absolutely, I know. Actually, there's another thing. I've always had
really a great, it's always been a real issue. Control of, self-control has
always been a real issue with me and I really let go of a lot of that, four
or five years ago, and it, just by, and I'm a
much happier person for it. I'm much less cautious and much, much more about
kind of you know, living for the moment than I was. I'm not as frightened of
the future and everything. And it's just an unhappy coincidence that this
change, this kind of big change in my life started at the, roughly the same
time that I started smoking. Smoking was obviously one of the results, and I
have this fear, that controlling my smoking is somehow, going to set this
reverse pattern, and I'm suddenly going to start controlling everything
again. I kind of associate, the immediate gratification of picking up a
cigarette and inhaling it, I associate that somehow with freedom. I know it's
CE: It's very odd.
GM: It's really
odd, but as a child I was always told, "you will not ever
smoke". I never smoked.
(He must have started in '86,
since he was photographed with them hanging out
of his mouth and in his hand on numerous occasions from about July of 1986
CE: Were you told that, "you will never have a hit single"?
GM: I was told that as well, yeah. That was
bollocks too. My father actually,
after the third hit-single, was telling me to save my money because it wasn't
going to last.
GM: And now?
CE: What does your father say to you now?
GM: Now my father says, "thank-you very much
for my stud farm".
CE: A friend of mine, right, Dan, who you've met, who's in the other room,
and he shut up, right, and his heart was pounding, and in the middle of his
sleep he thought, "What are we going to ask George Michael?", bang, bang,
bang... Have you thought about this interview at all?
GM: Everyone presumes that I don't do interviews because
I've got loads of
things which I don't want to talk about, which is not the truth at all. I've
had to re-assure people that I'm perfectly, I'm a big boy, if people ask me
something I don't want to tell them the answer to, or I went to tell them to
piss off, then that's what I do.
CE: People are obsessed with your sexuality aren't they?
GM: Of course they are.
Is there a question you'll answer there?
GM: No, I mean I think it's, I think the whole, it think it's far more of an
issue in a way because I don't talk to people in general.
GM: And I think people really seem to like to talk about
it. I totally
understand the debate, I have a real strong theory as to why people are so
obsessed with one a things that is so difficult in the modern
world to actually accept, is that sexuality is a really, really blurry thing.
I know lots and lots of people who I thought were of one sexual
persuasion, but they turned out to either be the other, or sometimes to be
other, so that, whatever. All I know, is that I have never, never,
regarded my sexuality as a moral question, of any description. Or anyone's
sexuality as a moral question, other than when it is some kind of twisted
sexuality that involves people that do not give their consent, you know. But
I, personally, have never thought that would be wrong, that would be right,
that's what I should do. I think, most people do regard their sexuality as a
moral question, and I think that they look to one another to reinforce their
ideas of themselves. In other words, if somebody looks at me, and says, "I
think he's gay", and then next week, I make a statement saying, "I am gay",
right, that guy, feels a little bit more secure, in the fact that he knew,
that that was my sexuality. Whether he was right or wrong, do you know
whether I'm telling the truth or not, people use it as the, it's the typical
old thing, the queen that stands in the gay club, or standing in the straight
club, pointing out all the people that he thinks are gay.
(I know that queen in the corner, he used to be my best friend... AG)
Hoping, that's right. Now, why is he really hoping that they are gay?
It's like me, people who talk about me, they don't really think, I mean,
there's nothing in it for them, they go home and...
CE: They could be right? That's what you're talking
about isn't it?
GM: In other words, they're saying, "I know what a gay person looks like, I
know what a straight person looks like". Therefore, in most people it's in an
effort to prove that they are straight themselves. Because, obviously, being
straight is the socially acceptable and the most common, human form of
sexuality. But most people, are, most people have some questions at some
point in their life, and even if they are very young when they have those
questions or whatever, they scare the shit out of them, those questions scare
the shit out of them. And, one of the ways that they reinforce their own idea
of their own sexuality, whatever it may be, is to tell themselves that they
can spot it in other people, and that they can spot people who are of
different sexual persuasions, right, and that's why, you get a huge debate,
about somebody like me. You've got all these guys for instance, maybe their
girlfriend likes me or whatever, and they're like, "Oh, he's a fairy, its
obvious to me", now, if they were wrong, if they were proved to be wrong,
that would be unsettling for them. If they were proved to be right, that
would be comforting for them. That's what I mean. It is literally as simple
as that. I'm right, I know who he is, because I know who I am. I know his
sexuality because I know mine. Now, I have got absolutely no desire, to be
people. Do you know what I mean? I've got no desire to stand up and define
myself to a whole bunch of people, and say "yes, I was right", or , "no, I
was wrong", or "no, you were wrong". Do you know what I mean?
(Translation, and to quote George himself "Obscure is good" AG)
it better for business that you never say whether you are one or the
GM: I think that a lot of people think I play
with it for that particular
reason. I don't think it would make any difference to business, I really
don't think that my sexuality has got much to do with my business anymore.
There was obviously a point where it did, it did have a lot to do with it.
When you were younger, did you ever realise, or did you ever think that
one day you may be grilled about this every time you do a bloody interview?
GM: No, I never did actually. I never really thought, I mean I've always been
ask twice, and
I think I've met you once before, and we had a good long chat, for a few
hours, and I haven't got a clue, and I honestly don't care, but, it was under
the list of what can't I ask you about, and that's why I asked you.
GM: Ah, of course, yeah.
And I don't care. If you'd have slept in, one day, in your life, which
day would have been the worst day to sleep in?
Oh my God, if I'd slept in? My God, that's a good question. I'd say
probably the day I signed that first, shitty contract.
good question! I just have to give you my answer: the day I went to
line up with my sister to get our Wham! tickets, not that my 9am exam days
wouldn't have had worse repercussions... AG)
GM: What actually
happened was that Andrew gave a tape to someone that we CE: You've got everything you want, you've done, everything, so far, you GM: Well you said that with, your
voice almost broke there didn't it? CE: Because I mean it. GM: No, not at all. I felt for a long period of my life that
my career was CE: What about now? Now you're on top of the world. GM: I feel absolutely, I feel far more affection from
the public than I've CE: You said to me that you'll do anything
for the record for a month, at GM: I didn't say
you won't see me for four years, but I'm off, I'm definitely CE: Where are you going? What are you
going to do? (Subscribe to YOGMAEL of course... AG) GM: I just get on with making records, I've started a record label,
I'm just (All together now: YIPPEE! AG) CE: Do you write to commission, because
Shakespeare often, it was said about (Did George just use the term "killer" as an adjective? AG) CE: Do you
think we should cut this interview down, or run it as it is? Has GM: I think some of my answers have
been a bit duller than they should have CE:
Unfortunately, at the end of all this, we've got to link to the Radio One GM: We do. CE: So would you like
to do that right now? GM: I enjoyed it hugely, it's exactly the type of thing that I wish I had CE:
But you couldn't have got here without all of that thirteen, fourteen GM: Exactly, I'm really glad
that I now have all that, you know, it's almost CE:
Can you just tell us, very briefly, how you prepared for it? How GM: Well, we did four weeks
rehearsal, with a really excellent band, some of CE: Whose idea was
it? GM: Mine, it was my idea. CE: What did you want to achieve? Without being too calculated. GM: I think I wanted
to do something I'd never done before, which was a live CE: Okay, so here's the concert, this is
George, live, as he wants to be, and GM: To one person? God, I really can't think
of anyone who deserves it at the CE: Who was the first lady, whose legs you were in-between? (Good question
Chris, my drink almost ended up all over the computer GM: Her name was Lesley Bywaters. CE: She was your
mum. GM: Isn't that a lovely romantic name? No, my mothers name is Lesley, she's CE: So it's either for her, or you Lesley. GM: Yes, for Lesley Bywaters, the
Radio One George Michael concert dedi *************************** See ya on Monday. "Never state,
what you can't imply."
both knew, just literally from knowing them at the pub, and this guy had just
started a subsidiary label, with CBS records. And that was our first break,
and however shitty a break it was, in terms of, it left us in a very bad
contractual position, where if we didn't sign it, we weren't going to get the
rest of the money to finish our demos. It was still, an incredibly important
day, and this incredibly positive thing that we signed it. Otherwise, I
wouldn't be here, I would be somewhere else.
wanted to do, I would imagine, and you've even got out of your contract.
Multi-million pound contracts that you didn't want to be in, for paying you
to do what you wanted to do in the first place. Do you get up in the morning
and sometimes you know that what you do will be accepted, you know that a lot
of people will pay for it, and people will buy it over the counter, do you
think that that is a little bit automative now, and do you feel a little bit
running my life and that I didn't, I felt very empty a lot of the time, I
felt very empty for a lot of the
ever felt, I feel far more empathy with them. I mean, I couldn't, it sounds
really, everyone says this kind of stuff, but it really, an experience like
the one I had, being, kind of pushed out of the
picture, at least musically, for the amount of time that I was, to come back
pick up where you started off, and actually do better than where you were, I
just feel outrageously lucky, and, I'm not completely lucky, because I've
always treated the ability that I have with respect, so I think if you treat
your gifts as it were, with
respect, I think that it pays dividends, so it's not all luck, a lot of it
has actually been me actually deciding, no, I won't do that, or yes, I will
least until the end of November, and then you won't see me for four years.
off for a while, yeah.
starting one now, so I'll have a lot of work going on with that, and I'll
carry on doing what I do, I'll just keep on recording, and hopefully I'll get
to record lots, you know, last time I said
this, I ended up in court for three years, but I really would like to record
more, you know.
him a lot that he used to literally write to commission. Do actually have to contractually, deliver these things by a certain date.
That's the difficult bit. In terms of actually doing the three new tracks,
I'm doing them for me, not for them.
it been dull at all?
been. I think the questions have all been very good to be honest with you.
been doing for the last thirteen, fourteen years, I wish that I had had that
kind of experience as a singer, and I think that had I been playing in this
type of situation, then I, for my career, I would be a much better singer
than I am now, and that makes me a little bit
years beforehand so...
like I really do have this genuine feeling of starting all over again. And
one of the things I intend to do, in the, lets call it the second phase of my
career, or the second half of my career is to make sure that when I sing, I
sing in situations that I enjoy. This was definitely, definitely, you know,
at the first of those.
important it was to you?
whom I had worked with before, or some of whom I hadnt.
radio show, and I think really I wanted to do something for Radio One,
because I had not, I mean in reality, I haven't done anything at Radio One
for years and years, and I thought it was about time really. Radio One has
changed so much, I'm hardly a core artist of Radio One anymore, because
people who listen to Radio One are generally younger than me now. I still
think that it is the most important radio station in the country, and I think
that to just kind of ignore it because it's base is younger would be stupid
he's going to dedicate it to one person.
screen...don't know why really, I've been listening to Madonna's "Hanky
Panky" for 3 days solid...thanks again James. AG)
not the first girl I was ever romantically linked with. Unless you include
breast feeding, I suppose. Her name was Lesley Bywaters, and she took off my
glasses, which I wore at the time, which, incidentally, were thicker than
yours, and she took off my glasses, and this is a typical teenage story, this
is a typical story of my lack of self-esteem as a teenager, but, and she
said, "Haven't you got beautiful eyes?", and I was just convinced she was
taking the piss out of me, so I just got up and left the party, that was it.
I was actually in between her legs at the time, to be honest, but we did go
out for a while after that. Her friends came and convinced me that she
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GM: What actually
happened was that Andrew gave a tape to someone that we
CE: You've got everything you want, you've done, everything, so far, you
GM: Well you said that with, your
voice almost broke there didn't it?
CE: Because I mean it.
GM: No, not at all. I felt for a long period of my life that
my career was
CE: What about now? Now you're on top of the world.
GM: I feel absolutely, I feel far more affection from
the public than I've
CE: You said to me that you'll do anything
for the record for a month, at
GM: I didn't say
you won't see me for four years, but I'm off, I'm definitely
CE: Where are you going? What are you
going to do?
(Subscribe to YOGMAEL of course... AG)
GM: I just get on with making records, I've started a record label,
(All together now: YIPPEE! AG)
CE: Do you write to commission, because
Shakespeare often, it was said about
(Did George just use the term "killer" as an adjective? AG)
CE: Do you
think we should cut this interview down, or run it as it is? Has
GM: I think some of my answers have
been a bit duller than they should have
Unfortunately, at the end of all this, we've got to link to the Radio One
GM: We do.
CE: So would you like
to do that right now?
GM: I enjoyed it hugely, it's exactly the type of thing that I wish I had
But you couldn't have got here without all of that thirteen, fourteen
GM: Exactly, I'm really glad
that I now have all that, you know, it's almost
Can you just tell us, very briefly, how you prepared for it? How
GM: Well, we did four weeks
rehearsal, with a really excellent band, some of
CE: Whose idea was
GM: Mine, it was my idea.
CE: What did you want to achieve? Without being too calculated.
GM: I think I wanted
to do something I'd never done before, which was a live
CE: Okay, so here's the concert, this is
George, live, as he wants to be, and
GM: To one person? God, I really can't think
of anyone who deserves it at the
CE: Who was the first lady, whose legs you were in-between?
Chris, my drink almost ended up all over the computer
GM: Her name was Lesley Bywaters.
CE: She was your
GM: Isn't that a lovely romantic name? No, my mothers name is Lesley, she's
CE: So it's either for her, or you Lesley.
GM: Yes, for Lesley Bywaters, the
Radio One George Michael concert dedi ***************************
See ya on Monday.
what you can't imply."