Capital FM Radio interview with George Michael, broadcasted on July 12, 2002.
Check out Foxy’s exclusive interview with George Michael as he sets the record straight on that song and video, plus find out what he thinks of Big Brother, Oasis, Geri and much more.
Foxy: I never thought you’d be the most controversial popstar!
George: I don’t know how much more controversial I’ve become. I think life around me and the media has become a lot more reactionary when it comes to anything that’s controversial. When you think about it the first thing I ever released was about the idea of being on the dole and ripping off the government but things have changed and it makes being outspoken about anything sound a little bit louder than it would have done twenty years ago when I started this. For some
Foxy: The song is very entertaining and the video is very funny, you really poke fun at yourself. A lot of people have probably never seen the video.
George: Exactly, they’ve only seen the press.
Well at a point where ‘The Sun’ is hugely in competition with ‘The Mirror’, ‘The Mirror’ happened to be one of the two papers where they were writing some very strong stuff about the world post-September 11th and I agreed with him. It was really interesting to me that a major newspaper could be moving against the tide so strongly and the world of TV and radio wasn’t picking up on it. I just thought it would be a good idea to push something that I’d already written about and something that was now being talked about as worrying – i.e. the relationship between Bush and Blair and the possible bombing of Iraq and I thought it’d be a great thing there were other people saying the same thing as me and I just thought this was the time.
Foxy: You’d nearly had this record finished before Sept 11 hadn’t you?
George: I finished it on September 11th itself. It seemed like the
Foxy: Do you find it worrying that people are suggesting that you’re some kind of terrorist
George: I don’t think it was people, it was the Rupert Murdoch
Foxy: Was this the article that you were the ‘washed up pop perv’?
George: Yeah! I think it’s really sad that the British press
The idea of the video in actual fact was to make sure people didn’t take
Foxy: Lots of people have forgotten to listen to the record haven’t they?
George: Yes exactly, and at the end of the
Foxy: If you believed everything you saw in the press over the last week or so you would think that you were the most universally hated man, but the emails from around the world that we have, no one has said anything negative, everyone has said it’s very funny. What have the reactions from the public been like?
George: People have been amazing. What’s so shocking about this situation is that I know I’m speaking for a lot of people. People are very worried about another ruck with
Foxy: How much do you think it has to do with you being a gay pop star?
George: I’m not going to blame the whole thing on homophobia, because you can still get away with saying things about gay people on the radio and television that you can’t, for instance, say about black people. There are stereotypes you have to avoid and there are certain comments that can not be made because they’re offensive to black people.
Foxy: Will you be doing any kind of live gigs at all this year?
George: There is something I’ll be doing that I can’t talk about yet because it’s not a big public thing. But there is something I’ll be doing later on live but I can’t talk about it. Next year on the back of the album I very much hope so.
Foxy: What do you think of Tony Blair?
George: I think he’s well intentioned and basically a good person which is something to be proud of in any political system. He’s a decent man, but I think he’s very misguided in some of the decisions he’s making and that’s what I’m talking about. I believe a well intentioned megalomaniac can be every bit as dangerous as a Sadam Hussein, not in the same way but sometimes if they’re misguided the results can be the same.
Foxy: Are you surprised that no one in the public eye has spoken in support of the issues that you’ve been trying to raise? The media give the impression that you are alone in your concerns.
George: That has occurred to me over the last week or so that I’ve had absolutely no support publicly from any other artist but that’s because they’re starting to
Foxy: Is it anything to do with the Madonna record I’m playing by the way?
George: Most of Americans support free speech and that’s why most of the American reaction has been good, but the unfortunate thing with America is that it only takes one loony and unfortunately because they have absolutely useless gun laws out there it’s a lot more of a frightening prospect to walk into a situation of hostility in America than it would be in most countries in the world. Until I’m convinced that someone has presented my argument properly over there I don’t really see why I wouldn’t be scared.
Foxy: You won’t be going back then?
George: I’m not going back in the foreseeable future which is really sad because it’s where Kenny comes from. I love Kenny, I love my house in LA and the fact that Mr. Murdoch has made that impossible is very irritating.
Foxy: The new album is about modern life, not George Michael?
George: In the days of the first Wham album, because the record company wanted the album out after the second single, I was so determined to have people understand a little bit more about Wham before the album came out I grabbed the tapes. I knew the record company would get their hands on
Foxy: What do you think about Noel Gallagher? He has slagged you off royally saying he hated ‘Shoot The Dog’ and that you should shut up.
George: I did like his writing style once. At one point he was the most
Foxy: Do you miss Andrew?
George: Not as a person because I still see him, but in terms of having someone to hang out with and have a laugh with – especially live. One of the reasons I stayed away from
Foxy: Do you think that Wham will ever do a one-off gig or just a few songs?
George: You could never get Andy to do it, he so doesn’t want anything to do with the business anymore because the business has treated him really horribly. I’m probably going to have a big party towards the end of the year because it was twenty years ago that Andrew and I had our first hit so I’ll probably have a party around the time that ‘Young Guns’ hit the charts in 1982, twenty years on. I was nervous even to ask him to come to that because I knew he’d have to deal with the press but he said yes and
Foxy: Tell us about your involvement with the Olympics.
George: I’ve been asked to write the theme song for the 2004 Olympics. It’s in Greece – if they can build the stadium in time and drop that kebab and get working! I really hope that comes off – it’d make my dad really proud even though he’s Cypriot. I’d love to write, not a big cheesy one, and the challenge would be to write a really good song and make it inspirational. I’ve got some lyrical ideas, it’d be exclusive to the Olympics.
Foxy: Have you been into Big Brother this year?
George: I think I saw more of
Foxy: Any final thoughts about the song?
George: I’m as shocked by the level of negative reaction as a lot of my fans probably. I didn’t expect that much noise, but me taking that much criticism has drawn more attention to the issue that I’m making and is going to draw people to seeing the video and understanding the questions I’m trying to ask them. It was worth it, I believe in people, not the media and I think it’s all been a good thing and it still allows people to make up their minds of themselves. I don’t regret it – not for a moment. The video makes me laugh and people are still talking about the thing I wanted them to talk about.
Foxy: And Geri?
George: She was fine with that by the way, in case people think we’re not mates, she was fine. I checked it with her and she has a sense of
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- George Michael in Q Magazine Interview (October 1990)
- George Michael’s Interview with the Gay Magazine ‘The Advocate’ (1999)
- George Michael: The Reluctant Pop Star (Calendar Magazine, Sept 1990)