Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Rufus Wainwright on new album, Pride, future
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2020-07-08

This article shared 3753 times since Wed Jul 8, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Out and proud performer Rufus Wainwright has always been and continues to be the thinking man's musician. His songs run deep with sometimes heavy lyrics covering topics such as family relationships, politics and religion.

For those not familiar with Wainwright, he was born in New York, the son of two folk singers, Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. He came out of the closet as a teenager and performed in the film Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller at age 14.

His self-titled first studio album debuted in 1998. The work brought him a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Music Album and Juno Award ( a Canadian honor ) for Best Alternative Album. His follow-up record, Poses, earned him the same trophies in 2001; in 2009, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

In 2012, his Mark Ronson-produced record Out of the Game came out; that same year, Wainwright married German art administrator Jorn Weisbrodt. His first child, Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, was born in 2011, conceived with his childhood friend Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard Cohen.

With his latest work, Unfollow the Rules, he continues on a path down a different road that leads him across the country on the new single "You Ain't Big."

Windy City Times: Happy early birthday!

Rufus Wainwright: Wait a few weeks since I am in my late forties. Let me enjoy 46 while it's still here.

WCT: I just turned 50 this year. Do you have plans for that big year?

RW: Well, hopefully by then we will be in a safe and constructive society with more options. I celebrated my 40th in Spain at the opera house Teatro Real, in Madrid, so I am thinking another opera house, maybe in Italy. If we do need to social distance, we can always do it in gondolas!

WCT: You have a track on the new album called "Unfollow the Rules," but why did that become the overall title for the project?

RW: It happened very organically. One day, our daughter Viva exclaimed that she wanted to unfollow the rules and I immediately jotted it down as a great idea for a lyric. That lyric became a song and the song the title of the album.

It has been an interesting journey the past few months. Initially the album was coming out in April and we had to push it to July 10 because of the pandemic. The idea of unfollowing the rules is not exactly kosher back then and I was apprehensive on how that would translate. Now that the Black Lives Matter protests have happened and we are in an election year, there is a sense of real evaluation and recalibration. It's a revolution in a lot of ways. Once again the title is appropriate and timely.

WCT: Have you been to all the places you sing about in the song "You Ain't Big?"

RW: You are the first person to ask me that question. I don't think I've been to Wichita.

WCT: Is there a place you would like to travel to, but haven't yet?

RW: I've never been to Africa. I have been to Morocco, which is technically part of the continent, so maybe East Africa.

WCT: Playing off another track on Unfollow the Rules, is your husband a "Romantical Man?" What's the last romantic thing he's done for you?

RW: Our plans to go to Europe were dashed with what is going on. We thankfully have an Airstream trailer, so we went up the coast recently. Even just playing with the dog and walking to see the sunset together, after a lovely meal we have made for our daughter, is very romantic.

WCT: What's your dog's name?

RW: Puccini, and he's a miniature Australian shepherd.

WCT: Your voice soars on "Hatred." Can you talk about that song?

RW: Yes. All these songs were written over many years. About 10 years ago, I decided to embark holistically on my classical career. I did some productions of my first opera and produced my second opera Hadrian, so I was focused on another area of expertise. I wound up missing songwriting and the pop world. I really appreciated the audience that I had left behind. I wrote a lot of material and was very inspired.

Later, I became inspired in a bad way. I went through a difficult time and was filled with hatred. Me, being a positive person, wanted to transform that energy to something that was useful for me. That song is about me becoming a warrior when faced with adversity. I wanted to use any emotion, good or bad, as a tool.

With the election this year, I think we are embarking on an incredible battle. We need all the tools in the box to get through this, sadly, hatred is one of them.

WCT: Thanks to this pandemic I've had plenty of "Alone Time" as you sing about. What's one bad habit you have picked up during the lockdown?

RW: We have a candy kids area in the corner of the kitchen. It's like the Bermuda Triangle of sweets. I try to steer away from it, but I fail daily. Candy is not my friend!

WCT: You drew the art on Unfollow the Rules record booklet. Did you grow up drawing?

RW: I went to art school in college briefly. If you really examine my story, there are examples where my art peaked out of the corner and revealed itself. With this album, it has taken a more permanent position. When the pandemic hit, it was a chance to really exercise that muscle. It has turned into an arena that I want to continue to pursue.

WCT: "Matinee Idol" was a song you wrote about River Phoenix. Was your family a hippy family like the Phoenix's?

RW: There was a hippy element, especially on my mother's side, but actually my dad did dabble in hippiedom at one point. He did become more conservative. I don't mean like a republican, but a WASP-y American man, who returned to his roots of Bedford, New York.

My mother was more of a Canadian creature, who loved living in Montreal. She loved to be close to the earth and her family was working class. They were all very musical. My grandmother was one of 17 children. They were salt of the earth people.

WCT: How did you commemorate Pride this year?

RW: I performed for Toronto Pride online. I have to say, I liked it when they changed the parade into a march for Black Lives Matter in LA. I wasn't able to attend, but I have been going out to the demonstrations when I can around here. New York has returned Pride to its roots, which has been needed for a long time.

WCT: I have been to your concerts in Chicago ever since you opened for Tori Amos. You usually have a very straight crowd attending. Did you ever think about how being an out musician has affected your career?

RW: I definitely think about how if I had jiggered my persona slightly and been more mysterious about my sexuality to my audience, I would have been more successful. Most of my concert crowd is straight.

On the other hand, the fact that I have been brutally honest about my sexuality from the onset has really started to pay off. People I work with appreciate the honesty. They like the fact that I've not tried to hoodwink them in any way. I went for the long game!

WCT: Well, it meant a lot to me when you spoke openly about your life at your live shows.

RW: Well, that's good to hear. I think with the small percentage of gay fans that I have, it meant the world to them. It really did.

WCT: Some people may not know how hilarious you are until they see your concerts with all the funny banter.

RW: [Laughs] I am more playful than my albums might present.

WCT: Are you planning a tour next year?

RW: Oh, yeah. We just moved everything a year down, so I am sure we will be talking again, sooner than later about the tour. We wanted to get the music out there, no matter what, on July 10.

WCT: Has there been one moment that has meant the most to you in your career?

RW: I go back to putting together these really fabulous shows of my mother's material. I was given the opportunity to really lose myself in her repertoire. I grieved her in a unique way by singing her music. Bringing that music to an audience and having them join me in that process was really amazing!


This article shared 3753 times since Wed Jul 8, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Moises Kaufman takes audiences to Paradise 2021-12-03
- Paradise Square is a new musical that opened in Chicago last month at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. This is based on a true story set in New York City in 1863, when Black and Irish immigrants lived together in a ...


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions to present Christmas Dearest Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2021-12-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO (December 2, 2021) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with the return of one of its most popular holiday musicals: Christmas Dearest, featuring book and lyrics by ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Wicked' returning to Chicago in 2022 2021-11-30
- The blockbuster musical Wicked will return to Broadway In Chicago's James M. Nederlander Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., on Sept. 28-Dec. 4, 2022. Now the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history—and featuring songs such as "Popular" ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2021-11-29
- "The obvious one would be A Little Night Music. I know I could do that role very well now that I've gotten to this stage in my life, and you know it's a beautiful song in there. It's perfection."—Sarah Brightman reveals ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Netflix, Kal Penn, Dennis Rodman, 'The Voice,' 'Euphoria' 2021-11-28
Video below - Terra Field—one of the Netflix employees who organized the walkout around Dave Chappelle's comedy special The Closer—has resigned from the streamer, Deadline reported. Field, along with B. Pagels-Minor, organized an ...


Gay News

Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim dies at 91 2021-11-27
- Stephen Sondheim, one of the giants of Broadway songwriting, died Nov. 26 at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, according to media reports. He was 91. Among the works in the legend's oeuvre are Company (1970), Follies ...


Gay News

EVENTS John Grumpy Co. presenting 'Black Sunday' Nov. 28 2021-11-24
- John Grumpy Co. is hosting "Black Sunday," which will take place at HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St., on Sunday, Nov. 28, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.. This event will feature celebrity DJ Jamal Smallz. "Black Sunday" will ...


Gay News

MUSIC Grammy nominations announced; GLAAD comments 2021-11-24
- On Nov. 23, the nominations for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards were announced. John Batiste, the musician who also serves as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, led among all nominees with 11 ...


Gay News

MUSIC Controversial rapper DaBaby postpones shows 2021-11-24
- DaBaby's return to touring following fallout for making anti-gay comments at the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami this past summer has been postponed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The rapper's been promoting his "Live Show ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ '9-1-1,' Billie Jean King, Lena Waithe, singer Mary Lambert, White Party 2021-11-21
- Actor Rockmond Dunbar left the Fox show 9-1-1 after four seasons over a vaccine mandate, Deadline noted. His gay character, Michael Grant, was abruptly written off in the Nov. 15 episode, leaving fans of the first-responder ...


Gay News

Rainbow Railroad plans 'When I Am Free' benefit concert to get LGBTQI+s to safety 2021-11-20
--From a press release. Videos below - Chicago, IL (November 12, 2021) - The annual Chicago 5 Lives Fundraiser hosted by Rainbow Railroad is proud to return this year with "When I Am Free", a benefit concert offering attendees a premier evening of ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Dante and Beatrice in Florence' Nov. 28-Dec. 5 2021-11-19
- Porchlight Music Theatre is partnering with Hershey Felder Presents: Live from Florence and its second season of productions. The launch of this new season from Hershey Felder is the new musical film Dante and Beatrice in ...


Gay News

Lil Nas X part of 'Jingle Ball' on Dec. 7 2021-11-17
- Queer rapper Lil Nas X will headline KISS FM's Jingle Ball Presented by Capital One this year, run in coordination with iHeart Radio. The event will take place Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Allstate Arena at 7:30 ...


Gay News

Chicago Therapy Collective to honor Trans Day of Resilience 2021-11-16
- On Saturday, Nov. 20, Chicago Therapy Collective will release an original music video cover of Wildfires (Sault, 2020) in honor of Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) 2021 and the racial justice uprisings of 2020. According to ...


Gay News

'When I Am Free' concert supporting Rainbow Railroad on Dec. 3 2021-11-16
- "When I Am Free: A Benefit Concert for Rainbow Railroad" will take place at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted St., on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. During this event, there will be ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.