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Boy George and Culture Club reunion tour kicks off in Vancouver

07/17/2015 10:26 EDT | Updated 07/17/2016 05:59 EDT
Eighties pop icon Boy George says "growing up" helped him move on from drug addiction and finally kick off a reunion tour with Culture Club Friday night in Vancouver.

"All the things that I've done, good and bad, have made me the person that I am now — and I'm pretty happy with who I am now," George told The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.

George made headlines in October 2007 when he was arrested in Manhattan on suspicion of cocaine possession and falsely reporting a burglary.

His possession charge was later dropped, but he pled guilty to falsely reporting a burglary and was ordered to do five days of community service.

George was swarmed by the media when he began his service the following year at the New York City Department of Sanitation. 

George said that incident is firmly in his past.

"It's almost like none of that really happened," George said. "That's the great thing about the past. It's always behind you, so you always focus on where you are now."

It was gratitude that turned his life around, he said.

"Growing up, plain and simply," George said. "I realized I'm really lucky to do what I do, to sing and get paid for it and spend my life being creative. It's a bonkers life really."

With a new Culture Club record on the way and a reunion tour kicking off, George said both he and his band are on the same page.

"We've transcended our dramas … I suppose I'm the captain of the ship, and if I'm in a good place, then we sound good."

Culture Club shot to fame in the eighties with songs such as Do You Really Want to Hurt Me and Karma Chameleon.

George, whose real name is George Alan O'Dowd, went on to launch a solo career in the late eighties. The 53-year-old is also active as a DJ and wrote the musical "Taboo".

Culture Club tried to launch a reunion tour in 2014, but it was cancelled two days prior to starting because George was suffering from serious vocal cord problems.

LGBTQ acceptance

During his earlier Culture Club days, George was known for his androgynous fashion sense. Though he has since become an outspoken advocate for gay rights, George did not come out when he was in Culture Club and gave a variety of answers to interview questions about this sexuality.

The wider acceptance of LGBTQ people today is "a kind of world that I always wanted," said George.

He said he was accepted in the eighties because of his celebrity — but said today there are still many who are fighting for acceptance.

"There were different rules when you're famous, people forgave you more. But there are people out there in the world who are still facing difficulties … there's a lot of work to be done."

George said he doesn't know if the Culture Club reunion will extend beyond the tour and upcoming record.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "The music I do on my own I enjoy doing, but it's quite nice to have the Culture Club shop open again."

Culture Club plays the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam on July 17 and the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond on July 18.

To hear the full interview click on the audio labelled: Boy George

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