Tag Archives: Jon Moss

2015 ➤ TV doc pits Boy George versus the rest in Culture Club reunion

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Culture Club 2015 style: fractious and bickering, as ever

◼ IN THE EARLY 1980s, Culture Club fronted by the gender-bending Boy George was one of the six British supergroups which dominated pop charts around the world. They won a Brit Award and a Grammy, notched up ten top 40 hits and sold 50 million records before they disbanded in 1986 after George fell victim to drug addiction. A brief reunion around the millennium yielded a tour and an album that didn’t even make the top 40.

Since then temperamental George invested time as a club deejay and in 2009 served time as a jailbird for “falsely imprisoning” and beating a male escort with a metal chain. Other attempted band reunions proved abortive, until the past year when a new album titled Tribes was written though it seemingly cannot be released until funds have been raised through a crowd-sourcing website. This year the deadline for pre-orders was extended to the end of March. And you thought George was millionaire pop royalty living on his royalty stream! Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Meanwhile, 21 putative tour dates for Culture Club in the UK and US had been cancelled because, according to George, a polyp was found on one of his vocal chords. No mention was made of the state of advance ticket sales. So far so bad.

On Friday 6 March BBC4 is scheduled to screen a documentary titled Boy George and Culture Club: Karma to Calamity. Director Mike Nicholls was given unique access and witnessed a fractious band reunion in George’s London home to write new material. From then on, all is chaos (and parental guidance is advised throughout). Under George’s headstrong leadership, tensions from their past emerged and faultlines developed further when the band spent two weeks together in Spain. Relations became even more strained when George and the band signed to separate managers. If these business partners pitched for Dragons’ Den using this film, they’d be sent back to busking on the streets.

George O'Dowd, culture Club, pop music

George quoted at the Culture Club website

BBC publicity says the hour-long film turns over “the band’s troubled past, examining the themes of success, fame and ego”, which means this is likely to be one for diehard fans only. OK, and voyeurs who want the inside track on the always frought love affair between George and drummer Jon Moss, who today is happily married. In one revealing scene online, Jon himself says: “I fell I love with him, he happened to be a man. We were instantly attracted to each other. It was very exciting.” Guitarist Roy Hay adds the reality check: “I just wanted to be in a band and have fun. I ended up in a ******* homosexual drama. The fighting was the problem.” So much for the glamour of life in pop’s fast lane.

❏ After an hour of tedious on-screen bickering, the closing captions read:
The tour needs to be rescheduled but the different managers can’t reach an agreement. Since the cancellation of the tour, George and the band are no longer speaking to each other. [Apart from George] the other band members have declined to be interviewed. The album release is on hold.

➢ View the Culture Club documentary on BBC iPlayer for the next week; or a selection of clips. (Parental guidance advised)

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Romance blossoms: Drummer Jon Moss gives George a peck at Planets club in July 1981 way before Culture Club existed. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Ex-jailbird George takes his first trancey steps on the path to sainthood

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2010, Three key men in Boy George’s life, but why has TV changed some of the names?

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
2013, George still in denial over past misdeeds

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This week: Culture Club’s first live show in 15 years

Culture Club, Mikey Craig ,pop music,Boy George,  Jon Moss ,Roy Hay,comeback,Edinburgh Castle, BBC1, TV, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra,MediaCityUK, Radio2,

Old faces, new photo: Culture Club’s Mikey Craig, Boy George, Jon Moss and Roy Hay stage their comeback at Edinburgh Castle on Saturday

❚ NOBODY HAS YET SAID whether we can expect to hear a track from Culture Club’s new album at this Saturday’s live concert on BBC1. The newly reformed 80s supergroup kick off their comeback among a dozen acts giving a spectacular two-hour concert, Live at Edinburgh Castle, before 8,000 people ahead of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The One Show’s Alex Jones will present a line-up of international acts, including Jessie J, Kaiser Chiefs, Culture Club, Smokey Robinson, Rizzle Kicks, Paloma Faith, Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo, One Republic, Alfie Boe, Ella Henderson, Pumeza and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – plus comedy from Bill Bailey.

This will be the first time the original members of Culture Club have performed together in 15 years. They are Boy George (lead vocals), Mikey Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion). Time for three numbers is allotted, but not a dickybird yet has leaked out about what the band will play. The past couple of months have been spent in the studio rehearsing new tunes for their 11-date tour with Alison Moyet in December.

➢ Live at Edinburgh Castle starts at 8.30pm Saturday
on BBC1

➢ Buy tickets for Live at Edinburgh Castle, starting
at 7pm Saturday

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: The Culture Club comeback begins

➢ Tickets are still available for Culture Club’s UK tour, December 1–15

➢ 11 Aug update: The newly reunited Culture Club will be broadcasting with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on BBC Radio 2 at 7.30pm from Salford’s MediaCityUK

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2014 ➤ Reunion in the air for Culture Club – again

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January 2014: George with his old band-mates from Culture Club – clockwise, Roy Hay, Mikey Craig and Jon Moss (photo from Facebook)

➢ Boy George posts a new pic at Facebook Jan 31, and says:
Had a little writing session with the Club last week. Four degrees of pout! The plot thickens.” … His website adds: “Expect a new album and a tour from Culture Club by the end of 2014.

❏ The last time George announced a Culture Club reunion (2011 New Year’s Eve gig in Sydney, Australia) Jon Moss was also photographed in the studio rehearsals, but he couldn’t be there on the night. Update Feb 2014: In an entertaining new interview on YouTube (below) Jon explains why at around 12 minutes…


➢ 2014 George adds six new UK dates to his This Is What I Do tour including London Indigo

➢ George announces his new website, Jan 29 and Club Culture Radio, his new monthly podcast

Culture Club, 1982,Mikey Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Boy George, pop music

Early incarnation of Culture Club in 1982: described by George at Facebook as Mikey’s difficult “jumper” period

➢ Boy George at Facebook, Jan 24:
A lot of people don’t know I’m a DJ but I’ve been doing this for 30 years! They say, Oh you’re not the Boy George from the 80s though are you? and I say Yeah, there’s only one; it would have been dangerous to make two! The fan comments are even sharper, eg, “Do you do private weddings?”

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2012 ➤ Moss misses Culture Club’s new dawn in Australia

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TV scoop November 15: Culture Club announced their reunion on Sunrise, yet Jon Moss seemed distinctly uncomfortable. (Videograb © Channel 7)

❚ THE 80s REUNION OF THE NEW YEAR had been long touted and sceptically doubted. Yet suddenly on November 15 Australia’s number one breakfast show Sunrise on Channel 7 had a world exclusive: the 80s supergroup Culture Club were reforming to play live at the New Year’s Eve celebrations on Glebe Island right in Sydney harbour. That week Shapersofthe80s reported the amazing news. There on video we saw all four members of the chart-topping band with their vocalist Boy George sporting his powder blue Treacy hat, squeezed into a tiny studio in London.

Culture Club, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, reunion, concert,Boy George, Mikey Craig , Sydney, Glebe Island, But everybody’s body language looked awkward, not helped by the satellite link causing long silences in the London-Oz conversation. Once each member spoke up, however, they seemed able to laugh at themselves, including drummer and onetime lover of George, Jon Moss now married and aged 54, who attended George’s last birthday party with his wife. All three were papped there in a smiling embrace.

In the Sunrise interview, however, Jon wore a wearisome expression as he sat behind George, like some jaded husband who’s heard the wife making promises a million times before. And when asked why it had taken ten years to get together, Jon fessed up that “It takes that long to recover from the last time we worked with each other”. Nobody laughed, only averted their eyes. This might of course have been Jon being his usual sardonic self. Or, even then, he might have been suffering the terrible back pain which it is said has laid him low since Christmas .

In the event, on Tuesday as George watched the in-flight movie Senna aboard the plane out of London and tweeted “OMG, he was a beauty & so sweet”, Jon Moss was not beside him. When Culture Club stopped over to play a warm-up gig at the Tennis Stadium in Dubai, Jon was not at his drumkit, nor did he appear in Australia. A brief announcement before Culture Club took the stage in Sydney just after midnight on Jan 1 amounts to all the public has been told: Jon was stuck in London with a bad back, apparently a slipped disc. A sharp-eyed fan in the US called Gloria recalls that George tweeted about this on December 30. He said: “Jon is very unwell sadly. He was too poorly to travel. He’s gutted, so are we!”

Culture Club, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, reunion, Boy George, Mikey Craig , Dubai Tennis Stadium,live concert

Culture Club’s warm-up gig in Dubai Dec 29: while the poster includes Jon Moss, only Boy George, Mikey Craig and Roy Hay take to the stage with a stand-in drummer. (Videograb courtesy boypierreemmanuel)

Fans naturally started to ask what’s really up behind the scenes? Old friends initially suspected a classic attack with a hatpin, harking back to the old feuding of the 80s. But talk within Culture Club circles this week confirms that Jon has suffered an authentic injury and is due to go into hospital for treatment. The camaraderie between George, Jon, Roy and Mikey is reported to have been rekindled and rehearsals actually enjoyable and relaxed enough for whoever is around to join in with the writing. At band dinners in Dubai and Sydney there was agreement that the two shows had gone well. George was being particularly sociable with everyone after hours, rather than doing his own thing as in the old days.

All the more surprising then that George hasn’t offered Jon any further sympathy on Twitter or Facebook. Nor have we heard anything about Jon’s health expressed publicly. OK, there doesn’t seem to be an active official website for Culture Club as a band, but George’s own website has stayed schtum too. Amid George’s continual tweeting during the round trip (which included a bleat about a hotel charging $8 to deliver coffee to his room), the only reference to the show itself said: “I had such a great time tonight in Sydney. A very memorable NYE, with Neil Tennant from PSBs.”

Seven words spring to mind: Do you really want to hurt me?

Culture Club, Jon Moss, reunion, Boy George, Twitter,Neil Tennant, Sydney,live concert
One other interview during December gave a glimpse inside Culture Club family relations. With George sitting on ITV’s This Morning sofa [video below] plugging his £500 coffee-table photobook, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby quizzed him about the infamous Culture Club split back in 1986, and the 10-year gap since the band’s last reformation.

George said: “We never really ‘fell-out’ fell out. It was more personality things. It was never financial because they’re the worst fall-outs when people fall out financially, that’s hard to come back from. But we never had any of that stuff. It was just childish stuff… What’s funny about bands is it’s a bit like being in a dysfunctional family — and people don’t change. What happens is you change the way you react to people. The thing about being grown up. ‘That annoys me but I’m just going to take a walk’ — ‘I’m not going to tell you that that annnoys me.’ You have to learn to be tolerant.”

Make of that what you can!

THREE-MAN CULTURE CLUB PLAYING DUBAI DEC 29

… AND IN SYDNEY JANUARY 1

Culture Club, Roy Hay, Kevan Frost,reunion, Boy George,  Sydney, Glebe Island, live concert,

Culture Club live in Sydney 2012: Kevan Frost substituting for Jon Moss on drums. Photo courtesy samesame.com.au

❏ Standing in for Jon Moss as drummer in both Dubai and Sydney was Kevan Frost whose credits as a collaborator with George go back to the 90s, so the music was familiar territory for him. Prominent onstage, too, was the familiar bearded figure of John Themis on guitar, another long-standing co-writer and producer during George’s years as a solo performer. Also onstage, keyboard player, percussionist, four brass and three backing singers.

Culture Club, Roy Hay, live concert,John Themis, reunion, Boy George,Sydney, Glebe Island

Culture Club live in Sydney 2012: Roy Hay and John Themis. Photo courtesy cyberchameleon.com

Culture Club, reunion, Boy George, Mikey Craig , Sydney, Glebe Island, live concert

Culture Club live in Sydney 2012: Mikey Craig photographed by Johnny Au

ALSO LIVE ON THE SYDNEY NEW YEAR’S EVE BILL

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➢ More NYE pix at The Music Network

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2012 ➤ Boy George reunites with Culture Club for New Year’s Eve — and a new album

Culture Club, Roy Hay, Jon Moss, reunion, Boy Geoge, Mikey Craig,New Years Eve,Sydney Resolution,concert,video,interview

Culture Club on Sunrise this week: Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Boy Geoge and Mikey Craig

➢ Click the pic to view video interview with Culture Club on Sunrise, the breakfast show at Sydney’s Seven Television station

❚ HERE’S A PICTURE MANY SAID would never be taken: all four members of 80s supergroup Culture Club reunited. And a live concert imminent. In 1983 the New Romantic band with its gender-bending singer and unique reggae-based rhythms were prominent among the 18 new-wave bands who mounted the Second British Invasion of the US charts. In 1984 the band won the Grammy Award as Best New Artist and along with Princess Diana, Boy George became an international fashion emblem for the new Swinging London.

This week Boy George’s official website announces that the four original members of Culture Club have reunited for the first time since 2002 for a one-off concert in Australia on Jan 1. Before an audience of 30,000 at Sydney’s Glebe Island, overlooking the harbour, the band will play after the New Year’s Eve midnight fireworks on a bill with The Pet Shop Boys, Jamiroquai and other Australian acts.

More surprising is that the photo shows Roy, Jon, George and Mikey in a London recording studio where George said “we’re in the middle of writing for a new album” with their original producer Steve Levine. This first pic of the reunited Culture Club is grabbed from Sydney’s Seven Television in an interview on Tuesday when George said they’d include a couple of new songs in the “hit-packed” Sydney show. When Jon was asked why a reunion has taken so long, an agonisingly long silence followed until he managed to answer “I don’t know!” This did raise the laugh we see above, then he added “I think we have a ten-year cycle. It takes that long to recover from the last time we worked with each other.” Not a flicker of a smile from anyone. The six-minute exchange contained so many sidelong glances between the four and generally awkward body language that you might wonder whether they would survive the flight to Australia together.

Romance blossoms: Drummer Jon Moss gives George a peck at Planets club in July 1981 way before Culture Club existed. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Culture Club’s initial five-year career was blown apart after clocking ten Top 40 hits in the US, which included Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me. By 1986, however, George’s addiction to drugs was making tabloid headlines and his secret four-year romance with Jon was growing ever more explosive. A sanitised TV dramatisation titled Worried About The Boy provided an extremely one-sided version of events when aired last year. From 1998 a band reunion over four years yielded two chart hits and a platinum compilation album in the UK.

➢ NY Eve concert tickets are priced from $198 at Sydney Resolution

➢ Update: Boy George’s first live concert in ages, scheduled for Dec 8 in London, has been cancelled without explanation

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