Boy George :: Karma Chameleon to DJ

You probably don't remember much about the 80s. Way back, when there were jelly bracelets, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince - there was also a pop group called Culture Club fronted by the very recognizable Boy George. Songs like Karma Chameleon and I'll Tumble 4 Ya were big hits for the band in those days.

Now Boy George performs with his band as a hobby and has switched his focus from Culture Club to club culture. He's been spinning records as a DJ for about the last 10 years. The wildly eccentric Boy George has toned down his looks a little - but not the music. Today he spends most of his time mixin' it up in Europe's trendy dance scene. He's a headlining club DJ and when he's not spinning he's writing, producing, remixing, singing and creating some of the hottest dance compilations around.

George O'Dowd, who's known to the world as Boy George, has released almost a dozen club albums in Europe and is now hitting the States with his first US release Essential Mix. The album is a combination of disco, techno, progressive house and two-step. It's great to see Boy George has gained a reputation as a respected DJ and producer after years of struggling with a heroine addiction and depression. Boy's back on track and it's never been more clear than in the music. "Being in the DJ booth is one of the few places that you have complete freedom," says George.

Boy is no newbie to dance music. Before the days of sporting ribbons in his hair for Culture Club, Boy George danced it up in the club scene. He also used to spin records in London clubs with his friend Jeremy Healy back in 1979. In 1988, Boy discovered his friend Healy was earning a living as a DJ. He also heard people raving about a club in London and decided to check it out. The club, Heaven, hosted an event called Spectrum which was the beginning of 'acid house' music. After being in the spotlight for years with Culture Club, he liked the fact that you could just mingle and disappear. So he decided to return to his roots and dive headfirst into the dance club music scene.

With Essential Mix Boy George hopes that American dance fans will be open to his latest masterpiece. "A lot of that freedom we had in the early acid house days is gone now, because the whole dance thing has become so corporate," he says of the UK DJ scene. "And one of the really nice things about America is that America isn't really at that stage yet, so there isn't that strictness about what you can put on the records."

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