Over the rainbow
Famous parents, drug addictions and being raped in his teenage years have failed to drag Rufus Wainwright into the rock’n’roll abyss. Soon to play songs from his fifth album in Dublin, he tells Tony Clayton-Lea about his bad behaviour, survival instinct –
MUCH as we’re loathe to appeal to the baser instincts of people who like to stereotype their pop and rock stars, it behoves us to report that The Ticket is talking to Rufus Wainwright in a pink tent. The tent is so faaaaabulous, gaaaarish and incredibly piiiiiinnnnkk that even Rufus seems initially taken aback by it. Outside the tent, the baying hordes of Oxegen are milling this way and that, summery/dirty versions of the kind of people not normally seen outside the likes of 28 Weeks Later.
Inside, all is relatively calm; Rufus is dressed in a dapper suit. He is one of rock’s smartest and classiest, an openly gay man, the owner of a knowing wink and the creator of some of the most operatically inclined pop music of the past five years. He is firm in the belief that his music must be of some purpose, that it should form the basis of change, that it should engage, inspire and influence.
“That’s the object of this silly game,” he says, relaxing into an easy chair, moving his sunglasses over his forehead, making eye contact. “You want to transcend, transform. Transfer funds, even!
“What happened with me is that – because my parents were both in the business and there was always a stage nearby – I immediately became aware of the fact that when I did have an audience, be it in front of a mirror, or propped up on the piano singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, there was this immediate effect where I