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 –

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

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

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