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November 20, 2017

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Boy George is getting ready for a Las Vegas residency

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John Salangsang / Invision / AP

Boy George of Culture Club performs onstage at the iHeart80s Party at the Forum on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Inglewood, Calif.

When we last saw Boy George around these parts, he was cranking out a concert at the Pearl with the reunited Culture Club. This weekend he returns to headline the Super Summer Bash at Orleans Arena, but he’s got something more permanent in mind — a headlining residency on the Strip. I talked to the ’80s pop icon when he was home in London last week about all his upcoming plans, including a covers album and more.

You recently signed a new record deal with BMG, you’ve been touring steady for years and now you’re working on a Vegas show. Looks like a winning streak. Yeah, hopefully. We’re throwing around ideas for a possible residency, and it will be exciting to be in one place for some time. I did just sign my first record deal in a long time and hopefully we’ll be incorporating that into the shows.

It had been previously reported that you might do a Vegas show with another artist. Is that the plan? No, it will be me, primarily, but we are talking about having some guests, too, a show that has the ability to adapt and have different people appear. That’s one thing about live music — things can change, you know. You don’t really get those spontaneous moments anywhere but a live show. If you’ve got the right musicians, which I have, you can play around with the structure of the show and be more fluid.

Is the venue for a residency already decided or still in the works? Still to be decided. We had talked about the showroom at the Flamingo, but that’s not for sure. We are working with Caesars [Entertainment].

Do you envision a resident production with a lot of glitz and glamour and costume changes, perhaps like Cher’s show? Growing up I read a lot about Cher’s shows in Vegas and how she used to change every 11 minutes. I probably won’t go that far, but that’s a good starting point. If I do a show in Vegas it’s important to look at what has been successful there. Cher is a great example but also I think a lot about Liberace, who’s most associated with those classic Vegas performances. I also want to be able to treat the audience like friends, to have that kind of warmth, because that’s another great thing about Vegas shows.

How did your record deal come together? We were approached. It wasn’t something I thought I would do again, but I’m quite excited and it seems like a good time to do it. I’ve been meeting with producers to talk about ideas for songs I might do. It just feels like the right thing to be doing right now.

Those would be songs for an album of covers, correct? Yes. It’s really songs I wish I’d written. There are always those songs that are just beautiful and simple and classic, and you hear them and notice such a great melody or lyric. But I’m open-minded. I might do other things as well. I like classics but I’m looking at modern artists as well. I’ve done a few [covers] in concert but when you’re actually recording a track, the prospects are different than in the live setting. I’m looking at songs I’ve grown up and fallen in love with, older and newer. You know “I Want You,” by Bob Dylan? That’s not really one of his most well-known songs, but it’s one I love. I’d love to bring that to a Vegas residency, too.

What else are you working on? I’m working with this fabulous young band called Brando and we are about to set up their label and release some music from them. It’s a three-piece from London. I’ve worked with them on some songs and I guess I’m sort of a silent member of the band … but not so silent, as you can imagine. It’s exciting to be around young artists in the beginning of their careers, and they are really talented. It’s something I’ve done a bit in the past but I feel like with these three guys, I’ve found a group that’s really super passionate and dedicated. They are just desperate to get out and get on the road and start playing and be musicians, and it’s really fun to be a part of that.

KKLZ’s Super Summer Bash starring Boy George with The Romantics, Tiffany, Tommy Tutone, Nu Shooz and more is set for 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, at the Orleans Arena. Tickets and information can be found at orleansarena.com.

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