Friday, February 4, 2011
Elton on Music, Robbie Williams & Why He Will Never Stop Working
HIS mega successful pop career may span four decades, but the Rocket Man’s creative fuel tank is still far from empty.
Here, in the latest of a revealing series of interviews with the Mirror, Sir Elton John insists he thrives on keeping busy and will keep working till he drops.
“For me it’s never about what you’ve done, it’s what you’ve got next,” says 63-year-old Elton, who has sold more than a billion records.
“I’ve got two movies – Gnomeo and Juliet and a documentary [Making of The Union] directed by Cameron Crowe – then there’s my album, The Union.
“I want to do Las Vegas again. I can tour with Billy Joel, tour with Leon Russell, I can tour solo. I’ve got a musical coming up and a ballet.”
That workload sounds tiring, but Elton insists: “It’s not exhausting, it’s amazing.
“I buzz on working, I love it. I’m in this incredible position in life where I am doing a job I absolutely love. I’m going to carry on until I drop. There is absolutely no way I’m going to slow down.”
It has been suggested that since Elton became a dad to son Zachary, born on Christmas Day, he would cut down his phenomenal workload. Far from it.
He grins: “I’ve got a bigger lust for life than ever. I’m a man with the enthusiasm of a boy. I have this wonderful, surreal life. I work really, really hard every year and I love it. I do more than 100 shows a year – musicals, movies, everything.
“I work hard and I live large and that’s what I enjoy. To me, having Zachary is just amazing because he will become part of our lives. He will come with us wherever we go. This is the time of my life and it’s only getting better.
“I’m a total fidget-a***. I can never see myself stopping working. I get bored out of my brains if I have nothing to do. The way I function is by creating, working, singing – you just can’t take it away.”
Elton keeps things fresh with his collaborations. He has just worked with Glee’s Matthew Morrison, recently saw his protege Plan B at LA’s Troubadour club, while the soundtrack for the Disney film Gnomeo And Juliet features a duet between him and his pal Lady Gaga.
ELTON says: “I love her, she’s absolutely amazing. We’ve become friends. What I like about the Gaga most is that she’s amazingly polite and respectful to everyone around her.
“What I loved most about John Lennon is that he was like that. He once gave my mum a lift to the airport and came to my agent’s wedding.
“The Gaga is like that. But the greatest thing about her is that she manages to let everyone think they know everything about her but no one knows anything.
“She’s a phenomenal star – definitely someone who will be taking on the old sods like me, McCartney and Rod Stewart doing big tours for years to come. Pure genius.”
Sir Elton John has spoken about the state of the British music industry slamming the music of Cheryl Cole and The Saturdays to name a few.
Elton, who has just become a Dad at 63 told The Word magazine that he thought most Pop artists sounded the same saying they were all ‘cr*p’.
Elton said: “Frankly, they all sound the same. It’s hard to tell Girls Aloud from The Saturdays. And then there’s Cheryl Cole… It’s all c**p.
“British pop music like that is the worst, it’s just awful. It could have been made by anybody.”
Elton went on to slam celebrity and wannabe-singer Kim Kardashian saying: “Who the f*** is Kim Kardashian? Some stupid old tart from somewhere or other.
Elton did have praise for Take That and Westlife for singing live though adding: “I think they genuinely do sing their stuff, but 99% of the other f****** Herberts out there can’t sing a note”.
Elton is an expert on long careers. More successful now than ever, he believes that is all down to keeping his ear to the ground. He explains: “Every Monday, HMV sends me a list of new CDs and I’ll order copies for all my houses and my car. On Tuesdays I’ll order my American CDs. I get an advance list, I cross them off and I write down everything in a book – same with books and DVDs. I’m very organised.
“I don’t do freebies, I don’t do iPods, I don’t even do mobile phones. I hate the idea that people pick up one song, I want to hear the complete album.
“I listen to music all the time and I mix with musicians constantly. A lot of artists cut off, but I believe in plugging into everything around me and getting to know people through thick and thin.”
His most recent album, The Union, saw him rediscover Leon Russell – a former hero who had fallen on hard times – and bring him back into the studio. Elton kept in touch with Gary Barlow in his wilderness years. And he also helped Robbie Williams when he turned up wrecked on his doorstep – although that event sparked a major rift between them.
He says: “I couldn’t be happier for Gary, but the time to be a friend is when someone is down. There was a time he didn’t leave his house for six months.
“I have a lot of time for him. The way he handled all that stuff Robbie said about him was incredibly dignified. It was unbelievably hurtful but he forgave him. I saw Take That last year when they were all recording the album – the first time I’d seen Robbie for five years.
“In his book he’d said something about me kidnapping him. I was very upset and we both had a go at each other. We didn’t kidnap him, he turned up on our door coked out of his brains and we took him to our house in Windsor because we thought he was going to die.
“When I saw Robbie with Gary he asked me if we were OK again. I told him of course we were, there’s no point hanging on to bad feelings. I knew what he’d been through, drink and drugs – if anyone can understand that, it’s me.”
These days, Elton is happier than he has ever been. And finding personal happiness has helped him appreciate just how fortunate he is.
Of his success, he says: “I have never had a problem with fame and celebrity. All it has ever done is open doors – it gives me a great way of being able to raise money for Aids.
“What I did have a problem with for many years was myself... I do have it all. I have everything I could want and I appreciate it all because for so long I was rich, successful and very, very unhappy.
“I have an amazing partner, a son, a loving family, amazing friends and an incredible career. I have a perfect life.
“Sometimes I’m not perfect but my life is and I know it now because I’ve worked bloody hard to get here. My life is about family, music, friends and growing.”
Does this mean his family will grow?
“There are absolutely no plans yet – but we haven’t closed the door on that...”
- Mirror/ M is for Music