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PostSubject: The Times    28.09.10 16:05

Hey Scaramouche will you do The Fandango?

Adam talks to The Sunday Times Lisa Verrico

18th December 2011

Adams First UK Interview

Adam Lambert, the new face of glam rock

© Malcolm Mackenzie

Physical copy!

Quote :

Adam Lambert is a new kind of star who on first glance resembles exactly an old one. Onstage he lurches like Mick Jagger, glitter-slick face like David Bowie, with a belting Robert Plant yelp, yet the larger-than-life Lambert is being touted as the yang to the yin of Lady Gaga. He is also, importantly, the first openly gay mainstream pop artist to launch a career on a major label in America.

Even more remarkable is the fact that he found fame on American Idol, a reality star-search format usually responsible for unearthing a succession of plain boys and interchangeable girls. Indeed, the 28-year-old Californian came second in the contest last year to the wholesome-looking Kris Allen. But he has been warmly embraced by his newly met peers. Madonna’s inspirational pep talk during Lambert’s brief visit chez Ciccone was: “Keep your eye on the prize, don’t get wrapped up in what people are saying. ” When Lady Gaga was called in to work on the track she wrote for Lambert she whipped out the whisky and got him drunk. “She was basically pushing and encouraging me like a cheerleader: ‘Yeah, more, more!’ ”

The credits on his debut album For Your Entertainment read like a Grammy Awards guest list. Apart from Lady Gaga, Pink, Matt Belamy from Muse and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo provided songs. For Your Entertainment is a shamelessly camp and eclectic confection of irresistible pop, with ozone-puncturing vocals yanking listeners hither and thither with nods to Goldfrapp, Scissor Sisters and the Darkness — but then the leotard-loving Justin Hawkins did write the opening track, Music Again. Lambert describes his record as “Seventies and Eighties rock-glam put into a time capsule and blasted off into the future”, which is a nice way of putting it.

Being the first of anything can come with its complications and controversy, something Lambert has done little to curtail. He has ruffled feathers straight and gay; fallen out with US television networks and ignited a public war of words with the editor of Out, the leading US gay magazine, who published an open letter criticising Lambert after an interview he did with the publication.

His most controversial escapade came at the American Music Awards last November when the former Broadway chorus boy snogged a male member of his band and simulated oral sex with a dancer while performing his ironically titled debut single, For Your Entertainment. Lambert says he got carried away, but won’t be drawn into the faux contrition beloved of US television. “The one regret I have is, I wish I had sung it better,” he deadpans, eyes glinting beneath thick wads of mascara.

The backlash from the performance was considerable. ABC, the network that broadcast the show, received 1,500 complaints (out of 14 million viewers) and TV appearances by Lambert were cancelled. When he was invited to defend himself on air, even he was surprised by the fuss. “They pulled me off Good Morning America [on ABC] and two days later I was on a different early morning show on a different network. They showed a clip of Madonna and Britney Spears kissing [at the 2003 MTV Awards] and right afterwards a clip of me kissing a guy — and they blurred it out. It was hypocritical and ridiculous.” Rod Stewart, asked to comment on Lambert’s performance, said: “There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s rock and’n’roll.” So how did this out American pop star fall out with Out? Miscommunication. “The editor basically criticised my management, claiming they were puppeteering me and trying to control how gay I seemed. The truth is I expressed to my publicist before I did the interview that I didn’t want to speak about gay political issues because I don’t know enough about them. I’m an entertainer, not a politician; I have no problem talking about my love life.”

For the record, Lambert is single and not looking for a long-term relationship. “My heart craves that, but now is not the time for it. So in the meantime I’m gonna have fun. I love a torrid affair.” His large female fanbase blows his mind, he says. “I’m openly gay so they know I’m not going to have sex with a woman — although,” he says, pausing to give the idea some serious thought, “ I like making out with girls from time to time. I have this curiosity at the back of my mind. I’ve never had sex with a woman and I’m a little bit curious about it.”

Lambert grew up in a conservative neighbourhood of San Diego, California, to liberal parents. To give an outlet to his burgeoning, cape-swishing love of Andrew Lloyd Webber, they enrolled their ten-year-old son in a theatre group. The defining moment came four years later, when he performed in Fiddler on the Roof and blew the audience away. “Everybody hushed and there was a murmur — I could feel it, and it felt incredible. It was very validating for me, especially because I didn’t have very high self-esteem.”

It took a long time for him to accrue confidence. In high school he suffered from acne and put on an enormous amount of weight, reaching nearly 18 stone. “The minute puberty set in I became this bizarre ugly duckling weird kid that didn’t have any friends.”

The insecure young Lambert was something of a late bloomer sexually — losing his virginity at 21, falling in love for the first time at 25 — and in his career. He appeared in low-key plays, worked on cruise ships and toured Europe in musicals. Then came American Idol. “I figured if I could get on Idol I would play the show, I wouldn’t let the show play me. They took a chance and after the first couple of episodes I became more and more embraced and they facilitated what I wanted to do.”

What Lambert wanted to do was sing his heart out and put on a show: “Wardrobe, staging, song selection — it’s got to be more than just the voice. Theatricality is back in pop — the end.”

Lambert recalls a couple of Simon Cowell put-downs that missed the mark. One was simply that he was very theatrical, “as if to say that’s not a good thing”, Lambert smirks. For his second, Mr Nasty told the singer that he felt as though he was watching Rocky Horror, to which Lambert replied: “I love that movie. Thank you.”

Cowell may not have got it at first, but it’s amazing the clarity that dollar signs bring. The man known across the internet as Glambert is a force to be reckoned with. His appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone gave it its best-selling issue of the year, while his debut album has sold more than half a million copies in America and entered the UK charts on imports alone.

“It is nice to get reinforcement from friends, strangers, other artists going, ‘What you’re doing is groundbreaking’,” he says. “But it’s hard to hear grand statements like that. I’m the same guy that’s been kicking around LA for eight years.”

Even so he’s keen to clear up any remaining misapprehensions about himself. “It’s not a character I’m hiding behind,” he says. “I’m vain and I like looking hot and pretty. But I’m not that confident. I used to be scared to take risks and I was scared of rejection.” These days, 500,000 records sold, and counting, might help with that.

The single For Your Entertainment is released on April 19 by RCA. The album is out on April 26

The article also appeared online HERE

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