The aughts have been hard on George Michael. Chart-topping dance hits? Sexy music videos? Not so much. But sometimes you just gotta have faith: After years of grabbing headlines for his erratic personal life, the 44-year-old singer recently sent up his image on the ABC drama Eli Stone. This summer, he’s embarking on his first U.S. tour in 17 years, releasing a repackaged greatest-hits CD (with six new songs) and a companion DVD set with 40 videos on April 1, and continuing to write his memoirs. All that, and he took the time to call up EW for a rare interview.
Why come to America now?
I have no real intention of reawakening my career in America. I’m coming over to play because there are a million people in America that stood by me. I’m there to say thank you, and slink off.
I want to divorce myself from pretty much everything public after the tour. In the future, I don’t want to be making and releasing physical CDs, and I don’t think I want to be charging people for my new music.
Were you inspired by the way Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails released their latest albums?
Well, I love Radiohead. But I don’t expect [lead singer Thom Yorke] to be a big fan of mine.
Because most really good rock musicians are musical fascists. They think that anything that’s got R&B attached to it is s—.
What made you want to write a memoir?
I’ve done too many stupid things for there not to be movies made about me when I’m dead, so I might as well write the script.
Do you consider this a comeback?
It essentially is…. It’s going to be quite entertaining.