Rufus Wainwright: It's hard with radio 'cause I can't sit and look pretty

Rufus Wainwright.jpg
Photo by Barry J. Holmes

Rufus Wainwright once wrote "Along the bending path away, I smiled in knowing I'd be back one day." Perhaps he was talking about his return to Minnesota. The singer will be back in the Twin Cities for two shows this weekend to share his talents and charm at the Fitzgerald Theater.

On the eve of his Australian tour, Rufus spoke to Gimme Noise via local musician Chris Koza -- who himself covered Wainwright's "In a Graveyard" a year ago at the Fitz -- from his home in California. Wainwright, who turns 40 this year, shared anecdotes and wisdom on his career.

See Also:
Chris Koza's Works for Words at the Fitzgerald, 6/8/2012
Rufus Wainwright at MN Zoo, 8/11/2012

Chris Koza: Have you been to the Fitzgerald Theater before?

Rufus Wainwright: Yeah, I have. I don't think I've played there, but I've been there. It's a gorgeous venue, and being such an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan myself, I'm doubly pleased. Isn't there a big bust of him in the lobby?

CK: Yeah. They definitely like to advertise F. Scott Fitzgerald over there.

RW: I relate a lot to him on many levels. Some of them great, some of them unfortunate. [laughs]

CK: He definitely has both of those parameters covered. One of those shows is a variety show, Wits. Do you know much about that?

RW: It's a public radio show. I hope I'm sharp that day.

CK: I don't think you're gonna have any problems.

RW: It's hard with radio 'cause I can't sit and look pretty. [laughs]

CK: That's a good skill. You're a theatrical person, both in songwriting and the way you command the stage as a showman. Growing up, were you ever into theater?

RW: Both my parents -- my mother was a performer and a singer-songwriter -- toured a lot, and my father still does. My mother passed away. So yeah, we were always in and around theaters and folk festivals and TV shows. I wouldn't say it was relentless or that we were the Partridge Family or anything. Nonetheless, showbiz is the family business and pretty much everyone has grabbed onto the rope. We either get out of the crevice or hang ourselves with it, however you want to do it.

CK: Were you in plays?

RW: I did a lot of theater in high school. I went to boarding school in Upstate New York, so I did a lot of theater, but that was mainly so I didn't have to do sports. [sarcastically] Which, now as a 40-year-old gay man, I regret. [laughs]

CK: I hear ya. You've done some acting in movies and television. Do you have any aspiration to do more of that?

RW: Nothing I would pursue with conviction. If things come along, I'm not opposed to it, but I definitely know my place. I'm a musician and a composer and a singer, so those are my specialities. Before singing though, I'd rather paint or draw or maybe something in the visual arts, especially since they're quiet.

CK: It's interesting that to you have to get to that quiet place to be able to make noise again.

RW: If they need me to star in a Hollywood blockbuster, I'll definitely think about it.

CK: Robert Downey, Jr. is probably gonna be done filming Iron Man after this next movie.

RW: Okay, I'll probably be buffing his suit.

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