The chameleonic karma of Boy George's life these days is good, thanks to the recent release of "Ordinary Alien," his first artist album in more than 10 years, and a Culture Club 30th anniversary album and tour plan for 2012.
"Maybe that's my saving grace," he tells Billboard.com, "that somewhere inside me, no matter where I am, there is that kind of optimism that lingers that good things will happen -- which is like a miracle, in a sense, when you think how the last few years have been."
George, who "got clean" from drug addictions in March of 2008, released "Ordinary Alien" earlier this month, via download only in the U.S. The 15-track dance set, co-produced with longtime cohort Kinky Roland, follows George's cameo on Mark Ronson's "Record Collection" and gathers together new recordings of ideas and previous releases that date back as far as 20 years.
"It's songs that were hanging around unfinished, various different things," George explains. "I've always made music, and I've posted some of it on the Internet and played it myself [in DJ sets], but a lot of it was unfinished because I was busy being messed up and distracted -- and working as well."
In addition to the first single, "Amazing Grace," "Ordinary Alien" includes a version of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" that George first created for the Night Of A Thousand Stevies concert in New York and "Yes We Can," a positivity mantra that samples U.S. President Barack Obama. "I call that my recovery song," George says, "because I wrote it when I first got clean. I tapped into his sentiment and the whole feeling that was going on while he was campaigning, that kind of feeling of optimism and change, which is something that was happening to me as well."
The next single from the album, "Turn 2 Dust," is due out in April; George is currently working on a video and waiting for remixes. Meanwhile, he's planning "a lot of DJing" and will be part of the Here And Now Tour package during June and July in the U.K. Any U.S. appearances, however, are in limbo while he works to get a visa, which, as in the late 80s, has been hampered by his well-publicized previous drug issues.
George hopes to have that matter cleared up by next year, however, so the Culture Club reunion can come across the pond. "There's so much love for us there, it would be crazy to do Culture Club and not be able to come to the States," he says.
Meanwhile, the group plans to start working on a new album -- its first since 1999's "Don't Mind If I Do" -- in the fall. "I'm not sure what kind of record it will be," George says, "but it certainly won't be an attempt to recreate what we did before but something that will fit into now."
The group hasn't chosen a producer yet but is talking to several candidates, including Phil Ramone, according to George. He says the group may consider reworking some of its 80s material and invite some special guests -- including hoped-for Gladys Knight.
"There are a lot of ideas about who we're going to work with and how it's going to sound," George notes, "but until you actually star writing it's almost impossible to say what it's going to be. It's just nice to be able to say we're going to do it together. Everyone gets along really well now. I think it'll be a really fun experience."