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BACKSTAGE: Elton says has a few productive years left

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Elton talks to LBC Radio about Royal Albert Hall plans, fund-raising, UK government, AIDS awareness, gun laws, eye lasers, and knighthoods
Tuesday 7 January 2003 @ 6:52 - GMT

Here are excerpts of Elton's Jane Moore interview for LBC Radio 97.3 FM, on January 6, 2003.

 

After talking about Tours, albums, and Billy Elliott, Elton spoke about motivation.

 

JM: Do you ever wake up in the morning and say 'I can't do this anymore'?

 

EJ: I don't, although sometimes you wake up tired, and that happens to anybody in in any profession. But I love what I do. I am soon 56 years and figure I have a few years left at this rate. I really love the fact I can make my own records, tour on my own, your with an orcheststra.

 

We're hoping to do an orchestral concert like the one we did at the Royal Opera House last month, at the Royal Albert Hall this year, featuring the Royal Academy Orchestra, because I think the public ought to see it. It was an exciting event.

 

JM: Your raised a lot of money for scholarships to that college [The Royal Academy of Music, London], but also your other fund-raising thing is the Elton John AIDS Foundation. How much did you raise for that last year?

 

EJ: We raised 4 and a half million pounds. We raised 1.150 million in December alone. It was a good month, December. We gave 700,00 pounds to the Royal Academy of Music, and 1.150 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

 

JM: That is incredible. And what research aid do you get from the British government?

 

EJ: We don't because we're not really a research agency. I have my criticism of the government. Gordon Brown [finance minister] wrote me a letter, answered me back, I think the government are aware of the situation.

 

JM: What did he say?

 

EJ: He just said that it was unfair what we said, blah, blah, blah. And we then wrote back another letter saying no it's not unfair, here are the facts.

 

JM: Did you hear back from him after that?

 

EJ: Yeah, but you know they are aware of the situation. The worrying statistic in this country [UK] is that [AIDS] is up 50% again among young people. Young people think there is a cure for AIDS, but there isn't. There's a lifeline [treatment] but that's all.

 

JM: It's a change of attitudes you need.

 

EJ: When you're young you think differently to when you're older in your fifties and sixties.

 

JM: You give your proceeds from singles to charity don't you?

 

EJ: No, that stopped years ago. It was buratically [bureaucratically] a nightmare. The territories where you sell singles in, we had to stop that. We were leaving ourselves open to so many investigations blah, blah, blah. It was easier just to do several events every year.

 

JN: Elton, it's John Nicolson in the studio here. It was really interesting what you said about AIDS and young people. It's one of the problems isn't it, that young people think that so long as they have relationships or sex only with young people they are safe. That it's only old people, 30s and 40s, who are the dangerous ones and that teenagers are safe. It's so wrong.

 

EJ: It is. You take drugs or drink and it alters your mind completely. When you're young you think you are invincible. You don't read enough. We do try to educate people, but when you're young they don't think they will catch AIDS.

 

JN: Well it would be useful if we didn't have Clause 28 [prohibiting references to homosexuality in British schools], and allow teaching gay kids.

 

EJ: Absolutely. And it is worrying we have seen this high increase [in incidence] in young people.

 

JM: We also talk about the fact you work hard for your financial side, you have five homes all over the place.

 

EJ: And five flowers, Jane ha!

 

JM: We've been talking about the rise of gun crime in Britain this morning. Do you still feel safe in Britain?

 

EJ: I still feel safer in Britain than in America. But it is incredible worrying. I watched the news last night, and this thing in Birmingham which happened [two black teenage girls caught in cross fire of gangland shoot out died last week] and the amount of people arrested. Look at So Solid Crew [the band] two or three of whom have been involved in gun crime. I don't like guns, I don't think the police in this country should be allowed to carry guns, people I just don't like guns, period. But something has to be done, to bring these new gun laws in immediately [UK government is considering tightening law with five-years in prison for possessing a gun].

 

JM: Where are you off to next?

 

EJ: Back home to London tomorrow. Then I am going to Los Angeles on Sunday. And I come back there after a week, and then I have three weeks to do certain things and I'm off in February with Billy Joel.

 

JM: And you're having your eyes lasered?

 

EJ: Yes, I am in February, I've had all the tests.

 

JM: But that's going to be weird for you, because the thing you're most famous for is your glasses. Are you still going to where glasses, but just glass pieces instead?

 

EJ: Yeah, probably. I'll have to get used to it myself. God knows what I'm going to look like without the glasses because I now look in the mirror and I can't see! Ha! It's like, if I have the operation and decide it's an absolute disaster because I look vile without them, I'm probably going to have to wear glasses without prescription lenses.

 

JM: Well, thank you Sir Elton. I noticed there weren't any Sirs in this year's honours among the music industry.

 

EJ: No, there were very big rumours about Eric Clapton getting a knighthood.

 

JN: Does David [Furnish] get a title to comes with yours Sir Elton?

 

EJ: ha ha!

 

JN: Elton and Lady David. Well, I think that's an example of naked prejudice and something you should work to have repealed instantly.

 

JM: And Mick Jagger hasn't bothered to pick his up yet.

 

EJ: Hasn't it? He must be touring.

 

JM: He's out of the country on tax business.

 

EJ: I'm proud to pay my taxes in Britain.

 

JN: Good man. How many Lady Jaggers would there be if he did go to pick up his knighthood?

 

EJ: About 5,000. Ha ha! They'd have to have a Bingo session to work out who gets it!

 

JM: Elton we'll leave you to go off and play tennis.

 

EJ: Yes, I'm off to play tennis Jane. You know me very well.

 

JM: Lovely, hope you win. Byeee!

 

JN: That was a lovely interview Jane.

 

JM: I think we should have him come on every day. A daily fixture.

 

 

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