RUFUS WAINWRIGHT opening for TORI AMOS at Massey Hall (178 Victoria), Friday (October 19). Sold out. 416-872-4255. Rating: NNNNN
Rufus Wainwright is feeling a little apocalyptic these days.
Considering the state of the world right now, and the fact that the cabaret crooner was in Manhattan on September 11 and has returned there exactly a month later, "breathing dust and having a coronary every time an ambulance drives by," that's hardly surprising.
Still, unlike many artists who have shut down in the wake of what's happened, Wainwright's chosen to make the most of the situation, getting a head start on his third album and planning to record some new songs in Montreal later this year.
"I'm writing a lot about the end of the world right now," Wainwright admits from his Manhattan hotel. "That's what everyone's thinking about, but it's weird because a lot of my stuff was written before September 11. The recurring themes seem to be god, the devil and me. All the big ideas.
"I don't know how this fits in, but I've been listening to Dolly Parton a lot since September 11. When the bombing happened, she was the only thing I could listen to that would make me feel patriotic. I think instead of big flags, Americans should put up pictures of Dolly. At least people would know what they're fighting for."
It's not entirely shocking that Wainwright would be thinking about his next project just months after his current one hit shelves.
Following the cancellation of the Pet Shop Boys' Wotapalava festival, Wainwright virtually slipped from the radar after this summer's release of his sophomore disc, Poses. His solo tour in support of the record has been delayed until 2002 in favour of short opening sets in sheds for Roxy Music and now Tori Amos.
After the hoopla that surrounded his self-titled debut, the relative silence from a guy who admittedly loves to be the star attraction is deafening.
"I'm in this dues-paying mode right now," Wainwright deadpans. "All these opening slots help me get my music out to more people, and I guess it's something I have to do. It's like paying taxes.
"It's extremely frustrating and difficult, but I've been told that it pays off in the end. The more and more I get on in this business, the less ambitious I am and the less desire I have to climb my way to the top. I was extremely ambitious with the last record and it took a lot out of me. Now, I'm going to take it as it comes. I'll have them come to me."