The current issue of Interview magazine–the celebrities-talking-to-other-celebrities journal invented by Andy Warhol–features an interview with Aziz Anzari-impersonator (and strangest person in the whole music industry) R. Kelly. The interviewer?: indie man of many hats Will Oldham (aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy). Here are the highlights:
R. Kelly on 30 Rock, the Baldwins:
WILL OLDHAM: Do you watch 30 Rock?
R. KELLY: No. What's that?
OLDHAM: It's a television show, a comedy, that takes place in all of these hallways. It's pretty funny. It's, like, a good sitcom. It's got Alec Baldwin. You know Alec Baldwin?
KELLY: Alec Baldwin? Yeah! Don't he have a brother and they all kind of look alike?
OLDHAM: They're, like, four brothers.
KELLY: Steve Baldwin . . .
OLDHAM: Yeah, exactly. [laughs]
R. Kelly on being possessed by Sam Cooke:
OLDHAM: But do you remember the day when it started? When did you start to think, I'm making a record about love?
KELLY: Well, a party that I gave at my house influenced me. I gave a Christmas party last year–well, two Christmases ago–where I did a Sam Cooke show. I didn't perform as R. Kelly. I performed the Sam Cooke show from 1964, when he performed at the Copacabana.
OLDHAM: You performed the whole set?
KELLY: I did the whole set. […]It was about a two-and-a-half-hour show that I put together in my living room. Built a stage and catwalk. I had the bulb lights and everything. I had tap dancers. I had a girl with me who sounded just like Billie Holiday. I had a guy who sounded just like Frank Sinatra. And then I did Sam Cooke. We had the marquee on the outside of the door, and I went and got old-school pictures of myself and we put them up like I was born back then and performing back then.
R. Kelly on how to throw a party, R. Kelly style:
KELLY: I wanted it to just be this thing that's special, where you don't want nobody else to see it–you just want to look at it yourself, know what I'm saying? I felt like people have fun with concepts like that–even when you throw a party. You say, “Okay, everybody gotta come in with a broom and a witch hat and it's a witch party.” You know what I mean? “Everybody gotta come already drunk.”
OLDHAM: Have you ever said that for one of your parties–like, “Everybody has to come drunk”?
KELLY: “Prove you're wasted. Walk a straight line . . . Oops! That girl fell. She gets to sit in the VIP section.” [both laugh] Nah, man, I've never done that.
R. Kelly on making his version of Thriller:
OLDHAM: So what happened to the Zodiac album?
KELLY: I've changed the name to The Return of 12 Play: Night of the Living Dead. I think it'll be an R&B-like thriller album, if you will.
R. Kelly's endorsement of the vuvuzela:
KELLY: You ever see the movie Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , where all of the electricity is just going into one body? That's what I felt like. I felt like all of that love, all of that energy, and the sprit of Africa was being shot into me through the vuvuzelas, like I was a son of Africa. There's just no other way to describe it, man.
R. Kelly and Will Oldham maybe discussing weed or masturbation or suppositories:
KELLY: I don't fly around America. I flew to Africa because it was a mission. It was something that I felt that I should do. So I did it and I got comfortable with it a little bit. When I fly, I do something to get myself to sleep real fast when I get on the plane, if you know what I'm talking about.
OLDHAM: Yeah. [laughs]