Now, why would someone as famous as Tim Curry be here, on the blog of less renown? Because his solo career didn't get the attention it could have, and even a "Best of" CD on A&M was remaindered very quickly. Still known musically for "Rocky Horror," and as an actor, Tim's "straight" albums have been unjustly ignored. I can understand why; he disappointed gays and cultists expecting nothing but campy "Rocky Horror" stuff. His rock style was still too tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top for average rock fans who expected Alice Cooper (very masculine despite the name and make-up) or Mick Jagger (who was clearly hetero despite the"faggot dancing").
Case in point, "All I Really Want," Tim's cover of a classic Joni Mitchell song. With his bombastic trombone-raucous voice, he stomps all over what was originally a cutesy number strummed by an earnest folkie. He sings in italics at times, which makes it a bit campy, BUT…he doesn't stomp in high heels. He also made sure to change some female gender words to male gender in the song.
When I interviewed him, back when the album was new, I asked him if he was deliberately separating himself from his Sweet Transvestite character in "Rocky Horror." Yes, he admitted. He changed "Rip my stockings (in some jukebox dive)" to "bop till I drop"because he very much wanted to present himself as a straight-forward (accent I guess on straight) rocker.
He presented himself as very straight at the interview…not a hint of flamboyance, not even some kind of Mick Jagger or Warren Beatty apricot nylon scarf. He was dressed conservatively in black slacks and a white shirt, with a skinny tie hanging undone around an open collar. As for Bonnie Miss Mitchell (Bon Joni), Tim admitted, "I found a certain sense of self in her songs," and he had a good time changing the phrasing to satirize and reflect it: "All I really really want our love to do, is to bring out the best in ME. And in you, too." Even if the effect is a bit tart and Bette Midler-catty, he still resisted any hint of transgender. "I want to knit you a sweater" becomes "I want a hand up your sweater."
Unfortunately for Mr. Curry, the occasional wry cover version ("Harlem On My Mind" by Irving Berlin), or song reeking of flamboyant costume choices ("Birds of a Feather") went just a bit too far for some straights, which is quite ironic considering that Tim worked with Alice Cooper's producer Dick Wagner. To me, his songs weren't overly fruity, just playful in the same spirit as Jagger's "queer sounding" numbers such as "Miss You," or "When The Whip Comes Down."
All he really, really wanted to do…was to be a rock star…bringing out the best in himself…and entertaining you, too.
Tim Curry Live All I Really Want