Rufus Wainwright Unfollows The Rules

Back in the before times (is this what we’re calling it?) a multitude of things were different. On November 23rd, 2019, the KUTX crew headed to the Paramount Theater to capture an intimate soundcheck and a chat between old friends Rufus Wainwright and Jody Denberg ahead of his Oh Solo Wainwright performance that evening.

These songs were to be on the newly announced album prepping for release in April. Wainwright backed by E.B. the Younger – an indie folk-rock band from North Texas with members of Midlake and The Texas Gentleman  included Eric Pulido (Vox/Guitar), Mckenzie Smith (Drums), Joey Mclellan (guitar/bgv), Daniel Creamer (Keys/bgv), and Scott Lee (Bass) – ran through each song twice and at one point during the dark pop of “Hatred” the tiny hairs on my arm stood up and yes, I was moved to tears.

For obvious reasons the release was pushed to July 10, 2020, requiring us to keep these beautiful videos under wraps. Today is that day. Unfollow the Rules release day.

It’s been eight years since the yacht-poppy Mark Ronson-produced album, Out of the Game. Pitchfork declared Rufus will never be cool or popular (while also admitting that was the point of the album) and gave it a 6.9. Rufus doesn’t care. Since then he wrote two operas and put out an album of Shakespearean Sonnets, Take All My Loves, featuring a swath of notable guests like Helena Carter Bonham, Carrie Fisher, and Florence Welch. 

About his temporary departure from his usual pop he says, “I highly recommend to any musician or artist to have a kind of dual art form or parallel track that they can skip over to because inevitably they end up informing each other. You start to miss the other one when you’re away with a certain lover you’re with at the time. But I think strategically it actually ended up being a wise move because I didn’t get sick of either.”

With Unfollow the Rules, Rufus brings it back to his Californian pop roots for an album of all the things I love about Rufus – piano, harmonies, sweeping strings, and OMG that voice! 

“I made the new album in Los Angeles at some of the same studios that I recorded my first album [1998’s self-titled album] and with some of the same musicians. My intention with this was to bookend my first album and, you know, return to the source, which is California for me, for my career for sure.”

Unfollow the Rules, Rufus Wainwright’s eighth album of original works, is out July 10 on BMG.

Listen to Jody Denberg’s full interview and enjoy the four performance videos below.

-Deidre Gott, Live Music producer

Rufus Wainwright Interview

w/Jody Denberg

Cameras: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, Ashley Landis
Edit: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Audio Mix: Chris Sorem
Audio Post Production: Jake Perlman

Producer: Deidre Gott

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