Adam Lambert: The Out Interview, Part Two
By Shana Naomi Krochmal
It's nice to meet a gay man who enjoys drugs that aren't meth or coke.
I stay very far away from those things. It's funny too because I remember after that [Rolling Stone] article, my mom was like, 'I don't know if you should have said all that stuff about drugs, Adam. You know there's a lot of kids'' And I said, 'But that's life, that's real.' I just wanted to be careful that it didn't turn into a fucking pageant. It doesn't have to be goody two-shoes. I'm not. I can fake it sometimes. Maybe. There is an element of responsibility. I'm not a jackass. There are kids exposed to things. I don't want to fuck up some kid's life or something, or make a parent's job really difficult. But at the same time, it's like --
What are you doing that would do that?
I don't know. To some people, me being sexual is really offensive because I'm gay. They're like, he's being really gay. And I'm like, actually, no, because there's no other guys up here. I'm just being sexual. And male sexuality is frightening to America. Female sexuality -- it might not be the best example of it, but it's all over the place. Overt female sexuality might be degrading. It might not be the most feminist type of sexuality, unless you look at it like the woman's in control, so she's got the power. Sexuality is just -- people are so freaked out by it. The double standard is that a woman can get away with it but a man hasn't been able to yet.
How famous is too famous?
I don't know. I really think it's relative. The hardest thing to do in this situation -- but the best thing to do -- is to not take it too seriously. By doing that you don't let it run your life and freak you out. It's all kind of ridiculous, if you put yourself outside of it and try to look at it as objectively as possible. It's all ridiculous. The whole thing. It's crazy. It's hilarious. It's funny. It's great. It's really positive. And when you start letting the pressure get to you -- our job as entertainers is to not let the pressure get to us. Our job as entertainers is to be like, OK, I'm just going to keep doing what I do. And obviously I'm being an idealist right now -- but I kind of have to be, or how else am I going to last?
Can you go back to Burning Man?
I hope so. I'll just wear disguises. Fame doesn't freak me out, and I can handle it. But sometimes out in public there are people that just are so rude. Like, people are really cool about it and they'll come up to you and they're just like, 'Oh, hey man, I really liked you.' It's brief, it's sweet, it's genuine. But some people freak out. And I'm like, "Why are you freaking out?" I don't get that mentality. I've never felt like that about a celebrity before -- except maybe Madonna. When I met Madonna my heart was racing. That's my one experience being star-struck. And I told her, 'I'm freaking out.' And she said, 'Why?' And I said, 'Because you're fucking Madonna.'
But there are kids who feel like that about you already.
But even though I was star-struck [about Madonna] and freaking out, I internalized it. And I made sure that I didn't make her feel uncomfortable. And some people, it's like they just don't get that.
Or they don't respect themselves in that situation.
It's a boundaries issue. They feel like because they know you and they like you that you owe them something. And it's a difficult situation because I do owe them something, with Idol. They voted. If it weren't for people out there voting for me, I wouldn't have made it on the show. So I do owe them a lot of gratitude, I do. But I think that that's what I owe them -- gratitude. I don't owe them to come join me for dinner when you're coming up to me in this restaurant and I'm trying to eat. 'No, you can't sit down. No, you know what, I'm actually trying to eat dinner, can we take a picture another time?' It's just about boundaries, and respect. It's the one thing about being famous that's difficult to adjust to.
What are you doing to stay sane?
I haven't been going out that much. And I miss it a little bit, but I've been busy. I was definitely a night owl before all this. And when I go out and do errands, I'm literally like, I'm going to put on a baseball cap and sunglasses so that I can just do my thing. It's not that I don't like people coming up to me or appreciate the genuine sentiment. I'd just like to be left alone a little bit. No one can prepare you for that.
Is that the thing that's changed the most?
Yeah. Because at the heart of me I'm the same guy doing the same thing on a larger scale. I've always been an entertainer. But it's just, the lack of anonymity. It's going to sell the album, but it takes away from your personal life. I wouldn't have it any other way. I think it's a fair trade. If that's what I have to sacrifice for getting what I want, then fine.
How do you balance that mainstream success with having come from a community of performers who are much more underground?
There are tracks on the album that are artier and weird and experimental. And there will be things on it that are more mainstream and commercial. I like both kinds of music. I understand why you have to have both kinds. It's kind of like what Lady Gaga is doing. She has huge commercial success but what she's doing is wild and out there. I think there's so many different elements that go into a persona and entertainment. If one of my songs sounds commercial, hopefully I'll be able to create a visual that's different, to give it a whole new twist.
Do you feel a responsibility to do that?
Yeah. Because I don't want to be generic. I want to give people something to look at and talk about it. When I did 'Ring of Fire,' which was a classic country song that I turned into this psychedelic Middle Eastern thing, I loved the way it turned out. And I loved what I was wearing. That was probably the most me, just as far as my taste goes and the kind of stuff I like. It was very Burning Man. And it was very polarizing. Some people loved it, and just as many people were like, "Ugh." I think there's going to be some stuff on the album that does the same thing. And I hope that it does have a strong point of view. I don't want to be bland. That is the last thing I want.
Are you worried about that?
No. But the big business of the music industry, if it's not navigated properly, can end up making you bland. It's all about mass appeal.