International retro heartthrob Lenny Kravitz returns to the fold this year with a new album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, which would seem to follow up on his 1989 debut, Let Love Rule (both on Virgin Records). He’s also embarked upon a club/theater tour that will bring him to the Orpheum next Thursday. Here’s what he had to tell us about the tour, the album, his political allegiance, and the difficulties of being so sexy.
Why are you playing smaller venues?
I don’t get the opportunity to play in theaters and clubs very much. It’s something I miss. I love the intimacy of it. Before I go out hitting all these arenas and stadiums around the world, this is a good way to start.
What should people know about the new album?
I feel that it’s a powerful record. It’s about the love revolution. People should listen to the record — it’s a piece of art, you know what I mean, it’s not concrete. It’s got a great spirit. The theme of it is love. It’s what I stand for and have always stood for.
Is it a sequel to Let Love Rule?
I mean, I don’t think of things like that. I think that everything I do is its own thing, but it’s got a similar spirit to that record. Different time, different music, different thing, but it has that spirit in it. I love this record, I think it’s my best work to date. I’m very proud of it.
What exactly is a “love revolution,” and how might it play out?
For me, it begins within each of us. If we can’t learn to love ourselves and love those around us, how can we take that out to the world and expand on that? The love revolution begins right within your own being.
So it’s most important to love yourself first?
Of course. It’s really easy for people to say, “Let’s do this, let’s do that,” but then they come home and they can’t even get along with their child, or their mother, or their wife, or their neighbor. It has to be consistent.
Do you ever wish you had come of age in the 60s or 70s?
That would have been great, but someone has to carry the torch now, you know? I was born when I was born, and I’m here now. People like to use that word “retro,” but I’m not talking about the past, and I never have been, and that’s what people didn’t understand. Okay, I like to play real instruments, and I’m a musician, and I record the way I do because I love the way it sounds. But I’m not trying to be in the past. Just like a classical violinist — they’re not trying to be in the past, they’re just trying to play their violin. As far as the message of love and peace and so forth, that is something that should be popular in all time periods.
Did you know Rudy Giuliani came out to your song “Are You Gonna Go My Way” at a campaign rally in Derry, New Hampshire?
I did not know that. [Laughs.]
What do you make of it?
Uh, I’m surprised. Wow. That’s interesting. I guess he can do that.