When Lenny Kravitz released “Let Love Rule” in 1990, he staked a theme for his entire career.
Now, however, he feels as if there’s a dire need for an outright “Love Revolution.”
“Look at the world, y’know?” says Kravitz, 43, whose ninth album, “It Is Time for a Love Revolution,” comes out Feb. 5. “It’s getting more and more trying each day, the situation across the globe. It’s very intense. “It’s just time for us to really stand up for what we believe in, and it’s time for us to decide what we believe in and how we want this world to continue, ’cause we’re probably the last generation that can fix it.”
Kravitz, of course, has generated plenty of affection — as well as some abhorrence — for this stance over the years.
Raised in show biz by his late parents — actress Roxie Roker and TV producer Sy Kravitz — Kravitz boarded the love train at a time when the rock scene was beginning its infatuation with the angst of the grunge and alternative rock movements. That didn’t stop his “Let Love Rule” album from going gold and subsequent releases from reaching platinum territory, but Kravitz — who’s won four Grammy Awards and sold more than 20 million albums — acknowledges that there was some confusion about this dreadlocked guitar singer wailing about peace and love.
“I’m all about being positive, from day one,” explains Kravitz, who’s been married once — to actress Lisa Bonet, with whom he had daughter Zoe Isabella, now 18. “It’s funny, because if you’re really negative, they don’t say anything. But when you’re positive, it’s like, ‘What is this hippie, cornpone, bull ... ?’
“Someone actually comes out talking about love and gets put down for it — and I did a lot of the time. People don’t get it at all; they had this idea that it was a ’60s hippie throwback kind of thing. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute? Why does love have to have a time period? Why is love not universal and timeless?’
“I thought it was really strange, but it didn’t stop me. My message has been quite consistent.”
Kravitz says he needed to generate a bit of positivity in his life, too, as he prepared to make “... Love Revolution.” After disappointing sales for his 2004 album, “Baptism,” and nearly two years of heavy touring to support it, he felt a desire for “tranquillity, peace, quietness.” That led him to spend four months in Brazil starting in July of 2007, following his performance at the Live Earth concert there.
“I’m not sure what kind of impact it had” on the album, Kravitz says, noting that “where I record doesn’t change what I’d be doing if I stayed somewhere else.” But, he explains, Brazil, “gave me another location, aesthetic values. The people are beautiful. I was very inspired by Brazil, by the people there and the music and the culture, the happiness that I found there.”
The sojourn led to early “... Love Revolution” tracks such as “If You Want It” and “Will You Marry Me,” as well as to “Long Sad Goodbye,” an elegy to his father, who passed away in October 2005.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, it’s so moving and it’s sad,” Kravitz says of “Goodbye.” “It does have an element of that, but it’s very positive, because we made peace in the end.
“See, whenever I go into the studio, I don’t think, ‘Well, this is what I want it to be about,’ or ‘I want it to sound like this.’ I just go in and I begin to play around, and I start to find the vibe and the colors and the whole thing. It sort of finds itself.”
Kravitz, meanwhile, hopes fans find some inspiration from the album and following his lead for the “... Love Revolution” he’s singing about.
“It’s time for us to begin to change our consciousness,” he explains, “and that starts with each and every one of us. I don’t know the answer to how these things get fixed; all I know is you have to begin with yourself, and you have to begin with love and you have to make that change, ’cause that’s how it grows.
“It starts like that, and then it spreads — like any situation, I think.”
Lenny Kravitz and Lissie perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 27) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $35, $45 and $79.50. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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