Like most of us, Richard Marx found the first 10 days of quarantine and lockdown perplexing — and so his “#SocialDistancing” web series, where he talks with guests about politics, music and life, happened mostly by accident.
“I was doing so much because it was occupying my brain,” the “Right Here Waiting” and “Hazard” singer tells Variety. He says the talk show, which he’s been doing on Instagram and YouTube since March 18, kept him from worrying about his kids, his mom and those he loved. Now he has two web series, “#SocialDistancing” and “#Beachin,” on top of a new podcast, “Tequila Talk.” Initially, at least, these home endeavors also served as a distraction from politics… although, for Marx, that always comes back as an irresistible lure,his new album “Limitless” was just released.
For those who follow Marx on Twitter, politics has been weighing on his mind. He’s been particularly vocal about Donald Trump to his 230,000 followers, calling out the president and his supporters. “This week, responding to a tweet in which Trump announced he planned to sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S., Marx had a typically tart response: “Uh-huh. Can you sign something to keep the white f—sticks in Michigan waving confederate flags away from me?” he tweeted.
Marx, who has been in lockdown with his wife, Daisy Fuentes (of MTV fame), says he wasn’t always this passionate about politics. “It started when Bush lost the popular vote against Gore,” he says. “I still feel Bush should have been charged with war crimes.” It’s something that still makes him angry to think about. “I never thought he was a traitor. I thought he was dumb but I never thought he was a vile human being,” he continues, discussing Bush in the post-9/11 world. But one thing that struck him about Bush was his humanity: “I could see how he was with his father, and he was so publicly respectful of his wife.”
His feelings about Bush “pale in comparison to the anger I feel over this presidency. I feel this guy is a despicable piece of trash. The country will recover, even if he’s in for another four years. We will recover, but we will never be the same. He will leave a s— stain on this country for the next generation. He has no redeeming qualities.”
Marx says he’s found people trying to pointing redemptive elements of the administration out to him, such as unemployment rates being lower among African Americans. “What people don’t know is that they are brainwashed, especially when you point out that black unemployment is only 1% lower than it was when Obama’s term in office ended,” Marx says.
“At this point, I’d rather have Jeffrey Dahmer over Donald Trump,” he adds.
He’s not entirely thrilled with Joe Biden being the Democratic candidate — even though he wasn’t thrilled about Bernie Sanders, either — but to Marx, at least Biden is a decent human being: “He’s smart and compassionate.”
But he and Fuentes know when to strike that balance and when they’ve had enough fill of the day’s news. If they’re not meditating or scrolling through Instagram, he can be found performing snippets of songs on his social media pages, or putting on mini-concerts in the series “Beachin’” every Friday for his fans. “I did Car Songs where I jammed to other people’s songs in my car, and this was an extension of that.”
Guns N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan, musician Kenny G and performer Laura Benati have all made guest appearances on his Instagram shows.
But two names he’s yet to land stick out for Marx, who loves the idea of speaking things into manifestation. “I’ve love to talk to Rod Stewart,” Marx says. “I’ve love to talk to Cher and we could talk about all different kinds of stuff.”
They go back, Marx performed backing vocals on Cher’s 1991 album “Love Hurts.” At the time, Toto’s Steve Lukather was producing “World Without Heroes” and called Marx in. “We had almost finished and in walks Cher. She came down to say hi and to thank me. We ended up talking for an hour. She was irreverent, sexy and fun,” Marx says, hopeful that his dream guest list will manifest.