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Lenny Kravitz rocks anew in Baptism

click to enlarge Lenny Kravitz contemplates his overwhelming sexiness.
  • Lenny Kravitz contemplates his overwhelming sexiness.

On his latest CD, Baptism, Lenny Kravitz offers a lament about the excesses that come with his line of work. It's called "I Don't Want to be a Star."

For an artist who always has exhibited a flashy style -- and has earned an image as a jet-setting playboy, after romances with stars like Madonna and Nicole Kidman -- this pushes the bounds of credibility.

While there's certainly a tongue-in-cheek element to "I Don't Want to be a Star" -- Kravitz notes in the lyrics that he's drunk with Bob Dylan and gotten high with Mick Jagger -- there's also a strong element of truth to his desiring a simpler life. "We all have different parts of ourselves," Kravitz says in a recent phone interview. "But you'd be quite shocked if you hung out with me away from all of that. I live a very quiet, different life than what you'd expect. "You know, ['I Don't Want to be a Star'] wasn't a complaint," he adds. "I'm not saying, 'Oh, poor me.' [But] there are times in your life when you would like to be able to do things like take a walk, go to a museum, walk the streets, look at buildings, people-watch, whatever."

"I Don't Want to be a Star" isn't the only place on Baptism where Kravitz, who currently is touring with Aerosmith, engages in some introspection. There is a bit of the usual bravado, particularly on the lead track "Minister of Rock 'n' Roll" (the title's self-explanatory) and in the lustful -- but respectful -- "Lady" and "Sistamamalover." But the CD is defined more by its reflective material.

On "Where Are We Runnin'?" Kravitz ponders the value of relentlessly pursuing material goods and status. "Calling All Angels" finds Kravitz longing for a lifetime love, while in "The Other Side," he asks himself straight-out, "Could a wife and some children be better than being in a band?"

Kravitz (who has a daughter, Zoe, from a previous marriage to actress Lisa Bonet) has talked at length in recent interviews about wanting to settle down with the right woman. That's not to say he's ready to forsake rock & roll for matrimony.

"Well, I think you can have both, and balance your life out," Kravitz says. "I'll welcome that when it does arrive."

Kravitz initially had expected to make a funk CD his next project. But it went back on the shelf in fall 2003, following his stay at a friend's loft in Manhattan's West Village.

While there, Kravitz decided to simplify his life and go back to a more modest way of living, frequently visiting his old haunts in the city on bicycle. He also found an acoustic guitar in the loft, and, when he picked it up, songs started coming out at a rapid clip.

"Creatively, I just felt I was in a new beginning," Kravitz says. "It wasn't about going back to being a certain way. I don't look back."

-- Alan Sculley

capsule

Lenny Kravitz with Aerosmith

Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver

Monday, Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $51-$121; call 520-9090 or check ticketmaster.com for more.

  • Lenny Kravitz rocks anew in Baptism

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