"KAREL & ANDREW!"
KAREL AND HIS BELOVED ANDREW
by Judy Jones
BAY AREAS FIRST OPENLY GAY
RADIO SHOW HOST ON A
Disc Jockey for KGO AM 810
"I've got fifty thousand
watts of power and I'm not
afraid to use them!"
"Karel!" I shouted aloud.
"Karel is back."
I first heard Karel and Andrew his
beloved partner (who has since
passed away from aids)on a radio
station out of Los Angeles. His voice
shot straight thru me, filling me
with light and joy & I was hooked!
And for the next year I listened
to Karel and Andrew every chance
I got before moving out of the area.
Thanks to KGO's excellent taste
in DJ's, Karel is back and even if
he had only one watt of power
instead of fifty thousand, his
boundless energy and intensity could
wake up the whole world and the
Watch out! Karel's absolute lust for
life is contagious and I'm thrilled to share
to share his magic.
Karel opened his heart, giving
100% of himself, pouring out his
love for you the readers of "On the Road
With Judy!" in the following interview
So open your hearts and let "KAREL"
"KAREL, A SHOOTING STAR!"
Karel you remind me of a shooting star!
Where are you headed?
Well, that's the beauty of flying
through space, isn't it? One never knows
where they're going to end up. I've
tried to predict my journey so many
times, and never landed where
I thought I would.
For instance, while in college,
I wanted to make films,
be on television, and do stage.
Then I ended up a music journalist.
From there, I became a recording
artist. After that, a talk show
host for the biggest talk station
in the country. My GPS certainly
needs allignment! Now, I've got
a book coming out! So, I hope to
land in television, film, stage,
while continuing as a talk
show host and author.
I first heard you and Andrew
on the radio in Ventura, California and
immediately fell in love. Your voice
is so joyful, it made me want to
listen to you forever. Where did all
that joy come from Karel?
Well, you touched on it.
All that joy came from Andrew who
died of aids. He was my joy, my
life, the focal point. He took this
raw mass of energy, me, and
helped me focus.
He used to say water running down
the side of a hill in all directions does
no one any good, but create a channel
for that water, a groove, and suddenly
it's a powerful thing. He created the
channel for me. And now that he's
gone, I serve his memory by
continuing to grow.
I also think when you face a
life of adversity, growing up poor
with handicapped parents, being
always different, facing AIDS for 20
years with friends, well, you realize,
life is a precious, joyous thing.
It's a remarkable gift, each day,
and it's one to be celebrated,
not wasted. This is not a dress
rehearsal, this is the performance.
Make sure each day is the best.
Has anyone ever compared
you to the young Mozart in the movie
Well, they have compared
me to things, but never anyone quite
so talented! It's so funny, when
people compare me, it's always to women.
Rosie O'Donnel, Bette Midler, even
Streisand, because of my work ethic,
my aspirations, the way I work in many
I was answering a personal
ad on the air the other day for a
segment of the show, and it said
what celebrity do you most
resemble....I put Karel...It seems the
union is full of talk show hosts, but
their ain't but one of me!
Karel, Andrew seemed like
such a gentle soul. I loved him even
though I never had the pleasure of
meeting him in person. Sometimes
while listening to you on the radio,
you would get really excited about
some subject, and Andrew like 'god'
brought what you were trying to say
back to earth in a very 'user friendly'
way. Do you think you would have done
radio without him?
No, quite literally. No one
wanted just me at the time. They
wanted us. He only did radio because
of that. He never wanted to be famous.
He was a brilliant writer and loved to
garden. He only did it out of his
love for me. And yes, he could ground
me in a second. One word, one
look. I always said I never wanted
to do radio without him. The big guy
talked a lot, but the little guy ran the show.
I remember vividly. We were in
Garden Grove Community Hospital.
Andrew was having a drug reaction.
We were going to call in sick, but
there were endorsement spots
to read that night, and if I went in,
I made an extra $500. So, the
station said let's have April Winchell
sit in with you. She did. I left the
hospital, went and did the show,
and came back.
Andrew was so sad. He said they
wanted to replace him. I told him
impossible, it was just for the time
being while he was in the hospital.
For once, I saw that he liked what
he did, but had no faith in his abilities.
So, I called in sick the rest of the week,
and told him I didn't want to do
radio without him.
After his death, I went solo on KFI
radio station, and NO ONE, no guest,
no co-host sat in the chair to my right.
That was Andrew's. And I brought
a small urn, little one, to the radio
studio each time with a bit of his
ashes in it. Stupid, I know, but I
wanted him there with me. Even
to this day I do that. He's still
there, with me. In my head.
And his urn is on my counter.
When I first heard you
on KGO radio, I didn't know what
happened to Andrew. Finally
one night you explained and I
cried. You have a trillion times
more energy now than when
I first heard you in Ventura.
Do you think Andrews light
went in to you after he left this
plane of existence?
Yes, there is no doubt,
he imprinted on me. Case in point:
I couldn't cook. Andrew was a gourmet
chef. After he died, I channel him
in the kitchen. It's so miraculous
to watch. I know where everything is.
I know what to do, how to do it.
I make stock from scratch. I cook
gourmet meals. It's him, no doubt
about it. And yes, he's there, in
my head talking to me during shows.
When Andrew passed away that
night he swept through me.
He left me the best of him.
Do you feel like you are a
stronger, more focused Karel
because of your years spent with
I am Karel because of
Andrew. There would be no Karel
without him. Yes, a thousand
times yes.....He gave me the reason,
the skill, the focus.
Noone could ever take
his place but are you open to a
new love coming into your life?
All the second half has
to be is fun!! Yes, I would be open
to dating again. It would be different.
He was the love of my life. There's
no two ways about that. But, he
would want me to have someone
as well. The beauty is, I have
such miraculous friends. I almost
don't need to date. And the dogs,
and the rabbit, and the chickens
and the fish.........I'm surrounded by love!
You are music Karel..Just
hearing your voice makes me get up and
dance! Are you presently composing?
Yes, I am putting together
a new album which will be in a new
direction. It's a surprise, so
I won't say much more, but yes,
there will be a new Karel record,
bare, stripped down.
Me, a few musicians - the voice
that has learned, the lyrics that
have lived, the sound that has
developed, the person that has
changed, not a lot of production.
You are so honest with
your audience about your feelings
for your Mother, Andrew, everyone
really. Listening to you on the radio
is like attending an opera for me!
What in your life has allowed you
to be so open and honest?
My mom. There's no
shame in her game. What you see
is what you get. And the fact that
fallacies and facades are so easy to
Give your heart, your soul, your
life to everything you do. I don't
know if it breaks the rules of talk
radio. All I know is that I have
to be honest.
This is my life we are talking
about, your life. You have to connect
with me. You have to feel that
what I'm doing is informative, relevant
and entertaining. Otherwise,
why bother? Some people complain
about how open I am, but I can't be
another way. I'm not a character,
saying lines. I'm a person, trying to
figure out these topics along with
the rest of the world.
Are you an 'old soul' Karel?
Well, my back certainly
feels that way in the morning!
Yes, I think I am. Andrew was one
that the world just wasn't ready for
yet. I seem to get things that seem
so basic to me yet to others have trouble
understanding. To me, that means
I've gone through this at some point
before and learned my lesson then.
Where do you see yourself
ten years from now?
I don't have a clue,
because I'm not where I thought
I would be ten years previous.
I hope I'm happy, surrounded
by friends and family, working
in radio, TV and film, selling
books and being Karel.
What dreams does your
heart beckon you to follow at
this point in your life? And are
you listening to them?
I've had an extraordinary
life and live what most people dream.
Remember only 3% of all people in
entertainment actually make a living
I've talked to heads of state, dined
with superstars and eaten out of
McDonald's dumpsters and stayed at
George V in Paris. I've been loved by
the greatest man on this planet,
surrounded myself with the most
loving, talented friends a person
could ask for.
But no, I'm not doing all I could
right now. Andrew's death
blindsided me. I should be
making films myself, not
waiting for Hollywood. I
should be financing my own
TV talk show, not waiting
Dreams are fine, but those that
achieve them are the ones that
show up, that do something to
further them. I do need to be
a little more proactive on some
Would you describe yourself
as being born 'a star' or did you
have to work for it?
A star is a burning ball
of gas in the universe, so, I could
be one! I feel I've been very, very
lucky my entire life. But I, we,
worked for it very hard. There's
been a lot of dues paying.
And you always work for it.
It's funny about dreams, about
success, when you arrive at
a level you have to work very
hard to stay there. And to progress,
work even harder. There is no
easy road anyplace.
If a movie were being made
about your life, who would
Well, Bruce Vilanche
would want to! I, of course,
would play me. Who better?
Your energy level is
incredible! You exude life!
Did you inherit it from your parents?
Yes, from my mom.
She is a 4'9" dynamo. My dad
was the Andrew of the relationship,
grounded, more quiet. My mom
is just as over the top as me,
she's a Diva, do doubt!
Is your family in show
Oh heaven's no.
My mother worked secretarial
for years and my father was a cook.
Would you describe
yourself as 'Fearless' Karel?
Just the opposite.
I'm afraid of everything, that's
why I do what I do. Challenge
your fear. I think most performers
are insecure, and I certainly fall in
to that category.
Are you one of the Century's
movers and shakers?
I don't know. I think
in the gay community. Andrew
and I broke barriers, being the
first openly gay male couple
to host a drive time radio show
in a major market in history.
I continue, through radio, my
column at www.Advocate.com
and my book to break down
barriers, and stereotypes. But
who knows. There's a
wonderful line from a song
by Linda Eder called
"Gold" from the upcoming
The line is:
"I know my voice was just a whisper
but someone must have heard
there were nights
the moon above me stopped and
let my light take hold.
I rode across the sky and
once I touched the gold."
I've touched the gold. Before
Andrew's death, we were
on majoy market radio, loved
each other wildly, had a
nice family life, and beautiful
home, my mom was healthy.
Will I touch it again? Who
knows. I'm working on it.
KGO is a blessing. It's the
#1 station there and they
took a chance on my quickly.
Surprisingly, I'm the first
openly gay host they've had
on in the bay area on a regular
basis. So, my voice may be a
whisper, but someone must
What would you change
about your life up to now?
Andrew's death. That's
the only regret, the only thing
I would change. The rest made
me who I am and I needed
it to become Karel.
But Charles Raymond 'Karel'
Bouley, regrets the events of
May 21, 2001 more than anyone
will ever know.
I think of you as a huge tree.
A tree young people can climb
on, swing from, bend, push, hug
and you just keep sheltering,
loving and teaching.
Would you agree?
Well huge yes! I don't
know. Does anyone really know?
I do know that I try to be honest.
That I try to be loving when I can.
That for all the bravado, I value
many things including life, love,
happiness, understanding, kindness,
joy. I get angry and express that, too.
Like a tree, I have many branches,
each a different part of me.
But I'm learning as I go.
If others can join me in that,
then its wonderful. I don't
know any more or less than
anyone else, I just ask the
questions, try to figure it out,
look at the box from all sides now.
Do you have plans to
relocate to the Bay area since
KGO is located here?
No, not at the moment.
I love my house, my friends,
my city too much.
Karel you are all over the place.
A creative genius who the whole
world just shakes their head trying
to figure out. Have you ever wanted
to be anyone other than this extremely
creative individual named Karel?
Always. I've always
wanted to be a banker, an accountant,
a graphic designer....anyone that has
a regular 9-5, is content to have
2.5 children, a home in the suburbs,
etc. The life of an entertainer is
maddening. The sad part is,
it would be a lie for me, and
I can't live one.
So no. I've had such a fun time,
met so many wonderful people,
this bipolar existence is mine,
and I love it. It has brought me
great joy, tremendous pain,
wonderful love and big heartaches.
It has brought me life, my life.
Who are some of your mentors?
David Hall, Barbara Streisand,
my mother, Jack Swanson,
Trish Robbins, Karen Dittman...
so many people teach me so
many things. Andrew taught me
about love, life and to stop and
notice the color purple.
David Hall taught me about
radio, and why no host is
better, just different. Streisand
taught me that even when
people say you can't, you can.
My mom taught me resilliance.
Jack and Trish taught me that
moving on isn't a bad thing.
Karen teaches me about the
realities of the world outside
my bubble....and there's so
Do you have any future
plans oneday to just do music?
I love to hear you sing.
No, I can't just do one thing.
It's like asking an octopus to use
just one tentacle. Creative people
create, in all mediums that they can.
I've been blessed. I can write
without effort. I can sing, it just
comes out. I can talk for three
hours about a topic. I can stand
in front of a room and make
them laugh, or become another
character on film. It's all so
easy and yet so hard at the
same time. But it's all a part
of me. To section off a part,
would be to deny the others.
If you were God, how
would you change the general
state of the world or would you?
I'd tell my followers
that love is the answer,
not bigotry, hatred. That we
are all, in fact, created equal.
I'd step in a little more. There
would be no nuclear weapons,
period. In fact, no weapons, period.
I'd make people deal with each
other on a personal level, not as
a name on a screen or a statistic
on a war department report.
And I'd make Oprah my
I haven't heard much
about your father. How did he
influence your life?
My dad was a quiet
man. He was sick his whole life.
He died almost 20 years ago now.
He taught me about love, about
how it wasn't always physical
but could be much deeper.
My mother cared for him, and
he kept her on her toes. They
were good for each other.
She is handicapped herself,
but there she was, taking him
in and out of the van in his
wheelchair....giving him hell
if he didn't do something.
He showed me the power of
understatement. And that
sickness doesn't mean the
end, doesn't mean you're
incapable of life. You can
still live, even if you are ill.
Who are some of your
favorite musicians Karel?
Talent amazes me. Anastacia,
Linda Eder, Streisand, Celine,
Midler, Vandross, Annie Lennox,
Emma Shapplin, Lara Fabian,
people of great talent...
my friend Thea Austin. Singers.
I love your childlike
zeal for life! How have you kept
that innonence when the world
seems more than happy to knock
it out of us?
Simple, don't pay
attention! The world can only
take what you give it. So don't
give it up. Keep it for yourself.
And we're all children, seeing
today for the first time.
Wonder in it!!
Are you religious?
Do you believe in God?
Well, no, not as
described by memebers
of modern day religion. I am
spiritual in that I know
Andrew visits me in dreams,
in spirit. I know energy, life,
goes on somehow.
but I don't know how.
I don't have the answer,
and I haven't heard a really
great theory yet. Buddhists,
I suppose have it pretty correct.
Karel you are in a position
to make a difference in many
lives. How does that feel?
I do some things,
like answering Dear Santa
letters form the post office and
getting people to donate toys.
I do all the benefits I can.
But as for the rest....you just
can't think about it.
I get so many letters from
people, some, who
were on the verge of suicide
who reach out to me
and say because of me
they didn't....and when I lost
weight, so many people lost
weight with me.......you
can't think about it or it
would paralyze you. You
do your job, you respond
to people. (I read and try to
answer all my email), you act
human and be human.
If that makes a difference,
great. But never set out to.
Have you ever thought
of adopting children?
Oh yes, Andrew
and I were going to adopt
a chinese baby before he died
of aids and we were going to name
her Daniel Lee, Daniel after
our friend Karen's late husband,
and Lee because of Andrew's
middle name. Now that I'm
single and 40, it looks doubtful,
but one never knows.
Do you consider yourself
ahead of your time Karel?
consider me behind it.
I don't know. No, I'm just
right for this time. I was
meant to be at this time.
A mentor once told
me we can never have
any clout without money.
You have 'had' and 'had not'.
Is it true, 'no money, no clout?'
Some of the most
important people in my life
are or were broke. I say you
can have no clout without
credibility, and that doesn't
come with money.
Money means nothing, when
it's all said and done.
Andrew changed my world,
had more clout with me
than anyone, and never once
was concerned about money.
Money only gives you clout
when it comes to the material world.
Yes, if I had money, I could
simple produce my own TV
show and get it on the air.
That would give me clout.
But I've had something money
can't buy, love. Far more
important than clout. Beware
of anyone that gives you
respect, listens to you more,
or gives you credibility
simply because you have money.
Does being rich and
famous keep you from
Well, I'm neither,
so I wouldn't know.
But, if I had to venture
a guess, I would say it
only isolates you more.
Look at poor Michael Jackson.
And others like him. Be careful
what you wish for. Then again,
look at Meryl Streep and Patti Labelle.
I know Patti, and she is quite happy,
but just went throught divorce.
Money and fame only amplify
and isolate. They are great things
to have as a resource, but they
are not happiness in themselves.
Do you have any patents
for inventions. Your inquisitive
mind must invent nonstop!
I don't have any patents,
but yes, Karen and I have come
up with some great inventions.
Karel, your life story
sounds like Cinderellas.
I heard you say you slept in
your car at one time due
to lack of money. Now you
can sleep in five star
hotels! Because you have
changed your life yourself,
do you expect everyone to
be able to do the same?
Well, yes, everyone
can do the same. It's your life,
take control of it. If you don't like it,
change it, don't wait for someone
else to. Use what you have, we
all have special gifts or talents. Use
yours to elevate yourself.
When you make your
'final exit' what do you want
the world to remember about you?
That I was loved.
That I loved. That once
I touched the gold.
by Judy Jones