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Faith The Music
The reviews may be mixed but Tim Burgess is chuffed to bits with his solo album. The moonlighting Charlatan talks to Eamon Sweeney about positive vibes, marital bliss and why he’s not giving up the day job yet.
Eamon Sweeney, 17 Sep 2003
Even if Tim Burgess has been livin’ la vida loca in Los Angeles for the last few years, his accent is still that of a bona fide North Country Boy. His debut solo album I Believe has just been released to a mixed response.
“People are sort of freaking out because it’s not a Charlatans record, but I never wanted it to be a Charlatans record,” Tim protests. “Now it’s like I’m traitor or somethink (sic). It fucking sucks. Fourteen years and I can’t even do one solo record.”
As it happens, I Believe isn’t a bad solo record at all and a much better effort than the last Charlies album. It’s drenched in feelgood optimism epitomised by tracks such as ‘Say Yes’.
“That’s the kind of song (‘Say Yes’) I’d imagine girls in jeeps singing while driving on a highway taking their clothes off,” Burgess chuckles. “It would have been a totally different record if it had been called ‘Say No.’ I’m happy with the record. I’m a little wary about having to dissect everything. I think I’m getting fearful of being interviewed now. I feel pretty good that I’ve done it on me own in the country where I live. I always feel amazing after doing a Charlatans record. The minute each one is finished I always believe that it is the best one that we’ve done because that is the way we try and operate.”
Tim isn’t quite sure how long he has wanted to do a solo project.
“Steve Harrison, the Charlatans manager, tells me that I’ve wanted to do it for ages,” he says. “I don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do it, but I just wanted to do something that was a little gentler than Charlatans stuff. It was always something big – big singles and big choruses and I wanted to do something more acoustic. Eventually it got a lot more funky and soulful and hopefully good.”
‘Po’ Boy Soul’ is definitely soulful, and informed by bad times rather than the good.
“I wrote that when I was terribly upset,” Tim reveals. “I thought my whole life was in pieces. I just got a guitar and started smashing the chords and very emotionally came out of myself.”
Elsewhere, Tim sounds like a man very happily in love with his wife Michelle.
“I am but it can be difficult as well,” he explains. “We have our troubles like everyone else. Just because I’ve found my soulmate doesn’t mean we don’t have the odd ruckus.”
Potentially concerned Charlatans fans shouldn’t worry because the group is far from splitting, as Tim reveals that they’ve most of their seventh album done and dusted.
“We’ve delayed the release so I can do this so it will be next year rather than before Christmas,” Tim clarifies. “The Chemical Brothers have been in doing a few tracks and it sounds great, a bit like One To Another.”
Tim Burgess plays the Village, Dublin on September 12.
I Believe is out now on PIAS