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Having The Tim Of His Life
As his band gear up for their 20th anniversary celebrations, The Charaltans' TIM BURGESS reflects on past achievements and future ambitions – and talks about his work with up and coming bands
Colm O Hare, 05 May 2010
Hard though it is to believe, The Charlatans celebrate 20 years on the road this year. The Madchester outfit first hit the UK top 10 with baggy single ‘The Only One I Know’ in May 1990. Debut album Some Friendly was released the following October. They mark this auspicious anniversary with the upcoming Some Friendly tour, for which they will perform the album in its entirety, while a 2CD Remastered Deluxe Edition will be released May 17. It will include the original album as well as a disc of outtakes, Peel Sessions, and B-sides including their indie-debut ‘Indian Rope’.
Over that time, charismatic frontman Tim Burgess has expanded his artistic horizons to include production work with up and coming bands, DJ-ing regularly and moonlighting in at least one super-group (a project with Carl Barat).
More recently, he’s been involved with Ireland’s longest running competition for unsigned bands, Jack Daniel’s The JD Set, offering support and advice to unsigned bands. Of course, The Charlatans remain his main focus: their heady blend of indie, psychedelia and acid-house has proved nothing if not resilient in the face of changing tastes.
“I don’t think we’ve ever sold-out musically and I’m proud of that,” he reflects, on the phone from New York, where he is working on new Charlatans’ material. “When we first came out we didn’t have a clue really. We knew the genre we wanted to be involved with and that we wanted lots of reverb on the vocals.”
His musical tastes were formed early and were, he says, typical of someone growing up in the mid-to-late 1970s.
“I was a child punk and The Buzzcocks were my favorites from the post-punk era. My music tastes changed because of New Order, specifically the album Power, Corruption & Lies. A few years before that, I would have been into the Bay City Rollers and Slade.”
Despite their trademark swirling sound, still intact, Burgess says The Charlatans’ approach in the studio has changed over the years.
“We’re a continuously evolving band and sometimes you write music that is the opposite of what people expect. Sometimes you go in and think ‘this is not a rehearsal-type song – it’s more of a build up of layers and textures’. Other times you want it raw and stripped-down and instant, so you rehearse it like crazy – that’s normally the way we do it. There’s been certain records where we’ve gone into the studio with nothing and you just get inspired.