Interview New Tricks: Tim Burgess

In the first of a new series, the Charlatans man talks his latest musical obsessions.

Few have been around the block quite like frontman of The Charlatans and solo bloke in his own right Tim Burgess. Don’t let that shock of blonde hair fool you - he’s had more experiences worthy of a few greys than you’ve had hot dinners.

It’s easy to get jaded, though. To whack on the slippers and reminisce about the good old days. We’re not into that - there’s far too much exciting stuff going on in the present day to worry about fannying about in the past. Below, in the first of a new series, we get Tim to take off the monocle and offer up his modern day obsessions ahead of a run of festivals dates, taking in Kendal Calling, Forgotten Fields, Electric Fields and more. Busy lad to this day, then.

What was the last record you bought / streamed?

I’m definitely a buyer rather than a streamer - I’ve realised I like record shops as much as I like records. I do download stuff but mostly I try and get albums on vinyl - the last ones I bought were a Warriors soundtrack, a reissue of This Heat, a 180gram version of ‘A Love Supreme’ by John Coltrane and the Wild At Heart soundtrack from a shop called Mixed Up Records in Glasgow when I was up there DJing.

Can you remember the last time a new band stopped you in your tracks and made you investigate their music?

It’s something that I really like and I’m often listening to new music and friends send me links to bands I might quite like. The last time a band stopped me in my tracks though, was probably Hot Vestry - I heard a song and I looked them up. I was kind of hoping they didn’t have a label so we could release something on my label, O Genesis. It all worked out pretty well and now they’ve supported The Charlatans and have released an EP on O Genesis. They’ve been great to work with.

Hot Vestry - ‘Parallel To Tomorrow’

Which acts will headline festivals in five years’ time?

The good thing is, is that there’s festivals of differing sizes - Glastonbury kind of has those global behemoths like Muse and Coldplay and chances are they’ll still be headlining them - Blossoms have supported us a few times and I think they’ll be pretty big in five years too.

But who I like and who I think will headline festivals aren’t necessarily the same thing - kids like Jack Garratt, Sam Smith and James Bay look like they’re being lined up - maybe like the boss’ son taking over the business, whereas I’m happier talking to the kids on the shop floor

What does a new band need in order to ‘make it’? Time and space? A stroke of luck?

A jaunty hat, middle class parents and a relative who works at a major label

Ouch, am I being too cynical? No, to make it with me, it has to be songs and a good work ethic. A desire to put on your own gigs and to make them into events. Loyalty to each other and the band too. You definitely need some luck but you can make a bit of luck too. And if you’ve got a jaunty hat, it’s just a bonus.

We put bands on at Tim Peaks and many of them are fairly new and just starting - sometimes it comes from them tweeting me a song or just hearing from a friend but keeping going and making sure you’re enjoying it.

Which forgotten bands of the past would you like to see come back?

The Chavs.

[Tim’s former supergroup alongside Carl Barat, Primal Scream keyboardist Martin Duffyand drummer Andy Burrows from We Are Scientists. Modest, mate. - ed.]

If you could pick one album you loved as a teenager, and make it compulsory listening for future teenagers, which one, and why?

‘Sandinista!’ by The Clash.

Everything is covered. From the name to the sheer amount of songs. There’s history lessons on there - folk, covers and even some hip hop and soul. It should be on the national curriculum.

Outside of bands, what’s the most exciting thing happening in music right now?

For me it’s toy trucks. My son loves trucks - so I’m into them too. We have great fun.

[Not sure that counts as “in music”, Tim, but we’ll take it. Trucks are cool. - ed]

Tags: Tim Burgess, New Tricks, Features

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