Interview – Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess is the iconic frontman from one of Britain’s most enduring and respected alternative rock bands The Charlatans. After nine years Tim has recently released his second solo album entitled Oh No I Love You and is currently about to embark on his UK tour, later in the month. We caught up with him to talk about the new album, The Charlatans and Glastonbury.

Q – Hello Tim, thanks for your time.  Tell us about your new album, what’s different to your other solo works?

Well, the two albums are nine years apart so there’s quite a bit of time. The world is a different place in so many ways. I suppose the biggest difference is one that people might not know but it’s possibly the biggest difference. Oh No I Love You is on my label, O Genesis so the whole process has been different. I’d started the label a year ago with three friends – we didn’t have a masterplan, we just thought we’d release some singles by some new bands. We did that and we really liked it.

Things moved faster than we thought and we found we really had something. Earlier this year we released the first album on the label. A Best of by R Stevie Moore – he’s a singer from Nashville and I’m a really big fan. I was writing songs with Kurt Wagner from Lambchop at the time and I started to realise that if it didn’t come out on my label then people might think ‘how come he tries to get people to release stuff on his label and then puts his own records out with someone else’ like a restaurant owner who has his dinner somewhere else. I think that’d look kind of a bit odd. So I was my next signing.

Q – Members from My Morning Jacket can be heard on “Oh No I Love You” amongst other well known artists. Did you always intend on incorporating a mix of other musicians on the album?

I was recording in Nashville so I didn’t have any of the people that I knew around. I was like the new boy at school. I needed to find me some new friends. Kurt was a good start – he’s a really respected artist and a good judge of character too. Mark Nevers was producing it at his amazing studio The Beech House. Music is seen differently in Nashville. As big a band as Lambchop or My Morning Jacket are they are working musicians in the most musical/magical place. So Mark asked some people along and was introducing me “Tim meet Chris Scruggs – his Grandaddy was Earl Scruggs the king of bluegrass music”, the backing vocalists had worked with Bob Dylan and I met some amazing people. The stories in the coffee breaks would make a good album on their own.

 Q -You say “Oh No I Love You” was recorded in Nashville, was there a particular reason for making the album there?

It was where the songs were written so they kind of had their roots there. Kurt lived there and he’d suggested that The Beech House was a place it could be recorded. As The Charlatans we have our own studio so there’s no real need to put a time limit on things but in Nashville I had a return flight I had to catch so that meant we worked in a slightly different way.  The music ended up as Country & North Western.

Q – You are about to embark on eight UK dates starting October 17th in York, what material can fans expect to hear during these sets?

They can expect whatever they like, I might not play it though! No, I don’t think it would surprise anyone to think that I’ll be doing a few of the songs from Oh No I Love You. Then there’s my first solo album – they don’t get much of a run out and I know lots of people love those songs. Mark Collins who is in The Charlatans is on guitar so he knows the whole back catalogue. Martin Duffy actually played at Knebworth under sadder circumstances for The Charlatans so I think we might play a couple. We’ve played a few cover versions too – just songs we love, not that well known. 

Q -You have been busy working on your solo career recently but are there any plans regarding The Charlatans in the pipeline?

Definitely. Jon has just had an operation so he’s recuperating at the moment. We’ve said we’d get some ideas down for songs and meet up in the new year. I write a lot with Mark Collins and he’s on the tour with me so maybe we might come up with something there.

Name a few bands have been listening to most over the past couple of weeks?

Love of Life Orchestra, Ned Sublette – that’s two, well one is not a band more of a renaissance man, Ned that is – Peter Gordon and LOLO well – just check ’em out, you’ll see.

You were born in Salford and grew up in Northwich. How did growing up near Manchester during the period that the music scene was thriving, affect and inspire your career?

I thought Manchester was thriving from late seventies, Manchester music was already in me. My family is from Salford and Bolton, they would always try to throw local groups my way. My Nan bought me The Buzzcocks – Love Bites for Christmas in 1978.

Glastonbury tickets have recently gone on sale, can you share an experience from the festival to get people in the spirit?

Glastonbury makes me think of Joe Strummer. He had his camp fire thing going on and he really brought people together. There was a real spirit to Joe that really represented 
Glastonbury and vice versa too. He wanted people to meet up, make plans, share stories and plot and plan. The experience of getting to know Joe is my favourite festival experience on the whole.

Many thanks once again for your time Tim.  Good luck on your upcoming tour dates.

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