'I’ll be thinking of Jon Brookes in every line of every song,' says Charlatans singer Tim Burgess
The line-up for the benefit concert to honour The Charlatans‘ late drummer Jon Brookes, pictured below, taking place in London tomorrow (October 18), has been bolstered by the addition of members of Mumford & Sons and the Pretenders.
The Vaccines’ guitarist Freddie Cowan recruited Mumfords banjo player Winston Marshall and Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne to back him and Vaccines bassist Arni Arnason at A Night For Jon Brookes, which takes place at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Friday. Proceeds go to The Brain Tumour Charity; Brookes died of brain cancer in August.
Charlatans singer Tim Burgess, who is hosting and fronting the celebration, told NME: “The Vaccines all wanted to take part, but Justin Young and their drummer Pete Robertson are on holiday, so Freddie kindly got some friends to help back me up. I love The Vaccines, it’ll be great to sing a couple of their songs.”
Also on the bill are Manic Street Preachers’ singer James Dean Bradfield, New Order’s Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, a Chemical Brothers DJ set, Birmingham band Dumb, and Beady Eye, making their first performance since Liam Gallagher hit the papers in July following allegations that he had a secret child with American journalist Liza Ghorbani.
Beady Eye will be joined by original Oasis rhythm guitarist Bonehead, appearing on stage with Liam for the first time since he left Oasis in 1999. He replaces Beady Eye’s Gem Archer, who is recovering from a fractured skull.
Burgess said he’s been “amazed” by the support from musicians following Brookes’ death. He said: “I’ll think about Jon during every line of every song. It’s a celebration of Jon’s life, and I’m going into the show thinking that I won’t struggle through any of the songs.
“Thinking about Jon doesn’t make me break down, it makes me straighten my back instead. I’m a Manchester United fan, and having Jon in my band was like having Roy Keane in my team.”
According to the frontman, only Johnny Marr – who plays at the nearby Roundhouse on Friday – and Julian Cope – who has a deadline of Monday to finish writing a new book – were unavailable to play at the benefit. “The number of musicians who loved Jon has touched me, and Jon’s family are blown away,” he added.
Burgess also revealed that The Charlatans began work on a new album with Brookes shortly before his death, which will be released next year. “We started recording because Jon wanted to be involved on it,” said Burgess. “The more Jon’s cancer progressed, the more he wanted to be involved. We had to tell him sometimes he couldn’t do it – in his head, Jon felt fine, but he physically couldn’t play. But, whenever he could, we’d get Jon into play.”
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Burgess compared the album, which will be the band’s 12th, to their 1990 debut ‘Some Friendly’. He said: “An album is only good if it’s not a struggle, and there was no effort to the optimism in that record, which I think has happened in these songs too.” Of the album’s sound, he said: “It’s a very light-sounding record, considering what was going on. It’s inspired by the sunshine and sounds like 1960s California, brought forward to today.”
Songs on the new album will include ‘Emily’ and ‘I Would Never Leave You Ever’. The band will produce the album themselves. “It’s hard when you’ve got an allotted amount of time with a producer,” said Burgess. “If we’ve got eight weeks to make something, you know it’s going to take us 10.”