Tim Burgess Interview – ‘Castlefield Bowl Was My Favourite Gig Ever’

Following a year that saw The Charlatans overcome the death of drummer Jon Brookes with a celebratory album ‘Modern Nature’ and memorable shows at Castlefield Bowl and Glastonbury, singer Tim Burgess discusses their forthcoming UK tour and album reissue, as well as The Stone Roses comeback and album thirteen…

How was the US tour?

“It’s been brilliant. It’s the first one we’ve done since the tour in America that got cut short with Jon [drummer Jon Brookes, suffering from brain cancer, collapsed during a Philadelphia show in 2010], so it’s good to be back and functioning. Before that is was 2008 since we’ve done a complete tour. LA was a brilliant show, probably the best that we’ve ever played I think. Big crowd at the Fonda, in the same neighbourhood I used to live so it was quite familiar surroundings.”

Has it been a rejuvenating year?

“I’ve loved every minute of it. Glastonbury was a highlight because we were relatively a surprise and it’s such a massive crowd. Castlefield Bowl, which was 10,000 people in Manchester, that was an incredible homecoming thing. It was probably my favourite gig ever. To have favourite gigs ever twenty-five years after we started is pretty amazing.”

Why have you decided to reissue ‘Modern Nature’?


“We ran out of records! We’re repressing it. We’ve done another thousand vinyl, everyone loves vinyl, and we sold out. We wanted to make this one different from the original one because that separates the two things. On this one I wanted people to hear Simon Fisher Turner’s remix because he normally makes music for films and his remix of ‘Come Home Baby’ is barely recognisable. It adds another dimension to the album.”

Do you have any special plans for your December tour?

“We’ve got Echo And The Bunnymen playing with us at Brixton, which will be fantastic. If I’d thought as a kid that we were to play together I wouldn’t have believed myself! Seeing as I don’t have Mac’s phone number it this would be a great way of asking him – we should definitely do ‘People Are Strange’ together, I’d love to do that, and maybe even get Will [Sargeant] on to play ‘Sproston Green’. When we did the Castlefield arena we had Gillian and Stephen from New Order and Big Jimmy from Dexy’s Midnight Runners doing ‘Sproston Green’, it was like a force of modern nature. Every day’s gonna be special and interesting.”

Are there any plans for another album?

“There are, the idea is to start writing next year, we’ve got a few ideas. The reason why ‘Modern Nature’ worked so well was because we were all in the studio together and we all started from scratch – we’ve done a lot of stuff separately and brought our separate work to the band. It’s a lot better if we start all together and build it up slowly so I’m hoping to do that, and maybe work with some other people one day. Neneh Cherry and I’d love to do something with Factory Floor, why not?”

The Stone Roses return next year – are you going to be playing with them?

“You know as much as I do. A lot of people have been saying it’d be great but I don’t know anything. I saw the Saturday at Heaton Park with Beady Eye opening. I thought it was fantastic. I didn’t know what to expect, this massive audience and comebacks. I’m not bothered about the whole comeback thing but it was brilliant. I was really thrilled for Mani, I love him to bits and just to see how much it meant to him and see him as happy as he was, that’s all that matters to me.”

Should they make another album?

“I absolutely don’t know anything but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had something because that’s the nature of the band, there’s always an element of surprise there. At the same time we all know it doesn’t matter if they don’t because people love to sing along with ‘Sally Cinnamon’ and ‘Ten Storey Love Song’. They don’t need to but they probably will, knowing them. But like everyone else, I just speculate.”