The Charlatans face struggle at the start of their live jaunt with Stereophonics as lead singer battles bug...

THE CHARLATANS lead singer Tim Burgess is battling against a heavy bout of ‘flu as his band embark on their most important US tour to date – but the singer is fighting on and remains optimistic he won’t let the bug beat him.

Speaking exclusively to nme.com on the road, the frontman expressed concerns for his voice and aching throat as they faced three consecutive dates in California to kick off their tour, which features support from Stereophonics. The bands played Pomona on Sunday night, Hollywood on Monday and are due to play San Francisco this evening.

Since returning to his new home of Los Angeles last week, the Manchester-bred frontman has been loading up on cold remedies and throat spray after catching the ‘flu while on a rehearsal trip to the UK.


Tim said: “I’ve been resting the last couple of days here. I’ve been trying to lie low a for a bit – not smoke too much or drink too much or go out partying. Just taking a bit of rest.”

The rest of the Charlatans crew and the Stereophonics arrived in California Saturday and charged impressively through a warm up gig Oscar night in Pomona, a city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, despite visibly suffering from jet lag and a 9 hour time difference.

But despite their lead singer’s illness, the band told nme.com they are looking forward to their first North American tour in support of ‘Us And Us Only’, which was released Stateside October 19, and has subsequently widened their fan base, allowing them to book larger venues than ever before.

“Before we’ve played a note, I think we’ve already moved up a gear,” said Tim. “Everywhere is sold out I believe and I think we’re playin’ to 3,500 in New York and 2,500 in San Francisco. I think that’s brilliant…maybe we’ll come back and do even more. [There’s a] bit of a buzz at the moment.”

Burgess added that as the tour was the first since his marriage and recent relocation to Los Angeles, it had added significance and made him even more eager to succeed in his new adopted homeland.

“You want to prove yourself at your front doorstep,” he said. “It’s really important to me. It’s just the same as when I was livin’ in Manchester and it was the same as when I was livin’ in London,” he said.


Last week during preparations for the tour, the band also filmed a video for their next single ‘Impossible’, which is due ou in May through MCA.

Another track from the band’s current album, it’s expected to feature new tracks on the b-side.

Tim also revealed that the band were reconvening in the States this summer to write new material for their next album.

He said: “Mark [Collins, guitarist] is coming over [to Los Angeles] in June for a month and we’re gonna write songs over here. So we’ll just be dividing our time between two places. I think it’ll just add some – a bit of new flavor to what we’re doing. I’m not gonna deny any sort of sunshine feelings on the next record just ‘cos I feel like it’s appropriate for all my Manchester friends.”

Provided Tim keeps the ‘flu at bay, The Charlatan’s tour continues ’til April 12, when they play their final date in Orlando, Florida.

The Charlatans return to the UK later next month to play their Chewing Gum Weekend dates which may be their last here for some time, as they’re not scheduled to play any UK festivals.

The band play Brighton Centre (April 20), Newcastle City Hall 21, Blackpool Empress Ballroom (22), London Shepherd’s Bush Empire as part of Radio One Live (24) and Bristol Colston Hall (25).

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