The Charlatans
Summer Festivals
July - August 2008
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

Sometimes, the best things in life are free! Call it an adage, a maxim, a proverb or whatever you want to, but with their 10th studio album, You Cross My Path (originally given away as a free download exclusively through the XFM Website earlier this year), The Charlatans have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this can be gloriously true! And, not only is the legendary band part of Manchester's rich musical heritage, but in a world of fashion and fads, they continue to be inventive, inspiring and impossible to ignore!

With this in mind, R*E*P*E*A*T decided to get in touch with their iconic frontman, Tim Burgess, through MySpace - who after giving up drink and drugs, maintains his ever-youthful looks and spirit through a diet of peanuts, bananas and Diet Coke - to see if he would be willing to discuss the group's history, his love of music + songwriting and his many other related interests, which he was! The questions were submitted to Tim on July 25, 2008, and he kindly typed his answers and returned the Questionnaire to us on August 7.

Having written and recorded some of the most memorable long players and singles since the early '90s, overcoming tragedy and sadness along the way - like the greats, The Charlies' sound, although always retaining the trademark Hammond Organ, has constantly evolved and stayed fresh, with much of their output remaining self-contained within the era it was created. Funnily enough though, their latest offering is probably their most 'Manchester-sounding' record to date, not to mention one of their most cohesive and very best!

Given that Tim has also now lived in Los Angeles for several years, it just goes to show how The Charlatans have never forgotten their 'Madchester' roots, yet at the same time, have successfully managed to become a separate entity in their own right…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1. NME Radio was recently launched and after topping a readers online poll, Muse's Knights Of Cydonia was the first track to ever be played - but if the decision had been yours, which song would you have launched the station with?
"Definitely not Muse! Cat Power!"

2. Can you remember where you were, and how you felt, when you first heard one of your songs on the radio?
"In my car! I drove faster and put on my sunglasses."

3. What would the Tim Burgess from The Charlatans' early days, think of The Charlatans of today?
"If only I knew then what I know now…"

4. What have been some of the standout moments in your career so far?

"This new record - You Cross My Path."

5. Do you have a favourite Charlatans era / any favourite artwork, looks, photographs and videos?
"Now. Mis-takes and Oh! Vanity videos."

6. What do you think the biggest misconception of the band is?
"That we are a Manchester-era band…"

7. Using only 1 word for each band member, how would you describe everyone including yourself?
"I cannot compare myself to the other 4, so the word for all would be 'Different'."

8. And over the years, who has most surprised the others with something that they've done?


9. If you had to go shopping for someone and buy 4 LPs, 1 from the past, 1 from the present, 1 personal favourite and 1 Charlatans album - what would they be and why?

"Again - a lot of questions - I like lots of LPs!"

10. In the revered music book, England's Dreaming, Jon Savage wrote, "Rock 'n' roll without myth, would be like a wasteland" - but do you have a favourite rock 'n' roll myth?

"It's all a wasteland…"

11. As the NME sometimes asks, Who Is 'The Coolest Rock Star Of All-Time'?
"Joe Strummer."

12. Vogue recently named you as a style icon, labelling your new haircut 'The Burgess Bowl'. But throughout the history of music, which artists / bands do you think have had the coolest haircuts?
"The Rolling Stones and The Lords."

13. Are there any musicians who you wished were still alive and creating?
"Again, Joe Strummer, Tony Wilson and Ian Curtis."

14. And who for you, is an underrated musician or group that more people should listen to?
"Hatcham Social (London)."

15. Can you remember when you first felt that you were beginning to grasp the art of songwriting, and do you see a thread running through your lyrics?

"Yes and No."

16. Continuing with this train of thought, Jack Kerouac's writing motto was 'First Thought, Best Thought' - is this something that you would agree with?
"Love Jack!"

17. Of all your songs, which are you most proud of and which do you think are the most overlooked?

"Complete Control."

18. You're also passionate about DJing, but are there 2 tracks that you think would work well as a mash-up, e.g. Sugababes' Freak Like Me vs. Are 'Friends' Electric?
"White Lines vs. White Christmas."

19. When you do have some free time to yourself, I read that you enjoy cooking for friends - but who would be your ideal dinner guests and what would you cook for them?
"Never enough free time! I do love to cook / BBQ. My ideal dinner guests would be all of my close friends and I'd cook Tofu, Organic free-range chicken and corn for them."

20. Do you have any favourite haunts in Manchester and LA, that you'd recommend to us?
"Manchester - Dean Street. LA - Amoeba Records."

21. What is your idea of heaven?
"My record room with my dog and the Missus in LA."

22. Did the media coverage / success of the free You Cross My Path download surpass the band's expectations?
"Yes and it still is and will."

23. What are your hopes for The Charlatans' future + do you still hope to record more solo albums / work with The Chavs, Freebass and Joaquin Phoenix?
"The Charlatans - playing live lots! The Chavs - there is always time for The Chavs. Freebass - rules. Joaquin - any time."

24. From when The Charlatans first started to where you are now, of all your contemporaries, who do you think will most likely be looked back on as important bands in years to come?
"Primal Scream."

25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Neither - I don't eat sugar, dairy, wheat or carbs yo! Cheers."

A very special thanks to Tim, to Cathryn @, and to Rosey, for all of their time and help.

"I'll be there in the morning
Can't you see I'm tellin' stories?
My sweet angel's everlasting true love ways
While others turn to others
Introduce you and walk right on through"


Message from Tim about this interview

"Looks Ace - love it! Cheers!"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so yn a bit of a negative