The first time I saw Tim Burgess, or at least a picture of Tim Burgess, I quickly came to a conclusion; this person is a star.
Star quality is a much overused phrase these days, but the simple truth is some people have it and some people don’t. In fact the vast majority of us don’t. It can’t be taught, it can’t be bought and it can’t be foisted upon someone, it is hard to define, but when you see it, you know it.
This instinct proved correct, as Burgess’ band, The Charlatans, released one of the greatest run of singles of the 90s with their first three releases, Indian Rope, The Only One I know and Then.
Since then, The Charlatans have survived and flourished where most of their peers stumbled and fell, releasing 13 albums and gathering critical and commercial acclaim.
Burgess has also released 5 albums under his own steam, with his latest, I Love the New Sky, arriving in May of this year.
As if this wasn’t enough, he has also found the time to write three books, start his own record label and host his Listening Parties on Twitter. These have quickly become essential listening and one of the highlights of the lockdown.
The idea of the listening party is that all those joining in press play at a certain time and then use the hashtag #timstwitterlisteningparty to read comments by the artists involved in making the album and adding questions or comments of their own.
Head to timstwitterlisteningparty.com to join in the fun.
Somehow, despite all this frantic activity, the good Mr Burgess found the time to be grilled by Sun 13 and subjected to our 13 Questions.
Read on to find out more about coping with lockdown, nettles and stick bombs at school.
1.Where are you and what are you doing and how is that working out?
“I’m at home in Norfolk – currently taking a break from writing a new song. The song is working out well, hopefully. But you never know – they can sometimes start off easy and then they end up stuck in the mud or it can be plain sailing. There are no rules. I’m now going to consider the last two sentences as lyrics.
I released an album in May and there’s an EP that’s out in November. So, the pressure isn’t really on to come up with anything – which makes it the perfect time to work on a song.”
2.How have you been coping with the lockdown situation?
“Like everyone, I have moments of frustration, panic, enjoyment, horror and just about every emotion possible. I was looking forward to a Summer of live dates and festivals but they disappeared back in March – since then it’s been a case of trying to make the best of it.
We have a seven year old and it’s been a case of keeping ourselves occupied and trying to make the best of it, the same as everyone else.
My father died at the start of lockdown, so it’s been a time of reflection too. It’s not been easy on anyone.”
3.What do you miss most about pre-lockdown times?
“Live music – either playing or watching. It’s more than just the gig – it’s a time to meet friends, forget about any troubles and it’s been a part of my life since I can remember.
I feel for everyone who works and venues or makes their living from events – it’s a world I can’t wait to welcome back, when it’s safe.”
4.Recommend one band or album that you think we should check out
“I’ll do more than that, you can have one of each. The band would be Lean Logic and the album is In Your Dreams by Tim Koh
Not sure if you know but I have a record label – O Genesis Recordings – we’ve just released Tim Koh’s album and Lean Logic have a single out.
Please don’t think I’m only recommending them as they are on my label – it’s more a case of them being on the label because I love their music so much.”
5.When did you last make yourself do something you didn’t want to?
“I retrieved a ball from a big patch of nettles this morning – I’d hit it there so there was only myself to blame.”
6.What is your favourite meal?
“Soup – I love making it and eating it. No real rules to it. Mushroom, sweetcorn and dill was a recent triumph.”
7.Can you cook?
“I’m no expert but I give it a go – I’ve found if you have a tea towel over your shoulder that you are taken more seriously as a chef.”
8.Tell us a secret
“The stink bomb in assembly at Leftwich High School in 1983, that was down to me.”
9.What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
“So many are equal in this – spending time with friends, watching a brilliant gig – whether it’s Beastie Boys, New Order, Joan As Policewoman, Lambchop, Wu Tang Clan – oh, to get that feeling back again.”
10.When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
“Watching Schitt’s Creek.”
11.What is your favourite view?
“Looking at the sea. Could be anywhere. Good weather or bad – there’s just something about it.”
12.When did you last shout at the TV?
“The last time I watched a Manchester United game.”
13.Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
“I’ve decided it’s maybe too soon to have owned up to that secret but it’s too late now.”