24/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 19:47

The Charlatans singer Tim Burgess tells all in new book

Category: England

Published: 25th Apr 2012 16:50:17

Tim Burgess, frontman of indie rockers The Charlatans, lifts the lid on the ups and downs of being in a rock 'n' roll band and his battle with addiction in a new autobiography.

"I don't think like a book, in chronological thoughts; it's more a question of ideas invading my head and then inviting others in."

- Tim Burgess, 2011

It is, perhaps, not the most promising start to a rock 'n' roll memoir but at least it is honest. And if there is a trait that Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess doesn't seem to harbour, it's dishonesty.

In his new book, Telling Stories, Burgess recounts his journey from teenage music obsessive to becoming frontman of the not-yet-but-soon-to-be Manchester indie darlings.

He reflects on the number one albums and cocaine induced highs and the lows of addiction and tragedy in the form of the incarceration and death of a bandmate and friend.

A book made more difficult for someone who is a self confessed erratic thinker.

"Was it difficult? Yeah, course it was," says Burgess. "I'm not a writer but I spoke into a Dictaphone. I went to Wales with my girlfriend and came back with about 20 hours worth which I transcribed - which was really boring."

An answer which at least proves Burgess resisted the easier option of having a ghost writer tackle the writing - an issue he touches upon in his book referring to the scores of pre-Christmas "autobiographies" by teen pop stars and celebrities.

I think drug stories are actually quite boring and people that take drugs are quite boring as well. I was boring.”

At age 44, Burgess insists the book wouldn't have been possible during his partying period.

"I wouldn't have thought about writing a book ten years ago. Looking back, I was having too much of a good time and it wouldn't have been a good idea to write a book high on cocaine."

It is Burgess's long-standing relationship with the drug which crops up constantly throughout Telling Stories.

One story in particular, already seized upon by tabloids writers, sees Burgess explain in graphic, gory detail an unorthodox method of getting the drug into the body.

Although now clean and sober, Burgess does not spend chapters extolling the joys of a drug-free existence but neither does he revel in the kind of drug tales told by rocks stars such as Motley Crue's infamous tome, The Dirt.

"I hate that," he says. "I think drug stories are actually quite boring and people that take drugs are quite boring as well. I was boring.

"It's just an odd thing isn't it? You get into something and you think it's fun for a while and I'm fortunate that I could pull away from it."

One of the more startling admissions for fans of the band comes during Burgess's memories of the death of Charlatans keyboard player - the keyboard thumping Rob Collins.

It was Collins' Hammond organ sound which defined The Charlatans' debut album Some Friendly, released more than 20 years ago.

He was killed when his car crashed in 1996, during the recording of the band's number one album Tellin' Stories.

Prior to his death, Collins was jailed for eight months for his involvement in a farcical armed robbery, driving the "getaway car" for a man with a toy gun.

Following time spent inside, his drug use had become heavier, and according to Burgess had begun to affect not only his moods but his playing.

In the book, Burgess writes: "I pretty much said Rob had to go. We had been recording for seven months at this point making the follow up to The Charlatans... I said, we can't have him in the band any more."

Burgess won't be drawn into saying much more, simply adding Collins had become "just destructive... maybe deep down he was bored".

A lifelong music obsessive, Burgess fills pages with his favourite bands and albums (New Order's Power, Corruption and Lies is up there) and talks in depth about his continuing music influences.

The band are off to play some gigs in Japan and will return to tour the album Tellin' Stories on its 15th anniversary. Burgess also has a solo album ready to release in 2013.

A swarm of 90s bands like Pulp, Blur, The Stones Roses and the Inspiral Carpets are all reforming to play this year but Burgess cynically suggests the Britpop era "hasn't aged well... it's protagonists have hit middle age with a bump".

So does he worry about those first grey hairs?

"Not at all but there have been stage where I have. It might have been part of the reason why I gave up doing what I was doing because of the vanity aspect, after three months of being clean people said how good I was looking."

Reviews for Telling Stories have so far been fairly positive but Burgess admits it is difficult to define how he will consider if the book is a success or not.

"At first it was just the fact that I finished it and I'm pretty happy with it.

"The interest in it says to me that it's a success now. Sales are the last thing on my mind - I just want people to come back and say that they really liked it."

And is there a potential sequel in the offing? "Yeah," says Burgess, "I'll call it Tim-book-two."

Telling Stories is released on 26 April.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. The Charlatans singer Tim Burgess tells all in new book [Online] (Updated 25th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1424677/The-Charlatans-singer-Tim-Burgess-tells-all-in-new-book [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Government 'loses £700m NHS IT legal battle with Fujitsu'

    Taxpayers could be hit with a bill for up to £700m after the government reportedly lost a legal battle with Fujitsu over a failed NHS IT system.
  • Twitter staff male-dominated

    Twitter has become the latest tech firm to admit that most of its staff members are men.
  • Glasgow 2014: NI boxers enter fray at Commonwealths

    Michael Conlan and Steven Ward are among the Northern Ireland boxers entering the fray at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Friday.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Secret Cinema cancels Back To The Future opening night

    The immersive film-experience company, Secret Cinema, has cancelled the opening night of a special screening of 1980s film Back To The Future.
  • Secret Cinema cancels Back To The Future opening night

    The immersive film-experience company, Secret Cinema, has cancelled the opening night of a special screening of 1980s film Back To The Future.