Recently, when Tim Burgess was overseeing the upcoming two-disc reissue of “Some Friendly” — the landmark 1990 debut of his outfit The Charlatans — he found the original notes he scribbled to its producer.
When he compared them to instructions he recently sent to Killing Joke’s Youth — who was busy mixing the band’s latest and 11th recording, “Who We Touch” — he was startled by the similarities.
“They both said, ‘Make the guitars more sparkly and the vocals more dreamy,’” the singer says. “So nothing much has changed in 20 years! Uh, apart from my latest message being an e-mail and the other being handwritten.”
Burgess, who brings his group to The City on Monday, is correct — sonically speaking.
Youth helped time-warp him back to his psychedelic, Madchester-scene heyday, in ethereal new perambulators such as “Sincerity” and “My Foolish Pride,” which is intoxicating as The Charlatans’ first breakthrough single, “The Only One I Know.”
Everything else about the former hard-partyer, however, has changed — to the point where Burgess, you might say, is a new man.
Five years ago, Burgess — who had relocated to Hollywood — was on a deadly downward spiral. “I was drinking four or five bottles of red wine a day and doing tons of coke,” he says. “And I started to really get bloated, until I couldn’t physically go outside. So that’s when I had to stop, cold turkey, and get off the pills, the cocaine and the booze. It was a pretty hard time.”
Burgess stunned the bartender at his old L.A. haunt The Cat and Fiddle the night before by strolling in for the first time in months and ordering a teetotaller’s lime soda. He says, “She was like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ But, going to the pub just isn’t high on my list anymore. I drink health shakes instead, and I’ve even gotten into transcendental meditation. So I do that twice a day now. And it’s weird — I don’t get fazed by hardly anything anymore.”
His newfound clarity led straight into productivity. Last year, when drummer Jon Brookes’ shoulder injury forced the cancellation of The Charlatans’ U.S. tour, Burgess, 43, used the unexpected downtime to pen most of “Touch.”
And, he’s moonlighting as a DJ, plotting a Nashville, Tenn.-tracked solo album and launching a new side project with a Klaxon and a Horror.
Burgess says his toughest project is giving up marijuana. “I don’t smoke anything now,” he says. “I had a good 16-year run at it. But, that lifestyle wasn’t doing me any favors anymore.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Monday