Charlatans’ new clarity

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

The Charlatans

Where: Bimbo’s 365 Club, 1025 Columbus Ave., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Monday

Tickets: $25

Contact: (415) 474-0365, www.bimbos365club.com, www.ticketfly.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

CCSF file photo
Workforce development fund to support training programs at City College

Supervisors back plans to use $500K toward economic recovery efforts through CCSF

Toilet (Shutterstock)
Table salt and poop: Testing for COVID-19 in S.F. sewage

The City’s sewers could provide an early warning of fresh outbreaks

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

The installation “Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale” is on view at the Legion of Honor, which reopens Oct. 30 with safety protocols in place. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Legion of Honor reopens in time for Halloween

‘A Gothic Tale’ among exhibitions on view

Most Read