Charlatans UK are touring to promote the 2015 album “Modern Nature.” (Courtesy Libby Burke Wilde)

Charlatans’ Tim Burgess finds success a second time

Sometimes hitting rock bottom can be a blessing in disguise, as was the case with Charlatans UK bandleader Tim Burgess, who wa penniless when he returned to his native England from Los Angeles after divorcing his wife a few years ago.

“I had nothing. I gave her everything in the settlement, so I started over again from scratch,” he says. “So I moved to a warehouse in London and shared with 10 other people for three years. It was crazy – it was like a commune, basically.”

Oddly, the hardscrabble time led to the singer’s most productive period ever, including a new Charlatans album “Modern Nature,” much of which celebrates the life of its late drummer Jon Brookes, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2013. Promoting the recording, the group plays the Regency Ballroom in The City next week.

To cheer himself up, Burgess decided to stay busy. He finally accepted a Viking Press offer to pen his autobiography, “Telling Stories.” And he flew to Nashville to track his second solo effort, “Oh No I Love You,” a collaboration with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner he had been planning for a decade.

“So instead of having one iron in the fire, there were about five or six, and they all just started happening simultaneously,” says Burgess, who also launched his own pop-up summer-festival cafe – then a brand of coffee to go with it — under the David-Lynch-inspired moniker of Tim Peaks. Profits benefit Lynch’s Transcendental Meditation-based foundation. In keeping with its “Twin Peaks” theme, the diner features cherry pie, plus Blue Velvet cake.

“I started the Tim Peaks thing on Twitter,” the entrepreneur says. “So it was just a metaphorical, metaphysical coffee shop. So then someone suggested that I actually get some coffee made up, so we sorted some fair trade coffee from Ethiopia and other sources. I got to taste several different samples to put my name to, and last year alone we donated over 10,000 pounds to charity, so it’s all good.”

When The Charlatans started work on “Modern Nature,” Brookes was still alive, but too weak to participate in most sessions. “But after he died, we had a sense that he was still in the same room with us, because we thought of him all the time,” says Burgess, who came up with odes to his friend like “Trouble Understanding” and “We Sleep On Borrowed Time.”

The rocker, 48, also found a new significant other, with whom he has a 2-year-old son, and he’s beginning work on a second book, a vintage-vinyl-seeking travelogue. ”And I’m doing another solo album,” he says. “So the past five yeas have been quite turbulent for me. But in very, very positive ways.”


IF YOU GO

The Charlatans UK
Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 16
Tickets: $27.50 to $30
Contact: (888) 929-7849, www.axs.com

CharlatansDavid LynchJon BrookesModern NatureTim BurgessTim Peaks

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

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Tenderloin residents are finding benefits to having roads closed in the neighborhood. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Should there be fewer cars in the Tenderloin’s future?

The pandemic has opened San Franciscans’ eyes to new uses of urban streets

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Most Read