The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess on Life’s Lessons

How did you guys get together?
I was born in Southwick, next to Manchester. Most of us were either born or grew up in the West Midlands and that’s where The Charlatans were formed.
You’ve had an illustrious career; which album was the most memorable?
Our first record Some Friendly was definitely memorable because it became so successful so quickly. They all took a lot of energy to make and made up a lot of my personality; of who I am now.

Recently your pal and drummer Jon Brookes was diagnosed with a brain tumor. How has that affected the band?
It’s changed us a lot, having to watch our friend collapse on stage with the audience filming him. The whole diagnosis has been playing on our minds throughout our tour. Anyway, we’re lucky to have a replacement of such high caliber as Pete Salisbury from The Verve.

Does this take you back to the mid 90s, when keyboardist Rob Collins died in a car accident?
Rob’s death was instant. It was instant closure. With Jon’s sickness, there’s still optimism.

What’s the biggest lesson singing for The Charlatans has taught you?
To believe in myself. In 80 percent of the things I do, I experience those moments where there is a lot of self doubt. I’ve learnt to keep telling myself I’m always right.

What would you change about the band if you got the chance to meet yourself from 20 years ago?
I wouldn’t change a thing. Yes, there have been some distressing times but I always remind myself that this whole thing is about music.

Tell us a little bit about your latest album Who We Touch.
We created it so that it would tell a story and grab the listeners’ attention. It’s sometimes disturbing, and sometimes triumphant and optimistic—it’s an interesting one.

Catch The Charlatans featuring Pete Salisbury from The Verve on Nov 23, 8pm at The Warehouse, Scape, 2 Orchard Link, 6521-6565. $75 from Sistic.