The Charlatan's Tim Burgess on Glasgow music, favourite places and a DJ set in The Budgie

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Tim Burgess has friends and influences from Glasgow and a Barrowland Ballroom Hall of Fame award on his mantelpiece.

Tim Burgess has a relationship with Glasgow audiences that spans more than 30 years. The Charlatans were one of the first acts to play at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and helped set the tone for the venues place in the local music scene. If he’s not on stage here then you are likely to find him behind DJ decks or roaming round local record shops.

Glasgow music has featured prominently for Tim’s Listening Party which brings together people around the world through the playback and story of an album. Local sounds from Franz Ferdinand, Simple Minds, Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai and Aztec Camera have featured.

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The Charlatans return to Glasgow for a gig at Queen’s Park Recreation Ground on Sunday 30 June. You can find tickets here. I spoke to Tim about favourite local places, live performances and DJ sets in Blochairn.

First gig at King Tut's

It felt special from the start. We had a tour in 1990, it was a long journey from Manchester to Glasgow and I remember when we arrived at King Tut's we were fed. I always remember that they really looked after us, beyond the usual rider for the dressing room and stuff like that.

Everyone seemed to go that extra mile. After that we built up the relationship. We play two shows at King Tut's for our second album, they were the most amazing gigs, it was crazy times.

I think my haircut was definitely inspired by eighties Glasgow bands, whether it was Stephen Pastel or Edwin Collins with Orange Juice the music scene in Scotland really resonated with me as a kid growing up, like Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits, anyone who was interested in indie music would say the same. It's always felt like my second home, I think the band feel the same.

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The Barrowland Ballroom. Picture: Gaelle BeriThe Barrowland Ballroom. Picture: Gaelle Beri
The Barrowland Ballroom. Picture: Gaelle Beri

Barrowland Ballroom

People talk about the Barrowland audience, don't they, worldwide. I have got a Barrowland Hall of Fame Award on my mantelpiece, 16 times we've played there now, which is pretty astonishing considering we've played at the Academy quite a lot and other places.

Barrowlands is a very special place, from the sign to the floorboards. I mean just think about the history of the place. I think it is a mecca for music, isn't it? It's a shrine, it's just had everybody there. It's like recording at Rockfield Studios, when you walk into the place you just think, “if these walls could talk”, and it's the same with the ballroom.

Favourite Glasgow Places

I've spent a lot of time in Glasgow. I used to go out with a girl in Glasgow, around about the time of our hits, she showed me all the best places. I like looking about Byres Road and into Òran Mór.

I love records shops in Glasgow, I go to Monorail when I'm in the city. I remember going into HMV on Sauchiehall Street to check out our single Crashin' In. We released it on Boxing Day 1994, everyone was telling us not to do that date, no one will buy it. I went in to look for it and there was only a few copies. I was really happy about that.

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Tim Burgess

The Budgie

It was 2016, I was Djing in Glasgow and I did a surprise set at The Budgie Bar in Blochairn, people on the internet were saying to me not to go there but I phoned up the guy and he said not to worry, I'd be well looked after, which was good enough for me. It was a great place, I've been recommending it ever since.

Choosing setlists for Charlatans gigs

A lot of people know the band for North Country Boy, One to Another and The Only One I Know - I'd say the majority of people know the band for those three songs. But say Wonderland and Us and Only Us did really well as albums and it's surprising just how many people know every track off the albums. And that's kind between the band and the audience. We've done that together. And so I think we owe it to people to do deep dives, as they call them these days. I love it when we play something like Blind Stagger or Senses or How Can You Leave Us from Tellin' Stories or anything from Between 10th and 11th. When we played our second night at The Barrowlands on our last tour we just decided to do between 10th and the 11th in its entirety. And I think people enjoy that. We won't be doing that for this gig but it's good to be able to do that when you feel like it, I think the audience agree that it's a good thing.

Tim’s Listening Parties

I think we found a positive side to streaming. Just having thousands of folk listening to a Pogues album on a Thursday night, or rediscovering Lola by New Order. We would see the streaming would increase after we did the listening party and I think that's making the most of something that gets criticised a lot.

I think Spotify is an amazing platform, it's just the way they pay, it all goes to the major labels and by the time it's distributed to the artists they don't get very much. I guess, in a lot of ways that's always been the music business. I love vinyl but I love listing to music in new ways, hearing it everywhere.

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Live performance

The communal aspect is an amazing thing. I mean, to be standing next to people, to have that connectivity and to get just blasted by the music that you love, it's an out of body experience, isn't it, really. I remember great crowd moments at T in the Park.

I think that will always continue because I've been writing songs and playing people's songs through my phone now for so long and it's great, but I think it's really great when you play live with the band and it's just something else. I like when people continue singing when we've finished a song, I would rather everyone tries to exhaust themselves singing in Glasgow. I'll listen to you. I love it.

The Charlatans, Queen’s Park Recreation Ground, Sunday 30 June, tickets here.

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