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The Charlatans

October 2010

LAST month, when The Charlatans were on tour in the US, during a gig in Philadelphia, drummer Jon Brookes collapsed.
“We all thought it was dehydration”, says singer Tim Burgess.
“He had a scan and they found nothing. He had another scan and they found what they thought was an abscess. The next one and it’s a tumour”.
Within days he was back in the UK having the tumour on his brain removed.
The Verve's former drummer, Pete Salisbury, was drafted in to play on the tour that returned to the UK this week.
With Brookes on the way to recovery after a stint in intensive care, Burgess had felt positive enough to tell the media that he would likely be back on the road with them in time for their Australian tour in six weeks’ time.
“The whole thing has been changing day by day,” he admits.
“I’m all about the positive vibes because that’s what Jon has been sending out but I don’t personally think he’ll be playing... for a bit.”
The 43-year-old sounds shaken just talking about it.
“He’s like a brother. When the band first started I was 21 and he was 20. We’ve been together all through our 20s and 30s. So I’d compare it to having brothers, really.”
He adds: “I said to him, what do you want to me to say when people ask what the situation is? He said: ‘Oh well, I’ve got brain cancer’.
Brookes begins six weeks of chemotherapy on October 18.
It isn’t the first serious setback for The Charlatans since their arrival on the Madchester wave during the late 80s.
Former guitarist Mark Collins became an alcoholic, then bassist Martin Blunt was diagnosed with manic depression. After being released from prison for driving the getaway car in a bungled armed-robbery, keyboardist Rob Collins was killed in a car accident.
It didn’t end there. Replacement keyboard player Tony Rogers was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
But on they go, with yet another tour and album number 11, Who We Touch.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to stop being the frontman of The Charlatans,” says Burgess.
“We’ve been trying to get rid of each other for 20 years”, he laughs.
There was his solo album, 2004’s I Believe...
“That was just me trying to get rid of them again.”
He adds: “I want to do another one. I’ve been making it for a while. I started it about two and a half years ago. I’ve been collaborating with Kevin Shields, Ladyhawke, Steffan from the Klaxons and Josh from The Horrors. That’s why it’s taking time”.
Burgess has been living in Los Angeles since 1998 but there’s no trace of an influence on his accent.
“I think I’m a bit different when I’m there. I don’t speak with an American accent though, I go a bit more northern.”
He adds: “I was quite excited to be living in Hollywood but I’m quite happy where I’m from, so I figured I don’t have to change too much. I’m quite a cool dude,” he laughs.
The band return to Nottingham next week with Shaun Ryder in tow as their special guest.
“My friends used to run The Social and we’d get a bus from London up there to DJ. I remember bringing Daft Punk with me one time.”
He adds: “And Sam Morton’s from there, Shane Meadows is quite a good guy...”
I recall a story from the early 90s that they had recorded at the Square Centre studios off Mansfield Road. And they lived in Hyson Green for the duration.
“I remember that house,” he says.
“We were recording with the Chemical Brothers for....”
He can’t remember but adds: “Yeah, it was good. I love Nottingham”.

Who: The Charlatans, Shaun Ryder
Where: Rock City
When: Tuesday, October 12, 7pm
Tickets: £23.50, 0845 413 4444

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