up to 11
“Bands like Blur, or The Stone Roses or Happy Mondays or whatever – while they’ve not been around, we’ve been doing two hundred gigs a year”
us continuing. I always thought the only reason to split up should be if you really can’t get on with each other, or it’s complete musical differences, or . . . I dunno, if the band just combusts. And that just hasn’t happened.”
Of course, with a lengthy career also comes plenty of stories. Burgess joined the pantheon of rock stars with autobiographies earlier this year, with the publication of Tellin’ Stories, the title of which was taken from the band's 1997 album of the same name.
“Oh my God,” he groans theatrically when I broach the topic. Bored by talking about it already? “No, no – I love it. It’s the best book I’ve ever written,” he deadpans. “To be honest, I’m not actually a huge reader. I kind of say in the book really early on that I’m more of a magazine kind of person. I also say in the book that you can stop reading right now if you want to, because it’s a warning, you know? I had to learn on my feet, but it’s come out pretty good, I think. People seem to have liked it. Certain people in the band were interested – and I’m sure slightly concerned, too – so I had to keep telling everyone that there’s nothing to worry about. And it ended up being mostly about New Order, anyway. I reckon Bernard’s [Sumner] gonna be happy, though . . .”.
A new solo album, an autobiography; such things usually signify the bookending of an era, but Burgess has no intention of renouncing his role in The Charlatans just yet. There’s a bit more touring to do before the summer’s end, including a run-through of Tellin’ Stories at Castlepalooza, then the solo touring begins in earnest. Next year, however, will see the band regroup for their 12th album.
“Whether it’ll be completed next year or not, I’m not sure, but I’m really looking forward to it,” he enthuses. “It’ll be a big project, but it has to be great. It has to be better than great. But we’re all pretty happy at the moment. Everyone’s still really enjoying playing gigs, so the only thing you really have to concentrate on is the order of the set. But getting together for an album and being creative and working it out . . . well, it’s gonna be big. It’s got to be really big.”
The Castlepalooza Music & Arts Festival takes place in Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly, from August 3rd-5th. The Charlatans headline on Sunday, August 5th