Sixteen years after its debut, the English band is still rocking and rolling strong. Now they tell you where to roll...
Fifteen years have passed since the term “Madchester” was coined and the “Manchester movement” spread from England, taking the world by storm with its unique groove and new-rock feel. Blasting out the best thing since punk, this style still influences many musicians today.
However, most of the bands of that era have disappeared without a trace, branched off into new projects, gone solo or got back together for reunion tours. However, it wouldn’t appear that any of these groups have made it through intact.
The exception is The Charlatans, still alive and kicking and continuing to impress with their top-notch musicianship and popularity. In fact, their new album is set for release next spring.
“I was born in Salford, next to Manchester, and there’re plenty of interesting places to visit in the area, but when I travel I actually prefer to head farther north to Scotland. If you drop by Lake Ness you might run into Nessie,” laughs front man Tim Burgess.
Once again, Nessie rears her head into the conversation and reminds me of the interview (OJ, December, 2006) with the Basement Jaxx. Even though the “Nessie” photographer himself has admitted he forged the pictures, this place still seems to be high on the list of spots people recommend.
Tim continues, “Ha ha...no, but seriously, if you follow along the coastline near Lake Ness, you can catch a ton of crab. They are the best in England without a doubt. There’s also a great port, but I can’t remember the name of the city...I’m sure it started with an E…”
According to Tim, “You can get there by train” and the town’s name “sounds like Eckster.” Unfortunately, after thoroughly searching a map following the interview, I found nothing even close to that description.
“Basically, the whole of Scotland is beautiful,” he carries on. “Edinburgh is chock full of historic buildings, and you can take it easy there. The countryside is full of quiet, little towns and folks live there peacefully. Then there are crazier places such as Glasgow.”
Apparently most of Scotland is quite relaxed, but Glasgow takes on a different edge. A live show there by The Charlatans is never dull and usually ends up getting a bit unruly. However, that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing for a musician, right?
“Well...,” admits Tim, “You know the metal detectors they have in airports? They’ve got those at the front door to these live shows. Otherwise, folks would roll in with knives and pistols. There are a lot of tattoos and things can get a bit too crazy.”
I wonder why the English always seem to naturally mix tales of peace and tranquility with violent stories. I guess this will remain a mystery surrounding the country which gave us both the National Trust movement and the term “hooligan.”
The Charlatans new album and selected Manchester vinyl.
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