Next Wednesday (2 November) Q are bringing you The Charlatans live at the Roundhouse in London, with New Order DJs in support. Ahead of the full gig – which you can get tickets for now – we caught up with frontman Tim Burgess about their preparations for the show, including their plans to play some old favourites, some sage advice from a Clash legend and a lot more.
You've played the Roundhouse to celebrate the anniversary of your debut album Some Friendly and you launched latest record Modern Nature there. Is it a favourite place for The Charlatans? It’s pretty special, yeah. It feels the best place for us to play at the moment. I enjoyed seeing My Bloody Valentine playing there. I saw three of the five comeback gigs they did there a few years ago, pretty much down the front each time. After the second one I thought, The Charlatans should play here.
What have you got planned for this one-off gig? We’re looking to do some songs we haven’t done for a while. It would be good to do With No Shoes and maybe How Can you Leave Us from Tellin’ Stories. It's reaching that classic album status. It's 20 years this year since [first keyboard player] Rob Collins died and 20 years next year since the album came out, so it pretty intense. Plus we really like playing songs from Modern Nature after that album did so well. We nailed it with that record, I think.
How do you all agree on a setlist? It’s a full set so we can fit it all in. We’ve all agreed we want to do those two from Tellin’ Stories and there’s talk of Jesus Hairdo, which we haven’t played for ages. I love playing that – it’s just up! And then it’s a case of fitting in the great ones from the last album… and the ones before that! [laughs] I’m sure we’ll be doing Sproston Green, for example. Some people just come to see us do that song, so we will!
Talk us through what goes on before a Charlatans gig. Any pre-show rituals we should be aware of? Joe Strummer once told us we had to have music on before we went onstage, because he’d come back once and said it was too quiet. [laughs] So from that day we always have music on before the gig. We'll stick some bangers on, maybe some KLF and some White Zombie! [laughs]
Who picks the tracks? Is it first-come-first-served or is one of The Charlatans a mixmaster? It’s funny before each set of shows I’ll put a CD mix together of stuff I want people to hear before we go on, so we’ll probably be listening to something similar backstage. The audience and the band will be on the same page really. It will be some Public Image, Panda Bear, Beastie Boys, John Coltrane...
Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert from New Order will be DJing before you go on, have you got your requests in? They'll be playing everything from Lana Del Rey to Arthur Russell! That's going to get people going, isn’t it? And they know a decent remix when they hear one. We were asked who we wanted to DJ before us and they were the best “Other Two” really, so it's up to them. We'll just pick a couple of songs before The Charlatans come onstage so us and the audience are at the same level.
Any danger we’ll see Stephen and Gillian again on the night, perhaps in your set? I don’t know... The last time they DJed before us they ended-up onstage with us! I don’t think they need much notice. [laughs] So we’ll see… Two drummers on Sproston Green is pretty great...
And after Wednesday's gig, what’s next for the band? Are you thinking about another Charlatans record yet? We’re thinking about it! We’re doing everything we normally do before we start making a record, but we haven’t started making any music yet, well any music any note. [laughs] But we’re definitely thinking about it and looking forward to picking up where we left off with Modern Nature. We’re feeling pretty good about that, and about the band. And so we should be, I think. Paul Stokes @Stokesie