Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Psychedelic Furs resurface for tour, new album

April 4, 2001

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Although the Psychedelic Furs' current tour is being billed as a reunion, lead singer and songwriter Richard Butler maintains that the 1980s New Wave band never truly broke up at least not in the finger-pointing, lawyer-calling Beatles sense of the term.

"I don't think we ever actually split up," Butler said. "I just needed a break because I knew the other guys too well."

After a decade apart, Butler, 44, is back on the road with guitarist brother Tim Butler and guitarist John Ashton.

The band is doing a mix of hits ("Pretty In Pink," "The Ghost In You") along with new songs, and plans to return to the studio to make a new album.

So where would the Furs' ambient, post-punk sound fit into a marketplace divided among bubble-gum teen idols and nu-metal? Butler professes not to care.

Formed in London in 1977, the band was the brainchild of the Butlers, who melded the brashness of the Sex Pistols with the art-rock influences of David Bowie, the Velvet Underground and the Doors.

The band's self-titled 1980 debut album charted in the Top 20 in Britain and the band soon became a college radio favorite in the United States.

In the 1980s, the band pushed toward commercial success in the United States with positive word-of-mouth for the albums "Talk, Talk, Talk" and "Mirror Moves." Exposure on MTV and the title track to director John Hughes' 1986 film "Pretty In Pink" transformed the Furs into mainstream stars. Butler is critical of changes in the music business since the band's glory days in the 1980s.

"In England, when we first formed the Psychedelic Furs, they told us we didn't have to make hit singles. They just wanted us to develop as artists, and I don't think record companies say that any more.

"Without that kind of attitude, I don't think you would have had bands like the Psychedelic Furs or U2 or R.E.M. The business has become very disposable, very hit-oriented."

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