The Psychedelic Furs: "This is a reintroduction to our music"

A shot of the psychedelic furs on stage

Where many bands elect to play a classic album from start to finish, the Psychedelic Furs’ forthcoming tour will see the British art-rockers focusing on the 22 singles they’ve released during their 40-year career. Bassist Tim Butler explains why.

Whose idea was the singles set?

We’re actually in the process of writing a new album [their first since 1991], which we’ll be recording early next year. This is a reintroduction for people to Furs music. We haven’t decided whether we’ll mix it up or play them chronologically – that could be a good idea.

You were inspired to form the band by punk, but you were never a punk band.

Richard [Butler, singer and Tim’s brother] and I went to see the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club in London in 1976. After that, Richard said: “Do you want to form a band?” None of us could play any instruments, so we started out doing twenty-minute jams on stage. We’d all be trying to make ourselves heard, which became the term ‘beautiful chaos’.

Is it true that David Bowie was in line to produce your third album, 1982’s Forever Now?

He expressed interest. We were playing in New York, and Bowie and [Talking Heads frontman] David Byrne burst into the dressing room and said: “We were just arguing about who was going to produce your next album.” But neither of them was ever available when we were gearing up for an album.

The Furs song Pretty In Pink will forever be associated with the film of the same name. How do you feel about that now?

It’s got pluses and minuses. It got us through to a larger market, but it tended to be screaming fourteen-year-old girls with pink T-shirts. It scared off a lot of our hard-core fans. The remake of the single [recorded for the film] isn’t anywhere near as good as the original.

How did you come to get involved with the film?

It was [actress] Molly Ringwald. She approached [writer] John Hughes and said: “I like this band. Can you write some sort of movie vehicle around the song?’ And he did. Even though the movie’s got nothing at all to do with the lyrics.

You’ve been in a band with your brother for forty years. What’s the secret to avoiding sibling bust-ups?

I can’t understand all those brothers in bands who fight. Richard and I will have an argument one minute, then five minutes later we’re the best of buddies again. Blood’s thicker than music.

Former Furs Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer are currently in Guns N’ Roses. Have you asked them for free gig tickets?

Not yet. And not being a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses, I don’t think it’ll happen.

The tour begins in on September 1.

The Psychedelic Furs line up live UK dates

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.