Psychedelic Furs’ member interviewed

By Andy Plonka

The Psychedelic Furs and Ocean Blue played the tenth concert of their current U.S. tour yesterday at the Duke Ellington Ballroom. Before arriving in DeKalb last night, Psychedelic Furs’ original member Tim Butler took some time to talk to The Northern Star.

“Personally, I love touring,” the bass player said in his English accent. “It’s like a final acid test for the album.” The Furs’ current album, World Outside, is their eighth studio effort and one of Butler’s favorites. “We’ve gotten better artistically,” he said.

“Lyrically, I think this album is the most personal one we’ve recorded. It caught the essence of the Furs,” said Butler. He believes the band has made a lot of progress since their earlier works. “We’re better at writing and we now know our limitations. World Outside is the best polished album, song-wise.”

The band learned its limitations on its previous release, Midnight to Midnight. “That album was a mistake,” Butler confessed. “It was an experiment that didn’t work.” At least the band members admit when they’re wrong. “We’re not pig-headed or pompous. We know we messed up.”

With the help of their new producer, Stephen Street, the Furs regained their true sound on the new album. “He (Street) has worked with guitar bands in the past, and that’s what we are,” said Butler. The album was recorded in six short weeks with the entire band playing live in the studio. “We did three or four takes on each songs and picked the best one,” Butler said. Earlier albums took up to six months to record and that “took out the initial energy and the album lost vitality.”

After living in New York for nine years, Butler considers the Psychedelic Furs an American band. “The English say we deserted them and they should. My brother (lead singer Richard) and I are really Americans born in England,” Butler said.

Butler’s current favorite bands include the Pixies, Nirvana, and REM. “I love bands that have guitars,” he said.

Current concert opener, Ocean Blue, is not one of Butler’s favorites. “They’re OK but too light and poppy,” he said.

Tonight, the Furs will play at the Metro in Chicago where the concert sold out four minutes after it was announced.