UPDATE: The Psychedelic Furs show originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 12 has been postponed. The New date is March 19, 2022.
The Psychedelic Furs have had an interesting run. For nearly 45 years, the band has ridden waves of success — both in their native England and worldwide — thanks to their dreamy, post-punk sound which relies heavily on thick, glassy synths and jabbing guitars all swirling around the raspy, Bowie-esque vocal style of singer Richard Butler.
Butler — along with his brother Tim, who handles bass duties for the group — have remained inseparable since the band began despite facing a revolving door of drummers, keyboardists and guitar players. The pair even remain intact throughout the Furs hiatus in the ’90s, joining forces in the side project Love Spit Love, proving the strength of their bond as siblings.
Though their career has spanned decades, the band’s heyday was in the 1980s, when their brand of arty British dream-pop was showing up all over the charts via bands like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Tears For Fears. The Furs most memorable singles — songs like “Pretty in Pink,” “Heaven,” “Love my Way” and “The Ghost in You” — solidified their status within the world of British alt-rock and gathered them legions of fans that remain loyal to this day.
Though many might think of them as a nostalgia act, in 2020 the band went into the studio to record “Made of Rain,” their first studio album in nearly 30 years. The record was released to critical acclaim, and at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, they head to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City for a one-night-only live performance in support of it.
I had a chance to sit down with Tim Butler to discuss the new record, the tour and how he and his brother have managed to stay civil after so many years playing together. Here is what he had to say:
Ryan Loughlin: You released “Made of Rain” over a year ago. Is it exciting to finally get to play some of those songs live?
Tim Butler: Oh yeah! When we released it we had a tour planned to promote it, and that was of course blown out of the water by COVID. So it’s so exciting after 30 years to have a new album out and to be playing live again. I think our fans were starting to get a bit angry (laughs). But it’s really great to get out there. We are doing seven songs (from the new album) in the set, and they are getting a great reaction from the crowd. I think people are just so happy that we have something new out!
RL: There was nearly 30 years between studio albums. What made you guys want to record new material after so many years?
TB: When we got back together, we were always talking about doing a new album, but we were a bit afraid that it wouldn’t stack up with our ’80s albums like “Forever Now” and “Talk Talk Talk,” but it got to a stage where we were exchanging song ideas and we thought, “Wow we’ve got an album full of great songs,” and the band was firing on all cylinders. So we decided to go in and record and it all came together really quickly. It was done over 12 or 13 days – it went really quickly and it gave a real excitement to the songs. You can tell they weren’t overcooked.
RL: When you watch a Psychedelic Furs show, one of the most notable things is how much you guys are always smiling and seem to be really enjoying playing live. How hard was it to not be able to do so for so many months due to the pandemic?
TB: It was really hard. Since we got back together in 2000, we tour pretty regularly and we really enjoy it. So for almost two years it was shut down and when you star back up again you sort of forget how to do it.
RL: Often when bands have brothers in them, the brothers are known for fighting all the time. The Kinks, Oasis and the Black Crowes come to mind. How have you and Richard managed to get along so well working together for so many years?
TB: I don’t know, I guess it’s just that your brother is always going to have your back, but music can end any day. Blood is thicker than rock ’n’ roll.
RL: Are you influenced by any new artists?
TB: Not really, I tend to still listen to all of the old staples – the first two Roxy Music albums and “Alladin Sane” by David Bowie – they are old, but they are still classics.
RL: What can fans expect from the show at Hard Rock?
TB: We’ll be doing a lot of songs from the new album and, of course, all of the hits and near hits — which we’d be lynched if we didn’t play — as well as some songs we haven’t done in a long while. It’s quite an eclectic grab bag of songs.