Possessing one of the most recognizable voices in rock, Richard Butler has delivered his stylish rasp for nearly three decades. With the Psychedelic Furs, Butler helped bridge the gap between punk and art, between the Sex Pistols and Roxy Music. His sexy mix of power and fashion continued in Love Spit Love but became somewhat muted on his 2006 self-titled solo debut. Currently with the Furs supporting Devo on an '80s nostalgia tour (or at least one without Journey), Butler took some time to reflect on his seminal work and what the future may hold.
When you recorded solo and with Love Spit Love, did you find it difficult to escape your legacy with the Furs?
No, that was never something I tried to do. With Love Spit Love, it was just a desire to take a break from what I'd been doing for the previous decade. And as far as the solo CD, it was a slightly different musical path and different collaboration than what I'd been doing with the Furs. But the Furs certainly have their own place amongst it all.
You've toured on and off with the Furs for quite a while. Any plans for new recordings?
Absolutely. That's next. In fact Tim and John have been writing a number of songs and I'm about to jump in as well. We expect to have it out next year.
You once described the most commercially successful Furs effort, Midnight to Midnight, as "hollow, vapid and weak." Was that the low point for the band?
It was a departure from everything we had been doing up until then. It was the point when the band became more a product of glitz and fashion and less about being a band. So although it was commercially very successful, it was not our strongest moment.
The band responded with Book of Days and World Outside. Were you disappointed with the reaction to these efforts?
No, I wasn't surprised at all. I expected it. In the case of Book Of Days we had made a conscious decision, in the wake of Midnight, to make a decidedly non-commercial album. We needed to take a step back. So I suppose we achieved that.
Songs like "Into You Like a Train" and "All That Money Wants" read like good fiction. Have you explored other avenues of expression?
Well, painting. That's always been my other creative outlet. I suppose there are stories in those too.
Songs like "Dumb Waiters" and "Pretty in Pink" are such popular numbers for the Furs. But do you ever get tired of them?
Sometimes I get weary of the idea of doing them again. But once you're out there in front of an audience it all goes away, and it's great. I just hope they're having as much fun as we do!
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