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Fully Reserved Seating
If you were to dissect the alternative rock dominating today’s music, you’ll find that much of it pays
homage to The Psychedelic Furs. Led by vocalist and songwriter Richard Butler, and his bass-wielding
brother Tim, the Furs won over fans and critics alike by combining poetic lyrics, innovative rhythms and
melodies driven by an aggressive, punk desperation. Through it all, the band scored major hits with
“Love My Way,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Heaven,” “The Ghost In You,” and “Heartbreak Beat” in all releasing
seven studio albums and spawning several compilations, a boxed set, and a live concert DVD.
The Furs debut, a self-titled album from 1980 was produced by Steve Lillywhite. The LP quickly
established the band at radio in Europe and was a top 20 hit in the UK. The album also found success in
Germany, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.
The Furs found success in the U.S. with their next release, 1981’s Talk Talk Talk, which saw the band
making its debut on the US album charts. In New Zealand, meanwhile, the band grew immensely
popular, as it reached the top of the charts, the first in a string of Furs’ albums to chart in the New
Zealand Top 10.
In the UK, the album spun off two charting singles, “Dumb Waiters” and the original version of “Pretty in
Pink”. The latter song served as inspiration for the 1986 John Hughes film of the same name, and was re-
recorded for the film’s platinum-selling soundtrack.
In 1982, the Furs recorded Forever Now, with producer Todd Rundgren in Woodstock, New York. This
album included “Love My Way”, which became yet another UK and US chart hit.
The Furs’ 1984 release Mirror Moves was produced by Keith Forsey, and featured the songs “The Ghost
in You” and “Heaven”. Both charted in throughout the world, and “Heaven” became the band’s highest
charting UK hit at the time. Also, “The Ghost In You” was a smash single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
By the mid-80s, the band had become a staple on both U.S. college and modern rock radio stations.
Simultaneously, they were experiencing consistent mainstream success, placing several singles in the
pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 1986, the band recorded a sax-infused version of “Pretty in Pink” for the soundtrack of the film of the
same name. Released as a single, it became their biggest hit to that time in the U.S., and their biggest-
ever UK hit. On the heels of the successful soundtrack, the ban immediately recorded “ Midnight to
Midnight”, their biggest Top 40 success to date, but also a more overtly commercial effort than the Furs
had ever recorded before. The album featured the single “Heartbreak Beat”, which became the
Psychedelic Furs biggest hit on the U.S. Top 40. The album also featured drummer Paul Garisto and sax
player Mars Williams, both of whom continue to tour with the band.
In the wake of Midnight To Midnight, the Furs found themselves ill at ease with their new commercial
direction, and subsequently returned to a rawer sound with “All That Money Wants”, a 1988 track
especially recorded for a best-of compilation album “All Of This And Nothing”. 1989’s Book of Days and
1991’s World Outside also saw a return to the earlier Furs’ style.
The Furs’ steady chart success continued with three #1 hits on the newly-established U.S. Modern Rock
chart between 1988 and 1991. “All That Money Wants” was a #1 hit in 1988, while “House” topped the
chart in 1990, and “Until She Comes” was #1 in 1991.
The band went on extended hiatus in the early 1990s, with the Butler brothers going on to create the
band “Love Spit Love” along with urrent Guns ‘N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank
Ferrer. Love Spit Love released two albums and enjoyed some chart success as well.
After spending most of the decade apart, the Butlers reignited The Psychedelic Furs in 2000, and
released a live album Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live, which also featured a new studio recording,
“Alive (For Once In My Lifetime).” Since then, lead singer Richard Butler has released an eponymous solo
album produced by Jon Carin, and has hinted at the possibility of a new Psychedelic Furs album.
Currently, the band continues to tour around the world. The Psychedelic Furs touring lineup remains
Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass), Rich Good (guitar), Mars Williams (saxophone), Amanda
Kramer (keyboards), and Paul Garisto (drums).
Not sixty seconds into Beautiful Friction and it is clear; the haunting guitar of Jamie West-Oram, expressive synth of Rupert Greenall, pounding bass of Dan K. Brown, steady beat of Adam Woods and unforgettable vocals of Cy Curnin add up to the undeniable sound that could only be The Fixx. Apart, you couldn’t refute their talent, yet it’s together that they shine. Together, The Fixx has an incredibly strong voice, strong legacy and strong future.
Beautiful Friction, the band’s tenth album studio album, finds The Fixx sharper than ever. Never at a loss for what to say, Cy Curnin and company have the same thought-provoking intensity fueling their lyrics and performances as they ever have. Fired up and as hopeful as ever, the band continues to take us on a journey which started in 1982 with the release of Shuttered Room. Says Curnin, “There’s a theme that traces through The Fixx. Our catalogue is connected, our viewpoint as a collective has always been socially driven. With the Internet, things sped up, and we were able to get feedback quicker and became closer with our fan base. We’ve been so thankful to hear from people who let us know our music made a difference in their life. It made us realize we had a sense of responsibility to our audience, that our work as a band was unfinished.”
After seminal hits such as “One Things Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” “Saved By Zero” and “Stand or Fall,” The Fixx has always been very conscious of making sure it had something to say. “At first, there wasn’t a motif floating around. Then new songs started to emerge and we had a theme. The first song for Beautiful Frictionthat we wrote together was “What God,” followed by “Follow that Cab,” and we agreed we had the meat.” Says Curnin, “As a whole, we were very focused on what was happening in the world around us and the legacy that was being left for our children, for everyone’s children. This album confronts our frustrations with the current socio-economic crises affecting the world, but it’s also quite hopeful.”
With Beautiful Friction, the band has created a backdrop of responsibility and the need to be accountable for actions. “It seems we’ve all ground to a bit of a halt with so much unrest, the Occupy movement, debt, war and more. We ultimately see the album as positive, eager for the dawn of a new era, the possibility to change the way we see the world and to view it with more optimism. That’s why we called it Beautiful Friction – the times we live in are tough, but there’s a beauty in that. There’s a hope.”
The early to mid 80’s was marked by several Top Ten Billboard hits for The Fixx. Curnin recalls the band’s “MTV Days” with great fondness – how he felt he could have been singing “Ham and Eggs” instead of “One Thing Leads to Another” because the groove was so strong, how girls would throw underwear onstage while they played “Red Skies,” a song about the aftermath of a nuclear fall out and how “Saved by Zero,” a song about accepting emptiness, still resonates today. Curnin calls the way the band’s music has been internationally embraced the greatest gift. Referring to this as “the Mary Poppins Effect” where a ‘spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,’ Curnin feels the music’s accessibility allows for his lyrical expression on some heady topics. “The melodies that Jamie comes up with are incredible. He is always creating bits and pieces, then I come in and get a feeling for a word, or an emotion, and it starts to take shape. We get something we can play as a group. Then, it just takes off like it has wings. Rupert is almost like a mad scientist, wherein I can describe where I am going visually with my words and he paints the sound. Dan has amazing chord knowledge and is able to play around my voice in ways that makes it sound rife with emotion. And Adam just isn’t a convoluted drummer. He’s very careful and laid back, which is big part of our sound.”
With Beautiful Friction, all eleven tracks connect across a theme. “Unlike my solo albums, which focus on my own peccadilloes, the songs written for The Fixx take on the problems of the world. If you look back at our work, there’s a universal application to it. In writing Beautiful Friction, we speak to people who have woken up to the fact that while there was a period of easy money and easy credit, it’s now come and bitten us on the backside. I think, as you get wiser, you begin to realize less is more, and how happiness itself is your real currency.”
The album was produced by Nick Jackson at Spacehouse Studios in London, who worked closely with the band to draw from the root of their longevity: communication. “Nick spoke out candidly when he thought a song wasn’t quite there yet and allowed us all the time in the world for the creative process to work itself out,” explains Curnin. “And on top of understanding how creativity needs to be nurtured so a song can develop completely, he is technically very adept in a way where he let us keep our style intact without having to sound like we were chasing the latest recording trends.”
The songs recorded for Beautiful Friction are a high point in the band’s already heralded history. Echoing the frustration and pain of the “99%”, the first single “Anyone Else” is an anthem for our times, with a soaring melody that allows the song to feel melancholy and hope all at once. Optimism grows further with the wistful “Just Before Dawn,” the album’s second track which speaks of hope after the darkness. “What God,” a philosophical tour de force, features a passionate vocal wail of confusion, doubt and self-revelation by Cy, backed by the band’s driving musical crescendo. The frenzied wired pace of “Follow that Cab” delivers a lyrical metaphor, with the cab as an allegory for a life out of control. The optimistic “Shaman” could be the long lost musical sibling to “One Thing Leads to Another” while the title track highlights a unique vocal coupled with a sensual groove and evocative keyboard. “Girl with No Ceiling” captures the present, wise and introspective band meditating on the fleeting reality of fame and fortune over a subtle beat. The Fixx, never a band to rest on its laurels, is still searching, still asking questions and still seeking truth.
Curnin calls this current evolution of The Fixx “a fine wine that has aged well in the bottle. I love being in this band. It’s my therapy. You can take everything away from me, but no one can take away the relationship and creativity that flows between the five of us.”