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This week’s Talkhouse conversation features a pair of performers who came up in the ‘90s, and who have followed each other’s careers since: Tim Burgess of the Charlatans, and Joan Wasser, aka. Joan as Police Woman.
Tim Burgess has had a fascinatingly diverse career: He first came to prominence as singer of the Charlatans, who were part of the early ’90s Madchester scene along with the likes of The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. But unlike many of their contemporaries, the Charlatans have had a long and prosperous career, releasing more than a dozen albums in addition to Burgess’ solo output. This week sees the release of a massive Charlatans box set called A Head Full Of Ideas that spans their career and includes hits and rare tracks.
In addition to the box set, a Charlatans tour that’s just about to start, and a solo album slated for next year, Burgess has kept himself busy through the pandemic with a fun concept he named Tim’s Twitter Listening Party. It’s simple enough: He coaxes other musicians to essentially live-tweet their own albums, and it’s resulted in literally hundreds of sessions with everyone from his UK contemporaries like Oasis and Blur to a session with Sir Paul McCartney himself. A hundred of those parties have now been gathered into a hardcover book, which also includes rare photos from the participants and lots more.
One of those hundred is Joan Wasser, who also got her start in a ‘90s band—the Dambuilders—and subsequently launched an incredibly varied career. She was in Antony and the Johnsons for a bit, and she’s recorded a bunch of great records under the name Joan As Police Woman. The first of those, 2006’s Real Life, knocked Tim Burgess over when he first heard it—as you’ll hear in this conversation. Wasser is just about to release an incredible collaborative album that she made with Dave Okumu and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, not long before Allen’s death last year. It’s called The Solution is Restless, which is a pretty perfect title, and it’ll be out in November.
These two have a great chat: Tim is super chill and loves to meditate; Joan is a total firecracker. They talk about how Joan’s album “knocked Tim for six,” the myth of Lou Reed—Tim met him as a fan, Joan toured with him—and how Tim, in addition to everything else, has a coffee business. Sort of. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast and thanks to Tim Burgess and Joan Wasser for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting services and social media outlets. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Photos courtesy of the artists, edited by Keenan Kush.)