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Psychedelic Furs' Tim Butler: '80s sex symbol (oh, and bassist for band too)



tim_butler.jpgGot time for a short story? Everyone pour themselves a glass of Bud Light and Clamato and settle in. This story is about the bassist for the Psychedelic Furs, a guy named Tim Butler.

Now, die-hard fans might already be nodding their heads respectfully. Tim's a great-looking guy, fantastic bassist and one of the founding members of a band that is beloved more here in the U.S. than on their home sand of the U.K. But casual '80s people might still be squinting at the screen. So read on.

Two years ago, I had a chance to see the Furs play live in Tampa at the Ritz Ybor, a nice historic venue perfect for this act. It was my first Furs show, and it was incredible. Lead singer Richard Butler looked sharp in a tie and vest and thick-framed glasses, and he exuded total joy as he spun around in tight circles as each hit song sprang from the band.

But the guy who really caught my eye was the bassist, Tim Butler.

Dark wayfarer sunglasses, black jacket, black pants, a skull-and-crossbones pin on the strap of his bass. Coolest looking dude in the room. He sang every song despite not having a microphone within 10 yards of him. He just loved the music that much. His enthusiasm was catchy. His charisma undeniable. Suddenly, all the women in the room started to congregate on his side of the stage. They bounced when he bounced. Sang when he sang. Smiled when he smiled. Swooned when he snarled.

Then something weird happened. The ladies saw that I was scribbling notes in a reporter's notebook. They spied my media pass. They smelled an opportunity. "Oh, you're a reporter? Can you get me backstage? I gotta meet Tim!" each one pleaded. I'm not going to lie to you: A least one girl made a very compelling argument why I should take only her backstage with me. Alas, I had not arranged to meet the band that night. I couldn't even score them a guitar pick if my life depended on it. Devastation. Total despair. I had failed them. I had failed myself.

Two years later -- a few weeks ago -- I finally got a chance to talk to Tim on the phone. The band was coming back for a July 2 show at Clearwater's historic Capitol Theatre, another cozy spot perfect for a band like this. I couldn't contain myself: I told Tim about what happened on the floor of the Ritz during the Tampa show. He was dumbfounded? "Really?!?" he asked. I told him he was the "John Taylor of the Psychedelic Furs." He could only laugh.

But when the interview was over, and I told him I'd catch him again this time in Clearwater, I asked again, "What'll I do if the same girls come up and want to meet you?" 

"Well, bring them back with you then!" Tim commanded.

You don't have to tell me twice, Tim. (Editor's note: Actual chance of getting anyone backstage? Still slim, so I suggest just throwing your phone number at him while he's on stage.)

Click here to here the whole interview with Tim Butler, where he does actually give a ton of great answers about the band, its history, his encounter with Sid Vicious at a Sex Pistols show and so much more. Or click here to get all our podcasts for free via iTunes.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:33am]


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