The Psychedelic Furs Classic or Dud

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Has time been kind to the Pschedelic Furs?

MICHELINE, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

This *MUST* have been asked before. Fist album through MIRROR MOVES are classic. MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT and everything after are dud.

And the current touring incarnation is a sad spectacle indeed.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Dud all the way. Richard Butler always sounds like he's about to fall asleep. Loses points for bad saxophones. Loses all remaining points for Love Spit Love.

Douglas, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I saw them at Tuts in Chicago in 1980 soon after their first album came out. They were good, but so obviously in love with themselves it was hard to enjoy. First album good, second album kind of tiresome, after that too dud to bother. "Love My Way" might have made a decent Thompson Twins single, but really...

Curt, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I'll say this, when Pretty in Pink came through my radio the other day, not having heard it in a while, I enjoyed it immensely. Saxophones be damned!

static, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I asked it I did me me me!

At the time I'd been listening loads to "President Gas" and was thinking wow yeah the Furs what an underrated band. I'm not sure I was right but lack further proof. I like their counter-punk slickness up to a point and I love Butler's absurd voice.

Tom, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Very bad, total duds-ville. LP art very tacky. Must wear black. Didn't the engineer of The Strokes pound keys with them during last tour? Nothing Psychedelic about these cheaters. Never like em.'

Bob, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I have to defend them here -- the first three albums in particular are dang near flawless, Mirror Moves had its points and both Book of Days and the final album are better than most will give them credit for. And I don't see how Butler's voice is any more or less absurd than most others out there, actually.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 25 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

We did this. The Pinefox liked them.

Dr. C, Tuesday, 26 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

the pernice brothers cover of love my way is brilliant. the time may come for a critical assessment of psychedelic furs. the original version of pretty in pink is a teen angst class soon to be covered by creed.

paul, Tuesday, 26 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Maybe the level of absurdity in voices has risen since he was around, but Richard Butler's is ridiculous (in a beautiful way) - like Bowie cubed.

Tom, Tuesday, 26 February 2002 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

three months pass...
The first 4 albums hold up real nice-like. Just played me the first one. Tempos faster than I recalled. Same w/#2. Thick & soupy. Lotsa growling & obscure bitching. What's wrong with the saxophones? No worse (no better) than Andy MacKay.

Matt Riedl (veal), Tuesday, 25 June 2002 00:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

one year passes...
I have been listening to them again.

Some songs that sound particularly good this time: Soap Commercial, Heaven, Into You Like A Train / IJWSWYou (such crass titles, such great sounds), There's A World.

But really they all sound good. I can hardly think of one of their tracks that I dislike.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 15 July 2003 13:49 (twenty years ago) link

(Where is the earlier thread where we had supposedly already discussed this topic?)

the pinefox, Tuesday, 15 July 2003 13:50 (twenty years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Was thinking (besides that this is a better thread than the other one I revived) that a lot of the material on "Midnight to Midnight" and "Mirror Moves" is not bad, especially the obvious highlights of the latter, but that I'd chalk the P. Furs as another group really hurt by the loss of its drummer. "MM" and "M2M" try so hard to be, for a lack of a better word, danceable, but the beats/tempos are way too often '80s generic. Throw in (or out) a lot of the production - sorry, Keith Forsey - and it's just such a step down.

Speaking of which, "Goodbye" from "Forever Now" might be the band's most brilliant post-punk disco pastiche.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 23 October 2016 17:53 (seven years ago) link

Thought this revive would be Alfred-related.

Madame Bob George (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 October 2016 18:13 (seven years ago) link


The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 23 October 2016 18:13 (seven years ago) link

Vince Ely was a monster. Completely underrated. You can also hear his magic on bits of Hitchcock's "Black Snake Diamond Role" LP. "Brenda's Iron Sledge" especially.

kwhitehead, Tuesday, 25 October 2016 17:53 (seven years ago) link

ah thanks for that reference, never knew that but it makes sense

sleeve, Tuesday, 25 October 2016 17:57 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

I think call me by your name has renewed interest in these guys. Hearing them played places. Like them.

treeship 2, Saturday, 17 February 2018 20:30 (six years ago) link

They've never quite gone away -- the mid eighties stuff particularly -- but it's nice.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 February 2018 20:31 (six years ago) link

surely its time to sort out a remastered edition of 'mirror moves'.
all of the albums previous to that have been done.
i saw them a few years back when on a work trip to chicago.
they played at the metro with 'she wants revenge' on support.
so, given my groove, i contacted people and ended up with justin warfield backstage after the gig for an interview.
f&ck me.
i messed up.
while justin droned on and on about how brilliant he was and never answered any of my questions, i had to listen to the furs crew having a proper party in the next door booth.

oh, and the furs were fantastic live.
the whole band were dressed head to toe in black with absolutely no deviation from the rule, and rich sounded sooo good.

mark e, Saturday, 17 February 2018 20:46 (six years ago) link

that song has been stuck in my head and in rotation since I saw the movie nearly 2 months ago. one of the best & most effective song syncs in a movie in recent memory imo

flappy bird, Saturday, 17 February 2018 22:45 (six years ago) link

I'm usually not keen on comps/hits but "All Of This And Nothing" is desert island for me

trife's rich padgett (rip van wanko), Sunday, 18 February 2018 03:07 (six years ago) link

their show in the bay area stone cold sold out, which never happens; wondered what was behind that, has to have been call me by your name rekindling interest.

akm, Sunday, 18 February 2018 16:00 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

For the first time in the history of the Internet we can say Hey there's a new Psychedelic Furs song and album coming out.

It's real good too!

kornrulez6969, Friday, 31 January 2020 16:35 (four years ago) link

P-Furs forced to reinstate the saxophone as they revisit their classic sound = awesome

doug watson, Friday, 31 January 2020 18:43 (four years ago) link

yeah, this song sounds really good, I'm ready for a new album

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Friday, 31 January 2020 19:36 (four years ago) link

The beauty of Richard Butler's ash heap of a larynx is how in 1981 everyone predicted it'd sound like this in 2020.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 January 2020 19:38 (four years ago) link

Everyone or no one?

Love this.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 31 January 2020 20:08 (four years ago) link

For the first time in the history of the Internet we can say Hey there's a new Psychedelic Furs song

Nope, new song "Alive (For Once In My Lifetime)" was snuck onto a live album in 2001:

I've loved everything Richard Butler has done, looking forward to this!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 31 January 2020 20:22 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

Another new song out "You'll be mine"... It's great!!

Chief Kyiv, Friday, 13 March 2020 04:50 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

Giving these guys an honest listen for the first time in my life, starting with first album. If they would re-release this album with all the sax removed, I would probably love them.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 15:28 (four years ago) link

you're in for crashing disappointment

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 15:32 (four years ago) link

Huh, the sax is awesome! An only gets better!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 15:37 (four years ago) link

okay this was good for a morning lol

this has been the best year fuiud (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 7 July 2020 16:02 (four years ago) link

you're in for crashing disappointment

idk talk talk talk is still to come.

would very much enjoy “I guess I’ve heard ‘love my way’ but that’s about it and I am now going through the full catalog in order” as a series of live tweets or terrible YouTube “reaction” videos

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:02 (four years ago) link

I meant if pgwp disliked the sax, he better hold on loosely.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:04 (four years ago) link

lol fair. least corny sax of the 80s tho.

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:05 (four years ago) link

Yeah, we're not talking Hot Sax(tm), we're talking skronky stuff inspired by Bowie's Berlin stuff. Regardless, Mars Williams, who toured/tours with the band a lot, has serious chops/cred.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:22 (four years ago) link

First album is great.

The Fields o' Fat Henry (Tom D.), Thursday, 9 July 2020 14:41 (four years ago) link

It is true there are much worse instances of "hot sax" in the 80s than this. But I personally have an extremely low tolerance for the instrument when used in rock music. There are exceptions but not many. I will still give Talk Talk Talk a chance but I am bracing myself!

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 9 July 2020 16:17 (four years ago) link

If you don't like that album I question not just whether you will ever like the band, but whether you will like tons of other good stuff. For me, Butler's voice alone is better than the entire catalog of many other acts. But no pressure.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 July 2020 16:41 (four years ago) link

Talk Talk Talk is legendary

shout-out to his family (DJP), Thursday, 9 July 2020 16:44 (four years ago) link

Todd Rundgren’s production on “love my way” owns me

brimstead, Thursday, 9 July 2020 18:09 (four years ago) link

Josh - given your declaration, were you at the gig at the Chicago Metro with She Wants Revenge on support a few years back ?

if you were, then i am annoyed i ended up having to listen to JW whine on about how great he is as opposed to hanging out with you sir.

mark e, Thursday, 9 July 2020 18:41 (four years ago) link

'a few years back' = a decade.


mark e, Thursday, 9 July 2020 18:44 (four years ago) link

Seriously. But no, I've never seen the Psychedelic Furs. In fact, I have no idea why I didn't see their show with James last year. I love both of those bands.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 July 2020 19:09 (four years ago) link

I want to say they did a relatively recent tour with the English Beat as well, and it seemed like such a randomly desperate nostalgia pairing despite, as far as I've heard, both bands still being awesome live, which kind of made me kick myself for not going.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 9 July 2020 19:10 (four years ago) link

fair enough.
the show at the metro really surprised me.
richards voice sounded so good.
really surprised me.
oh, and all the band dressed head to toe in black.
no deviation at all.
gotta love such devotion.

mark e, Thursday, 9 July 2020 19:41 (four years ago) link

Listened to some of this last night for first time. Not bad. Probably the first new P Furs I have listened to in decades.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 16:19 (three years ago) link

To be fair, it's the first new Furs material in decades. The lead track, "The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll", with it's stuttering intro, should go on any best-of.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 16:50 (three years ago) link


So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 March 2021 16:50 (three years ago) link

No lie.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 17:00 (three years ago) link

Totally worthy of the band that did TTT, and that’s not nuthin.

pence's eye juice (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 2 March 2021 23:11 (three years ago) link

"Ash Wednesday"! (and the rest)

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Wednesday, 3 March 2021 02:23 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

I didn't realize John Ashton was fighting stage 4 prostate cancer. Apparently the band did a benefit show for him earlier this year in Woodstock, and now they're auctioning off this signed guitar (signed by Richard Butler, Tim Butler, Mars Williams, Amanda Kramer, Rich Good, Zack Alford and John Ashton):

Really a tough situation, it's too advanced to operate on so he's been on chemo, hormone therapy and other things for the past year and I guess he'll be continuing treatment for the foreseeable future.

birdistheword, Sunday, 17 July 2022 19:17 (one year ago) link

As a prostate cancer survivor of uh, 6 mos so far, this has meaning, weight, and such strong sad anger.

Warning: Choking Hazard (Hunt3r), Sunday, 17 July 2022 22:51 (one year ago) link

I stumbled on to a gofundme campaign from late 2021 that claims original drummer Vince Ely (he was the drummer for the first three albums) has throat cancer, but it has very few donations. Not sure what happened there, but is it true, Ely has throat cancer?

birdistheword, Monday, 18 July 2022 15:28 (one year ago) link

Not sure. Nothing online but that late 2021 UK Go Fund Me.

Just saw the current touring version of Psychedelic Furs last night with X opening.

the band's current lineup I think is — original members Butler and his bass-playing brother, Tim; saxophonist Mars Williams and drummer Paul Garisto from the mid-'80s lineup; and two relative newcomers, guitarist Rich Good and keyboardist Amanda Kramer

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 July 2022 16:25 (one year ago) link

As mentioned in the other thread, X was great, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the Furs. Mars is a fantastic saxophonist, I'm glad he's still with them and nothing against Kilburn but Mars is even more accomplished and brings more to the band (even though he didn't appear on their first few albums). The Butlers were great and again, they really loved the crowd, they kept coming over to the edge of stage and mouthed the words with us. It was almost too much to have Richard Butler like two feet away from you, crouching down and singing directly at your face, and really not knowing what else to do except bop my head to the beat. (I didn't know the words well enough to sing back.)

birdistheword, Monday, 18 July 2022 18:16 (one year ago) link

I agree. Was raving to my wife about how great sax player Williams sounded. Richard Butler looked real into it. I hadn't seen them since the early 8os. I did wish they would have done "Sister Europe" & "Into You Like a Train" and sometimes the drums and guitar were too arena rock , but largely a fun show

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 July 2022 18:26 (one year ago) link

xpost--I messaged the guy doing the go fund me for former P Furs (and Cure for a bit) drummer and he said:

Visitor Message from Simon Porter:

He’s good.. on the road to recovery.. living in Eastbourne with his beloved dogs..


curmudgeon, Monday, 18 July 2022 22:25 (one year ago) link

I had a couple songs from the most recent album pop up in shuffles recently, that's really a good record.

I need to listen to that latest one again

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 July 2022 13:41 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

Marvellous old Furs advert. Mostly just actual songs off the LP, but Butler talks over them occasionally.

the pinefox, Friday, 17 March 2023 13:58 (one year ago) link

So just a quick reminder that Richard B worked with Martin Gore on four songs on the new Depeche album. All quite good!

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 March 2023 18:31 (one year ago) link

any details as to how this team up happened, as its not something i would have expected ?

mark e, Friday, 24 March 2023 19:20 (one year ago) link

Haven't seen it discussed yet myself.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 March 2023 20:04 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Mars Williams is missing their upcoming tour because he's fighting cancer. (Two other members from the band's history have also been fighting cancer.)

Go Fund Me campaign to help him out:

birdistheword, Monday, 1 May 2023 20:09 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

Just caught them tonight. Richard sounded awesome, still the epitome of cool, and Mars was back in action!

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 25 September 2023 02:26 (nine months ago) link

A friend who saw them last week thought they were great and reported approvingly that Richard Butler looked like a kooky grandma.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Monday, 25 September 2023 02:42 (nine months ago) link

saw this, thought "fuck i wish i could finally see them" and then looked, and i am now gonna see them 9/29. Thanks Josh.

fwiw, shows bigger than a few hundred bring me down, though i finally saw spoon last month and wooooooooooohooo, i enjoyed that.

blurry picture of mostly amorphous feelings (Hunt3r), Monday, 25 September 2023 03:32 (nine months ago) link

They were great when I saw them with X. I didn't expect Richard to constantly come up to the edge of the stage, especially off to the side where I was - he was literally inches from me, which was cool but after awhile almost felt TOO close. All of a sudden, there was this pressure to facially express my enjoyment over and over again - I didn't want him to think "was this guy just here for X?" (To be fair, I love X to pieces.)

birdistheword, Monday, 25 September 2023 21:09 (nine months ago) link

ha i would likely have the same issue, but still not a bad problem. glad to hear they're sounding good, i hope that it continues.

because i have so much and such long listening history with them, i have a weird sense of them not being actual at all. almost a personal feeling that they are bigger than popular music, just like, this creative/productive "thing" of "that" era.

i listened to 4 times while rollerskiing 6mi up gravel paths to home today. that album surprised me at the time for it's pop catchiness and it's very smooth melding of their history and general styles with those of greater recency. and also the VU/Cale violin, and the clarinet(oboe?) parts on top of that. It's just a good piece to me.

blurry picture of mostly amorphous feelings (Hunt3r), Tuesday, 26 September 2023 03:05 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

Mike Mills in a recent interview:

I just saw one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, the Psychedelic Furs opening for Squeeze, and it was awesome in every way. There was no feeling of age up there. They all played and acted like young men and sounded great, and I couldn’t have had a better time.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 November 2023 21:30 (eight months ago) link

i saw the same pairing in Denver, Squeeze opened for Furs. Good show, they played very well, the sound system was terrible terrible. the vox were almost totally lost to me, row 2. Enjoyed it a great deal, wouldn't say the elder furs seemed like young men, but they were extremely credible, very casually and comfortably active (and interactive) rock adults ha.

BEWARE! SPOOKY! BOO! (Hunt3r), Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:07 (eight months ago) link

Did they play the 2020 songs? They deserve inclusion.

hat trick of trashiness (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:15 (eight months ago) link

they played a few at the show I saw, so I assume so.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:21 (eight months ago) link

Yup and agree that album is very solid imo. Effective pop lyricist and songwriter for me.

BEWARE! SPOOKY! BOO! (Hunt3r), Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:28 (eight months ago) link

when I saw them in May 2023 they played The Boy That Invented Rock'n'Roll, Wrong Train, and No-One from the new album, so they're not neglecting it

the absence of bikes (f. hazel), Thursday, 2 November 2023 22:33 (eight months ago) link

Wish they'd play something from the Love Spit Love albums. So underrated!

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 2 November 2023 23:39 (eight months ago) link

hugely underrated!!

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 2 November 2023 23:45 (eight months ago) link

Is there any other band of their era that tours as reliably as the Furs? They play several dozen dates across the US annually, and have done so nearly every year since 2000.

visiting, Friday, 3 November 2023 02:32 (eight months ago) link

i kept thinking “kooky, hmmm a little, but not too granny like, rly”?

the rows up front dissolved during the show and i got a good handshake from r butler on a walk-by, it was gratifying as hell.

BEWARE! SPOOKY! BOO! (Hunt3r), Friday, 3 November 2023 05:04 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Oh no...

Rest in peace, Mars

birdistheword, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 00:12 (seven months ago) link

Shit. There was a benefit scheduled for him in a couple of days. He was a pretty incredible player. Amazing that he could fit in just as well with the Psychedelic Furs and Peter Brotzmann.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 00:27 (seven months ago) link

I think you recommended The Chicago Octet/Tentet which is indeed an amazing album.

birdistheword, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 00:41 (seven months ago) link

(A limited edition physical release but still available on Bandcamp)

birdistheword, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 00:43 (seven months ago) link

Big loss to Chicago area rock/jazz scene. This dude was on so many fun records!

BlackIronPrison, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 01:01 (seven months ago) link

Liquid Soul shows were so dope.

BlackIronPrison, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 01:02 (seven months ago) link

RIP awesome sax guy, you were amazing live

the absence of bikes (f. hazel), Tuesday, 21 November 2023 05:11 (seven months ago) link

Awesome, awesome player, for me he will always be a part of Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble, Finnish/Swiss Tour, The Hal Russell Story, their free jazz opera, and Hal on Earth esp


chr1sb3singer, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 14:57 (seven months ago) link

Fine tribute by Peter Margasak. Mentions the support he gave other musicians with addiction issues: sounds like a good guy and real community player. Love those Christmas Ayler records.

Composition 40b (Stew), Tuesday, 21 November 2023 15:05 (seven months ago) link

Only just noticed this news, terrible

One of my favourite rock sax guys ever, amazing tone, essential to all their best work

Tyler Perry's Cystitis (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 21 November 2023 15:08 (seven months ago) link

Slight rewind but still, fuck mortality

Tyler Perry's Cystitis (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 21 November 2023 15:17 (seven months ago) link

oh man I love those Christmas Ayler records too.

campreverb, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 18:06 (seven months ago) link

He's even adding to the din here

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 22 November 2023 19:49 (seven months ago) link

six months pass...

Happy birthday, Richard Butler! I'd run into you like a train.

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 5 June 2024 14:14 (one month ago) link

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