The 5-minute Interview: Tim Burgess, Singer-songwriter

'When I took drugs I'd always share them, and people took advantage'

Tim Burgess, 41, is lead singer of the British band The Charlatans. Originally from Salford, he now lives in Hollywood and London. The band will perform at this year's V Festival.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Probably watching television in my flat in Shoreditch. I like morning TV and those programmes like Cash In The Attic that tell you what to buy.

A phrase I use too often ...

"No way!"

I wish people would take more notice of ...

The words I'm singing and the music I'm playing. It's the last thing some people pick up on and the songs really do come from my heart, mind and soul.

The most surprising thing to happen to me was ...

Moving to LA I suppose. When you first come to the US you have to decide between New York and Los Angeles. Up to the age of 26 I loved New York. Then my mind changed and I went over to the other side. I love the weather here and the people. It's multicultural and I find more inspiration to write here. It's something to do with the light.

A common misperception of me is ...

That I'm a people-pleaser. That comes from the period when I took drugs; I would always share them and I think a lot of people took advantage of that.

I am not a politician but ...

I do love Barack Obama. I can't vote over here but my wife votes for the Peace and Freedom party.

I'm good at ...

First meetings and talking to people.

I'm very bad at ...

Saying no – maybe I am a bit of a people-pleaser [laughs]. No, but seriously, I have a bit of an addictive personality and I do find it hard to say no sometimes.

The ideal night out is ...

Some sort of party with my London friends – most of whom are musicians. The best birthday party I ever had was with those guys.

In weak moments I ...

Probably send someone a text, but only when I feel really weak. I know a lot of people feel insecure when they're not the centre of attention or are alone in a bar or something. I'm happy to be alone and I'm not talking about moments like that but, in times of real weakness, I'll pick up the phone.

You know me as a singer-songwriter but in truer life I'd have been ...

A leader of men, a pioneer – probably a frontman.

The best age to be is ...

I enjoyed 19 but I also enjoyed 31, so either of those is good, though life really begins at 40.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is ...

To keep things changing but keep things simple.

Laura Jones

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