Post-punk favourites still gritty and pretty in pink

Leadsinger Richard Butler by Mike Pfeiffer
Leadsinger Richard Butler by Mike Pfeiffer

Remember Pretty In Pink – John Hughes’ 1980s teen movie about love, longing and compromise? Who can forget adorable love-lorn Duckie, or Andie’s brooding over “heart-throb” Blane?

Well the musical inspiration for the classic film – and a band which are so much more than that besides and helped to define post-punk music –the Psychedelic Furs are back in the UK, and play at the O2 Academy in Oxford on Sunday, September 10.

Psychedelic Furs by Maggie Butler

Psychedelic Furs by Maggie Butler

The Psychedelic Furs got together after the Butler brothers (Tim and Richard) witnessed the raw punk power and energy of The Sex Pistols at the 100 Club.

In the early 1980s they launched the band by teaming up with Steve Lillywhite to create their eponymous debut album – and then Talk Talk Talk – one of the post-punk movement’s defining records.

Tim, speaking from his home in Kentucky, said: “Our sound is like the Sex Pistols crossed with Roxy Music – it’s more thought-out.

“Punk helped bands like us happen – we could say stuff with minimal music, but we were also big fans of things like the Velvet Underground and Roxy Music, and we gave it the energy and power of punk.”

A surprising and lucky break came for the Furs a few years later – when screenwriter John Hughes based classic teen movie Pretty In Pink on the band’s hit of the same name. The song instantly charted again when the movie was released in 1986, which proved to be both a blessing and a curse for a band with DIY sensibilities.

Tim said: “It was a pleasant surprise when John Hughes approached us about it – Molly Ringwald had liked the original song and asked him to write a movie around the song – the storyline ended up having nothing to do with the original song, but it was a really nice thing.

“Sadly though, a lot of the hardcore early fans stopped liking us and said we had ‘sold out’.”

A whole legion of new fans are now coming out to see them play – perhaps inspired by Eighties nostalgia, or name-checks from the likes of The Killers who have cited them as an influence.

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