The Psychedelic Furs may not have invented rock & roll per se, but their influence since arriving on the post-punk scorched-earth landscape four decades ago has reverberated and resonated among all those who cherish the sweet-and-sour spot where rawness and romanticism meet.
“I’m aware of the fact that people cite us an influence,” says lead singer Richard Butler, “though I don’t often recognize it in their music. It’s gratifying of course, as it is that there’s still an interested and enthusiastic audience for us. That’s an honour.”
The the Psychedelic Furs built a career on mysterious pop songs guided by the world-weary and unmistakable vocals of Richard Butler plus an always-evolving sound that started off as stark post-punk then took detours into synth pop, dance rock, and mainstream alternative.
Along the way, they released a classic album that fused the energy of punk with the brightness of new wave (1981’s Talk Talk Talk) and a string of singles highlighted by “Love My Way,” “Heaven,” and “Heartbreak Beat” that proved popular and influential.
Their classic song “Pretty in Pink” became the inspiration for the film of the same name and others showed up regularly in movies and TV shows. Though the band ran aground in the early ’90s, they returned a decade later to launch a successful career as a live act, and with their 2020 album Made of Rain, proved they could still deliver epic and meaningful records.
The group, whose name was inspired by the 1966 Velvet Underground song “Venus in Furs,” were formed in England in 1977 by brothers Richard Butler (vocals) and Tim Butler (bass), along with saxophone player Duncan Kilburn and guitarist Roger Morris.
Steady gigging plus a high-profile session for John Peel‘s Radio 1 show led to the band being signed by Epic Records. By this time, the group had become a sextet, adding guitarist John Ashton and drummer Vince Ely.
The Psychedelic Furs will be playing in Santa Fe at the Lensic Theater on Sunday October 17, 2021.