Charles Burchill, known to Jim Kerr as "The Wee Man" and to all of
Simple Minds as Charlie Piranha because of his habit of baring his teeth
when under the influence of drink or extreme emotion, is the extrovert of the group. Charlie rarely sleeps,
and when accused of looking extremely ill and pale recently declared that he was "on top of the planet, by the way", adding:
" think I had too much sleep last night."
Be that as it may, Charles is undoubtedly a guitarist of distinction. Though each member of the group has
evolved a distinctive musical style, organsied to fit precisely with everybody else, songwriting generally starts with
Charlie exchaning ideas with keyboards whizz Mick MacNeil. These two have developed an
intricate rapport which does away with the normal roles of keyboards and guitar. Instead of one of them playing
a dominant role while the other drops back in support, they've learned to weave subtle but potent webs of sound in
which both play with maximum economy and minimum flash.
"I started playing the guitar when I was 14, turning 15," Charlie explains. "Me and my brother got guitars -
I had an Embassy coupon guitar which was a real mess and he got a really good one. The two of us learned together. Then he stopped
playing and I carried on, and he sorta encouraged me."
Surprisingly perhaps, in view of his extraordinary capacity for both work and play, Charlie will readily
admit to listening to such elderly folk as Joni Mitchell or Tom Verlaine (not to mention
Chic, The Doors and Bach's Brandenburg Concertos as played by
Wendy Carlos). He also possesses the enviable gift of making friends effortlessly, and often surprises complete
strangers by engaging them in incredibly frank and lengthy conversations.
The Piranha's indecent hunger for new places and enriching experiences was already evident when, as a mere 16 year old, he set off
with school chum Jim Kerr to hitch-hike across Europe and back. Needless to say, he loves touring, playing
live concerts and recording. At all times, he has what he would call "a wee glow."
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Charles Burchill (born 27/11/59). Guitarist, philosopher and keeper of the glow, Charlie Burchill is more
often than not the life and soul of the party. Even when there isn't a party. Charlie is never satisfied for long and is always
bouncing with enthusiasm for the job at hand, whether it's arecording, a gig or an interview. Constantly rewrites history in the light of
something he's just learned or discovered. Devoted fan of Charles Dickens.
Attitude: "No matter what type of music it is, people will always be able to spot the conviction in it if it's done genuinely. That's why you
can [like] really diverse things, like Joni Mitchell, say. It might be a really different style of music but obviously
you go through changing sorts of moods as a person, so why should listening to music be any different?"
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