(This is in an interview that I conducted in the summer of 2006. It was originally intended for a zine that my friend Matt and I had planned to print).
MB: My name is Mark Burgess, I was the bass player and singer with The Chameleons- Chameleons UK in
IMFA: Growing up, what or who were your musical influences and when did you first realize that you were a musician?
MB: I started with records very young when a staff nurse at my kindergarten began playing Beatles records for me, that was 1964. I got my first record player when I was 8 and was buying records by The Beatles, The Searchers, Ennio Morricone, Procol Harem, got into The Doors at around 10 years old, then the Glam thing happened in England. For me it was T.Rex,
When did I realise I was a musician? I think it was when the magazine 'International Musician' contacted me years ago and asked for an interview and all the questions revolved around my bass playing and the kind of gear I preferred, I thought to myself, hello-I must be a professional 'cause these guys are pretty serious about it!
IMFA: Is there anyone who stood out (or stands out) as an exceptional person to play or make music with?
MB: Bryan Glancy, a close friend and an acoustic singer/songwriter from
IMFA: How did the nickname Birdy come about?
From school. Burgess - Burge- Birdy - Bird. That was a common way of acquiring a nick-name at my school in those days..
MB: I started as a bass player and I suppose I'd still say that's chiefly what I am. I picked up the acoustic guitar gradually as a means of backing myself so I could do shows when I didn't actually have a band to play with. I still strum acoustically from time to time and do the odd show, but I can't really play it if I'm honest.
IMFA: Over the years I have detected what appears to be a struggle with spirituality and religion within your work. Is this accurate, and how does your work reflect these beliefs?
MB: I wouldn't say it's been a struggle, but I suppose it's one of the major elements of much of the lyrical work I've done. I suppose I was kicking against a culture that either pushes spirituality into the realms of over simplified religious dogma, or fails to understand how important it is as a basic cultural need. I mean in the
IMFA: I have always felt that your music has been overlooked and is somewhat undiscovered in the
MB: Actually it's always amazed me that anyone over there got into it at all, I tend to count my blessings more than I curse my failings..
IMFA: Other interests besides music?
MB: Cinema is a big passion of mine, although I don't get to the cinema as often as I used to or I'd like. My favorite Director is David Lynch.
My chief passion actually is cycling, well cycle touring, I love loading the bike up and taking off for a week or so cycle-camping. I've just recently come back from a 600km ride from
IMFA: It is apparent that there is a fantastic level of creativity and imagination found within your lyrics. What do you draw these concepts from?
Thank you that's very kind of you. I dunno really, I mean I was always quite imaginative I think, I was an only child growing up and so I suppose my imagination filled a gap. School tried to kill it off and they almost succeeded, I never did quite recover fully from that. It was a bad school full of bad teachers. I suppose the lyrics simply reflect the way I see things as I drift through life, I can't think of any other way of putting it really.
IMFA: Future prospects?
MB: Well on the surface things aren't looking too great to be honest!
I mean my label manager here died last December and I can't summon up the motivation to start shopping my work around. I'm nearly always on the verge of bankruptcy and often wonder how long I can keep it up. But then my teachers always told me my prospects were poor, so you know, I didn't listen then so I'm not going to start listening now. On the positive side I have a good time, I'm very happy with my wife Daniela here in
IMFA: Anything you’d like to say to young musicians and music lovers of today?
MB: Onwards and upwards and try and keep your chins up. Try not to get addicted to anything nasty and always try and remember who your true friends are.