"We didn't want to go out and tour on old music because we haven't been writing," frontman Richard Butler explains. "We want to be a band that's a band, not one that's just touring."
The group -- which also includes Butler's brother Tim on bass and guitarist John Ashton -- has been writing material for the past several months. They might have gotten started sooner, if not for Butler's commitment to his side project, Love Spit Love, and an in-progress solo record, a collaboration with longtime friend Jon Carin (Pink Floyd, the Who, Bryan Ferry). The band members, who share songwriting responsibilities, have been communicating ideas via tapes while Butler wraps up his project. "We use whatever seems to fit," Butler says. "It's a question of whether it fires anything in me and makes me want to sing."
The Furs are road-testing a few songs on their current tour -- which wraps on January 29th in Anaheim, California -- including "Cigarette," "Wrong Train" and "Alive." Playing new material live, Butler confesses, can be nerve-wracking, eliciting "not as good a response as something better-known." "It's a lot of fun playing when the crowd is enthusiastic," he says. "But it can be a bit daunting when the crowd is standing there with a huge question mark over their heads."
The Furs' album will be recorded and self-produced at Ashton's home in New York State. But don't expect it to hit stores until late 2005 or early 2006 --especially considering that the band has not yet signed a deal for its release, planning to remain as independent as possible. "We don't need the advance," says the veteran pop singer. "We paid for this ourselves."