May 2017 marks Chris T-T’s 20th anniversary making music. The same week in 1997 that Tony Blair came to power, Chris moved to London and before the end of May he’d played his first solo gigs (Chris that is, not Tony) and self-released his debut 7” single.
Shortly after, Chris home recorded and self-released his debut album Beatverse (years before this became commonplace) on a MiniDisc four-track with no computer. Beatverse was barely distributed but won Chris label interest and Radio 1 plays from Steve Lamacq, who championed the song ‘Shit From All Angles’ on the Evening Session. By Christmas, Chris was guesting live on the show.
Over two decades since then, Chris T-T has always walked his own path, with visionary psych pop, startling humour and unflinching, sometimes discomforting radicalism. He’s released 10 solo albums to consistent praise and played over 2,300 shows worldwide. Ten years ago he joined the Xtra Mile Recordings family, signing in 2007 on the suggestion of fast-rising young singer and fan Frank Turner. He has released four albums with Xtra Mile; Capital (2008), Love Is Not Rescue (2010), The Bear (2013) and last year’s 9 Green Songs.
So this May, let’s celebrate Chris T-T’s 20 years of loyal dissent with a first ever career retrospective: the imaginatively titled double CD Best Of. For the first time Chris will also compile his song lyrics into a book, published to coincide. DISC #1 focuses on Chris’s most loved songs from over the years and DISC #2 is a rarities collection of Chris’s favourite studio recordings that haven’t been released on CD before. Full track-listing below.
Charlie Caplowe, MD of Xtra Mile Recordings says this about Chris T-T and the Best Of release:
“From the very start it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Chris both in a business and social sense. We’re really proud to have been along for the ride for at least half of his amazing 20 year career. Here’s to another 20!”
Chris is also doing a short run of ‘Best Of’ concerts in the UK as well as playing his first appearance at the illustrious Cambridge Folk Festival. Full dates announced so far are:
Chris T-T 20th Anniversary ‘Best Of’ Concerts
Sat 15 CARDIFF Wales Goes Pop! Festival
Fri 28 TROWBRIDGE Town Hall Arts
Sat 29 WARWICK Wild Boar
Sun 30 BARNSLEY May Day Festival Of Solidarity
Fri 5 LEEDS All Hallows Church
Sat 6 MANCHESTER Anthony Burgess Centre – The Engine Room
Fri 12 ABERDEEN The Lemon Tree
Fri 19 CAMBRIDGE Unitarian Church
Sat 20 BRISTOL Café Kino
Tue 23 BRIGHTON Komedia
Still busy as ever, in the past year Chris has released grief-stricken ecology record 9 Green Songs (sequel to 2005’s 9 Red Songs), been sole musician (piano accompanist) on the Jim Bob (Carter USM) album Jim Bob Sings Again, completed a set of narrative folk ballads as Creative Fellow at the National Trust Workhouse, Southwell, and played more guest piano on fellow Xtra Mile artist Non Canon’s debut. Meanwhile his weekly late night folk music show Midnight Campfire on Sussex radio station Juice 107.2 has a growing loyal following.
Top 13 Little Known Chris T-T Facts
• ’7 Hearts’ was played on the last ever John Peel show.
• T-T pre-dates the Audi TT but not the Isle Of Man TT Races, which he’s often mistaken for.
• When early T-T song ‘Dreaming Of Injured Popstars’ was played on Radio 1, featuring the lyric “Cliff Richard is nailed to a cross with Lou Reed’s head stuck up his arse,” someone from Mark Borkowski PR (Cliff’s publicists) phoned Chris to find out how successful it might be, to decide if Cliff’s camp would manufacture some outrage for mutual publicity value. They concluded it wasn’t worth it.
• After Chris instigated the iconic civil disobedience hashtag #IAmSpartacus, he turned down requests to appear on almost every current affairs programme on British television. He regretted that almost immediately.
• Chris only wrote his A.A. Milne show because he was jealous that his friend Jim Bob had spent a month on Edinburgh Fringe and he wanted an excuse to go.
• Chris was the first person to tell legendary TV critic Clive James about YouTube, when they appeared on a BBC Radio 3 programme together.
• Chris turned down an early UK support slot with one of his all-time favourite bands The Decemberists to honour a previous gig that was then cancelled. He’s never got over it.
• Last time Chris was played on Radio 1, DJs Phil and Alice accidentally played the unbleeped album version of ‘The Bear’, and had to cut the song as Chris shouted “Don’t fuck with the people!” over and over again. Luckily nobody told the Daily Mail.
• The National once co-headlined with Chris (!!) and some of their party got shitty because his band were given the bigger dressing room. The karma clearly doomed them to obscurity.
• Chris’s first school band in the early 1990s was a trio with future folk star Jon Boden and future Spiritualised percussionist Tom Edwards, making Chris its least successful member.
• Brian May once wrote Chris a (very sweet) apology note, having first written to Frank Turner to praise the song ‘The Huntsman Comes A-Marchin’.
• Chris is partly doing a ‘Best Of’ because Facebook just turned ’T-T’ into a sobbing face emoji – so his social media career is probably wrecked.
• Chris’s beard is 24 years old.