Simpson performing live in 2011
|Birth name||Charles Robert Simpson|
|Born||7 June 1985|
|Genres||alternative rock, post-hardcore, pop rock, indie rock|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, guitarist|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano, violin, harmonica, drums|
|Labels||Search and Destroy, PIAS Germany, Trustkill, Gut, Deep Elm, Island, Nusic Sounds|
|Associated acts||Fightstar, Busted|
Charles Robert Simpson (born 7 June 1985 in Woodbridge, Suffolk) is an English singer-songwriter. He was the youngest member of multi-BRIT Award-winning band Busted, and is the lead vocalist, guitarist and co-lyricist in alternative rock band Fightstar. Allmusic have noted that Simpson is "perhaps the only pop star to ever make a convincing transition from fresh-faced pop band to an authentic alternative rock frontman." Simpson is a multi-instrumentalist, skilled at playing the guitar, keyboard, piano and drums. Following three successful studio albums and subsequent tours, Fightstar initiated an extended hiatus in 2010, allowing Simpson to focus on his solo career. Working with the fan funding platform Pledge Music, Simpson released his debut EP When We Were Lions on Christmas day 2010. His debut full-length album entitled Young Pilgrim was released on 15 August 2011. Simpson signed to Nusic Sounds record label in 2011 and is currently working in his second solo album which is due for release in January 2014.
Early life and family
Simpson attended Uppingham School, where he was two years above Harry Judd and Framlingham College. He has 2 brothers, Will and Edd;— Will was born in 1980 and is the vocalist and guitarist in Brigade and Edd was born in 1981 and is the lead singer and guitarist in an alternative band called Union Sound Set. Simpson has a very musical family dating back to Sir William Sterndale Bennett (mother's maiden name) who was a British pianist, conductor, and composer, a notable figure in the musical life of his time.
Charlie first shot to fame with pop act Busted as a result to responding to an advertisement placed by Matt Willis and James Bourne in NME magazine in 2001. Busted consisted of Charlie on lead guitar and occasionally drums, Willis on bass guitar and Bourne on rhythm guitar, with all three providing vocals. Over a period of two years, the trio had major success and sold over 3 million records, won two BRIT Awards, and also won Record of The Year in 2004.
However, Simpson was growing increasingly discontent with the pop star lifestyle and the music he was performing. As an avid fan of rock music, he felt unfulfilled by the commercial pop songs of Busted. He had met Alex Westaway in late 2003 and Fightstar were formed shortly afterwards. For over a year he would lead a secret "double life", as by night he would attend rehearsal sessions with his new band after completing obligated media work and concert performances with Busted. During 2004, he and Westaway wrote Fightstar's debut EP, They Liked You Better When You Were Dead, a post-hardcore record, that differed greatly to the music of Busted. The EP was recorded during November with Mark Williams in London. During this time, speculation began to grow about the frontman's future, and he finally announced he was leaving Busted to pursue his career full-time with Fightstar in January 2005. In a 2009 interview, Charlie explained "It was a fun thing to be doing, and I got on well with everyone I was doing it with, but on the other side, the music just wasn’t fulfilling me in any way. I have good memories of the time, because we were travelling the world and doing some amazing things, but then as far as self-fulfilment goes, Fightstar was all I wanted to do."  Initially the band were faced with much scepticism during their emergence, due to Simpson's pop background. He was often referred to as the 'Kid from Busted'. Then they began to receive positive reactions to early live shows and upon release, their debut EP was a critical success.
Simpson then funded and put together a compilation album called The Suffolk Explosion, which was released through his own label Sandwich Leg Records. It showcased a number of unsigned bands from Charlie's home county of Suffolk, including Brigade and Prego, as well as a solo acoustic track written by him called "Carry Her". Fightstar went on to record their debut full-length studio album with rock producer Colin Richardson. Grand Unification was released on 13 March 2006, and further proved the initial cynics wrong by receiving widespread positive reviews. In particular, Paul Brannigan of Kerrang! magazine stated the album was "one of the best British rock albums of the past decade". Scottish music publication The Fly also lauded the album as "one of the 21st Century’s ultimate rock debuts". Shortly afterwards, the band went on to receive nominations at the Kerrang! Awards for "Best British Newcomer" and "Best British Band". After leaving Island Records due to a disagreement over the band's artistic direction, the band signed to an independent label called Institute Records which was a division of Gut Records to release their second album. One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours (2007), peaked at #27 on the UK Album Chart, before releasing a B-sides compilation album titled Alternate Endings (2008). The four-piece then funded and co-produced their third album, Be Human (2009), which became their highest charting album after peaking at #20 in the UK.
On 29 July 2009, he made a Myspace page for his acoustic solo work. There were three songs on the page, "Dead Man Walking", 'Empty Guns (Demo)', and 'Carry Her'. 'Carry Her' was previously available on The Suffolk Explosion. The four members of the band are currently involved in a low-budget production called In God We Trust, an upcoming horror film (previously known as Human Instrumentality Project). It is to be directed by Alex Gingell and Philip Koch alongside Fightstar's own Dan Haigh and Alex Westaway, who will also appear in the movie. Charlie has also done the score for an upcoming independent British film called Everyone Is Going To Die, which will debut at the SXSW Film Festival In March 2013.[dated info]
Fightstar announced a hiatus at the beginning of 2010, stating that they were "taking some time off" for the remainder of 2010–11 to work on separate projects before regrouping in 2012 to begin working a new record. Simpson has started working on a solo acoustic album, while Westaway and Haigh will be completing post-production on the bands film and working on some music videos.
Simpson went in to the studio in June 2010 to start recording his full-length debut album with producer Danton Supple, whose previous work includes Coldplay and The Cure. The album was funded through Pledge Music and as one of the main incentives for the campaign, fans received an EP called When We Were Lions on Christmas day 2010. The full-length album was finally finished in February 2011 and was mastered by John Davis at Metropolis Studios in London. The first single to be taken from the album was called "Down Down Down" and it had its first radio airplay on 11 April, as Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton's Record Of The Week. The single was officially released on 16 May, though it was made available to buy on iTunes straight away. The album, titled 'Young Pilgrim' was released on 15 August 2011. It went straight into the UK album chart at number 6, having been at number 5 in the midweeks. Simpson signed to PIAS Records in Germany and the album is set to be released in Europe in August 2012. Simpson announced in May that he is currently working on a follow up to Young Pilgrim which is due to be released in 2013.
On 2 February 2013, it was reported that Simpson had finished work on his follow up to his 2011 solo debut Young Pilgrim and he would be heading in to the studio with producer Steve Osbourne to start recording in early March. Simpson's second album has a slated release date of September 2013. He confirmed that the opening song on the album will be titled 'Long Road Home'.
Simpson spent the summer of 2013 playing on the Vans Warped Tour in the US, which was the first time he has played live as a solo artist in America. During an interview he said that his second album release date would be pushed back until early 2014 to coincide with the US release of the album.
During October 2013, Charlie went on a tour of the UK supporting rock band, Deaf Havana. He previewed new music here, alongside tracks from "Young Pilgrim".
In November 2012, Charlie broke a world record for the world's coldest gig. He performed five songs outside at a temperature of -30 degrees. In order to break this record, Charlie had to travel for four days driving over 2000 km to reach a town in northern Siberia called Oymyakon, which currently holds the record for being the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth. The expedition was sponsored by the German drinks company Jägermeister who also sponsor Fightstar and Charlie as a solo artist. Charlie released an acoustic cover of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and gave it away as a free download on his official website with a video showing the 'Ice Cold Gig' expedition, which was also filmed as a documentary.
Simpson is an endorsee of PRS Guitars, using models including the Standard 22, Custom 24, McCarty, Modern Eagle, two one-off custom models (One being where the new style PRS bird inlays originated from) and more recently, a singlecut model, among others. He has also been seen using a Gibson Les Paul, as well as a SG Faded in the video for The English Way, and a Gothic Series Explorer, as well as often using Gibson acoustic guitars. Other guitars he has been seen to be using include the Fender Telecaster, the LTD EC1000, the Epiphone John Lennon Casino (In the We Apologize for Nothing video), He uses EMG, Inc. pickups in his electric guitars, notably the 81-X and 85-X, and previously the standard 81 and 85 models. Simpson has used many different amplifiers for both recording and live work, including a Mesa Boogie Road King, as well as both Dual, and Triple Rectifiers. He has also been seeing using a Diezel VH4, Orange Rockerverb 100, and a Peavey 5150. All have been played through various cabinets, including a Marshall 1960A, as well as Mesa Boogie 4x12, and 2x12, all loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. Simpson's pedal-board consists of a Boss DD7, a Morley Bad Horsie Wah, a Dunlop Dime Signature Wah, an Ibanez TS9, an MXR Noise Gate, a Boss TU2, as well as a Boss BF3 and a Boss DD-6 delay pedal. Simpson has stated that since 2005 he has consistently recorded his vocals with a Shure SM7B Microphone, although pictures from recording sessions for his upcoming 2013 album show him using different models of microphone.
|Album title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
- 2010: When We Were Lions (EP)
|"Down Down Down"||2011||65||9||—||Young Pilgrim|
|"Farmer & His Gun"||2012||—||—||—|
- 2005: They Liked You Better When You Were Dead (EP)
- 2006: Grand Unification
- 2007: One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours
- 2008: Alternate Endings
- 2009: Be Human
- "Biography for Charlie Simpson (V)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- They Liked You Better When You Were Dead (Digipack). Sandwich Leg Records. 2005. CID887.
- Grand Unification (CD). Island Records. 2006. CID8165.
- One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours (CD). Gut Records. 2007. INSRECCD04.
- O'Brien, Jon (15 June 2011). "Biography: Charlie Simpson". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- Steele, Heather (17 August 2011). "Charlie Simpson: Interview". Gigwise. Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- Be Human (CD). Search & Destroy Records. 2009. SADCDA002.
- "Brigade - Interview". Designer Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- Johann Hari. "Busted: An Interview". Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "America Or Busted Episode 2". Video.google.com. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- "Busted Confirm Split". NME. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "Busted Win Record Of Year". Sky. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "I Am Fightstar...". Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- "Fightstar Biography". All Music. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
- "Boy band Busted split". London: Daily Mail. 2005-01-13. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- "This is who I am Orange Exclusive". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "INTERVIEW: Fightstar". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-01-29.[dead link]
- ~ Charlie Simpson. "The Suffolk Explosion: Various Artists: Music". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- "Fightstar 'Be Human' (Search & Destroy)". The Fly. Retrieved 2009-04-27.
- "Fightstar up for best band award". CBBC. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "Fightstar end Island Records contract". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2006-09-08.
- "Fightstar Biography". NME. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "One Day Son This Will All Be Yours". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Be Human". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Charlie Simpson on Myspace Music". Myspace. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "Fightstar Interview". Norwich Gigs. Archived from the original on 2010-04-15.
- "Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Top 40 Independent Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Top 40 Scottish Albums Archive". The Official Charts Company. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Official website
- Charlie Simpson at AllMusic
- Charlie Simpson on Myspace
- Charlie Simpson on Facebook
- Charlie Simpson on Twitter