THEY’VE been one of Britain’s best bands for nearly 30 years – and Charlatans singer Tim Burgess reckons they’ll always owe Glasgow for helping them out.

A sold out show at King Tut’s in 1990 helped convince Tim that the group were going in the right direction, and they’ve always been welcome in the city since then.

“We played King Tut’s on our first ever tour, and I think we’re the first band on the steps there now,” he says.

“Glasgow was the first time that we ever felt like we were making it because it was the first time that people were really responding to our music and it seemed like we were getting big in Scotland. I certainly took a lot of inspiration from Scottish bands growing up, like the Pastels, or Orange Juice, or Roddy Frame, so I don’t know if that helped us.”

This time around the band will be playing the much larger O2 Academy next Monday, supporting their 13th album, Different Days. A lot has changed since that early tour, with the band soaring throughout both the baggie and Britpop eras, only to suffer tragedy as well, with the deaths of both keyboardist Rob Collins (in a car crash in 1996) and drummer Jon Brookes (to a brain tumour in 2013).

Yet Different Days, their second album since Jon passed away, is a hopeful, optimistic record. It is filled with guests, including Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, the New Order duo of Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, and, strangest of all, Edinburgh’s own Ian Rankin.

The crime writer and Tim are pals, leading him to provide a spoken word introduction to the track Future Tense.

“Any time I go to Edinburgh I’ll ask him if he fancies a coffee or I’ll bump into him in a record shop,” explains Tim.

“He’s taken me around the Rebus haunts, mostly the pubs obviously, and I asked him to DJ when I was in Edinburgh last time. We hit it off because of music, really, and on this album there was an instrumental that we felt would be incredible to have something written for, and Ian’s name came up.”

The rest of the album followed a similar pattern, with friends dropping by and being asked to chip in on certain songs.

“I just bumped into Johnny Marr one day, and told him to pop into the studio for a cup of tea and to bring his guitar,” adds Tim.

“He ended up playing on three songs and that was when we realised that there was something going on, with all these different guests.”

The band’s previous album, Modern Nature, found positivity from grief. On Different Days that vibe has become optimistic, despite all the turbulence in the world.

“We are living in very uncertain times, but we wanted our bubble to be one of positivity,” says Tim.

“The people we invited to the party are positive people too, and it just became this social album, like we wanted to check in on our friends and see how they were doing.

“I feel like it’s the perfect follow up to Modern Nature. It was a very positive album out of mournful circumstances, that was a tribute to Jon, where we were being supportive to each other. I think Different Days follows that same path in a way, but it evolved itself as it went along.”

Tim’s own career continues to evolve in different ways. When not onstage belting out North Country Boy, he’s writing books, running his own record label, O Genesis, making solo records and selling his own Fair Trade approved coffee with the pun-tastic title of Tim Peaks.

“Something like O Genesis satisfies me creatively, but through seeing how other people do it. I really enjoy seeing how people come up with ideas, and it’s very inspiring. The coffee thing came through Twitter, which is something else I really enjoy doing, and the money made through it goes into the David Lynch Foundation (a charity organisation set up by the film director).

“The solo material is where I can write all the songs and that don’t fit into the Charlatans world, so there’s things going on all the time. I just like to keep busy.”

And the singer is determined to avoid the Charlatans becoming all about the past.

“Moving forwards as the band is the most important thing for us,” concludes Tim.

“There’s no other point in making music otherwise.”

The Charlatans, O2 Academy, Monday December 4, £28.50, 7pm