Chicago musician Ezra Furman rocked his way through the lean years to success in Europe. Now he’s ready to take on the States his way.
Ezra Furman made a splash locally a decade ago with his college band, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, then created The Boy-Friends to tour around his solo albums, drawing on doo-wop and Motown fed through an indie-punk lens punctuated with saxophone. By 2013, however, his patience had worn thin. “I was tired of relentless self-promotion with no results,” he tells us by phone from a tour stop.
Just as the Lincoln Square resident was about to hang it up, the UK flipped for his bratty rock ’n’ roll record Day of the Dog. Festival appearances followed, and his band convinced him to give it another shot. The result is that Furman, who recently released the Big Fugitive Life EP, has emerged as closely watched abroad, slept-on at home.
Furman, who splits his time between Chicago and California, had to make big changes to carry on. He began what he calls the “messy” process of beginning to dress in feminine clothing, and now strictly observes the Shabbat whether touring or not. “You start to realize that you’re neglecting large parts of yourself because they’re socially inconvenient,” he says. Now, Furman’s music gets more real, with a new single (titled “We Were Here” at press time) and an upcoming album that will be more influenced by “literature” and built off contemporary sounds. “We’re trying to make the Great American Novel version of a record.” ezrafurman.com