1. What would you say if youíre called one of the most experienced newcomers in the pop business with this new project?
Yeah, also for a 50 year old Iím a bit old to be a boy [laughs]. But Iím expecting a few jokes like that. You know itís a mysterious thing. If you
had said to me two years ago I would be doing this Iíd say: "Youíre crazy you know. Thereís no thought or desire." Especially considering I believe
when people have been in a band a long time and they step outside, usually itís because theyíre frustrated or tired of the old way or kinda
pissed off and Iím at pains to express that, particularly currently, life is really good inside Simple Minds, the
last albums and the touring. Really great. So why? Thereís a few factors but at the heart of it thereís still a mystery and if we start with
the pure essence: Why all this music? Why all of that? That I cannot work out.
2. What did happen that you got the idea for this solo project?
Iím obsessed with music now like I was when I was 18, 19, when there was nothing else in my life and therefore understandable.
As you get older you go through phases of being in to it, not so in to it, quite in to it, in to it just enough. But the last
two years even when I was in the studio doing Graffiti Soul, the last album with
Simple Minds, when my part was done for the day in the studio, I was gone writing new songs. Loving it. Not knowing why, not
knowing what it was for. Loving it in the same way somebody loves to paint, throw paint at the wall. That was it.
3. How did this vision of the Lostboy come to your mind and how much of a risk is a project like this?
I mean, call me naÔve and Iím a little old to be naÔve but I can be. When the music takes you over you have no option! There is no option
and it has to be made. And once itís made I have... Really others could made it and leave it under the bed. Not hustle anyone to get
involved. Not want to go on tour. Not want to push it out there. I guess, Iím guilty of not knowing how to do things by half.
4. With the first bars of the first song Refugee youíre like in a time warp back in
time Ė but itís not only looking back but looking forward as well?
When I listened to the first few songs as they were coming together apart from liking how it was falling together I was intrigued by a similar
time element. With me that intrigue went a bit further because it just started to conjure up an atmosphere, the way you can remember a summer night
20 years ago from your balcony, you can remember it. It conjured up an atmosphere in my head of when [I was] the age of 18 to 22, wanting to make
that kind of music, wanting to make it with that kind of tempo, that kind of attack, that kind of lyric. Than it was New Wave or whatever. Now
itís who knows what it is! But when I was hearing the early tracks I was hearing it through the years of, almost magically, of that young character.
And I canít go back to that character. The character in fact, the story itís an Alter Ego bla-bla-bla, itís really somehow... I really got attached
to that character and started to wonder what would that character do if he had the chance to finish that album than, and what would it sound like.
And it gave me a little concept to spring forward because the music was coming fine. The problem I had was this: What was the outlet going to be?
I didnít want to star a new band! I love my band! I think Iím in a great band. Why do I want to start another band? And a
Jim Kerr solo album? Well, thatís something really dull and banal, boringly banal. So finally I
kind of had the gimmick to kind of enlarge on what was going on in these songs mysteriously.
5. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of this project?
The whole thing is riddled with advantages and disadvantages. The advantages (are) some experience and even I have some fans already who
havenít heard anything but are willing to be fans. Some. The disadvantage is that people canít come to it clean. The disadvantage is that
many people will think: "Oh thatís a little holiday for Jim, you know. A little indulgence while
Charlie is maintaining his guitars." Thatís the disadvantages.
6. Did you ever feel like a refugee Ė and if so when did that happen?
In a romantic sense I think my character has always been restless as me. The way Iíve always moved around, the way I still quite donít know.
If you said to me today what is home, Iím really struggling. I really donít know where is home. That suites me. So, in a sense Iím a
little bit part of me when I do ask: "What are you running from? What is it that youíre running from? Or: What are you running too?" And you
could elaborate that and say the refugee in a sense is running, leaving something behind, having to go to another place for whatever reasons.
And in a way you can even say that weíre all running from something. And so, in a light sense, was kind of a overall saying that thereís a part
of us thatís refugee searching or either forced to be on the run or on the run without knowing why.
7. How did the project develop from these first ideas?
Very rapidly, actually. I mean, the first three or four melodies came from Jez Coad. And they were all,
I thought they were impressive. And there are two or three people around I know, I can talk to and they will say "Itís alright but itís not
that great!" And all three of them said "I like this." They say "I donít know what this is but I like this." And after that, that would have been
start of last year, just the Simple Minds were putting out an album and within three hours, in fact when I was travelling
to do the promo for Graffiti Soul on the plane I would be listening to a new
Lostboy! idea and scribbling. And actually a big moment came when I spoke to Charlie.
Because Charlie knew that I was doing stuff and I said look and he said "Yeah cool, cool, whatever." But
I know he thought you will never do it. Youíll get bored. In fact he probably thought you donít know how to do it! But last July I had 14
great demos. I sent a couple of songs to this fellow Max Vaccaro in Hamburg of Edel. And he came back within,
it was amazing, within two hours. I knew I needed an independent (label) to work with. A major wouldnít do. Actually they would have patronized me.
"Yeah, yeah, letís do it" Ė but didnít do anything. I needed someone whoís gonna fight for every sale. I needed someone who I could go on
with organically, not to try to be in the Top Ten or something ridiculous.
8. So, is it fair to say that working on this project gave you a new motivation?
Thatís part of my rush to get up every day! I mean, What am I? I donít know what I am. But at least I have some evidence that I might be
an artist. And as an artist you have to produce every day. What you shouldnít be is (to be) in a record company cycle that says: "Well, we do an
album every three or four years. So, ten songs every four years." Thatís not being an artist.
9. So, letís make it clear, this is not the end of the Simple Minds!
In no shape or form. And in fact only five weeks ago we spent a week working on four new songs that Iím very excited about. But I do think
that with a band like Simple Minds, once you have done 14, 15, 16 albums, no matter the quality of the album that
you do, the next has to be an event. And to give an event you need time. You need a bit of time. Time away from it to come back to it.
And thats suits Charlie. Charlie is at a different stage
in life from me. His kids are younger. When work finishes, work finishes. But my work doesnít finish. Itís not my work itís just my thing.
10. Why couldnít you do these songs within the frame of the Simple Minds?
Well, at first it really joins what I was saying. Simple Minds is about Charlie and me.
And you know, Charlie finishes his work and heís finished. And thatís it. And I donít see him again.
Heís I guess happy about that [laughs]. But I want to make music every day. So therefore I had to find other kids to play with. And so that
was that. But I needed a new page. I needed a blank page, letís call it that. I didnít need to throw away the book Iím in. But I needed a
blank page where I could get up in the morning and if I wanted to work on a funky song, I worked on a funky song. And if I wanted to work
on a electro (song), I worked on that. I didnít have to talk to anybody, I didnít have to talk to a record company, a manager. I didnít
have to explain myself. I just had to do it and go with the consequences. I needed that freedom within the years
Simple Minds werenít working.
11. There are of course some differences to the music of the Simple Minds!
This is the kind of music I like. I really like it! I wanted to make it. A lot of these songs are much more up, the BPM is higher then
Simple Minds. Thereís adrenalin, thereís a little amphetamine in there. Itís pumping through the veins. I really wanted
to do that and I didnít want to force it either on Charlie.
12. What did Charlie say about your plans with Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr?
A couple of the early ideas, there were a couple of the early ideas I thought Iíd love to get his take on it. Initially he just
wasnít in the mood for listening. But last week, we were in New Zealand and it was really interesting. And he wasnít saying much at
all which was scaring me. The silence was getting louder. And then last two weeks ago we were in New Zealand and he said to me: "Are you
staying?" I said: "No, I gotta go back". And he said: "Yeah, the Lostboy thing is starting soon!" And I said: "Yeah. And he said: I
checked a little bit out online." And he said: "Itís good!" I said: "Great!" And he said: "Yeah!" And then he stopped and said amazingly: "We should
have been doing things like this years ago!" So, you know, this was for me quite an amazing thing.
13. Letís get back to the music. In the song Shadowland you sing: Come back out of the shadow Ė is that somehow talking to your self and encouraging yourself?
I think thatís true. I think itís me talking to the... also leading on from talking to this character I left behind, [which has] come back. And me
saying Iím not afraid to show it. Iím not afraid to show that I want to be naÔve again or spontaneous or as you said earlier, the obvious
thing that this could be a risk. Yes! But no in my mind, no! Iím doing it! Iím not thinking about "Are the traffic lights red or green?" So,
I think I am talking to a bit of a psyche.
14. The song She Fell In Love With Silence deals with a very serious subject. What
inspired this song?
What I like about the song first of all is that under the surface itís sounds like optimistic, has a beautiful melody, pop song rhythm.
The title sounds beautiful as well and it is. But the story actually came from an article, a sad article. I think it was in The Independent. I
read about a victim of domestic abuse and why people put up with it for so long. And there was like: "I put up with it because I had nowhere
else to go. Or they donít know how or whatever". But within this story the woman actually she manages to get away. And she got to the North of
Scotland [where] there was a relative that had a little house. And she said she literally fell in love with silence. And within that silence she was
able to put things in to perspective and so on. It really struck me. And I guess, you take things in and it came out.
15. Itís a very serious subject but the song is not depressive but hopeful. So where do you take the optimism and the hope from?
Well, she did in the end make the break. At least there she did in the end make the break. I actually know a close friend of mine as well.
A super intelligent women, super intelligent, spent eight, nine years in a seriously abusive relation. And when I was saying: But youíre
intelligent! You could have made the plan to make the break... And she said: "Itís not like that when youíre in it!" And it really made me think.
You can get addicted to the dynamic of it because you fight and then the peace afterwards because you make up with it. So, I can only say
in that case the fact that she eventually did make the break gave me, in her case, kind of brought a happy conclusion.
16. The song Return Of The King Ė you could call it a desperate homage for
Billy McKenzie. What did make Billy McKenzie of the Associates so special?
To be honest the desperate thing about Billy was his tragic end. Iím not gonna pretend I was a close friend of
Billy. But at the end no one knew. The same with Stuart Adamson, two Scottish guys who I admired did the
same thing. And itís kind of unfathomable. And I think although it was years ago, not only that they donít talk about it after the event
none of us wanted to talk about it either. We tried to close it out. So, we still have these images of Billy and
Stuart as well and itís a desperate, desperate thing you know. He was a character full of life. Thereís speculations in the
end he was unhappy because he wasnít secure in his sexuality or whatever. But whatever.
17. Which memories did come to your mind remembering Billy and why is your singing on that song so desperate?
You know, itís a desperately sad thing and I just remember him particularly on one night. We were in The Manor Studios doing
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and he came down with Alan Rankine and like myself
Billy was an incredible Bowie fan. And he was angry at Bowie. "Bowie's shite. The album
shite. We have to write Bowie a song!" And he was drunken beyond [belief]. And I have this image of him singing and
writing Bowie a song. And we were working on the frame of Return Of The King
and it sounded like a Bowie pastiche. And I could see Billy saying: Yeah, you know this is it!"
And Iíve never used that voice, Iíve never used that voice in the chorus. People might say: Whatís this voice?" Iíve never used that voice
and I can only assume that it relates to the frustration I have with how Billy has ended his life.
18. The song Lostboy seems to be like a memory but also like talking with yourself reminding you what you dreamed of back then?
Well, I think as you get old you start to question things. I used to hitchhike roads in Germany, I could do it again. Could you? So this
is the thing. But certainly in a musical sense I pulled this bag, I did it! And itís a tangible thing now. Iím sitting here talking about it.
Itís coming out. Itís gonna be played live. Thereís no denying it. Itís another thing Iíve created from myself. So, all of that is encouraging.
19. Which of these dreams could you realize?
Well, thereís so many. Actually, that [song] is centred in New York, on our first trip to New York with Simple Minds and
also my brother was with me. Weíve had never been out of Europe and we were in New York and YES! Itís magic! You canít sleep at three in the
morning. Letís go to the cafť on the corner. And, you know, probably we were "Yeah, this is the way itís gonna be!" And a lot of it did.
We ended up conquering that and playing and having these lives that we... I think we didnít have one solid objective but we knew there
was a lot of great stuff out there to touch. Because we were there touching it. It wasnít a movie! And the song is going back to that conversation
in the bar at night at three in the morning. One of the boys, Iíve no longer in touch with, Iíve really miss him and itís a living postcard
from that time.
20. Which of these dreams did turn out as illusions?
I would say you canít have it all. And everything does have a price. I mean, I donít know if I was thinking that you could have it all or
that I wanted it all. When I say we wanted it all, we didnít want to conquer things. We didnít want to own things. But we did want to experience
things and we did want to touch things. And you canít have it all. I suppose an obvious [example] in my case I couldnít have a family and live
and be in a family. It wasnít for me. So, I had the illusion that I could. Thatís one thing.
Well, the big thing is in those days you think it all was going to stay together with your friends. Youíre all gonna go up at the same rate,
the same intellectual pace, the same spiritual pace. Youíre always going to agree. Nothingís gonna come between you, no girlfriend will be
involved [laughs] and no anything will be... Weíre all be the gang! And of course thatís the great idealism of youth. Out of experience that
tells you that by a large thatís not doable.
21. The final question: What did you learn about yourself working on this project?
Iím better than I thought I was, I can tell you that. And Iím more prolific than I thought I was. I still have balls and maybe didnít
know I had!