Last time both Charlie Burchill and I performed here, in Austin,
was in the mid 1980's. A half a lifetime ago for us
and tonight's three hour flight from Los Angeles to Texas gave me a chance to consider all that has
happened during that lengthy period.
Of course there has been considerable changes with so much happening both in a public and in a private sense.
Thinking on a much larger scale, the world itself has witnessed monumental changes on every level within that period,
previously unimaginable events having taken place, resultantly new realities become the new norms etc.
And yet, amid all this talk of changes, somewhat surprisingly to us, we often marvel at how the process
behind those core activities of Simple Minds - meaning the things that make us who we are - has
not changed at all.
Eternally "old school" within our creative approach. We do exactly the same things now that we did when
we first started out on this adventure some 41 years ago this month.
Likewise, the goals remain exactly the same now as they did back then. Additionally then the challenges we
tussle with in trying to achieve those goals are exactly the same today as they were four whole decades ago.
And what are those things at the aforementioned core of Simple Minds?
Well, essentially there are three main activities that Simple Minds focus on, and therefore
three distinctive endeavours that take up most of our time and creative energy.
They are of course:
Sure, we also spend much time rehearsing, travelling, and indeed promoting Simple Minds. (I'm kind of doing
that right now by writing this.) Those three things are however the main activities that we engage in. They
are the things that we spend most of our time thinking about and working on.
That reality is the case now, every bit as much as it was when we started out. Although there has
obviously been myriad changes in the work technology that we use now.
Look at our challenge in songwriting nevertheless. The aim is absolutely the same now, as we try to create
a musical melody based on an emotion and accompanying atmosphere. Once we feel that has been achieved, we
work on lyrics to suit the feel and rhythm of the piece. Further to that we look for additional memorable hooks, that
can sit nicely within the structure that we have then imposed on the music, having by then decided on the formation
of verses, choruses, bridges, titles etc. All of this we do now - and with no real difference in approach - from when
we sat on my mother's sofa back in 1977 and worked on writing songs from our debut album.
Once the songs are written we begin recording them. This we have been doing since 1977, when we entered a professional
recording studio for the first time. Coincidentally, we already have new recording time booked for next month.
No again changes there? We go on as we always have, which is my point. Even if, the technological aspects within the
recording process are forever changing.
And finally, when those songs have been recorded and released to the public, we then embark on intercontinental
tours to coincide with the new release. In doing so a whole new artistic phase is often encapsulated by the the
latest tour. Our on going phases continue to this day, with the latest often being declared the
Walk Between Worlds era. Our initial era of course being referred
to as the Life In A Day era.
Touring for us, is the culmination of all the aforementioned. Literally it is where "the rubber hits the road" and
where we get to present ourselves in front of those who enjoy our records enough to want to come and see us play the
tunes live. The goal at that stage is to come across as great live band.
But we can only be a great live band (always number one desire) if we have great songs to play. Or at least - if we
have songs both known - and considered to be great enough - by those who pay to see us?
It follows then, that for people to know and be excited, they by enlarge have to know the recordings prior.
That then puts the emphasis on us to promote our activities in whatever ways we can. Same as it ever was!
So there you have it. We may change as people. And that should be totally understandable, as plainly we are no longer
the same as those naive kids who gave birth to Simple Minds.
The world around us likewise changes - thanks to technological and sociological dynamics, and
not for a second forgetting political manoeuvres etc.
Simple Minds however continue to stick closely as possible to what we know. And we are forever
happy to be doing just that.
2nd November 2018