Dream Giver - Simple Minds Online Unofficially Some Sweet Day 2002

The following is a transcript of a radio interview between Todd Richards and Jim Kerr broadcast on the xth June, 2002.

Many thanks to Todd for the transcript and the permission to post it here.

TR: Pleased to announce the lovely arrival via the 'phone [of] Jim Kerr, lead singer of Simple Minds. Hello Jim - can you hear me OK?

JK: I can hear you Todd. I tell you what - that sounded great there, Great Leap [Forward]. I haven't heard that for years.

TR: Ah well, you know, add it to the set!

JK: Yeah, I think you're right.

TR: Now, I had no idea - I thought you guys were going on second [with INXS first] so I'm looking at the clock thinking 'Maybe I missed him'. [Laughs]

JK: No, we swap, you know. Whatever. In New York, INXS went on first and so... fair's fair. TR: Now I'm very excited, a personal note here, I'm finally getting to see the band live in just under a week coming up in the Detroit area here.

JK: Great. Well, you must make sure that I get to meet you and we say hello.

TR: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm just absolutely thrilled to death. It's been a seventeen year wait for me. [Laughs]

JK: My God.

TR: So, I'm not going to drill you for too long, as I know your voice is probably just about ready to give out. But I appreciate you giving us the time to give you a call. I've received hundreds of e-mails asking questions. Most about, I guess, the talk that Mel Gaynor did for a magazine in the UK, referencing further dates in the fall. Can we confirm that right now? Is that in the works?

JK: Couldn't confirm it. No. But these three weeks we've spent in the States, that's just putting the toe in the water and we've enjoyed playing here and the agents, promoters and stuff are saying that the band are doing a good job and - All I would say is for sure 'we'll be back'.

TR: Absolutely. Fantastic. Now, the last time you and I got to speak, two years ago, the band was in kind of a weird limbo because Our Secrets Are The Same...

JK: That's right...

TR: ...Was still in red-tape limbo, as we like to call it. And there wasn't really a clear defined thing about what was going on. We talked about a box set - I guess that ended up being the EMI two-CD set [Best Of] that's just been recently released here in the States...

JK: Yup...

TR: And now we have Cry [and] Neon Lights, both pretty much brand new recordings. And up to two or three recordings in the pipe ready to come out?

JK: Well, that's right. In the last year I suppose Neon Lights, Cry, there was the double CD from Virgin and in a couple of months time, or certainly three months time or so, you should have a DVD, a live DVD, and between that the band's toured for... soon it will be four or five months.

JK: I mean there is a momentum. And you're right that the last time we spoke that that seemed a million miles away.

TR: Well, it's just great to hear. And the re-launch of simpleminds.com - what was the count I heard? 60,000 people logged into the community there.

JK: It's a great site. All credit to both to the people who designed it and, more than that, credit to the community themselves. To the people that go on and take part in it, post, and check it out... And the great thing is, I think, it's a great site and yet I know it's still in its infancy.

TR: It's fabulous. And I look forward to the opening of the store so that if people who didn't get to come see you this time around might want to support the band by why of wearing a T-shirt, hat or poster or something. They can find that there.

TR: It's just now turning nine o'clock here in Cleveland. And we'll have the AP Network news for you coming up soon as we're done with Mr. Kerr. This is a very special event for us here - I have to apologize, we took the year off last year...

JK: [Laughs]

TR: Don't hold it against me.

JK: No, no. We appreciate it. It's amazing that you do this. What is this? The third or the fourth now?

TR: This would be the fourth time I personally have hosted and produced but, prior to that there was a gentleman named Aaron Burke, who's probably in the car listening right now, who did the show for three years and he's the one responsible for me having such an interest in your band.

JK: Well, credit to both of you.

TR: Well, we appreciate your hard work and the fact that you keep on going together.

TR: Let's talk a little bit about Cry. First and foremost the fact that you got to play with other people and kind of mix it up in the writing process, both in person and you also did a lot of stuff through the Internet. What kind of difference do you think it brought up in the style? Because it was just so fresh, that it renewed this energy? Because the album is just - forgive the bland comment - just incredibly positive.

JK: Well, I think you're right. The whole Our Secrets Are The Same scenario was very, very depressing for us. But once we moved on from that, and we did move on, it was us that said to them [EMI] 'OK. Keep it, we're moving on'. And once we moved on, there was a liberation we felt, for us, to do whatever we wanted. That liberation was opening up the door to whom we would work with. And I'd just discovered music again. And Charlie was always working away. But we discovered the spontaneity. Or we rediscovered the spontaneity. And we were fearless in trying things. And a hell of a lot of music turned up over a period of six months. Music that you're still to hear. Ideas that will emerge on future recordings. And I think when you are feeling good within yourself, or when you're feeling especially good within yourself, that's bound to reflect in the music and I think that's what's going on here.

TR: That's just a fabulous way of looking at things. And considering some of the things that have been going on, as of late, especially with 9-11, it's really nice to have a positive record in our midst. Has anything affected you about how the world is looking at itself right now? After such a disaster? Are you writing anything in reaction to that, given your past political writings?

JK: You know what, in a funny way, well in a strange way, I'm almost speechless, almost like words are not enough anymore...

JK: I mean, even today, on tour. On tour you're not in your usual cycle, so you don't - it's sometimes hard to look at a newspaper. Anyway, I looked at a new newspaper today and everything was just so depressing. I guess one of the points I would make is I realize why I love - and this might sound escapist or even superficial - is because it's an art. And when you've got an art you can go into that, in a way you escape the world in a sense - although no one really escapes it - but you can meditate within that. And I think it'll be interesting to see how things... I mean we were in New York earlier this week - it's the first time we've been in New York since - well we haven't been in New York for years - but it's the first time we been in New York since that event and... it's still very, very hard to believe that such a thing happened. It's still... those images are still like something out of a movie except that when you're in New York and you see people walking around the street, most of them, well a lot of them, will have some direction association with that horrible event. It's more... I guess for the first time in my life, I'm kind of speechless.

TR: But have you tried to write anything in reaction to that? Again, once, of your political background...

JK: Not specifically. Honestly, not specifically. I don't know why - I really don't. I don't know why. I guess, you know, the dust will settle and we'll see what emerges.

TR: Going back to some of the new material, I've been informed that about half an album's worth is already finished and ready to go. Are you working whilst on the road? Recording at sound-checks - that sort of thing.

JK: We had been. It's a little difficult in the States. We had been in Europe - we've been putting in extra hours. But more than that, we wrote a ton of music in that period - we probably wrote about two good records worth. And, I think, in the next album, you can see continuity between Cry. Moving on still, keeping the electronic thing, still very focused songs, maybe a little more dynamic, a little more rock. I think it was such a golden period for writing and the good news is that there's still a lot to come out from it.

TR: It's exciting for me that you're going back a little more into that electronic material in that we can look forward to some [loud crash] remixes and stuff. My goodness - what was that? Are you OK?

JK: Yeah. They're dragging equipment out around me here. But I can hear you.

TR: As long as you're not collapsing on the floor.

JK: No, no, no - I'm fine.

TR: But it's exciting for me to hear that you're doing a lot more remixes and stuff. The remixes of Cry, the remixes of Homosapien...

JK: I just heard a great remix today of Spaceface. It's incredible. Which was e-mailed - which was MP3ed out from Scandinavian outfit called Stonebridge. It's really, really great.

TR: And are we going to see that commercially somehow?

JK: Yeah, definitely.

TR: Halleluiah! Spaceface - we just played it here at 88.3 FM and it's just one of those tracks that absolutely, for lack of a better terminology, attacks you with the riff and kudos to Charlie on that one with the - I call it the 'rotating bassline' which brings you right back into the chorus. Just amazing stuff.

TR: As for the DVD - which I am so excited you are doing - first of all, will it be a Region 0 so everyone in the world can see it? You know how they have the isolated tracks for American audiences with NTSC and PAL and stuff like that - are you just going to distribute it as a universally accessible DVD?

JK: Yes, that would be it. There's probably about 25 songs on it, but we'll try and get it out on a universal... you know ...scene. Just now the bands playing so great. We're going to film it in a fantastic location. And it's long overdue.

TR: I agree. I agree. How about including any of the promotional videos from Cry and Neon Lights on that particular DVD?

JK: Yup, there are many possibilities.

TR: Excellent, excellent. Now I've seen the Dancing Barefoot video which I thought in its sparsity is so cool. It's just...

JK: We liked it. It's just 'here it is'. And then I loved the Cry video.

TR: I actually haven't seen it yet.

JK: It's really cool. I mean, we're not in it - probably why it's cool. [Laughs] You will love it. It's a charming, charming video. It's very arty.

TR: It's no more... shall we say 'bad hair and clothes that will date you later on'.

JK: [Laughs]

TR: Is that what it is?

JK: Could be it.

TR: Just me, just me. How about telling us a little bit more - a lot of people in the States are aware of you and Charlie but aren't so familiar - and probably Mel Gaynor of course - but aren't so aware of the other players. Where did you find these amazing backing musicians who are so energizing the live set?

JK: Well, Andy Gillespie on keyboards and Eddie Duffy on bass. They are both Glaswegians - which means that they come from Glasgow [Laughs]. If you don't know that terminology. They're local boys but -

JK: Andy is a bit of a producer, techno guy. He's well known face in Glasgow. Eddie Duffy grew up in the same neighbourhood as Charlie and I, albeit he's a generation younger. But, we knew his family and such. And I don't know if would he'd admit it, but I can tell he grew up listening to Simple Minds and it's like having a massive fan in the band.

TR: Wow. That could be dangerous you know. Waking up with a pen and paper and asking for autographs.

JK: Well, no, no, no. If anything, Eddie's a star...

TR: [Laughs]

JK: ...in his mind.

TR: That's fabulous, that fabulous. Now, what about the audience draw. Are you getting a younger crowd or are you continuing to be amazed at how your music crosses generations?

JK: You know what, in America it definitely seems a bit younger. But yes, you're right. I just come off stage and the thing that - usually there's one or two people I connect directly with - well, I connect with the whole audience - but there's usually one or two that get you going. And tonight there was a kid in the audience - couldn't have been more than 14. And I don't know if he came with his parents or came alone or whatever, but he was alone. And he was just going crazy the whole gig. He was a great, great kid. And he was inspiring me.

TR: That's fabulous. So great to hear. And what a nice treat to have you doing shows. Now Jones Beach is an outdoor venue right?

JK: Yeah.

TR: So you're kinda there, in a sense, under the stars - that sort of thing. Does that help you out when you have a nice skyline behind you?

JK: It does. We just got away by the skin of our teeth tonight. It rained for about five minutes. Although, you know, we're from Scotland, we're no stranger to rain, but for the audience it was looking a bit tricky. And there was a wind coming up, but it ended up fine.

TR: Please tell me that you were playing Waterfront right at that moment.

JK: We did play it later on.

TR: Ah - it wasn't during the rainstorm?

JK: No.

TR: See. That would've been serendipity right there.

JK: Exactly.

TR: How's INXS doing?

JK: This is the second gig - I haven't had the chance to see them yet. I'm listening to them just now and they sound very good.

TR: Cool - I'm looking forward to that.

JK: They sound very good.

TR: When I started my weekly show, which I think you're aware about: Running Late. The first weekend I had that show was the weekend Michael Hutchence died.

JK: Oh my God.

TR: So, unfortunately, I carry that with me. I missed the show they did in Cleveland right before his death.

JK: Yeah, very very sad.

TR: And I've just heard, and I don't know if you heard since you've been off stage, and I'm not trying to bring you down, but have you heard about The Who's loss?

JK: No.

TR: John Entwistle passed away within the last 24 hours.

JK: Is that right?

TR: Yes.

JK: Another incredible musician. An incredible band. I guess he'll live on in some other sense.

TR: Did The Who do anything for you growing up? You just did a covers record full of bands similar in that period.

JK: You just knew, deep down, that they were, as I call it, 'the real deal'. Being quintessentially English, because I saw them as that, there was a side of them that I found, for me, a bit cold. But you couldn't get away from the fact that they were an incredible, incredible band. Incredible rock band. And some of those great tracks, and some of those fantastic singles - in fact, the last time I saw them was on that show for September 11th, the tribute show from New York, with a whole host of people playing and I thought The Who blew everyone away.

TR: I'd agree with that. I'd definitely agree with that. It's just been a shock. In fact the tickets for The Who's next date in Cleveland were to go on sale this Saturday. So it just kind of bowled me over.

TR: A couple more questions if you would be so kind. The Best Of that just came out here in the States, that was available in Europe. Is that the end-all? Is it more of a test-market thing? Because I know that the mode of things is to put out a box set to see if there's an audience and then they put out an other item that is similar and has a couple of extra tracks to bring in the cash - excuse the pun. Are you guys looking at a box set for your 25th year?

JK: They're pretty much hard-nosed commercial exercises that record companies do when you leave the label. They cash in as you said there.

TR: I'm not saying that. Can we look forward to a box set at some point?

JK: Yeah - well Virgin are going to put out - Virgin are going to remaster - well they have - all the albums have been remastered. They're going to releasing all the singles again in some nice tidy format. Things like this will come up. Virgin - the department that does that stuff in general are pretty good - although I have to say I thought they did a poor job with the packaging on The Best Of.

TR: Well, it was exciting to see the Raven Maize adaptation of Theme For Great Cities - that was kind of a nice touch.

JK: Yes - good huh?

TR: The next generation. Although did you ever had a fantasy of Queen as your ...

[audio breakup]

JK: ... we'll have The Who next time.

TR: [Laughs] Stop right there. That's too much.

To be continued...