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Many thanks to all those who have sent in congratulations for the twentieth anniversary of this website. It's been through many changes, and has been hosted on various domains, but it's always been primarily about Simple Minds, supporting the band, and getting the news and information "out there."

It's also amazing to think that this Simple Minds website predates eBay, YouTube, Wikipedia and many other Internet institutions.

So here's to the next twenty years.



Just before Christmas, Martin Hanlin interviewed Jim on his radio show and - in what is the definitive Big Music interview - went through the entire album track by track.

The following is a transcription of the first hour of the show which was broadcast on KX 93.5 on Sunday 14th December. It is also available to download as a podcast via kx935.com.

Part Two and Part Three will be coming soon.

JK: Hi. This is Jim Kerr on KX93.5 talking to all of you about our new album Big Music: how it was made, how it was played, how it was dreamed up.

MH: This is Martin Hanlin, KX93.5 interviewing Mr. Jim Kerr from Simple Minds, talking about the new album Big Music. Good evening, Mr. Kerr, because you are in London.
JK: Hi Martin. Actually I'm not, I'm in Glasgow [Laughs]
MH: OK, first mistake, so you're in Glasgow...
JK: Your hometown.
MH: Yeah, absolutely. We're going to go through the tracks of the album that just came out in the UK and in America and it's a great record, I really like it a lot. Of course, I'm biased about that but I listen to a lot of music and it's really, really great so let's talk about the album.
MH: In terms of how many albums - the 16th studio album Jim?
JK: This is the 16th studio album – that's right Martin. And I guess the first full release for five years, which doesn't mean to say that some people go "Oh, how come it took five years?" In fact, it wasn't so much that the album itself took five years but over the past five years we've just spent working all the time. We've been a working live band, and when we weren't doing that, we've been writing, recording, demoing, social networking - whatever you do, but the music was central in our lives again. But probably about two years ago we started to look at what was there and started to say "Right. How does this song hang with that song and how would this feel as a body of work?" It's almost like throwing paint at the wall, and then you start to see a certain part of the wall – it starts to form and you go "Oh I can see how this might be a record on its own." And really that happened over the last two years.
MH: Fantastic. And talking about throwing paint at the wall and getting to put the record together – we're talking about writing the record at the moment, we'll get to the music really quickly – how did you pick the first track, and of course the first track is Blindfolded. Can you explain why you picked that one and tell me a bit about it? And then we'll play it.
JK: First of all when you do a record – let's focus here, it's a record of songs. And you need not only what you think are great songs – good songs and great songs – but you need them in a shape or form, an atmosphere, a presentation that you think "This is where we should be right now." And that can be very, very speculative. But when we got to Blindfolded – and Charlie Burchill my song writing partner chiefly – he came up with the sound of it. We all sort of felt "OK, this is point 'A'. This is where we should be. This is the territory we should be in. If it was a movie then this is the opening scene – this tells you what this movie is going to be about, it gives you a flavour of what's to come. We just felt that Blindfolded, when that arrived, we thought "Right. This is where Simple Minds should be right now. "And if you were to ask me "Where was it we felt Simple Minds should be" then in an ideal world we felt Simple Minds should be classic Simple Minds, it should resonate with the great trademarks of the past, the early Simple Minds, but that's not enough in itself, it had to be more than that, it had to be contemporary, it had to be fresh. I mean some could say those things are a contradiction in terms – you're asking for it to be contemporary but you're asking for it to go back to the past – well, it is a kind of contradiction in terms but we like to think that the success of Big Music is encapsulated in Blindfolded, in particular, because it does both of those things.
MH: Fantastic. So this is Martin Hanlin, KX 93.5, The Real McCoy Radio Show, with special guest Jim Kerr from Simple Minds. And I'm going to play the track Blindfolded.

Audio: Blindfolded

MH: Moving through the record Big Music we're onto track number two. I really like this track. It's a song called Midnight Walking. And I notice on this that the writing is Kerr, Burchill and Gillespie. Can you tell me a bit about it?
JK: Yes. Andy Gillespie - it's funny because we still call him one of the new guys, but Andy Gillespie has been playing with Simple Minds now since 2002 so we're talking about the best part of twelve, nearly thirteen years, actually. And Andy is more than just than just a muso. He's a creative person and we've been encouraging him to come up with stuff and to come up with ideas and it's taken a long time but as soon as I heard the music to Midnight Walking – which chiefly was Andy's – I thought "This is a beauty" and it had a sort of dancey element to it. It does a great little logo at the start of it – to me it was very much like a Kraftwerk logo – but not just like it, I think it was as good as some of the Kraftwerk logos. I mean a real great, great pop hook. But we had a problem in a sense that coming out of just being Andy's – there was a little bit of an identity crisis because – it wasn't that it was generic but it wasn't until when Charlie came in with the second half of the song – I think Midnight Walking features one of Charlie's best guitar breaks for years – that it truly became a Simple Minds song. The great ballads of the classic Simple Minds that I was mentioning earlier but you had this electro dance beat that – some would say – is contemporary.
MH: Talking about Andy being the new keyboard player is like saying Mel Gaynor is the new drummer, who came in on the fifth record. He is a real big part of Simple Minds in terms of everything he does. And I know – luckily enough I've got to work with Andy – and his work rate is just incredible. He really, really puts a lot into it.
JK: Yes, it's funny you say that, I just left him about an hour ago – we're currently in the studio in Glasgow, rehearsal studio, because we're about to tour next year and we thought we'd get some rehearsals in this side of the year, allowing us a break over Christmas, and then we'll pick it up again. Anyway, Andy's a kind of a band leader, in that situation, he's a sort of group leader – he's very organised, he's very much a tech-head as well, he's been a great, great player and dependable. I mean – the likes of Charlie and I – we're much more spontaneous, we'll fly in, we'll turn things upside down – but you need a real great nuts and bolts guy then Andy's the guy and he can... if there's something going round and he'll analyse the rhythms or he'll have a good dialogue with the rest of the musicians, he's very good that way – he's almost like a sort of school teacher in that sense – in the line-up next year we've got a girl called Catherine AD who's joining us for the first time for this tour and Catherine's from a younger generation, she's never worked anything on this scale – and it's just been great to see how Andy talks to her and encourages her and puts her at ease and gets the best out of her – so all of those roles rather belong to Andy, but it's great that he's mov ing into coming up with melodies as well.
MH: It's funny you say that – talking about Catherine AD coming in and Andy doing that – and the thing about Simple Minds is that you always invest in the people Jim – we've talked about this before – and it keeps on giving this extra life to Simple Minds. I mean you and Charlie – you're the driving forces – and it's great that you bought Catherine in and Andy – and I saw you bring Andy in and you and Charlie did with Andy and now he's doing the same with Catherine and that's that constant investment. It's a great thing.
JK: Well, that's right. The down side about that – let's be honest, very few bands retain the same line-up for more than ten years, some do, but very few do. And the ones that do – there will be strengths within that – but there must be great frustrations as well, playing with the same people. But, anyway, in Simple Minds' case, as you know – as many people who know Simple Minds story – our lineup started to fragment – our original lineup started to fragment after about ten years. And that was tough for us for about the following decade because you're – when you lose original members, it's always hard to get out of the prejudice when a lot of people think of you as a zombie band or something. You just going around because you don't know what else to do. But in our case, what we did was, we do invest in people, even going back to the Lisa Germanos, Robin Clarks and stuff, we really do.
JK: When we play live, we want it to be a great gig but we also want it to have an element of show. And it's great to bring in these people, especially when they're more than just appendages, they're stars themselves, let's face it. We're quite often bring them to an audience that has just, until then, not heard of them, other they're on the verge on being stars, after the experience with us they grow wings and they off and do their own solo albums and that stuff. But it really benefits the band – it benefits, we get tons out of it, the show gets tons out of it, and again we were brought up with sport and in our case football but you could use it for basketball, you could use it to baseball, you could use it to American Football - it's about the team, it's about having a great squad and it's about investing in new talent. Because that energises, refreshes, gives you something you haven't got and why wouldn't you?
MH: Before we go on to the next song, we're going to play the track we've been talking about, Midnight Walking. And before we play it – we talked about Andy being a co-writer, and I know you won't admit to this – but all this happens because of the generosity of yourself and of Charlie. And that generosity pays back into Simple Minds. And you'll hear it in this track – so this is a track written by Charlie Burchill, Jim Kerr and Andy Gillespie. This is Midnight Walking.

Audio: Midnight Walking

MH: So, Jim, we're going to talk about a song which I know it really important to you and we're talking about rehearsals at the moment at a place called Gorbals Sound in Glasgow where we grew up and the place where we grew up, let's talk about the song called Honest Town. I'm sure you've got a lot to say about it because it's a very important song to you.
JK: Well it is. I don't hesitate to say that you yourself are crucial to the song because I should explain that the song Honest Town is written – well it's primarily about our home town Glasgow and it's written about the generation that raised us, our parent's generation and that goes for your mum and dad as well Martin but specifically the story of the song came out of the fact that my mum passed away four years ago and in the weeks leading up to it I had come back home to Glasgow – we knew that the light was getting dim and I'd come back to Glasgow to be around, specifically for that, I'd come back home.
JK: But typical of my mum, she didn't want me sitting around moping and she was never happier than when I was busy and being creative and working and such and at the time, you yourself was in Glasgow and you also said "Well, why you're here why don't you come down and meet this kid called Iain Cook" who you had found in previous years and you'd always been encouraging me – as you have with others as well – to go down and see what these kids have got, see if there's anything in common, see if we could write a song... not for anything specific, it might be their album, it might be our album, it might be a solo album, it might be a movie soundtrack – who knows? But anyway, you did a great thing that night when you took me down to Iain Cook's because it began a relationship with this fellow who I should now say, for those who it might ring a bell, Iain is in a band called Chvrches who at the time I was working with him, Chvrches was just embryonic, it was just an idea that Iain was just putting together. Of course now, they've probably played in your neck of the woods half-a-dozen times Martin and they've had a top ten album in the States which they're very proud of. JK: But, anyway, you introduced me to Iain and in about two weeks we probably wrote about ten songs together – all in various shapes and forms and all to varying degrees of successes as well, but one of the songs that came out of it was Honest Town. It just had this melody from day one that both you and I found rather haunting, bewitching, sad, but also with a great feeling of hope and I ended up writing a lyric to Iain's melody based on the last journey that my mum made really because it was a few days before she passed away and she asked me to drive her into town and there was a snowstorm – or there had been a snowstorm, the snow had ceased but they were advising everyone "Stay in. Don't to go out unless absolutely necessary" and she – as sometimes people do – she came bounding down the stairs looking better than she'd ever looked for months and she said "I want to do out." And my Dad said "You can't go out. " She said "No. I want to go out" and she looked at me and said "I want to go out. Take me out into town. I want go into town and buy some clothes for Christmas because I'll be going to the Christmas dance." And I just looked at her and I said "Great. Let's go."
JK: And it just so happened that the drive from our neck of the woods into the centre of town where my mum wanted to go, by coincidence, by happenstance, was though many of the landmarks of her life, of my life, of our lives together – where we went to school, where she met my dad, where she worked as a factory girl, the hospital where I was born even and it gave her a great chance to reminisce. And she spoke about how much she loved her life and how much she loved her city and she used the phrase "Honest Town." She said that it was an honest town and people have been asking me when you write songs as personal as this, is it really hard to let it all go and I have to tell you that songs like that write themselves – you don't get a choice in the matter. People say you should write about what you know and certainly one of the good things about getting older is that you have experienced things first hand usually and you've experienced universal themes – we all do at some point and loss is one of them and the song kind of wrote itself.
MH: Before I play the track and I'm looking forward to hearing this because it's such a great song – a couple of little bits to the story that you're not really aware of because you're so busy singing and getting on with stuff and taking care of people as usual, but I remember taking you to Iain's and we went in and we did Honest Town and you did the vocal back to Iain and I and both of us just looked across the room and he was like "Wow." Because he hadn't worked with you before, he hadn't heard you singing and we just walked into that studio and you did it. And that was the beginning of it - I don't think it really changed much vocally from there because it was absolutely spot on.
MH: But the other part of it, and I'm not going to let you interrupt me Jim, as this is important: I sat in your house plenty of times with your mum and dad and I remember about that time your Dad was always saying "Get him out of here. He should be working." That's your dad, he's amazing at just getting us to do things; but your mum came to talk to me and goes "You know what? You need to get my boy out working. He's in here and I don't want him worrying about me. He's got to work. You get him out of the door and get him to work." And it was just like you were sitting there and I was so humbled by the generosity and it was incredible. And then to go after that conversation to a few weeks later putting down Honest Town it was just "There it is. There's the completion of that circle." We've always been pushed by our parents. We're always really proud of the way they brought us up – really proud of them, but the moment was amazing. Incredible.
JK: Yeah, these are people that gave us everything. I know the same with you Martin but my Mum and Dad gave us the first couple hundred pounds – Charlie Burchill's Mum and Dad also to be said – to start Simple Minds, to make demos - they were worried, they didn't quite understand the world we were going into but they knew that they'd have to shoot us to stop us. And rather than do that they decided to back us. I do remember – I think there was two takes – actually on the version that's released on Big Music, a lot of the vocal is, well you well know, but a lot of the vocal is that original take. And I think we did it a couple of times that night in Iain's basement and I do remember the one thing you got me to phrase something different in the chorus – I can't remember exactly what it was but it was the making of it.
MH: Thank you. The many comments that you take on – we've always had this discussion and it's always the same and I remember talking to producers that you've worked with and the vocal that we've always talked about – you know She's A River the vocals in that – and as a vocalist you always underestimate yourself – and you can't see it and this was another great vocal and I'm really proud to be part of this song and get to play it. So this is a track from Big Music and this is called Honest Town.

Audio: Honest Town

MH: So Martin Hanlin here with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds on KX 93.5. Playing the tracks from the great new album from Simple Minds called Big Music. And we're at the track Big Music. And I remember discussing this –actually on this radio station – with you. I think it was the first time that you indicated that you were going to do this track as part of your live DVD. So can you explain the whole philosophy behind Big Music and why you called the album Big Music?
JK: Ironically while I've been at pains to some people of what I've been talking about over the last few months to express is that the "big music" that we refer to in the album title is not "Big" as in "bombastic big" – although having said that the title track itself is probably the most bombastic. But it's more about a celebration of music – a celebration of the fact that after all these years of listening to music, of buying music, of dreaming about music, and then gravitating to writing our own music and performing our own music, of more than forty years of listening to music, nearly forty years of writing it, creating it, and playing it, there's still nothing that manages to do – to me – what music does in terms of the way it lifts me up, the way it consoles me, the way that it gives me courage, the way that its helps me despair... all that stuff, that's what we get from music, this still mysterious thing, we don't know why or how but we just know that it does.
JK: And the track itself is really about that celebration although it's a pretty funny story about how it came about as a song because the music itself is over a decade old but I remember Charlie and I working on it in Sicily – the main theme of the song – but there was something missing that we couldn't quite work out what it was. I certainly couldn't find a lyric that I felt was really compatible with it – we'd keep getting excited about the idea, it would come up every couple of years, and we'd get excited but we couldn't quite crack it so we'd put it on the back burner. You know it would get lost in the midst of all the other ideas and stuff.
JK: But, anyway, as the recording was coming to a close, one of the guys who works with us, you know him well, Simon Hayward – Simon just goes through all our Simple Minds stuff, he's like our chronicler now, he's a bit like our great librarian – he's found all the lost tapes, he knows where the bodies are buried [laughs] – he said "Look there's this track. You've got to do it." I said "What it is." He said "It's this one." And I said "Not that!" and he said "Yes, it's dynamite. You've got to work it" and – you know what – he is right, we should really try one more time. I said it with a sigh but I went back to Charlie and Andy in Ireland and I said there was one more weekend and I said "Do you remember this one?" and Charlie was like "Oh God, that" and I said "People are hearing it and thinking it's great and we should maybe give it one more go and put our whips into it this last weekend and see if we can make something" and Andy said "Yeah, alright" and Charlie said "Yeah, alright" and I said is "The thing is I've got to go to Switzerland to see Prince. Well, you do it" and it'd been organised with my friend, and it'd been organised for months, it was her birthday and all that, and I said I would go and I couldn't get out of it and I didn't want to get out of it either but it wasn't the best time – I didn't like heading off but I said "Look. See if you can find the missing musical piece in the next twenty four hours. And if you do, send me the MP3, and I'll listen to it and see what I make of it - see if I can find a lyric to match."
JK: Well, lo and behold, they did work on it, they found a piece of music, they sent it to me, I got it about half an hour before I was going to see Prince. I was standing there at the hotel with an amazing view feeling great and I got the track with the new piece and I thought "This is fantastic." I thought "I've got to get a lyric to this and I've only got about twenty four hours to get it." Anyway I toddle off to see Prince and it was one of those nights where Prince decided that he was not going to play anything that anyone knows – or certainly I didn't know and I'm a huge fan. I think he got carried away with the fact that he was in Monteux during the Jazz Festival – it was a set of bass solos and funky jams and stuff and quite frankly it was the pits. And I didn't enjoy it at all – and I started to get angry – I started to get into a rage. And it was like I was having this conversation with myself. I was – I won't use the expletives but I was "Give me the music, give me the tunes, give me the songs, give me the stuff that makes our hearts swoon, give us..." and lo and behold that became the lyrics.
JK: The next day on the plane I wrote this song. "Give us the songs that make me romantic, give us the songs that make me ecstatic, give me the songs that keep the world turning, give me the words I'm still learning" and the frustration of – and I'm not criticising Prince – it's not like I wrote this song in anger at Prince but it just was the catalyst to me thinking "God, music still means this much to me."
MH: So talking about music meaning this much to you, we've talked about this before, who for you – even if it's just a short list – makes the big music for you, that makes the big music for Jim Kerr?
JK: It would have to include the greats: the Van Morrisons, the Jim Morrisons, the David Bowies, the Lou Reeds – he only passed away last year and I think I listened to more in a year than I have since 1975 – we call it big music, it could be called deep music – but I was listening the other day – they're a band from your side of the pond to War On Drugs they make the big music.
MH: Last week I played a few tracks from the Berlin album. I meant to only play one from the Berlin album – Lou Reed – and it just runs into another and I just had to let it go. So I'm going to play a track from Big Music by Simple Minds and the track is called Big Music.

Audio: Big Music

MH: Talking to Mr. Jim Kerr of Simple Minds on KX 93.5. Moving on in the record we're at a track, track five on the new record and it's called Human. I love the lyrics in this and there's a line – I was going to ask you about it – you say in the last line "I'm an exile searching for the right place." I mean that's been your story for many years. Are you ever going to find the right place or do you like the journey?
JK: I think I do love the journey and there are times in my life where I do think I've found the right place and then, a couple of years later, I've upped sticks both physically and metaphorically and spiritually moved on to something else. I guess I enjoy being restless. And even physically I tend to circle places – I'm speaking to you from Glasgow tonight which I don't remember ever leaving and I don't remember ever coming back [laughs] but we've spent so much time away. In my case, it feels right to be here a lot, I feel a strength from it, I don't know if it's to do with what we were talking about earlier about our parents moving away... I mean Glasgow made us, it made Simple Minds, we're from there, we're made of rock and rain that we were from here, although we were shaped by our journeys and our cultures and blessed to be shaped by both our experiences and the people we met and nethertheless we're from here , we're a product, we're from a people, we're from an outlook, we're big Glasgow boys, we're – for me just now it feels... We're rehearsing – I'm rehearsing literally a stone's throw from where the first house I was brought home to when they took me out of the maternity hospital. And there must be some reason for this – but I feel I'm getting a strength from it. I don't know, it seems right.
MH: It's weird. I'm the same as you. I got the bug – I remember you and Charlie disappearing off when we were younger and you ended up in India of all places when you were youngsters – and I remember you taking off to Italy. And it kind of affected all our friends, the people around you, and we all started to this kind of wandering thing that made us who we are. But I'm the same as you. I end up back in Glasgow and it's like you're coming up for air, you're coming up to get fed again, before you go on another journey. And it's just so rewarding. It reminds us of who we are and what we should be doing.
MH: Anyway, this is the track Human by Simple Minds from the great album Big Music.

Audio: Human

MH: Mr Kerr, from Simple Minds, talking about Big Music, on KX93.5, here on Lacona Beach for the Real McCoy radio show. We're moving through the album and we're going to play each track. And now another track you co-wrote with Charlie Burchill and Iain Cook and that's a song called Blood Diamonds.
JK: I mentioned earlier David Bowie and I think that's us doing David Bowie – or it's us doing David Bowie doing David Bowie doing Scott Walker. This is the kind of music we love. Iain Cook got this beautiful – again it's a great big poppy electro hook – but the chords have a fantastic bed on it for my voice – for the kind of richness in my voice, it really gave it a great chance to kind of just glide.
JK: I wanted to write a really modern pop song, a love song really I guess, a bitter sweet love song although we'll be coming to more of that later on, but I remember at the time we were writing, Bowie had just come out with that last thing, what was it called again, that Bowie song, about two years ago nearly? [The Next Day] It was beautiful but I was thinking this was the kind of – Bowie, although he did make that album, probably about his first album in ten years – I remember when we were working on Blood Diamonds we thought if Bowie's not going to make great Bowie music anymore then we're going to make it – and that's what I think when I hear the tune.
MH: Yeah, we're talking about The Next Day record where that track came on and I remember you and I talking about it at the time and thinking "Oh, wow great" and then out of nowhere this track comes out and it does all the things you wanted it to do. But there's always been that Bowie influence in Simple Minds' music – even from the name and the whole lot - and he's always been a go to act as well – there are a few others, Roxy Music comes to mind. But it's amazing when you listen to it, it's almost like you do this kind of cooking thing where you just make this musical stew of stuff that influences you. And it always comes out with something original – and I think that's what you've been doing since the day you started making music.
JK: The DNA's there. The DNA: the music you're influenced by, the music you grew up on – I mean Simple Minds have been getting a lot of kudos recently from bands, and acts, and younger acts and especially the generation below us – they seem to be lining up to come out and give us a name check now. Which is great and actually how you feel about that and it's great if anyone likes your music but if it inspires them to make a sound of their own then even more wonderful – but we just see it, before we make our music, we're still listening to the same records we always listen to and it's very much part of our DNA and if there's a lineage are we're put of that lineage then great but we never hold back in terms of wearing our influences on our sleeves.
MH: Well that's – the last modern version of that is the last Manic Street Preachers album of course which even takes some of the lyrics from I Travel and puts it in the song. And so like it's Manic Street Preachers doing Simple Minds doing Manic Street Preachers and it's fantastic to hear – it's like I get such a buzz out of it when I heard the track and I thought "this is really, really cool" – because it's something that there's a line in Brian Eno where you're in I Travel "Airports playing Brian Eno" that you did and for us it was just like a flag in going "This is great artist and we appreciate it and its influences."
JK: Yeah. Well you see it in America, you see it in Americana, when you see Springsteen and then there was acoustic, you see Dylan and you see Dylan you see Woody Guthrie. You see Woody Guthrie well there's Johnny Cash might've been there as well between Dylan and Woody Guthrie. But there's lineage and there's a kind of passing down of the torch.
MH: Yeah, absolutely. So this is a track, we're going to play Blood Diamonds. And I'm sitting here – you gave me a lovely present before I left London recently and it's the vinyl version of Big Music. And going back to how we grew up, so this is the end of Side One. So this is Blood Diamonds written by Iain Cook and Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill.

Audio: Blood Diamonds

Martin Hanlin
The Real McCoy
KX 93.5



The following was published in the December 2014 issue of Record Collector. It's a good interview which takes a different angle at times although a thorough proof read wouldn't have gone amiss. And I'll forgive them the rather paltry "Collectables" which was tacked on at the end.



Top Gear returned for their Christmas Special which saw the hapless trio goofing around in cars, being hounded out of Argentina and precipitating a diplomatic spat. Not bad for a motoring show.

Meanwhile, the musical editor had been listening to so much of The Horrors that most of the show was bedded with instrumental versions of Skying and Luminous. (Both albums come highly recommended.) However Capital City got a brief outing when Hammond managed to badly prang his car and smash the Top Gear Britain-Argentina football trophy.

And on that bombshell...



My Mentor: The Men Behind The Great Men

The Simple Minds singer on how his manager, Bruce Findlay, influenced him.

Bruce's family owned a chain of record shops in Scotland.
It was called Bruce's, appropriately enough. Although we'd hang out in the shop, I never met him, but I remember hearing in 1978 he'd started his own independent label. We [Simple Minds] had a demo tape out, so I called him up to see if we could visit, play some music and get some advice. Also if perhaps he would be interested in releasing a single.

I remember instantly getting a warm impression.
My songwriting partner Charlie Burchill and I met Bruce in the office above his record store. We played him the music and, how can I say this, he fell back and lit an exotic cigarette. His eyes were closed, smiling – he was evidently into it. He decided to see us at our next gig in Glasgow, and afterwards he gave us our first piece of advice, which was that he felt Simple Minds would go on to much bigger things than his little label could offer us. He didn't offer us a deal, but said he'd love to manage us.

It wasn't just music – he was a mentor in every area of my life.
We were boys from a housing estate; Bruce had travelled the world. He helped us get a record deal, our first exposure and moulded the band. But while that was happening, we were growing up, going through those first big adult issues – getting married, getting a mortgage, going into debt. Bruce had done all that. He knew how to deal with strangers, how to get on with people, when to fight, when not to fight. He prevented us from getting into sticky situations.

I didn't tell the band when I decided to get married – but I told Bruce.
When any of the other guys spoke about getting married, I'd talk them out of it: "Nah, you don't want to be doing that." And here I was, head over heels in love. I was 23, I didn't know anything about how marriage worked. I told Bruce and he said something like, "It's never going to work, but you should do it because this is what you want. I support your decision." That shows you the magnitude of things we would go to him about.

He was like the big brother I never had.
Bruce managed our band from 1978-1990. Many people would say he took us from scrapping around trying to get pub gigs to being one of the biggest bands in the world. Not that he imposed himself, that's just how impressive he was.

www.shortlist.com

The Let The Day Begin video was officially premiered on FaceBook on the 12th December. It was the first Simple Minds video to feature contributions from fans.



It was good to see the five-piece Simple Minds back for their appearance at the SSE Hyrdo for the BBC's Sports Personality Of The Year 2014. They opened the show with a live versions of Waterfront, but the visuals were often replaced with notable sporting achievements of the year and sweeping shots of the audience.

It can be seen on YouTube.



TR: It's Running Late here on 88.3FM The Sting and there's no surprise that I'm very surprised about this next one here. I've had the opportunity to first speak to this gentleman since over a decade ago and it's been a real joy to see this band continue on kind of like from out of nowhere again, a second time in their career. Because they did kind of go off into the ether a little bit – at least here in the States – in the meantime Simple Minds have continued. What an amazing run all around the world and they've finally made a return last year – we were happy to be a part of seeing a show up in Toronto and Boston and New York and all these great venues and just to say "Hey. We're out here. We're alive. We're celebrating our thirty year career plus – almost forty years now." And now they're coming back with Big Music. I'm speaking of course of Simple Minds, and Jim Kerr, is joining us here – the lead singer of the band and lyricist as well.

TR: Jim, I can't tell you how excited I am about all this. It's a real thrill.

JK: Well it's lovely to talk to you Todd. I'm taking in all the stuff you said and it all sounds... the thing I'm finding difficult to deal with is the fact that it's ten years since we last did this. But in my mind, everything is like two or three years ago. So hopefully we can make up with that today.

TR: Well, it's funny because, when we were talking about – a year ago – we talked about Celebrate and the box set and then coming back to the States – I was counting up the years and it was about 1997 when we first had you on for a Simple Minds Marathon and before that there was another Marathon and it's been a while [Laughs] This has been fun

JK: Well, before we go on, I should say that – and you alluded to it there, you mentioned it – that there was a long period there when people could be forgiven for thinking that Simple Minds had indeed gone off into the ether – but you were always there supporting us... you and a few others but not many [laughs] – and we appreciate that.

TR: After the tour last fall, almost exactly a year ago, I had more people asking me about you guys – bummed that they couldn't see you or happy that they did get to see you – and you could just feel the energy change. In fact, I think I mentioned this to you, we had one of those retro tours come through Cleveland and after the show everyone came to me saying "What about this band? What about that band? And at the top of everyone's list was "What's up with Simple Minds?" And I said "You just missed them! They were just here."

JK: They could be forgiven. Because although it was sincerely ... it was a blast after a whole decade to touch down and be able to play some dates in North America, it was only a few dates and we really did have a blast. We loved each and every one of them and would love to have done more and that desire continues. So hopefully we will get the chance to come and play to those people who were liked to have seen us – or would like to see us. The only thing I can tell them is – and I feel confident in telling them this – is that the wait will be worthwhile because at least in my opinion, the band just gets better and better and it'll be worth it.

TR: That's the thing I've seen definitely seen over the course of Graffiti Soul which we talked about – hard to believe that we talked about five years ago now. And now this record is that the live element of the band totally falls back into the recording element and you can see the songs evolve and you can see those elemental things be true and it's all still Simple Mindseque – if I could make it a verb or an adjective rather. And that's been really exciting. There's a couple of songs on the album Big Music - which I'm going to stress comes out digitally on the 4th November and I'm told physically on the 25th November here in the US - there's a few songs there that have appeared before but have evolved. And we talked a little about that last year too that sometimes Simple Minds songs, once they hit the CD case or whatever you want to call it, that's not necessarily the final piece of the evolution.

JK: It's so true. I mean apart from the fact that certain songs really benefit from the live experience.

Audio: Big Music [Live]

TR: Speaking of being on the road, you've introduced Catherine AD into the line up by way of... basically she showed up in the video for Honest Town and I was both fascinated, amazed, thrilled and almost confused – I was like "What's see doing here?" [Laughs] Could you quickly clarify? She's going to be on the road with us next year so she's on the video. Which I think is great.

JK: Well, we thought we'd put her in there so people would – at least when they come to see us play – would say "Ah, I know what this girl's all about. I know that face." And it wouldn't be "Oh – the support act has jumped on stage with them!" Not at all. Again, this goes back to a tradition of Simple Minds when you go back to those days when we had Lisa Germano playing violin and the great Robin Clark – these people joined us. I mean – they weren't session people, they were artists in their own right and we – again a band if you're going to tour so much then you want to chop it and change it a little bit here and there. And Sarah Brown who sings with us just now – she's a real part of the show and I have no qualms in calling it a show, we hope it is a show, and she's brought a lot to it. Well similarly I think Sarah's been with us for four or five years and she's doing great – I mean some nights I don't want her to stop singing. I'd rather go in the crowd and listen to her.

JK: We wanted something new to the show, something else in the sound and obviously Catherine AD I met – actually I hadn't met her but we both worked on the same project last year The Dark Flowers with Paul Statham. And Paul had told me a lot about her – and I said to Paul we were looking to add something to the show and I said we were looking for someone younger and a multi-instrumentalist and he said Catherine AD would be great. And so we're looking forward to that.

Audio: Honest Town.

TR: Big Music is the name of the new album from Simple Minds and you've already premiered a couple of tracks via your website and a couple of places around and we've just talked a little bit about Honest Town [video]. It's a very cool video, thrilled to see the band in a performance setting even though I know it's made for the video, it's not a live performance per se. But there is that element of – I hate to say – of 80s cool but it's true, it made me harken back to that feel and the fascination the way this group of musicians – when you put them in the same room – becomes this thing called Simple Minds and that's about as esoteric as I'm going to get with that. But there's also some other songs we need to talk about. Blindfolded is just one heck of a cool – I always like to call it – driving song. It puts you somewhere, it takes you from the place. And then there's the other track we've been talking about for quite some time now actually – I think it came up in the conversation we had last year during the marathon – Midnight Walking which comes from Andy Gillespie I guess in its originality. I couldn't be more thrilled. These songs are diverse, it's a change, the whole album has an arc to it, it's really cool.

JK: Great. I have no hesitation in saying that as far as Blindfolded goes, you think of the amount of music that Charlie Burchill's created through the years with the band, I think Blindfolded is yet again a peak. There are so many aspects of what he does that makes me think about that. But Blindfolded was the kind of – although we had ideas that we were working on – we were looking for something to light the touchpaper, we were really looking for a track that would say to us, "we've not only got another great song but we're looking for something as a track that has something about it that kind of ticked all the boxes we would like to have ticked." Even though we probably weren't sure what those boxes were we knew that to really get people jumping up and down, to get us jumping up and down, first and foremost, but to get people jumping up and down more importantly [laughs], there had to be a special song that said "Hey, remember the old Simple Minds? Well this is the new Simple Minds that sound like the old Simple Minds brought into the future." And Blindfolded did that it – I think Blindfolded could've been on New Gold Dream but no way is it a New Gold Dream pastiche or New Gold Dream by numbers. It just has that. And Charlie came up with... I was in the South of France and he sent me this and I started listening to it ... I liked the lyrics that popped out and, anyway, when we started putting it together at that time we were working with producer Steve Osborne and we said "We need this track that has something of the other worldliness to it – Simple Minds but in a whole other world from where we've been on the last two albums. " All that was easier said than done, but when we got it and we played it to a few people. .. We've got a few people around us who kick the tyres and everyone went: "Oh, hang on a second. This is what it should be about. This sets the scene." And even though we knew it wasn't going to be a radio song, we thought "This will be the song that – this will be our John The Baptist. This can tell the world about what is to come."

TR: Very well put. I like that a lot. I'll bring that one back in a couple of years with the next record: "What's the John The Baptist song?"

Audio: Blindfolded

TR: I'm also thrilled to see the reaction from the people closest to the song [Let The Day Begin] I imagine. Robert Levon Been and gang over at The Call have officially noticed and made posts on Facebook of yet one more interpretation of Let The Day Begin that has carried you through the bonus disc of Graffiti Soul into the live set and, again, evolved into what shows up now on Big Music. And I couldn't be more thrilled about it – you and I have had many conversations about Mr. Been back in the day with The Call opening up, I'm just thrilled to see his memory supported and I know you love the live album The Call got together with Michael's son and brought that to light so I just thought that was really cool and come full circle.

JK: We're also delighted. At the start of October – last October when we were setting out to do the dates that would lead up to the American tour... We were getting kind of sentimental, we hadn't been to America for ten years and we associated playing in America with ... we associated it with seeing Michael either if he wasn't playing with us then he'd be around and loved them to bits and loved his music to bits. And I was thinking because with Michael's passing a few years ago, he wasn't going to be there and I thought "Hang on a minute. He's not going to be there but, maybe, one of his songs can be there, maybe some of his music, some of his spirit can be there. So we thought "Let's learn Let The Day Begin" because – I remember Michael telling me about Let The Day Begin, he had a little glint in his eye and he said "You know this song is not a million miles away from one of your songs Waterfront" because Michael loved that tune and, anyway, Let The Day Begin does have that blues feel to it but the lyrics were really the thing that sealed the deal for me and he's an amazing lyric writer.

JK: Anyway, we thought "OK. Let's learn this. Maybe we can slip it in the odd night" as an encore. But no, we knew in the rehearsal room, everyone was looking around going "This is no encore. This is in the set. This works!" And every night the song went down a storm – obviously people who knew it, arguably half the people, maybe more, didn't know it. But it went down a storm and was sounding and feeling so good that the very next day after we got off the plane, back home, we went in, there was a free day, we went into London and got Gavin Goldberg and Andy Wright and there you have it. Even then we weren't sure what it was going to be – maybe a bonus track or whatever – but the good thing was that most the people coming into the studio outside of the band – the engineers, producers – they didn't know it was a cover, they all thought it was a Minds song and you could see the reaction and so I guess it's very much a Call song, it's very much Michael's song, but I believe in a way we might have made a little bit of it our own as well.

Audio: Let The Day Begin

TR: Big Music is the new album by Simple Minds. It's available digitally and in physical forms; both on CD, Deluxe Edition CD and also – and I think I might actually buy this too – double vinyl. I can't wait. [Laughs] Oh yeah baby. Absolutely, it's going to be fantastic. And hopefully... hopefully... something in 2015 in the live set here in the States. We have our fingers crossed right now. And it's going to be fantastic. Jim Kerr – thank you so much for all the music over the times – a personal thank you again for a wonderful show, I got to see about a year ago at the O2 with Ultravox opening up – talk about a great bill. And I have the recording – I still listen to it all the time – and it still resonates very well for me and I can't thank you enough for all the music over the years and helping us explore it with you and built it along and hopefully we'll have you here in Cleveland soon.

JK: I would love that, I would love to play in Cleveland. I know they're not from Cleveland, they're from Akron, but a few years ago playing with the guys from Devo and them talking about Cleveland and all that, was a real, real pleasure. But yeah, as I said, we loved playing in the States last year – can't wait to get back, can't wait to get out and prove ourselves so thank you very much.

TR: You can find out more about Big Music at the Simple Minds website: www.simpleminds.com (they have all the YouTube links on there.) I call [the album] the "Big Tease" because every song is highlighted in some respect and so you know what you're going to get there. It's beautiful to swim in that music, let me tell you just now, it's just fantastic.

Todd Richards
Running Late
WBWC 88.3FM The Sting

I've had many anxious e-mails expressing concern about the lack of updates on Dream Giver recently. This shared nervous feeling was heightened by the fact that the website went uncharacteristically quiet on the eve of Big Music - new information and updates should've been more frequent, not less.

However, things are very different behind the scenes. I've been working intensively on a forthcoming Simple Minds release – to make sure it's as complete and as good as it should be. In my new role, I've been helping Universal Records and ensuring the quality of their forthcoming Simple Minds releases from conception right through to final approval. This means, unfortunately, that an unofficial fan-based music website does tend to get a little neglected.

So, this update will summarize everything which has been going on over the last month. And, in typical Dream Giver style, I'll attempt to add a little more. For instance, I've now published information about all the collectables from Big Music, including all the promos which have now started to circulate.

The first project I've been working on has now been formally announced. There's much more to come but be assured that when things go quiet on this website, then there's no need to worry – it's just that I'm quietly working on another Simple Minds release.



Big Music was released on three formats on November 3rd. It was released by Caroline International in the UK and Ministry Of Sound and Sony in Europe

big music: quick reference
CD     Big Music Caroline International SMBM03
1. Blindfolded(5:22)
2. Midnight Walking(3:53)
3. Honest Town(4:44)
4. Big Music(4:12)
5. Human(3:41)
6. Blood Diamonds(4:20)
7. Let The Day Begin(5:08)
8. Concrete And Cherry Blossom(3:31)
9. Imagination(3:41)
10. Kill Or Cure(4:12)
11. Broken Glass Park(4:39)
12. Spirited Away(4:08)


Deluxe CD     Big Music Caroline International SMBM04
1-1. Blindfolded(5:22)
1-2. Midnight Walking(3:53)
1-3. Honest Town(4:44)
1-4. Big Music(4:12)
1-5. Human(3:41)
1-6. Blood Diamonds(4:20)
1-7. Let The Day Begin(5:08)
1-8. Concrete And Cherry Blossom(3:31)
1-9. Imagination(3:41)
1-10. Kill Or Cure(4:12)
1-11. Broken Glass Park(4:39)
1-12. Spirited Away(4:08)

2-1. Swimming Towards The Sun(4:08)
2-2. Bittersweet(3:58)
2-3. Liaison(4:34)
2-4. Riders On The Storm(3:46)
2-5. Dancing Barefoot(4:02)
2-6. Blindfolded[Reprise](4:23)


2XLP     Big Music Caroline International SMBM05
A1. Blindfolded(5:22)
A2. Midnight Walking(3:53)
A3. Honest Town(4:44)
B1. Big Music(4:12)
B2. Human(3:41)
B3. Blood Diamonds(4:20)
C1. Let The Day Begin(5:08)
C2. Concrete And Cherry Blossom(3:31)
C3. Imagination(3:41)
D1. Kill Or Cure(4:12)
D2. Broken Glass Park(4:39)
D3. Spirited Away(4:08)


A large number of collectable promos have also surfaced for the album.

The first is a two-track promo featuring "teaser" track Blindfolded and the Iain Cook Remix Edit of first single Honest Town.

This was followed by a water-marked numbered promo 5-track sampler (Caroline SMBM01) and a water-marked numbered full promo version of the album (Caroline SMBM02).



"Their best album in 30 years." **** Mojo
"Simple Minds at their ideal fighting weight." **** Q Magazine
"Big Music is the genuine article: a remarkable record that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder
with any of Simple Minds' first five albums.
" **** Record Collector
"A brave new phase of their career." 8/10, Vive Le Rock
"A vibrant return to founding principles." Uncut
"This is the Simple Minds we want." 7/10, NME


Mojo Magazine November 2014



Q Magazine December 2014



Uncut Magazine November 2014



Vive Le Rock Magazine November 2014



NME November 2014



Record Collector November 2014


Oh, and keep an eye on the NME for the next couple of weeks...



Simple Minds received the 2014 Q Inspiration Award and the whole band (including new-recruit Catherine AD) were in London to receive it. It was presented by James Dean Bradfield - the perfect choice to present the award and recount how Simple Minds effected him and his band.

"Thanks to Q for inviting us to the ceremony this afternoon. Thanks even more for the flattering award. James Dean Bradfield gave a beautiful and eloquent description re the impact of our music on him. We in turn dedicated the award to everybody who has listened to our music and to everyone who works on our behalf. They are our inspiration." - Jim.

"When asked why there are fewer misbehaving rock stars now, the 55-year-old star told BANG Showbiz: "We're missing Liam. We need him. These things go in cycles - this time next year they'll be someone coming over the horizon to turn up and do something."


Jim and Charlie also signed some memorabilia for Water Aid which was later auctioned online.


A follow-up brief interview was published in Q's January 2015 issue (on sale now):




The lead to the launch of Big Music has been notable for a new acoustic version of Simple Minds. As Jim explained to Billy Sloan, the band had avoided acoustic versions "like the plague" as "Bongo on the Beach versions never appealed." Yet, the chance to play an acoustic session on Chris Evan's show was far too good to pass up, and with Mark Kerr completing the trio, this new version of Simple Minds discovered they had something special.

(However, these promos weren't the first acoustic sessions by Simple Minds. In early 1995, the Good News From The Next World line-up marched into various east-coast radio stations and belted out new guitar-only versions of She's A River, See The Lights and White Light/White Heat.)

Chris Evans Breakfast Show, BBC Radio Two, 26th September 2014

I didn't expect the acoustic set to be this good. When Jim announced that they'd be tackling Don't You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking I wondered how they could've taken on these huge songs with such a minimal set-up. And as the pictures revealed, they were squeezed onto a tiny sofa at the back of Chris Evans' studio behind three other guests. But they worked wonders.

It also marked a new line-up of Simple Minds. In this circulatory world of players and guests, it was a warm welcome back to Mark Kerr who'd last played with the band back in 2001 (and who appeared in the Dancing Barefoot video) and who had penned Happy Is The Man and Face In The Sun.

The acoustic set is available on YouTube:
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Alive And Kicking
Honest Town
Riders On The Storm


De Wereld Draait Door ("The World Turns Around"), Vara, 30th October 2014

"Making our way to Berlin and Amsterdam this week. In these final days leading up to the worldwide release we will of course be talking about our new album Big Music, as well as playing various acoustic sets featuring both classic and new songs. There will be more precise info about all of this as the week unfolds." - Jim, 26th October 2014

The acoustic line-up was stripped down still further - if that was possible - to just the duo of Jim and Charlie for their appearance on De Wereld Draait Door ("The World Turns Around") on the 30th October. The show's format called for a performance of about ninety seconds - so Honest Town got its shortest performace yet. However, the show kindly made the unbroadcast rehearsal footage available which included a much longer, better version of the song.


Muziekcafι, NPO, 1st November 2014

The three-pice line-up (including Mark Kerr) was back on Saturday (1st November) for the Dutch radio show Muziekcafι on NPO. They played acoustic versions of Alive And Kicking, Honest Town and Riders On The Storm. The show can be heard again here for those who missed it (the interview starts at 1:38 into the recording.)


Billy Sloan Session, Radio Clyde, 2nd November 2014

The acoustic promotion continued with a session for Billy Sloan on the 2nd November. "Will be back home in Glasgow this weekend, performing an acoustic set for Billy Sloan's Sunday radio show on Clyde 2. Billy has supported Simple Minds since our debut gig in January 1978, his belief in our music never wavered. We look forward to giving our best for Billy!" - Jim, 2nd November 2014

The whole of Billy's show was devoted to his guests. Jim and Charlie were in the studio selecting their favouite tracks, Billy played several tracks from Big Music with Jim and Charlie giving the background information behind them and the rest of the show was filled with classic Simple Minds songs from the past.

The acoustic session (with Mark Kerr) was, again, a real surprise with four unexpecteed songs getting the new acoustic treatment. New single Honest Town was featured along with The American, The Man Who Sold The World and Let The Day Begin.

All four tracks are available on YouTube (and The American is especially good!) The links are:
The American
Honest Town
The Man Who Sold The World
Let The Day Begin


The Culture Studio With Janice Forsyth, BBC Radio Scotland, 3rd November 2014

Janice Forsyth interviewed Jim, Charlie and Mark in depth during the second half of her show, discussing the new album and the stories behind the songs. Honest Town and Alive And Kicking were played. The show is available on the BBC's iPlayer for the next couple of weeks.


"Over the last five days we have been in Berlin, Amsterdam and Glasgow. Next up in Paris where we'll arrive tomorrow and prepare to spend the next few days talking about the new album Big Music. The trip will also include a few more acoustic sets with various radio stations. More details to follow." - Jim, 4th November 2014


Live At Dingwalls, Glasgow, UK, 3rd November 2014

The band played an extremely exclusive gig at the Glaswegian home of Daily Record reporter John Dingwall. The front room of his flat was packed with fifty invited guests for an exclusive acoustic performance by Simple Minds where they played Riders On The Storm, Alive And Kicking, Honest Town, Don't You (Forget About Me) and The American.

See the Daily Record's website for further information, pictures and video links.


"It doesn't matter whether you are playing a football stadium or whether you are playing somebody's living room. If the crowd's into it, that makes you want to do it even better. It's a night we'll never forget. You can hear the arrangements Charlie came up with on songs like Alive and Kicking. When he first said we could do an acoustic version of Alive and Kicking or songs like The American, I thought 'You're kidding on.' These European electro art-rock records are complex songs, but they have big chunky choruses and that's what works more than anything else." - Jim, 3rd November 2014

"It's terrifying but wonderful. The essence of the thing is the same. We love it. Even though you can't imagine a bigger disparity between a huge gig and somebody's room, actually there is not that much of a difference. It's the same thing, music to get everybody together." - Charlie, 3rd November 2014


And for another view of the event: plainorpan.com/2014/11/05/kerr-in-the-community.

La Bande Orginale, France Iter, France, 5th November 2014

An interview with Nicolas Bedos for France Inter where the band played acoustic versions of Honest Town and Riders On The Storm.

The interview, which also includes tracks from Big Music, can be heard here.


Europe 1, France, 7th November 2014

The 7th November was a busy day for the acoustic band with three live appearances. This included an appearance on Nikos Aligas' Europe 1 show where they performed Honest Town and Riders On The Storm.


Entertainment Week, Sky News, 7th November 2014

Jim and Charlie were interviewed by Lucy Cotter about seeing their old videos, the new album and whether they'd be recording for Bob Geldoff's new charity single. The show was closed with an acoustic version of Honest Town (with Mark)

You can watch the performance on the Sky News website.


Facebook, London, UK, 7th November 2014

Jim and Charlie took part a Facebook hosted Q&A based at their London HQ followed by an acoustic session of Alive And Kicking, Honest Town and Don't You (Forget About Me) in their canteen.


Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, 8th November 2014

The main act tonight was the boxing match between Felix Sturm vs. Robert Stieglizt but Simple Minds were also there, miming to a playback recording of Human.


Cafe Corsari, Antwerp, Belgium, 13th November 2014

I'm at a loss to explain this one with Jim and Charlie interviewed at a bar table by a giant chicken. But - credit due - the chicken did ask some good questions including the band's first gig in Belgium, their first festival (along with Wertcher footage from 1983), what their children think of them, the success of Big Music and what they would write a protest song about today.

They then played an acoustic version of Honest Town for the chicken.

Witness it for yourself on www.een.be.


Classic 21 Showcase, Belgium, 14th November 2014

The acoustic line-up performed (in no particular order) Honest Town, Let The Day Begin, Riders On The Storm, Alive And Kicking and The American.

Jim was interviewed in the studio before the band performed in an outside square to a small enthusiastic audience. The event was covered by www.rtbf.be. Good quality copies can also be found on YouTube.


RTL, France, 22nd November 2014

Recorded for RTL, this four song acoustic set was notable for a rare outing of Mandela Day. All four songs - Honest Town, Mandela Day, Don't You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking were made available on RTL's website.


Absolute Radio, London, 9th December 2014

The acoustic line-up played a "Christmas Concert" in front of an audience comprised of lucky competition winners. Despite asking for suggestions for a "Christmas Song" to cover, the trio stuck to their now tried-and-tested repertoire of Honest Town, Alive And Kicking, Don't You (Forget About Me) and The Man Who Sold The World.

There was also a Q&A session with the audience between each of the songs.



Honest Town is the first single from Big Music and the video was first published on the The Guardians' website on the 29th September.

It was added to the Radio Two A-List on the 9th October, repeating the success and promotion of Broken Glass Park. "We're delighted. Can't wait for the rest of world to hear Honest Town. And all the other songs from Big Music for that matter." - Jim.

It isn't known if there will be a physical release of the single, but smartly packaged Honest Town 4-track promos were distributed: these included various edits of the main song, the Iain Cook remix and an instrumental version (Caroline SMBM12).

The Telegraph also published a behind the scenes video promoting the new album and single. This is one of the bonus videos which will be included on the Deluxe version of the album.



Let The Day Begin will be the second single issued from Big Music in January 2015.

Three track promos featuring the edit, album and instrumental versions are already circulating.



Simple Minds will be performing at the BBC's Sport Personality Of The Year. It's going to be held at a familar venue - the SSE Hydro in Glasgow - and will take place on the 14th December. Further details - including how to buy tickets - can be found on the BBC's website.



Even with my never-ending obsession with music from the early '80s, it's a pretty rare opportunity when I get the chance to write anything about my favorites from that era. Last week, one of those rare opportunities popped up. I called Jim Kerr, the frontman of the Simple Minds — i.e., the man who sang a handful of my favorite songs, ever — while he was in Glasgow to talk about the band's first new record in five years, Big Music. It's a title so appropriate for the Simple Minds' music that it's surprising it's taken them more than three decades to apply it. Whether it was the massive choruses of pop-era Simple Minds, like Don't You (Forget About Me) or Alive And Kicking, or whether it was the twistier, artier stuff from Empires And Dance or New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84), there's always been an expansiveness to their music. At its core, Simple Minds' music has always sounded to me like the product of city rhythms, but also possessing a hunger to see and consume and understand all the permutations of our world and the people in it. Movement's always been a major theme, and accordingly my conversation with Kerr touched on little bits and pieces from the whole of this 35-year arc he's been on with the Simple Minds — from the new, big music to the old, big music, to his love for his adopted home in Italy.

StereoGum: The first thing I want to ask you about is the title "Big Music." I was reminded of the Waterboys' use of the term "The Big Music" when I first heard about it.

JK: You've got a good memory. [laughs]

StereoGum:So how'd you wind up naming it that?

JK: Well, you're right about the Waterboys, [but] it came from the song itself. The title track. It's quite a cute story actually. We had that music, this basic melody and the idea of the music, for about a decade now. And every time we went to it, we would get excited but I'd have some kind of stumbling block. I could never really get anything I thought matched the music or matched the track well. So, it would come out and it would go on the backburner, come out again and go on the backburner, and finally it really disappeared into the mists of time. We had forgotten about it. Last year, just as we were about to close the door on tracks for the album, the keyboard player, Andy Gillespie, he said, "Listen, I've found this piece of music — when was this done? It's great. You should really look at it," and all that. And Charlie Burchill and I, were saying "Oh, not that one, it's slipped through our fingers so many times." [Gillespie] said, "Well, give me a chance to work on it over the weekend, see if I can maybe find the missing piece." I said, "Well, great, you can do that, but I'm going to see Prince in Switzerland." It had been organized for months. I said, "If you get anything, send me a MP3." I went to Switzerland, and the next day he sent me a MP3, and he found this missing musical piece for the track which I thought sounded great. Anyway, I go and see Prince. As I'm in there, it's one of those Prince nights where he doesn't play anything, really, that you want to hear. Some funky twenty minute jazz solos. It was cool, because it was Prince, it's always cool. But I was pissed, you know? I was actually saying, "Give me the music, give me the tunes, give me the big tunes!" I was kinda talking to myself and willing him to play the stuff I wanted him to play. Well, he didn't, but I was flying back on the plane, I was listening to the track, and all the sudden — really, what came to me when I was watching the thing was how much music still meant to me, how much the big melodies still meant to me, how much the emotions of music still meant to me after all this time, especially when you go to see it live. That became the song, not so much about Prince but about the effect of music. Once we got to doing the song, we started talking about it being a title track. And then, you know, when the marketing people came in they were like, "Oh, that's really good, because people in Italy and Germany can see Big Music and everyone understands it. It's such a catchy thing." And I was like, "Yeah, but what about the Waterboys..." [Waterboys' frontman] Mike Scott might chase me down. But we're quite happy with it.

StereoGum: You worked with Iain Cook from Chvrches on some of these songs. I was wondering how you came to meet him and how you found the experience of working with him?

JK: It was a great experience. Exactly four years ago, it was a sad period for me because my mum was on the verge of passing away and I'd come back to Glasgow to be around during the last weeks. I was staying at the house with Mum and Dad. She actually said to me, "What are you doing sitting around, go and do some work." She just knew I wasn't being myself, obviously. I thought, "You know what, I'm probably freaking out just sitting and moping around, she's right." So Iain and I had a mutual friend [Martin Hanlin] and he said, "I'm gonna take you over to see [him]." I'd just previously done a solo record and worked with various people, and I was thinking about maybe doing another one. He said, "There's this kid that it'd be good for you to work with." I said cool. Iain was only ten minutes away, and it was amazing because the neighborhood Iain lived in was only three houses away from where we started as a garage band, really, as Simple Minds. It was like coming back full circle, but in Iain's basement. I went in, and I had never met him but I could see from all the stuff he had on the walls that he was a real music guy. I said, "Look, let's do something." He said, "Well, I've been working on a couple of things. I listened to some of your earlier records and I've been working on a couple of things that might be of interest to you." And, indeed, one of the first things he played me became the melody for the track Honest Town." That was four years ago. They were just sort of putting together Chvrches, they hadn't even found Lauren Mayberry yet, I don't think. Chvrches were just starting out. But it's been amazing to see the success that they've had. Iain Cook and I wrote probably about ten songs over a period of two weeks.

StereoGum: Do you think the other stuff will wind up coming out at some point?

JK: I think it definitely will. There's two that I think — well, then we're gonna have a fight as to whether he gets them for Chvrches or I get them. Not really, I'll do whatever he likes to do. I mean, definitely, in my opinion, there's enough quality for them to see the light of day.

StereoGum: The other collaboration I was curious about with this record was that you worked with Steve Hillage again, for the first time since he produced Sons And Fascination / Sister Feelings Call in 1981. What was it like bringing him back into the fold so many years later?

JK: What had happened was, we did this thing about five years ago — it was interesting, we repackaged the first five albums and put them out in a box. We called it X5. [We did a tour] and we played five songs from [each of] those first five albums. For a lot of people who love those albums it was really special, and it was special for us as well. In doing that, we tuned into the essence of those earlier records again. To be honest, some of that process resulted in some of the songs on Big Music. Steve came to the London gig. It was great to see him, I hadn't seen him in the longest time. He said, "I've got a little studio just off of Ladbroke Grove, where we used to work. [Ladbroke Grove is a tube stop in London, not far from the Portobello Road Market — Ed.] We said, "Look, next time we're in London we'll get a couple ideas and we'll come in and just see what happens." And, indeed, that's what we did. We worked with Steve on two or three tracks and it got the ball rolling.

StereoGum: You've said this record deals with similar themes you've always been attracted to, and in particular I'm thinking of when you said you were writing about "great cities and movements of people." I've definitely always thought of Simple Minds very much as city music, but I was interested to hear how you thought about this stuff in relation to the new record, and how that might fit into the grander scheme of older Simple Minds music.

JK: They say that artists have two or three themes that they're always going back to or riffing off. If that is the case with Simple Minds, this idea of movement, or searching, or being on the move: it's obviously been the story of our lives, albeit through touring. But even before we were touring, Charlie and I used to hitchhike all over Europe. We were living out our version of the Beatniks, you know? Our version of Kerouac and all those guys. We would hitchhike to see bands, but then we'd hook up with people and end up in some [situation], living in Leipzig for two weeks or something like that. I guess it comes from a restlessness. Not sort of "ants in our pants," but a kind of restlessness. Especially in Europe — the States also, where you've got that landmass — but in Europe cultures and landscapes change within a hundred kilometers, and there's worlds within worlds. Within those worlds, there's good things going on. Within those worlds, there's tragic things. Especially back then, you know, when you had the Berlin Wall and all that stuff. That seemed to be ... we always felt with our music we were on some kind of journey. We still do, both metaphorically and physically. Likewise, looking around, the first track of the album, Blindfolded, it opens with an image — I remember the first time we'd been in El Paso in Texas, and Juarez, and first hearing about the immigrants across the border there and they go through these trips trying to come from one world into the next. Where I [live] in Italy just now, it's also a gateway for immigrants coming in from Africa. There's a lot of problems — a lot of them die on the way, lose their lives just making this journey. It seems to be that some of that imagery just pops in the songs. I'm sitting in Glasgow just now, I'm a Scotsman but third generation Irish, and there are people here who are the same thing. We're here because people went on the move. All of America's there because people went on the move. These are universal themes that are ongoing.

StereoGum: On the notion of movement and everything — when did you move to Italy? I didn't realize you lived there.

JK: Well, what happened was — I first went to Italy with school. School took us on a trip when I was fifteen and I like to say — I don't know what age you are, but it was like I discovered the world was in color. Glasgow — don't get me wrong, I love Glasgow, but in the '60s and '70s the city was on its knees. It was kind of bankrupt. It was pretty monochrome. Going to Italy was like, "Wow, look at this." I fell in love with the place. I've been going ever since. Probably about ten, twelve years ago was the only time in the band where for about a year we kind of started to think, "You know what, maybe this is it." Getting songs was like getting blood out of a stone. We didn't just want to go around like punch-drunk boxers because there was nothing else to do. We'd been looked after, we didn't have to do that. We weren't quite sure what was going to happen, but within that I thought, "Alright, here's my time to go and settle home in Italy," which is what I always wanted to do, and get the language, and all that stuff. I did that. That was about ten years ago, no, twelve years ago, sorry ... no, fourteen years ago, I've got it. And then as soon as I got everything set up, the music kinda came back to us. We've been pretty busy ever since. I do have my place there, I do have the language, but I haven't had the chance to spend as much time there as I thought I was going to.

StereoGum: And you own a hotel there, right?

JK: I own it, I don't run it. There's professional people running it. It would last about a month if I was running it. Not only that, but I'm not there to run it. That was part of a thing I got into there. I got into it with a partner and he ended up bailing. It's mine and my son's now, he looks after it and he works in it. It's cool.

StereoGum: In the last ten or so years, there's been a lot of music where you could really see the influence of the early '80s coming back, whether melodically or bands just going synth-pop or whatever. At this point, you've kind of seen your style come in and out of vogue a few times. I don't know how much you keep up with contemporary music, but what's it like seeing that unfold?

JK: I guess this stuff all does go in cycles, not just in music, but in literature, architecture, design, fashion. You know, one minute you're in fashion and then you're completely out of fashion, but if you hang around long enough and don't get desperate, suddenly you become "classic." You see that happening all the time. It has been... I mean, the thing with Simple Minds is that there's many Simple Minds within Simple Minds. There was definitely an electronic art-rock phase; a lot of people associate us with the big MTV pop age. Other people you talk to and they say "Oh, Simple Minds are stadium rock." I'll say, "Hang on a minute, I think it can be all those things." We have been all of those things. The electronics, I think those first four or five records... I can say it without thinking I'm blowing my own horn, but, you know, people do see them as pioneering. For decades now, the stuff's been getting sampled. It's a great thing to see. But, yeah, I mean, it's thrilling. I'm not blasι about it, even though I might seem blasι when I talk about the procedure of things going in and out of fashion. One minute, no one wants to know you, and the next minute it's like "Oh, they're using your music on the fashion catwalks in Paris." You think, "Well, what's gone on?"

StereoGum: Whether you met them or just heard them, have you come across any newer artists in the last five or ten years that you heard some Simple Minds influence in? Or anyone who's told you they were really inspired by you when they were younger?

JK: We don't really meet them so much, you know, but you read stuff. Bands like Editors, but yeah there has been quite a few and then there's been people you'd never expect. This isn't from the last ten years, but the other day over at the Q Awards, people like Billy Corgan come up. I read an interview with Ryan Adams, who I'm a big fan of, and he was going into a lot of detail about our earlier records. I wouldn't think Ryan Adams, I can't see the association. You're never quite sure what people listened to when they were kids, and if it's been us and we've inspired them or even given them a good time, then that's great.

StereoGum: It's funny you bring up Ryan Adams, because I interviewed him in September and we actually talked about the Simple Minds."

JK: Did you? Maybe it came from your interview.

StereoGum: We didn't really go into detail in mine, but he was talking about what music he listens to when he runs. He was talking about how he's always loved early '80s music and he mentioned Simple Minds.

JK: Well, you know what, if you ever talk to him again — I run to his music! [laughs] Especially that track "New York, New York," I love that.

StereoGum: To go back to what you were saying about how Simple Minds have been all these different things, from art-rock to stadium rock—how do you feel about that divide between the earlier, more experimental years and the poppier MTV years? I'm wondering what you think of the pop breakthrough years these days, based on some of your comments I've read. Whether you aren't really a fan of how things went after that. Not that you've disparaged it, necessarily, but I've seen a few comments where it seemed like you were more about the earlier stuff before that.

JK: Genuinely, I like the pop years as well. The Once Upon A Time album, that we did — we decided to do that, that's what we wanted to do. I've gotta say, when we really put our minds into something, we're pretty good at pulling it off. You know, if you're gonna do … lots of other people have done America and failed miserably. So we said, "Let's do this." We went to New York and we worked with Bob Clearmountain and Jimmy Iovine, these great American guys in these American studios. In my opinion, we flourished. It was a different... I could see why people who liked the earlier records might go, "Hang on a minute, this is not my thing anymore." But, you know, things evolve. We couldn't... we had a voracious appetite for listening to all different kinds of music. If you were in our touring minivan in 1978 and 1979, you would have heard all the German electronic Krautrock, but you also would've heard Springsteen. You would've heard Diana Ross, James Brown. Our [original] drummer [Brian McGee] was the biggest damn ELO fan in the world. He didn't last long. [laughs] There was only two kinds of music to us: great music and music that wasn't worth its salt. Obviously through the periods we would tune into different styles we were consumed by, and I think sometimes we just moved too fast for certain people. I could understand that — I didn't like it, but I could understand it. And then when it came to this thing, when this MTV thing took over the world, that was like, suddenly... it's hard to describe, there was nothing, and then MTV was in every bar in the world. Go into Tokyo, MTV's there. Go to Australia, MTV's there. Go to the north of Scotland, MTV's there. You're like, "You know what, we better get on that." If we want people to hear the music. So, no, I don't... on one hand, I understand that the band's imagination was probably at its most fertile in those five years, those early five years and those early five albums, but when it came to songwriting — when you say, "Let's do a big pop rock album," you know, Once Upon A Time, it hits the mark. So I'm not tough on it. There's a few records that I am tough on because I think we didn't finish them off. We were one or two songs short, and for that, you know, I feel bad. You know, all of the periods, I embrace them.

StereoGum: Is there a particular Simple Minds record that's your personal favorite, or sums up the whole story for you?

JK: I think, New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84), for the critics... when I think about making that record a smile comes to my face. It was just one of these things where everything we tried worked. Other records you think, "Yeah, we went in, and the first half worked and the other half we were tearing each other's hair." It just worked. The weather was good. We finished the album, and we played it for the next six months to ourselves. We just loved it. You know, it's hard to separate all the great feelings with that. But, you know, you mentioned Hillage and Sons And Fascination, and although we didn't quite have our chops together and some of the things were a little bit over-ambitious, but there's nothing wrong with that. I have a great affinity with that record also.

www.stereogum.com



It had to be done... and nicely done is was too! See the-h-person.deviantart.com for more...



Saints And Sinners has finally been resurrected (at last!) on replica 7" vinyl by Spanish punk reissue specialists Paramecium Records.

The 7" was released in November and is available direct from www.parameciumrecords.com.

(It's now Saints And Soldiers according to the label but I wouldn't believe that!)

And nothing feels the same. As details of Big Music and the new European tour are revealed, then it will become apparent that things are slowly changing in the Simple Minds camp. Nothing drastic or dramatic, but enough to keep it fresh, dynamic and interesting.

The new single, Honest Town, gets its radio debut today, as it's due to be played on Ken Bruce's morning show on BBC Radio Two. Pretty standard so far, as such a promotional gesture was used for Broken Glass Park. But the fact that Simple Minds are then appearing on Chris Evan's show to perform an acoustic set of four songs on Friday morning does break the pattern. Not the full band, not the electroset line-up, but a new acoustic version of Simple Minds.

Evans has already raved about the new album. "@achrisevans: The new Simple Minds album is oFf the chuffing charts. As fresh as a newly laid free range chuckie egg. Seriously good. Well done everyone."

So two shows to tune into this week. Fresh, dynamic and interesting. Expect more of these twists.



Big Music will be getting the big multi-format release. The obligatory single 12-track standard CD is joined by a limited edition deluxe edition (a tasty little box-set modelled on familiar lines comprising of the standard album, a bonus CD, interview and video DVD plus a double-sided poster) and a limited edition double LP set.

The album's standard artwork has also been revealed. There have been some nods to Depeche Mode's Music For The Masses, except that features three limp orange speakers on a flimsy pole, whilst Simple Minds have opted for a floating Death Star steel speaker array. It should now be apparent how clever the design is – a section through the floating speakers yields the new Celtic cross logo. And it's this version of the design, rendered in silver, which graces the front the limited edition deluxe edition.

Those who take interest in the record company details on sleeves – and, admittedly that's not going to be many – will have noticed the sly change in branding from Virgin to Universal. This shouldn't be surprising since the Universal takeover of floundering EMI was widely reported, even escaping the music business press and appearing as a footnote in the mainstream media.

From a fan's perspective, this should be welcomed. I'd often privately joked that Virgin were a record company who didn't release anything, whilst Universal were well known for releasing almost everything. It was widely expected that EMI's new masters would be fully delving into dusty music archives and releasing everything they could in order to recoup their outlay.

This is the climate which lead to Celebrate: The Collection. From a fan's perspective, especially those who'd purchased the 2CD and 3CD sets, then the inclusion of a singular CD package is seen as naively unnecessary, perhaps cynically exploitative. Yet it's business: Universal simply realised that Virgin hadn't hit the whole potential market and took steps to push the band's music into these new areas. Celebrate: The Collection is a budget compilation, aimed for small retail outlets and targeted for that impulse buy.

I expect the Virgin brand will gradually disappear. The company's offices have now closed, many of the staff were issued with P45s, and for many the series of gigs at Koko – on the surface, a 40th anniversary knees up – was perhaps their personal swansong with the company. But whilst Celebrate: The Collection may not set the Simple Minds scene on fire, it will be very interesting to see what Universal come up with next.


Shhh... Big Music... keep an eye on the official site on Monday...

This current Celebrate Tour, that started in Febuary 2013 in Dublin, Ireland, will rather abruptly come to an end in a few days time. On Friday 12th of September to be precise. An audience in Durham, UK, will witness the last chords ring out on a remarkable tour that consisted of 119 gigs, in 23 different countries, and featured 70 different songs throughout the various nightly setlists that were played the world over.

Undoubtedly the passing of this last gig and tour, will also mark the passing of yet another entire phase in our band's history. But as always with Simple Minds, as one era comes to a close, a new one is already in motion, as anyone who has heard or seen the clip for the new song Blindfolded, will more than verify.

To recap first. Within this last 18 month phase of touring we also released a Greatest Hits package complete with added new songs, as well as releasing a live concert film, shot at the Hydro in Glasgow. And as if all of that was not enough, we rather excitingly managed to record our 16th studio album, recently completed in London. Full details of release etc., to come.

And so where do we go from here? Well, with no thoughts of stopping whatsoever, we have already started thinking about writing/recording schedules for the next studio album - our 17th. While simultaneously getting set to announce a whole new phase of live touring, one that will take us way into the future.

And so it is with great thanks that we recognise the plentiful magic moments that occurred while performing for all who came to see us during this tour. It's been wonderful. But I reckon it could get a whole lot more wonderful still.

Thanks for hanging in with us!

Simple Minds



"And so it begins." When I wrote that, before disappearing on holiday, I knew that the album campaign was starting behind the scenes, but didn't know how quickly it would actually start. The unveiling of Big Music has been a slow gradual affair, and some fans are still questioning whether this is actually it - but the long wait for the first Simple Minds studio album since 2009's Graffiti Soul is almost over.

This questioning is perhaps prompted by the way Big Music gradually crept into the fans' consciousness. It hasn't been traditional in the sense of a classic album launch – a few months silence and then *wham*: a new single, a new album, track listings, artwork and release date. Unlike Black And White 050505 and Graffiti Soul which followed these tried and tested marketing rules, Big Music has been more akin to New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84): tracks have been tried out in public, new material has permeated the set-list, demo names and song titles and even snippets of lyrics have appeared in the public domain. Big Music is already almost familiar despite not even being released yet.

But it has begun... and the album will be released in November. Big Music, Imagination and Blindfolded are now live staples. And the album will include these, and several other already familiar song titles and also several other surprises.



The campaign for Big Music officially kicked off on the 4th September. The Blindfolded video was uploaded on the official site to create anticipation for the track's radio-debut on Steve Lamaqc's Six Music Roundtable the same evening. Lamaqc was quick to clear up any confusion surrounding the song: Blindfolded was a teaser and not the new single. His studio guests were generally appreciative of the song despite a glut of so-called 80s bands selected for review that week and some guests not being Simple Minds fans.

The video was suitably abstract, a rolling montage of mirrored scenes of Paris and Berlin. Again, it was a teaser; the big band performance video would have to wait for the first single proper.



The new logo was also officially unveiled on the same date with the official site draped in this new livery. Yet, those with keen eyes, and a sense that something was starting to happen, would've clocked the new logo on Mel's drumkit a few day's previously at the Electric Picnic gig.

The new artwork is very clever and some have already correctly guessed what it is. All will become clear when the album's sleeve itself is published.

And so it begins. Behind the scenes, work has started on the final parts of the album. This includes a promotional video for Blindfolded which has been shot in Paris and Berlin with the band by Damien Reeves of Noisebox. Release date? Late 2014.





Suikerrock Festival, Tienen, Belgium
1st August, 2014

Many thanks to Klaus for the pictures.

"Out of Italy en-route to Belgium. We have had great nights at Suikerrock Festival before. Hoping for yet another tomorrow night." - Jim, 1st August 2014

"Thank you to all for the reception last night. Third time at Suikerrock - always memorable." - Jim, 2nd August 2014



Chris Evans' Car Fest, Cheshire, UK
2nd August, 2014

"After the recent successful shows in Northampton and Kew Gardens in London, we are now looking forward to the various UK gigs throughout August. First up is Cheshire this coming Saturday night. See you there!" - Jim, 1st August 2014

"Thanks to all for the welcome last night. Great atmosphere at the event. Organisation was superb, the audience as good as any anywhere. Thanks to Chris Evans and the BBC for the invite." - Jim, 3rd August 2014

"Back home and getting very excited about our one and only Scottish date at Linlithgow Palace... one week from now." - Jim, 3rd August 2014



Smukfest Festival, Skanderborg, Denmark
7th August, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Imagination / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing - Riders On The Storm

Many thanks to Steen for the set-list.



Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
8th August, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Imagination / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

Many thanks to Steen for the set-list.

"Next up Denmark. The Danes have supported Simple Minds ever since our first gigs there in 1979. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen on Friday will be special - as will Skanderborg the previous night." - Jim, 4th August 2014



Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, UK
10th August, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hunter And The Hunted / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / The American / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me) / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

"It was seeing the atmospheric images from Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel show at Linlithgow Palace a couple of years ago that convinced us it would be only a matter of time before someone would come up with the idea of using the historical site as the background to an open air music festival. We are delighted that it has come to pass this year, even more delighted that Simple Minds will have the honour of being involved in what will inevitably be one the highlight of our touring activities this summer."

"As to what the audience can expect from our set at Linlithgow Palace? Well of course we will play all the "big hits," those that are received ecstatically night after night as we continue to tour the world. But in fact we will be choosing songs from throughout our career, from the first album all the way up to the current. Some new songs also. Simple Minds now try to never play the exact same set twice, we always look to add the odd surprise, Linlithgow can expect that."

"Playing in Scotland is always amongst the highlights of any tour, it is our home after all. The recently released Simple Minds Celebrate Live DVD, filmed at The Hydro in Glasgow last year, more than gives an idea of the connection between Simple Minds and our Scottish fans."

"Scotland had produced an abundance of remarkable music over the decades. We look forward to playing alongside many of the artistes who have contributed to that at this Linlithgow Palace event. We invite everyone to come alone,g and we promise to give 100% of ourselves during our performance on the night." - Jim, 24th June 2014

"Many thanks to the fans at Linlithgow for their support through a rain drenched day. Wonderful gig in a wonderful location, would be great to see this place as a regular venue (with better weather of course). Truly great audience." - Charlie, 13th August 2014



Foire Aux Vins, Colmar, France
13th August, 2014

"Thank you for the reception in Colmar last night. It was the last French gig of the tour, we enjoyed every one of them and appreciate the on-going enthusiasm for our music in France. See you next year!" - Jim, 14th August 2014

Neu! Gold Dream indeed! The Manic's latest album is put under the microscope by Alexander Tate. Those still unconvinced should listen to Dreaming A City whilst thinking of Theme For Great Cities. Connections and parallels continue.



As part of the build-up for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Simple Minds appeared on the BBC's flagship light-entertainment they'll-never-better-Nationwide programme The One Show. Jim shared the sofa with Lulu and Claire Balding and the band closed the show with Alive And Kicking.

It's available on the BBC's iPlayer for the next few days.



As part of the build-up for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Simple Minds appeared on the BBC's light-entertainment they'll-never-better-Wogan radio programme The Ken Bruce Show. This was much, much better. Again the whole programme is available on the BBC's website and video of two of the songs can also be seen here.

And it was a rare outing for the Electroset line-up of Simple Minds which included Jim, Charlie, Sara and Simon.

Ken Bruce Show, Glasgow, UK
23rd July 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Promised You A Miracle / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Alive And Kicking



Place de l'Office du Tourisme, Morzine, France
14th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself

This was a free show.

Many thanks to Fred and Phil for the set-list, Lionello for the poster, set-list and live pictures and Richard for the live pictures.

The entire gig can be seen on YouTube.

"We look forward as always to returning to France for two gigs next week. First up is Morzine on Monday 14th. Followed by Nice on Wednesday 16th. Lucky us... see you there!" - Jim, 11th July


Crazy Week Festival, Theatre De Verdure, Nice, France
16th July, 2014
"Last played here in 1984 - great memories. Nice will always be a special town for Simple Minds. Came here to work on lyrics for what was to become some of our biggest tunes: Alive And Kicking, All The Things She Said, Oh Jungleland and Once Upon A Time."

"Also remember receiving a "telegram" in the small Nice Hotel, informing that Simple Minds were number 1 on Billboard Charts with Don't You (Forget About Me). Best days of our lives? No! It was great then... but it is still great now. We are really looking forward to playing in Theatre Verdure tomorrow night. It will be better than ever. A promise." - Jim, 15th July



Delapre Festival, Northampton, UK
18th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself

"Cannot emphasise how much our audiences are "giving" at these summer shows. The audience at Delapre was out of this world. Hoping for more of the same tonight at Kew in London." - Jim, 18th July



Kew The Music, Kew Gardens, London, UK
19th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Graeme for the pictures.

"Kew: we loved you. Beautiful spot. Weather was perfect. Jeez....what an audience. Unforgettable! Thanks all of you." - Jim, 19th July



Teatro Antico, Taormina, Sicily
24th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Peter for the pictures.

"Italians have supported Simple Minds since our earliest days. They made us feel so good that we ended up living there - almost! We are looking forward to returning next week and what a great way to start - by performing at Teatro Greco in Taormina. Looking forward to giving our very best, as always." - Jim, 18th July

"Hello and welcome to everyone who is going to see Simple Minds tonight at the Teatro Greco. If it is your first time in Taormina I am sure you will really enjoy the town and the venue, you will also understand why we think it is a truly magical place. Thanks to all for coming to see us in Sicily - especially the many who have travelled from far and wide. We appreciate it!" - Jim, 24th July



Banchina San Domenico, Molfetta, Italy
26th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Enrico for the ticket scan, set-list and pictures.

"Ged Grimes is delighted to be back in Rome. We all are, and very much looking forward to the show tonight. But first we must say thanks to all who gave us a fantastic reception in Puglia/Molfetta." - Jim, 27th July 2014



The Cavea, Rome, Italy
27th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Hunter And The Hunted / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Dolphins / Theme For Great Cities / Dancing Barefoot / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Francesco for the ticket scan.

"Had the feeling that last night's gig in Rome was very special. We certainly enjoyed it as much as any previous Rome show within our career. Sicily, Puglia, Rome and now Ferrara, these Italian dates are wonderful." - Jim, 27th July 2014



Piazza Castello, Ferrara, Italy
28th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Hunter And The Hunted / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Dolphins / Theme For Great Cities / Dancing Barefoot / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Francesco for the ticket scan.

"Had the feeling that last night's gig in Rome was very special. We certainly enjoyed it as much as any previous Rome show within our career. Sicily, Puglia, Rome and now Ferrar, these Italian dates are wonderful. Thanks to all!" - Jim, 28th July 2014

"Another amazing night in Italy. Ferrara was an experience, the audience was better than ever. Thanks to all...we will be back most certainly" - Jim, 29th July 2014



Arena Alpe Adria, Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy
29th July, 2014

"It has been a while since we last played in Torino. We hope to make up for that tomorrow night in what will be our last show of this great Italian tour." - Jim, 29th July 2014

"Considering the torrential downpour that occurred during the show, last night's crowd in Lignano were amazingly supportive throughout the almost two hour show. Together... we sparkled in the rain. Unforgettable! Thank you. - Jim, 30th July 2014

"Big thanks to all the people at Lignano last night. It rained for most of the gig but they stayed and made it a memorable night. Grazie a tutti." - Charlie, 30th July 2014

"Jim threatened to never buy me an ice cream in Taormina again if i didn't post something on FaceBook." - Charlie, 30th July 2014



Gru Village, Turin, Italy
30th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Hunter And The Hunted / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Dolphins / Theme For Great Cities / Dancing Barefoot / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Many thanks to Martin for the photo-pass, ticket and set-list.

"After last night's downpour, it is nice to arrive on a beautiful sunny morning here in Turin. Very much looking forward to tonight's show." - Jim, 30th July 2014

"Who are the best audiences to play to? Well, we are lucky because everywhere we go we get great audiences. But....considering the crowds we have played to over the last few nights, the Italians are surely up with the very best. No doubt about it." - Jim, 30th July 2014

"Tonight's show (Turin) will be the 6th show in 7 days. That Simple Minds have energy to burn is no secret. It is however our crew, including the drivers etc, that really put in the extra effort to enable such a schedule. Hats off - big thanks to all of them!" - Jim, 30th July 2014

"Ciao Italia: Until the next time! We enjoyed every minute - sunshine and rain. Taormina, Molfetta, Roma, Ferrara, Lignanon and Torino - thanks to all for these unforgettable nights." - Jim, 31st July 2014

Kunst!Rasen, Bonn, Germany
11th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Stars Will Lead The Way / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Sumertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself






Bospop Festival, Weert, The Netherlands
12th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

Let It All Come Down wasn't played despite it being on the set-lists.

Many thanks to Martin for the ticket scan, set-list scan and all the photos.

Absolute Radio have the biggest microphones in the game but don't let that put you off - or the various cutlery related mishaps and etiquette blunders by the guy in the background which would put any finishing school in disgrace. (My favourite is at 0:50 where he drops his fork, retrieves it from the ground, inspects it closely, shrugs and then blithely continues.)

The real star of the video is Jim where he fields the usual banal questions with grace. He talks about headlining Cornbury, playing festivals in general, things that could go wrong, favourite song live to get the crowd going (which of course is Waterfront), is it still fun to play the big hits, how lots of bands are influenced by the early Simple Minds (a much better question), how do you remain contemporary and relevant now (another good one) and what will happen in the end once it's all over.

The most interesting part of the interview is around the eight minute mark. Not because the guy in the background is seeing how much stuff he can pile on his fork in one go... but because the conversaton is about new material:

Q: Are you writing new material now?
JK: The album is just about finished. That'll come end of this year or early next year.
Q: Do you have a name for the album yet?
JK: Big Music.



Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew, UK
5th July, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Alive And Kicking / Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself

"Andy enjoyed playing there last night. We all did. An audience of all ages made us feel appreciated. New and old songs are going over fantastically well, the highlight for me is Dolphins... thanks to all once again." - Jim, 6th July 2014



What song would you use to introduce Ridley Scott's forthcoming epic Exodus: Gods And Kings? Well, Belfast Child of course!

I know what you're thinking. What have previous woes of Northern Ireland got to do with the Biblical struggle of Moses and his people and their return to the promised land? But all is not as it seems, as the trailer's editor has skillfully edited Sydney Wayser's haunting cover of the Simple Minds' classic to produce an eerie, poignant backdrop for preview reel.

And here's the cover in all its glory:



Trιlazι Free Festival, Parc du Vissoir, France
27th June, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Mandela Day / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking
Encore #2: Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself

There was a technical problem after Dolphins which delayed the start of Let The Day Begin.

Many thanks to Nicolas for the set-list.



Back in the day... well the early nineties to be precise, the Perfecto remix was the one to look forward to. Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne crafted some unique reworks which built and highlighted the originals rather than strip them down to virtually nothing and plump some random new tune on top.

They never remixed anything by Simple Minds although their work for U2 is well known. (Even Better Than The Real Thing and Lemon being their best.)

So where are they now?

Well, Steve Osborne is currently co-producing Big Music. A great choice as I always liked his work with New Order and The B52s.

As for Paul Oakenfold he has just released a new double compilation of cover remixes called Trance Mission. If that does sound a little like a Simple Minds cover, then its should come as no surprise that Paul has remixed that standard-of-the-remix Theme For Great Cities. In the first link below, he talks about the project whilst the second link is the track itself.



George Porter gives the lowdown to Irvine Beat FM about Empires That Dance and their new version of Changeling:



Palacio De Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain
25th June, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking
Encore #2: Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

"Thanks for the wonderful reception in Barcelona last night. Following on from Athens, in fact we have had exceptional audiences throughout this tour. We appreciate each and everyone - thanks for coming to see and hear Simple Minds." - Jim, 26th June 2014

Many thanks to Phil for the set-list.



Journalist Keith Cameron highlights the Manic Street Preachers and their continuing references to early Skids and Simple Minds in this article.



And finally... it needs no introduction... Changeling by Empires That Dance:

Empires That Dance - Changeling is officially released. The accompanying video is an astonishing piece of work considering that it was put together on a shoestring budget. Filmed on location in Edinburgh and Glasgow's West End, you may see a few recognisable faces in there. Special thanks goes to Martin Poschinger from Sweet Invaders Movies for producing a video that in our opinion polarises anything that established bands produce. Martin and his assistant John Provyn have worked tirelessly on our multimedia with new videos and a new website. We are externally grateful to them. What started out as a pipe dream for the band is now a reality and available for you to download now via various outlets including iTunes. Enjoy! Purchase Changeling on iTunes.

En Lefko Fest, Athens, Greece
20th June, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Hypnotised / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking
Encore #2: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself

New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) replaced Let It All Come Down which was originally in the set-list.

Many thanks to Grigorios for the set-list and all the pictures.

"On our way to a city that unfortunately we have only played in a few times. Each time fantastic. Hoping to make up for our absence tomorrow night at "En Lefko Festival" in Technopolis, Gazi, Athens." - Jim, 19th June 2014

"Best audience so far? It is possible. Thanks to all for giving us such a great night!" - Jim, 20th June 2014

"Boy, they were gritty last night!

Grit is living life as though it is marathon, not a sprint.
Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals.
Grit is having stamina, grit is sticking with your future day in - day out,
Not just for the week, not just for the months, but for the years,
Working very hard to make that future a reality."



And what do the fans think about Empires That Dance's version of Changeling?.

The band have also launched their own website where you can keep up-to-date with their plans and find out more about the band.

"You may know Gordy Goudie. He's written, produced, played and even sang for Simple Minds over the course of four albums. Here he is in his Kitchen of Visions where he and Jim Kerr created magic talling about the imminent release of Empires That Dance - Changeling."

Bergen Festival, Bergen, Norway
13th June, 2014
Main Set #1: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself

"Full Moon Fever last night, even if darkness never really arrived in Bergen. We love playing there, audience and venue make it so. Once again thank you to all, especially those who travel from far and wide to see Simple Minds. Next up... Athens" - Jim, 14th June 2014



And how did Empires That Dance's new version of Changeling? come about? Andy Inniss reveals all.

KulturPur Festival, Hilchenbach, Germany
9th June, 2014
Main Set #1: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Stars Will Lead The Way / Love Song / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Dolphins / Blood Diamonds / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself
Encore #2: Let It All Come Down / Ghostdancing

"Thanks to all who came to see us over these last days, including last night's red hot show at Hilchenbach Fest. Next up, beautiful Bergen this coming Friday night. Minds are on the move, no doubt about it. See you there!" - Jim, 10th June 2014

Festival De Montereau Confluences, Montereau, France
6th June, 2014

"Last day of rehearsals - new songs? Sarah, Charlie, Andy, Mel and Ged getting ready for the gig on Friday in Montereau, France. Not only classics in the set list - two brand new songs, Imagination and Blindfolded, set for live debut. Simple Minds - looking back - but always moving forward." - Jim, 4th June 2014

"We were all happy with the first gig of the tour last night in Montereau. (Well organised festival, congrats.) Weather was amazingly good, audience helped us immensely - thank you. New songs felt good also - Imagination can and will get much better. Blindfolded had an almost perfect debut. Went overnight direct to Netherlands in Holland. Met some fans who had travelled some distance to see us here. Thank you - all of you! We will do our best tonight. Now we have started, we just want to play." - Jim, 8th June 2014



Retropop Festival, Emmen, The Netherlands
7th June, 2014
Main Set: Waterfront / Broken Glass Park / Love Song / Imagination - I Travel / Blindfolded / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin / Dancing Barefoot / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore #1: Big Music / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself
Encore #2: Let It All Come Down / Ghostdancing

Many thanks to Peter for the photos.

"A day off in warm Dusseldorf is always a welcome thing. If the rain does not materialise, I look forward to a good long walk by the river. More than that, we are all looking forward to our first German date of this tour - at the Hilchenbach Fest tomorrow evening. See you there." - - Jim, 8th June 2014



What does Brian McGee think of Empires That Dance's new version of Changeling?.

"Last day of rehearsals - new songs? Sarah, Charlie, Andy, Mel and Ged getting ready for the gig on Friday in Montereau, France. Not only classics in the set list - two brand new songs, Imagination and Blindfolded, set for live debut. Simple Minds - looking back - but always moving forward." - Jim, 4th June 2014

With new songs being mentioned again, it felt like a good time to collect together everything. So The Return Of The Lostboy and Big Music pages have been updated with all the tracks mentioned so far.



Ken Bruce, Radio 2 (Wednesday 23 July, 9.30AM)

Ken Bruce brings his popular morning show to his home city for the duration of the Commonwealth Games.

In the first of two shows in front of a live audience, his guests include Simple Minds, Paloma Faith and Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott of The Beautiful South.

To make the distribution of tickets as fair as possible we are operating a random draw for tickets.

You can register for tickets at any time until Monday 16 June at 4PM.

You can apply for a maximum of four tickets per person and should you be successful, you will only receive tickets for a maximum of five events.

Good luck!

The event takes place in Glasgow. You'll find the entry form on this BBC's website page.



Some of the summer gigs are going to be recorded and made available as either downloads or USB sticks. Check the tour page for which gigs are being recorded or go to www.bleecker-street-shop.com.

And so Big Music finally takes its place in the discography with its first tenative release date of October 2014.



Street Fighting Years is now twenty-five years old so Alexander Tate has reappraised this blockbuster album.



The commerical deluxe format of the Celebrate: Live From The SSE Hydro has now appeared on Amazon. Scheduled for release on the 28th July, this deluxe format only includes a CD and DVD. Only the Super Deluxe Edition ordered through the official site - and being dispatched now - includes the full gig. It remains to be seen how it's been edited down for commerical release.



It's now the turn of Nicky Wire to namecheck Simple Minds which he does in the current issue of Mojo: "They made five stupendous albums up to Sparkle In The Rain, so futurist, and coming from these working class kids. It takes you back to a time when the working class could express themselves and they were not refused entry into hipster realms full of people from public schools and Derek Forbes is one of the greatest bass players ever."



So what does Bruce Findlay think of Empires That Dance's new version of Changeling? As part of their ongoing teaser campaign, you can find out below:

Alan McGee's autobiography is reviewed here and reveals many connection between the Creation Records boss and Glasgow, notably Johnny And The Self Abusers and the Saints And Sinners bar. Worth a read, if not only for the throwaway remark that McGee once auditioned as Simple Minds' bass player.



In the The Neil Drysdale Interview, Jim talks about the forthcoming plans for Simple Minds. This includes the news that Big Music (the album) will be out in October.


Simple Minds' concert at Linlithgow in August has now been officially added to the official programme of Homecoming Scotland 2014. Read more about it on STV's website.



The final word, before Celebrate: Live From The SSE Hydro hits door mats, in the band's DVD discography is Live In Paris 1995. Immortal who put the release together asked me to promote the release back in April 2012 but I stayed clear of it. As did the official site who by their silence suggested this product, although probably just on the right side of the law, wasn't officially sanctioned by the band.

Released simultaneously on CD and DVD, Live In Paris 1995 is simply a recording of the band's gig at L'Olympia, Paris on the 1st November 1995. But the DVD, despite its smart packaging (and jarringly out-of-context cover picture of Jim from the first Mandela show), simply features the mushy SECAM French broadcast complete with original broadcaster station logo.

So it's considered a bootleg and rightly so.



Empires That Dance are back with an updated version of the classic Changeling. A teaser video gives a great preview of how it will sound. But the full video - which wil be uploaded soon - was shot in Glasgow and features many old Simple Minds haunts and several cameos. One to definitely look forward to.

(Watch to the end of the teaser for a clue.)

The Herald Scotland have listed Simple Minds in their line-up of acts who will be playing at the Commonwealth games.



The brief lull between tours has allowed me to tidy up some parts of this website. The Family Tree section has been changed slightly with the Simple Minds ElectroSet line-up now considered a separate entity rather than part of the main lineage. (The ElectroSet line-up runs in parallel with the main Simple Minds and there seems to be little point in expanding the family tree needlessly every time an ElectroSet gig takes place).

The same argument could be said of the various Proms performances. This is more time consuming to change, thanks to the number of links pointing back to various family tree versions, but is something I might deal with in time.



One section which I've now finished is the list of the band's sessions. This was more difficult than it seems as the concept of a session overlaps with exclusive live performances, rare rehearsal broadcasts, promotional studio performances etc. But all the Kid Jensen, John Peel and Billy Sloan sessions are now all listed.

Interestingly there's another blurring of the edges, as Simple Minds treated some of their early session appearances as free studio time for preparing demos. The so-called Empires And Dance demos were in fact a radio session - but the details of that session (such as the station and DJ) have been lost. So are the songs themselves demos or sessions? I think they could be called both.



On the eve of the forthcoming DVD release, I've finally documented the last Verona collectable. This press kits were put together for the pre-release media screening of the film and the second press release includes many hitherto unknown facts about the filming itself.



Current film Bad Neighbours includes Don't You (Forget About Me) in its soundtrack. Apparently it's suitably used during an "80s flashback!"



Don't You (Forget About Me) was also pastiched on BBC Radio Four's The Now Show. Broadcast yesterday (just before the nation switches off to avoid The Archers), comedian Mitch Benn used the song to highlight the court cases against Google and the desire of some individuals to remove personal history from the Internet:

Could you forget about me?
I already erased my browser history:
On-line, the places I go,
Things that I see and do - nobody needs to know.
Don't tell my colleagues or wife,
What sort of activities take up half my life.
They think I've been working all day,
Not staring at things I can't afford on eBay.

So could you forget about me?
Don't let them know:
Nine hours of cat videos,
Endless Twitter debates,
Checking FaceBook updates.

Going: Like, like-like-like-like, like-like-like-like...

It's available on the BBC's website. Skip forward to 14:45 for hilarity.



It's not just the artwork. Take a listen to The Manic Street Preachers' Europa Geht Durch Mich for both musical and lyrical echos of early Simple Minds. All together now: "Europe had a language problem..." A continuation of I Travel with 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall backbeat?

I love it. The Manic Street Preachers metamorphosis into a shouty Simple Minds is almost complete.

Full details of the recently issued USB sticks and downloads from Bleecker Street have now been added. In general, these recordings are excellent and are highly recommended. Apart from a few indexing problems on the first couple of recordings, there's nothing else to note - they are essentially flawless.







Updates to the discography:



In an excerpt from Mad World: An Oral History Of New Wave Arists And Songs That Defined The 1980s Jim describes how Don't You (Forget About Me) came about.




The Manic Street Preachers are back with new album Futurology. They've used the cryllic font again for the artwork - first used for The Holy Bible and Journal For Plague Lovers - which was inspired by the sleeve design of Empires And Dance. But the Simple Minds' connection is being further reinforced by James Dean Bradfield who is now namechecking the band as an influence for their Walk Me To The Bridge single: "[It's] an emotional European driving song with early Simple Minds synths and a Heroes-esque Ebow guitar solo."

Simple Minds prepared for the European Tour at the former Alfacam Studios in Lint, Belgium. Alfacam were taken over by AED Group in September, and the former redundant and unused studios were brought back to life, when Simple Minds used them to test out their stage show.

See Gazet Van Antwerpen for more info.



Incheba Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
28th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing - Gloria - Hello I Love You

Many thanks to Steve for the set-list and to Otto for the poster, ticket, pass and set-list pictures.



Sala Ziemi, Poznan, Poland
1st March, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

"Thanks to all in Poznan for last night's welcome. We are very happy to be playing live in Poland. Great people here. Cannot wait for tonight's gig in Warsaw." - Jim, 2nd March 2014



Stodola, Warsaw, Poland
2nd March, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing - Gloria



Dom Sportova, Zagreb, Croatia
4th March, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Mandela Day / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing - Gloria

"A longish day spent travelling from Warsaw to Zagreb, and with the final two gigs still to go, I am sure most of us would admit to feeling a little "zapped." That won't be a problem however once it is time to go on stage. We always find a reserve of energy, topped up by the energy that transmits with the amazing audiences who come to see us. No problem." - - Jim, 4th March 2014

"Been too long since we last played in Zagreb, almost 8 years I think. We have great memories of our Croatian shows in the past, including both Split and Krk. Delighted to see that our fans here will welcome us back with a sold out show. Thank you!" - Jim, 3rd March 2014

"Andy prepares the new song Midnight Walking. With only two gigs left on the tour we are still keen on the idea of playing it at least once before this series of gigs comes to end. Zagreb or Skopje? Who knows. - Jim, 4th March 2014

"I know, I know, I already said that Milano was the max! But... the audience in Zagreb was unbelievable really. What an experience today, with only a few hours to go before the start, we were within minutes of having to rethink our situation. But thanks to the chiropractor, sports doctors... plus a couple of injections here and there, all went off more than fine in the end. The band played incredible tonight in my opinion. But this audience in Croatia deserved that and more. Thanks very much to all in Zagreb, including also those who travelled from Split, Slovenia, Serbia, Hungary, and Italy." - Jim, 4th March 2014

The gig was not recorded due to logistical issues.

The concert was fully sold out two or three days before the gig (approximately 4000-5000 people). Some fans from Slovenia, Hungary and Italy were also there (and Jim gave them a huge welcome.) The reviews and comments after the gig in the Croatian daily newspapapers and musical portals were excellent. Despite the fact that Jim felt unwell (with a virus and some back trouble) he performed with 100% effort as did the rest of the band. During Dancing Barefoot Sarah took off her shoes and danced for real barefoot! so these two moments showed that the band was in a good shape. - Davor

Many thanks to Otto for the poster, ticket and set-list and Davor for the photographs.



Bleeker Street didn't release the Zagreb or Skopje shows due to "logistical issues." Which was unfortunate given Jim's reaction to the gigs. So, passionate fans have launched a petition for the recording of Zagreb to be released - as it's believed someone did record them. Click on the banner below for more information.



Zagreb Review

Since I became a fan of Simple Minds 16 years ago, I have seen Simple Minds live many times in many countries. Among many other cities, I saw the band in Zagreb, Croatia twice - first in 2003 and then again in 2006. And of all the audiences the Croatian crowd was far the most enthusiastic. I always returned home with the feeling that I have to go back to Zagreb whenever Simple Minds would play there.

So when the 2014 tour dates were announced, I was very happy to see the Zagreb date. I booked my ticket and was really expecting my return to to Zagreb. The city was full of posters promoting the gig - including huge billboard posters as well.

The venue itself was a basketball hall. We got there about half an hour before the doors opened so it was easy to get to front row. More and more people came inside and once it was totally full. The show was sold out.

When the first sounds of the intro of Broken Glass Park began, the arena exploded. The Croatian audience was simply amazing. There were approx. 4-5 thousand people there but they made a noise as loud as 20 thousand would make. They enjoyed every second of the concert, from the first sound till the end.

After a few songs Jim said hello to the crowd, mentioning that he had good news and bad news as well. The good news were that they have a lot of music to play, and the bad news was that he had some pain in the back as he was not that young any more. At first I thought it was kind of irony, but soon I could see that something was not OK. While Jim and the band gave their best ever performance, at some points between songs it could be seen that Jim was suffering of pain in his back. Sometimes when he wasn't moving he was leaning to the side of the stage. Those of us who were in the first rows, close to the stage could see sometimes on his face that something was wrong. But still, he gave his best. It seemed that the amazing audience gave him a lot of extra power to give as a full and superb performance. His voice was clear and powerful. And the same stands for the entire band. That night it was really fun for them to be on stage, it wasn't a job to do. Even Sarah Brown was so satisfied that during Dancing Barefoot she took off her shoes and ran and jumped all around the stage. It was a night to remember.

I think before the concert started Jim was afraid if he could give a great performance that's why it was decided not to release the Zagreb concert after the show. Too bad that at the end it turned out that it was the best concert of the tour. But the show WAS recorded. We saw some sound engineers working during the show, there were the extra microphones recording the crowd - so there is a recording out there. And I think that the Zagreb audience, Simple Minds fans and the world deserves to hear this amazing live recording. Simple Minds on their best!

Otto Jung



SRC Kale, Skopje, Macedonia
5th March, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Mandela Day / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

The gig was not recorded due to logistical issues.

Many thanks to Zoran for the pictures.

"Tonight's show in Skopje is the last of a series that began almost 6 weeks ago. Before we know it though, we will be back out in early Summer, embarking on another 3 month's worth of shows. Simple Minds really are on a mission, firstly to continue improving in every way what we do as a live band, but also to show that as one of our fans put it "You remind everyone that concerts are not about flying angels, or armies of showbiz dancers, but more about truly iconic performance." And as yet another commented "The atmosphere was so relaxed, everybody was smiling, the band and the music were fantastic, there was a great energy between the band and the audience, an amazing harmony." And with these words they sum up what we are setting out to achieve with out live music. We aim to give 100% no matter where we walk on and plug in. It could be a club, theatre, arena, stadium. Wherever we are, we care only about the people who come to see us. No other recognition necessary." - Jim, 6th March 2014

Tollhaus, Karlsruhe, Germany
11th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

"Karlsruhe - thank you. Next up - Tier. Dolphins made its comeback to the set tonight. Last time it was played live must be quite a few years ago. Did it work? Of course it worked, but it will get better. Simple Minds will get better too. We are not even half as good as think we could be. A lot to be getting with, time to roll up our sleeves. Thanks to the audience in Karlsruhe for making us feel so welcome and so good!" - Jim, 11th February 2014

"German audiences: We are now exactly half way through our 16 German dates. It is worthwhile saying that the audience at every one of these shows has been generous to Simple Minds - beyond belief. Thanks to everyone so far who has come to see us in Germany, we look forward to the rest of the dates immensely." - Jim, 11th February 2014



Europahalle, Trier, Germany
12th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking

Many thanks to Fred for the set-list.



Palladium, Kφln, Germany
14th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / Light Travels / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

Many thanks to Fred and Stefan for the set-list.

"Great to see Peter Walsh after the show in Koln. Peter, as some will know, was the producer of what many believe to be our finest album - New Gold Dream. That is saying something considering the list of album producers we have worked with, including Jimmy Iovine, John Leckie, Keith Forsey, Steve Lillywhite and Trevor Horn. I still find it hard to believe that Pete was only 21 years old when he produced that record. The guy youngest in the room, the rest of us were 22! In any case the Simple Minds story owes so much to Peter Walsh in particular. You are always welcome Walshie!" - Jim, 17th February 2014



Konzerthalle, Olsberg, Germany
15th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Book Of Brilliant Things / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking



Capitol, Hannover, Germany
16th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / War Babies / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Book Of Brilliant Things / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land / Light Travels / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking

Many thanks to Fred for the set-list.

"New tunes - best live songs? Light Travels was played for the second time in the last three days. With this new arrangement it could perhaps become one of our best live songs. Similarly, Big Music and brand new tunes Human, Midnight Walking, Spirited Away, are all due to start featuring in the live set. We need to start airing them now in order to have them sounding great for the planned summer shows." - Jim, 17th February 2014



Phφnixhalle, Mainz, Germany
18th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / War Babies / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Book Of Brilliant Things / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land / Light Travels / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking

"Another leap forward: Spring weather during these last two days in Germany, always a nice feeling. With only two more weeks to go, it feels like we are heading into the last lap of this winter tour. Well, it might be winter outside, but thanks to the audiences, the atmosphere in the venues has been red hot. Listen out for news of some of the new songs that we plan to introduce over the upcoming shows. Simple Minds are getting ready to take yet another leap forward."- Jim, 18th February 2014

"A possible highlight so far of this German tour. Highlight of the gig? Charlie's guitar sound on Book Of Brilliant Things. No doubt about it!"- Jim, 18th February 2014



Werfhalle, Gφppingen, Germany
20th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Book Of Brilliant Things / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land / Light Travels / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Dolphins / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking



Stadthalle, Fόrth, Germany
21st February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land / Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

"Both Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel and Hunter And The Hunted return to the setlist. Big Music starts as a regular tonight." - Jim, 21st February 2014

"In the end we got there, and Furth felt pretty fantastic. Not that it was easy. Ged Grimes has been troubled with a virus recently, Sarah Brown was equally in a bad way, and I also could feel that I was also on the brink of something quite draining. But we don't get to "call in sick", and that is just the way it is. Glad for it too, as we would not have wanted to miss out on last night." - Jim, 21st February 2014

Whilst Big Music was played, it wasn't included on the USB sticks or made available as a download.



Stadthalle, Singen, Germany
23rd February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / War Babies / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking

"We might be bunged up as well as full of the sniffles, but that does not mean that we are not thinking about the summer months. Many dates are about to be announced over the weeks ahead. If we have not got to your country/city yet, a little patience please, we probably will sooner or later. You should understand though that it is not just a matter of us deciding to perform in a certain place, in fact it is up to a local promoter to offer us the opportunity. In that case, maybe give them a call and ask why no Simple Minds? While you are at it, warn them in advance, that we will only come if they provide good sound, good lights, and... er... a huge pot of spaghetti backstage! See you in Summer hopefully!" - Jim, 24th February 2014

Whilst Big Music was played, it wasn't included on the USB sticks or made available as a download.



Alcatraz, Milan, Italy
25th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / War Babies / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking

Many thanks to Francesco for the set-list.

"Arrived at 5AM after driving through German and Swiss borders. Watched the city start to come alive as the cars, trams, trains started to transport the early morning commuters to work. Blue skies are not always expected in this city but it was stunningly beautiful start to the day. Always get a thrill about being in Milan, it is that kind of place. Never forget our first time. Charlie and I were still 16 and hitch-hiking through Europe, almost penniless, and with whatever small amount we had rapidly running out. Our accommodation that night was the floor of Milano Centrale Station. I could see it from from the window of my hotel room this morning. Those were happy days, time was on our side. Time is a lot less on our side now. These are happy days still, because nothing stops Simple Minds. Can't wait for tonights gig!" - Jim, 25th February 2014

"Arrived in Berne around 5:30AM, still high with the pleasure from our time in Milan. We fell in love with playing in Italy way back in our very early days, that love continues I am sure. Thank you to everyone who came to see us play, you made us feel so good, made us forget our flus and viruses too. A very special thanks to those who arrived hours before the doors opened, waiting patiently outside. I know that more Italian dates are about to be announced for this summer. See you then!" - Jim, 25th February 2014




Festhalle, Berne, Switzerland
26th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Dolphins / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / She's A River / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Hunter And The Hunted / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Light Travels / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing - Gloria

"After the high of Italy, and all the success of shows in Germany over these last weeks, don't think we are less than delighted to be in Switzerland, which in in its own quiet way happens to be yet another of our favourite countries to visit. The Swiss have been supporting Simple Minds for decades and in return we will want to give only our best tonight in Berne." - Jim, 25th February 2014

"A little moment's rest - before the last week of the tour. Prague, Poznan, Warsaw, Zagreb, Skopje... and then... home!" - Jim, 27th February 2014

"Always been a regret that we have never played in Poland as much as we would have liked to. We are however taking our Big Music to both Poznan and Warsaw this weekend. Looking forward to it very much." - Jim, 28th February 2014

I've heard nothing but good things about the current Bleeker Street live recordings. If you're thinking about purchasing a stick or download, or have been put off by the uneven Concert Live offerings, then go ahead and buy one. You won't be disappointed.



Ringlokschuppen, Bielefeld, Germany
9th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: Let It All Come Down / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

Many thanks to Dieter for the ticket scan and Fred and Dieter for the set-list.



Celebrate: The Greatest Hits Live + Tour 2013 will be released on iTunes on the 24th February. This was the best of the last three concert recordings produced by Concert Live.

Sparkassen Arena, Aurich, Germany
8th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Alive And Kicking / Ghostdancing

Thanks to Fred for the set-list.

""Das Konzert in Aurich war super klasse!!!!!" according to Edith Haberland. Well that is great to know. We certainly loved our time there, thought the audience in Aurich was super klasse in fact!" - - Jim, 9th February 2014

Stadthalle, Bremerhaven, Germany
7th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / Stay Visible / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking

Thanks to Ulrich, Fred for the set-list and Martin for the poster and pictures.

"Staying, very visible in Bremerhaven. Blistering hot reaction last night. Likewise Charlie Burchill's guitar on Stay Visible. Although it is some years since we played this song live, it somehow felt better than ever. As though the song has finally found its place, its time. Cannot tell you how satisfied we are with these on going German gigs - and what a week it has been - with the reintroduction of Stars Will Lead The Way, Stay Visible plus the debut of Dancing Barefoot. The whole band seems to have a determination that is more driven than ever. Unstoppable. Long may it continue. Thanks to all who come to see us. Cannot wait for tonight's gig in pretty Aurich - and possibly looking to bring back Dolphins any day now." - Jim, 7th February 2014

Bremerhaven Review

A truly great show including everything you can expect from Simple Minds. I've been talking to people I encouraged to get tickets during the interval and they seemed to enjoy it so much even though they don't know a lot about the development of Simple Minds in the past 20 years or so. There was some disappointment when I said they won't be playing Belfast Child and Mandela Day – songs people expect to hear when a Greatest Hits Set is on the bill. For me this is just another reason to love this band – or how would you feel singing "Mandela's free..." a couple of months after Madiba's death? A fine non-political statement to leave those tracks out.

Back to the show. Stay Visible was a big surprise and it never sounded so good to me. The band and especially Sarah Brown performed superbly throughout the gig but Jim seemed to be slightly exhausted after the interval. But advance warning was given as he said that the audience should save the energy for the 2nd set.

I went with my daughter to the Stadthalle Bremerhaven. My grandchildren stayed with her grandmom... ah well and they were watching The Breakfast Club recently. The story continues. To those who are going to the forthcoming shows: Enjoy and DANCE!

Ulli Steenken

Docks, Hamburg, Germany
3rd February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - War Babies / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space - Alive And Kicking



The Live EP is now being dispatched to all those who ordered the Celebrate DVD before the 31st December 2013. It also includes a letter which was a nice touch.

It's essentially a sampler of four tracks from the forthcoming DVD. It's a great taster of what's to come and includes the new song Big Music.

It's also Simple Minds' first independent release as it was not issued through any record company.



Docks, Hamburg, Germany
4th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / This Fear Of Gods / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space - Alive And Kicking

SIMPLE MINDS - EVERY SHOW UNIQUE.

"Book Of Brilliant Things, Sweat In Bullet, Stay Visible, Moscow Underground, This Is It, Pleasantly Disturbed, Home, Dolphins, 7 Deadly Sins. Stand By Love and This Earth That You Walk Upon are among the collection of songs we will be adding to the setlist over the nights and weeks ahead. The idea is to try never playing the exact same set twice. Keeping it fresh for us, for all who come to see more than one show, and for everyone collecting those live USB stick recordings" - Jim, 4th February 2014



Jovel Music Hall, Munster, Germany
5th February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Hypnotised / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / This Fear Of Gods / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Let It All Come Down / Alive And Kicking

Many thanks to Martin and Fred for the set-list and Martin for the ticket and photos.

"City of science, city of sculptures, city of the Peace of Westphalia, city of bicycles, Hanseatic city - Mόnster is a living metropolis with many faces." Well, it felt like the City Of Simple Minds last night. The noisiest audience of the German tour so far? It is possible! In truth, all the German shows so far have been red hot. We look forward to the next few over the upcoming weekend." - - Jim, 6th February 2014

Huxleys, Berlin, Germany
1st February, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Dancing Barefoot / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking

Circus, Stockholm, Sweden
29th January, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / War Babies / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Neon Lights / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking

"I like to experience the cold northern winter weather, almost as much as I like the sunny southern climates. I like the extremes. I like the big arena type gigs we did at the end of last year. But I also like the current run of smaller shows."

"On Monday in Helsinki, it was certainly below zero outside, nevertheless it felt a bit like a Finnish sauna under the stage lights. More extremes, I guess. And these are truly smart cities, within beautiful countries. It is evident, likewise it is a real pleasure for us to have the opportunity to play here. That was the case when we first came to visit back in the late '70s. It is still the case. Thanks to all in Scandinavia who still support Simple Minds." - Jim, 27th January 2014

Stockholmn Review

Having seen Simple Minds in Helsinki just two days ago and being very impressed by their performance, I had already made up my mind that this was going to be just as good. Boy was I wrong: it was even better.

The stage in Cirkus was twice the size of the Helsinki concert's stage, meaning there was a lot more room for Jim to walk around and interact with the audience with more ease. The sound was incredibly clear: standing pretty much in the same spot again as I did in Helsinki – standing, second row from stage, between Jim and Charlie – I was now able to pick up and hear every instrument and voice. While the Helsinki gig had some issues with some of Andy's synths and Ged's bass (especially when he didn't use a pick) being mushed underneath everything else, none of this occured in Stockholm. The setlist remained otherwise identical to the Helsinki concert but Glittering Prize had been cut back to its "fun size" version familiar from the Northern Meeting Park live album from 2011 and was preceded by a similarly halved Promised You A Miracle, during which Jim tested how well the audience remembered the words (we did good). The crowd warmed up somewhat quicker than in Helsinki, and at least one instance of crowd surfing occurred, much to the chagrin of the venue's security personnel.

Just like in Finland, the audience was 100% won over by the end of the night, and just to make it even more memorable, Jim and Charlie both seemed to remember my face from Monday's concert and Charlie even came up to me to place his guitar pick into my hands at the end of the gig!

As for the concert recordings, the audio quality for both the Helsinki and the Stockholm gigs are very good, with Stockholm being the superior one in regards of mixing.

Joonas Vδlimδki



Just picking up on the rest of this interview which got "lost" back in April last year... It's too good to lose.

The Real McCoy Interview #4

MH: Here's the big leap. That was 1981 [The American] and we go onto 1982 when New Gold Dream happens. And that's a long time from releasing the first record [Life In A Day] and getting to where we are now. And you end up with a hit single and you end up on Top Of The Pops. How was that? That must've been a big change for the band after five or six years of not having a commercial success. I don't think you'd be able to do it these days but it's amazing it happened then.
JK: You're quiet right. Back in those days – I spoke earlier about glorious debuts – but normally you weren't expected to break through on your first album. It was a different world. A lot of the record companies back then were owned by maverick guys and music freaks – they were owned by people who kind of understood art and sometimes you just had to wait for everything to fall into place. And artists had to go and earn their core following. You'd be touring and touring, and when you weren't touring you'd be honing your writing and honing your recording skills.
JK: And it all added up. Maybe by your third or fourth record, you would break through. Even thinking of some of our contemporary bands: The Cure, The Bunnymen, U2 – it wasn't until their third and fourth albums that they broke through. These days you'd be dumped after the second album as no-one can earn any more money. But in our case, although I've been saying a few times we weren't selling records, we were growing in stature live. And anyone coming to see us live – anyone from the industry – knew we were on the right track and it was only a matter of time until we'd come up with the song that breaks through and takes us beyond just a core following. And all of the things fell into place for us for the album New Gold Dream which was our fifth album.
JK: We recorded it in the spring and summer of '82 and around that period we had our first radio hit with a song called Promised You A Miracle.

[Audio: Promised You A Miracle]

MH: I remember going to see Radiohead – I think it was in Houston - when it was OK Computer and everyone was raving about it and I was like "It was really good" but it's not as good as Simple Minds at the Lyceum in London when they were doing the New Gold Dream tour.
JK: Wow.
MH: That tour, and those shows, it was just something about the band. It wasn't like "We'll get commercial success" and you were cool; you were so determined in terms of the lights and the atmosphere. [I remember] actually getting a ticket and going to that show. And these things – we're friends and this is my personal opinion – but I remember going there and I bought the ticket and I went because I wanted the experience – the full experience of the live show. And it was just incredible and as a live band, it took me places I haven't been taken before and I really, really enjoyed it. So a big thanks for that.

MH: We're moving on to 1984 and an album called Sparkle In The Rain. If we could talk about that and the producer – there was a change there – but also there was a relationship between the band and U2 where the two of you seemed to be very friendly and really worked together and took stuff out of the clubs – it was a time when you moved out of the clubs and started doing shows outdoors. How did that come about and what's your relationship like with the boys from U2?
JK: It's funny. I mentioned earlier about our contemporaries. The funny thing was when you finally met people like Ian McCulloch or when you come across Robert Smith and indeed finally the guys in U2, one of the things that you realise pretty early on is that you all shared the same record collection, and you were all at these gigs. If we'd seen Iggy Pop in 1977, we'd have seen him in Glagsow and they'd have seen him in Liverpool or they'd have seen him in Dublin. So there was so much in common.
JK: That is the thing – even Depeche Mode, these are guys from Basildon, Essex who grew up together; U2 were a school band; essentially the same as Simple Minds who came out of a school. You have your different ways of going about things and different sounds but you've got so much in common. In the industry, and people don't know this, sometimes we shared the same agent and all of that stuff. So you would be out touring together. I think some of the great tours we did – some of the line-ups – being in Australia and the line-up was: The Pretenders, Simple Minds, The Eurythmics and Talking Heads. And we toured – I think we toured for two weeks together. It was just fantastic and so you go out there and you've got a relationship with people.
JK: And in the case with U2, we used to play these huge festivals. This was before Glastonbury and all these things really took off in the UK. I have to hand it to the Europeans; there were festivals in Holland like Pink Pop and in Belgium there was a two day festival called Torhout-Werchter. If you got on there then you were really getting somewhere. And lo and behold, U2 would be playing and you would stand and watch them up close. I remember the first time we saw them – they'd just come of the plane and had been awarded the first gold disc for the War album in America and they were as high as kites – and they went on before us in Belgium and they were really, really good. But talking to them afterwards they were really down and they were tired and they hadn't really come up to the mark. I thought they were great. Anyway we went on and we just happened to have one of the gigs of our lives – we just killed it – and so we were really happy about that. The next day the roles were reversed: we went on before them and again it came across so good – happy as anything. But then they came on and it had gone up about ten levels and it was unbelievable. It was one of the best things I'd ever seen.
JK: So it's been a great pleasure to play with people as well. We mentioned Peter Gabriel earlier. Played with Lou Reed, played with the Rolling Stones – we've seen them work up close as well as fantastic bands like Magazine and The Silencers (of course) and The Pretenders – it just goes on and on.

MH: So I'm going to play a track from Sparkle In The Rain. I was thinking of Waterfront or Up On The Catwalk. I really have to mention Mel Gaynor on drums who came in on this record. And I remember when I was on tour with you – I think it was around 1989 – I used to play in the shows and we were playing arenas and stadiums and soon as the show finished I would change really quickly and ask the drum tech if it was OK to sit behind Mel. So that whole tour I used to come straight off stage from The Silencers and get changed and run out and sit in the little den behind Mel's drumkit so I could watch him play because he was just phenomenal. If you had to pick a track off Sparkle In The Rain what should we play?
JK: I think if you're talking about Mel you have to play Up On The Catwalk because he plays this thing on there that's probably the most interesting thing about the song, and it's not a bad song.

[Audio: Up On The Catwalk]

Listen live online here: www.kx935.com/listen
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Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
30th January, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / War Babies / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Neon Lights / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking



Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
31st January, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Stars Will Lead The Way / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Neon Lights / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking

Circus, Helsinki, Finland
27th January, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / War Babies / Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Neon Lights / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking

Helsinki Review

After eight long years, Simple Minds finally returned to Helsinki, Finland, and it was worth the wait. Their previous gig, which took place in Helsinki's Kulttuuritalo back in 2006, suffered from poor sound and some technical difficulties with Mark Taylor's keyboards, causing a lengthy delay before the gig started. While the band did good, I always felt it wasn't a very successful event. Yesterday's concert, on the other hand, couldn't have gone any better: all the bandmembers were in top form, the venue (The Circus) was much more suited for the band's trademark big sound, the crowd was louder and more enthusiastic, and the setlist was a good compilation of new songs, classics and a couple of rarities and covers (actually, it was the same setlist from their gig in Riga).

Broken Glass Park kicked off the concert. Right away, the band was really into it and it didn't take them long to get the audience going with them. Charlie's familiar guitar riff announced that my personal favourite, Waterfront, was next. There seemed to be some technical issues with Charlie's equipment during the song but thankfully it didn't become a reoccurring nuisance for the rest of the concert. Once Upon a Time and One Step Closer were once again played back-to-back (it's amazing how well these two songs work together, despite there being about 16–17 years between them), and Let There Be Love followed with what seemed like an extended bridge before the last chorus. All the Things She Said appeared in its original studio guise, after which came what in my opinion was the biggest treat of the night: War Babies, done in its glorious new arrangement! Hilarity ensued when Jim accidentally elbowed Ged's mic stand and a crewmember with a shaved head ran to re-set it with tape to prevent further unwanted surprises. Whilst the stand was being taped, Jim took the opportunity to briefly rest his hand on the guy's head as if it was that of a small infant, thus working in an impromptu visual element to match the song (and prompting a big grin from Ged). Glittering Prize appeared in its 5x5 rendition but when compared to the recording from 5x5 Live, I felt it was played much better this time.

The first set closed Let the Day Begin. The song now featured a long, ethereal piano/synth intro by Andy, during which Jim referenced it being "written by our friend called Michael Been." I was a huge fan of the original studio recording but I think I might be loving the new live arrangement even more, mostly because there's so much more happening with the keyboards. The band then walked off to take a ten-minute-long break.

The second set started with Andy and Charlie's techno arrangement of the demo version of Speed Your Love To Me, which was instantly followed by the two performing Neon Lights with Sarah Brown doing the vocals. When Jim, Ged and Mel walked back on stage, we were treated to I Travel, Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime) and This Is Your Land, complete with lots of crowd participation, especially for the latter two songs. Blood Diamonds followed and was relatively well received, but when it sequed straight to The American, the crowd went insane... and so did Ged, who seemed to be having as much – if not even more – fun as the audience members while pumping out that classic bass line and successfully out-cooling the rest of the band with his poses and moves. The enthusiasm was carried on to Love Song, also met with roarious applause. If there's anyone who says they did not feel upbeat at that point, they're lying.

The second part of the concert was closed by Don't You (Forget About Me) and at this point it was already clear that both the band and the audience was at full energy and it seemed like both would just endlessly keep going on. Jim asked us to sing the 'la-la-la-las' in different languages, such as Finnish and Japanese, and quipped that it all sounded very much the same.

The encore shot straight to upper atmosphere with New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) and Sanctify Yourself, followed by the fantastic new arrangement of Space, and ended gloriously with Alive and Kicking. When the band walked out to receive their ovation, everyone was smiling, and it was the smile you have when you're at your happiest. There's no doubt the concert had far surpassed people's expectations, and when I walked out to get my USB stick of the concert recording, I talked to other fans as well as eavesdropped on various conversations, trying to figure out the general opinion that the attendees had of the gig.

They didn't like it. They LOVED it.

Joonas Vδlimδki

Palladium, Riga, Latvia
26th January, 2014
Main Set Part #1: Broken Glass Park - Waterfront / Once Upon A Time - One Step Closer / Let There Be Love / All The Things She Said / War Babies / Glittering Prize / Let The Day Begin
Main Set Part #2: Speed Your Love To Me / Neon Lights / I Travel / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / This Is Your Land - Blood Diamonds / The American / Love Song / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me)
Encore: New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Sanctify Yourself / Space / Alive And Kicking

"It may have been 18 degrees below outside, but inside the venue it was business as usual as the pulse stated racing and the sweat began to flow. It felt good to be back playing live, it always does, a few weeks break might rest the body but inevitably everyone including band and crew starts to get fidgety, even with the delights of home comforts. And so to Riga, we were very taken by the friendliness of the Latvians, and although far too cold to venture much of a look around I can still vouch for the prettiness of the city."

"As for the gig? It was good to be back to the two set format. Given the amount of songs we have it is obvious that Simple Minds are more suited to the long form. This Is Your Land, One Step Closer, Space, War Babies and Let The Day Begin all surfaced in a set that in total lasted 2 hour 15 mins."

"And so it's on to Helsinki tonight and we are more than keen to do it all again." - Jim, 27th January 2014

Shaun Tranter is auctioning two Simple Minds items for a Back To The 80s Event on Saturday, 1st February. If people are interested in bidding then please e-mail Shaun.

The first lot is a "Thank You" card signed by Jim, Charlie, Mel, Andy and Ged.

The second lot is a Big Music T-Shirt (medium size, one of the 11 in white and 11 in black made for Jim for the Hydro gig), a signed photo and one of Charlie's plectrums.



Ever wondered who the people are behind the scenes that you never really hear about or just read their name in a tour programme? In a series of interviews I was lucky enough to meet some of these people who managed to find some time out of the hectic schedule.

In this first interview I was lucky enough to speak to lighting guru Stephen Pollard at UEA Norwich.



Steve Pollard Interview

Shaun Tranter: You've basically been working with the band nearly all their career.
Steve Pollard: I started working with band on the Empires and Dance tour in New York in 1981.

ST: So from there in 1981, to now in 2013, with the advancement of technology I presume your job has got a lot easier over the years?
SP: No, not really. It's just different - just a different set of problems really. I'd say there's a different element of difficulty to it, as back in the early days we had hundreds and hundreds of lights, each one had to be focused separately. Now we have lights that change colour, we can put patterns in them, move them around to create different focuses. One problem is though there are more things to go wrong with them, but it's as hard as you make it and I try to make as many different looks as possible for the different songs, so I have a lot of work to do making sure everything is how it should be for each show and as you saw in Lincoln each venue has its own problems.

(The interview was originally due to take place in Lincoln but was postponed as the ceiling was low and Steve had to modify the lighting.)

ST: From when a tour is first conceived is it a case you have meetings with the band to find out what they are looking for the light show or is it a case of "Hey Steve were going on tour. Come up with some ideas."
SP: In a way yes, they leave it entirely up to me.

ST: So where do you get your inspiration from for a light show?
SP: Just from the band's music and lyrics really and there's a lot to be inspired by. Certain songs strike me a certain way. For example Belfast Child is about the troubles in Northern Ireland and the blood spilt as a result of that, so obviously there's a lot of red in the lighting and that's the way it's been since day dot. Atmospheric songs tend to be darker and a little bit more atmospheric and I just use my best judgement and good taste I suppose to come up with something that's appropriate for every number and we'll enhance it. I'm not creating a side show for these guys I want them to live in the sort of 3D world I create on stage and they inhabit the architecture of the lighting.

ST: Having been with band since 1981 has there been one tour that's been more challenging to do a light show for than any others?
SP: Each tour has different challenges. This tour has been the different sizes of the venues as you saw at Lincoln. One of the biggest challenges is playing outdoors having the daylight to contend with because it robs you of anything like say a mystery intro. Stadium shows or tours are always a challenge especially when you're playing near the summer solstice or playing in one of the Scandinavian countries and you put up this entire lighting production and basically it never gets dark. But you can't argue with the seasons. Then there's the other elements of the weather: the rain, the wind would blow away all the smoke you put on stage. It's the roll of the dice when you play outdoors; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
SP: The tours like when we play the O2, Wembley Arena or the NEC are slightly easier in the fact that it's generally the same size stage so that makes things slightly easier, and you generally get the same sort of vibe every night and you know what you're up against with regards stage size and ceiling height. With this tour we are chopping and changing on a daily basis just to utilise the show to its potential.

ST: When we came to see you in Sheffield in 2008 your set up was a lot bigger.
SP: It needed to be as we had video screens and we were playing the arenas so a certain amount of a spectacle is expected and you're going up against other acts as such that go into these venues. So the band need to be seen hence the video screens at the side so that people can see what the guys are doing which I enjoy adding that element to it, it brings the band closer to the crowd and makes it a little bit more intimate. On stage we had a bit more stuff up there and we can add a video element as a backdrop. It is what it is and we come prepared let's put it that way.

ST: You also had at Sheffield a little monitor on your console with song lyrics scrolling down, is it a case that you're looking at that for certain lyrics in songs to then press certain lighting buttons so the lights change?
SP: Yeah as such that was for the backdrop video so we could cue the video as the song progressed, you just press a button and it was also used for lighting cues as well but it's basically used as a prompt. It's a helpful thing to make things runs smoothly and less to remember.

ST: The console that your using at the moment is that one that you've always used or are lighting consoles all the same?
SP: Not really. As technology has improved over the years we have moved with it so we've been able to have the latest and the best equipment as we've progressed through the years, but for the last few years the one I'm using at the moment has been the weapon of choice so to speak.

ST: Having watched you operate the lighting console at Lincoln it reminded me of watching a keyboard player play, as your fingers were going ten-to-the-dozen and you as such know where all the right notes are but in your case it's the lights and you know where everything is and you're as such in auto pilot?
SP: Yes. Whereas a keyboard player knows where the right notes are and the keyboard never changes the only things that changes on a keyboard is the sound. On my keyboard it stays the same and it's the lights that change by pressing different buttons to get different looks and then just playing along to the songs to create the different lighting effects.

ST: Do you sit down with a pen and paper and design the stage set and lights?
SP: I used to draw it. Now I use AutoCad which enables me to make a 3D model of it, so I can work with the 3D model and use a programme that simulates the lighting set which really helps as it means we don't need to set up the lighting rig until the very last couple of days so we then put it up to check it works, then I fine tune it, but a lot of it is done on computer now. When we were in the studio in Ireland rehearsing the songs I'd create some lighting effects for the songs and we did that for a week. Prior to that I spent a week working on my own getting ready for them.

ST: So with AutoCad that must make your life so much easier?
SP: Yeah, it is as you can cut, paste, crop. I learnt to use AutoCad kicking and screaming but it's the way forward. But if you turn up today with a hand drawn drawing people look at you: "What's this?" The main thing with AutoCad is the speed you can do things at and once you've got your 3D model done you're away, so it makes no sense to use a drawing board and pencil.

ST: With all the tours that you've done what has been your personal favourite lighting set?
SP: I think 30 Years Live has been one of my favourites, I think that was a cool look. But over the years there is something about all of them, you just have to remember the reason why you created it in the first place, that feeling of "wow" when you first create it and then see it in its full form. It's like on this tour there's almost 30 dates and after a while it becomes second nature, but then you look up and think "That looks really good" and its always satisfying to get comments back and a lot of the reviews mention the visuals for these guys and that's very satisfying from a personal point of view.

ST: On the 30 Years Live tour we were at the front and I went out to get a drink and as I walked past the raised seats at the back of the floor area I turned to look at the show and just stopped and marvelled at what I was missing by being on front row as the light show was amazing. I was that tempted to ask someone in raised seats if they would swap seats for a bit so I could really appreciate the light show.
SP: That's what it's for: to enhance the show to create a backdrop. I think you miss a lot of the light show if you're up close to the band. Also the sound is very good back there as you're getting a lot of stuff off the stage: bass, spill and things like that. Sometimes it's harder to hear the lyrics closer to the stage because there are no monitors there anymore because they are all using in ears now. There's a guy mixing the sound so the best sound is gonna be where that guy is, but saying that it will sound great anywhere in the room. Gone are the days where you had bad sound because the room was difficult for various reasons, but they've got it down to such a science today.

ST: Like yourself, the sound guy Olivier has been with band on numerous tours now, so obviously that helps when you have the same people for a number of years.?
SP: Yeah Olivier has really taken things up a notch with the sound. I have nothing but good things to say about his ability.

And with that it was time for Steve to shoot as it was almost show time.

Shaun Tranter
Norwich UEA
3rd May 2013



This is an old interview, as it dates back to Graffiti Soul days, but it's an interesting read nonetheless: Hilko Nackaerts: Guitar Tech for Simple Minds.



Updates to the discography:

Stonehaven Hogmanay Festival, Stonehaven, UK
31st December, 2013
Main Set (2013): Waterfront / I Travel / Broken Glass Park / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said
Main Set (2014): Let The Day Begin / Love Song / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / The American / See The Lights / Don't You (Forget About Me) / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Encore: Sanctify Yourself / Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize / Alive And Kicking

The Promised You A Miracle - Glittering Prize medley was going to finish the first set but time ran out. Therefore the two songs were moved to the encore instead.

"This year is set to end just like it began, with Simple Minds playing live in Scotland."

"And after Edinburgh twelve months ago, followed by Stonehaven this year, playing live at Hogmanay in the country of our birth is starting to feel like a tradition of its own, and a pretty fine one at that."

"Personally, I kind of prefer to be "working" on the night that sees the entire world celebrate seeing out the old and ringing in the new. I can't say why in particular, it might be connected to some superstition or other, but I feel it is good to start the year by doing something positive, doing whatever it is you like doing best even. Somehow the idea of starting the year as you would like it to continue just feels good to me. Hence the appeal of sweating it out - as the bells ring it in. Or more appropriately perhaps, as the "fireballs" bring it in - in Stonehaven."

"(And er, it is "Stonehaven" please note, and not "Stonehenge" as a rather over excited French friend referred to it, while calling me to ask for tickets for this "Amazing concert at Stonehenge that Simple Minds will play on New Year's Eve!)"

"In any case, seeing out the old and ringing in the new, may well also describe my own hopes and expectations for Simple Minds next year. Given that the first few months will be spent touring much of Europe, and picking up where we left off in the London 02 arena a weeks ago. From then on, we look forward to releasing our first filmed in concert in decades, followed itself - at some point - by the release of our 17th studio album. (We are not quite finished recording yet, but I reckon we are not far from completion either.) Fingers crossed that all comes to fruition, and if so, it certainly looks set to be a memorable year for our little outfit."

"This passing year will be memorable in its own way of course, and mainly for the amount of wonderful shows that we experienced as we traveled further and wider than we have in a very long while. As for picking out any highlights? Well, the highlight is the same as ever, and it is a two part thing."

"The first part is the welcome we receive every time we walk on stage. You have no idea how much that means. How much encouragement it creates within our on-going desire to make every single concert as great as it can be."

"The second part, is the look of obvious pleasure evident on the faces that we see from stage, particularly at the end of a night where the band and audience have worked together to create the kind of experience that is unique to live music that is hopefully performed at its best."

"And it is with that image in mind that I thank everybody who has supported Simple Minds over the last year. Likewise we thank everybody who is planning to do so over the year that lies ahead."

"Music in whatever form, can be a most special thing. But it counts for nothing without people who are willing to listen."

"Thanks again to all of you for listening to Simple Minds' music. We wish you a happy and peaceful New Year, and we hope to see you you out there - somewhere!" - Jim, 26th December 2013


"Flood alerts? Gale Force Wind Alerts? Not here! Looks like quite a fine night to me. A night for blasting our music loud and clear. We want to hear you Stonehaven!" - Jim, 30th December 2013


"The Morning After The Night Before: We had a ball in Stonehaven last night. Thanks for letting us spend Hogmanay with you. Thanks to all who came to see us, including those who traveled from far and wide. Thanks also to those who worked hard for months on end to organise the event. It was our pleasure - Happy New Year!" - Jim, 1st January 2014



The latest three CDs from Concert Live have now been reviewed. The quality ranges dramatically: from the excellent recording of the O2 at London to the extremely poor offering from Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam recording suffers from both poor mixing and audience pick-up. Periodically only individual instruments can be heard and/or individual members of the audience shouting or chatting. At times, it reminded me of an 80s bootleg recording. However, it is of very limited interest to those who want to hear what each band members are doing; I appreciated it for allowing me to hear the complex melodies conjured up by Charlie and Andy, but that is its only saving grace.

I expect the London concert will be the one eventually pressed up and offered through on-line retailers.


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