Dream Giver wasn't updated for the last months of 2015 as I was too busy working on the Universal releases. However,
that's not to say that nothing happened, and I've since filled in the gaps below.
live big music tour 2015, (get a) grip (on yourself), record collector
"The set list of the Big Music Tour was gloriously
ambitious. Almost theatrical in the way that it was put together. So many varying styles of music and atmospheres
feature, and yet it is always inherently Simple Minds live. Simply put: it was a real
pleasure to be involved." - Jim
Record Collector this month ran a feature about the legendary label Chiswick. Saints And Sinners
made their 11 Chiswick/Ace Rarities (at a still reasonable £25) and Ted Carroll related the story about the proposed name change.
Comes in a lovely digipak 3 panels deluxe with artwork by Yannick Rault based on original
picture by Graham Smith glossy imprint with selective varnish laquer.
The death of Steve Strange gave us the urge to work on covers of
Neo-Romantics/New Wave bands of the early 1980s. We have selected great covers of this period of great
creativity with analogue synth wave / minimal wave gems. No remixes and no cheap dance music.
Includes unlimited streaming of Neo Romantix Years (UPR 025) CD via the free Bandcamp app, plus
high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
don't you (forget about me) 30th anniversary, live videos, spakrle in the rain replacement discs
The 30th anniversary of the US chart success of Don't You (Forget About Me)
was seen in with style, with Simple Minds performing the song at the
Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Additionally, and less promoted,
was a new studio recording of the song, released quietly
and also available through other free music services such as Spotify.
For those who haven't sent off for replacement DVDs from Sparkle In The Rain Super Deluxe set or the
Sparkle In The Rain HFPA release should now
contact their retailers direct instead of Universal Records. "We have been
instructed by the label, that since stock has now been corrected and reworked all returns are to
be made with retailer whom you purchased the product from. The instruction on the forums was only
pertinent before full stock was readily available to replace product returns."
"A new remastered version of the Simple Minds classic,
Sparkle in the Rain,
is now available to stream in HD on Deezer Elite. To celebrate
Simple Minds have made
Deezer this exclusive playlist
of all their own favourite tracks. Charlie Burchill has given
us some insight into why some of the tracks hold a special place in their heart."
sparkle in the rain replacement discs, dream giver
Those who purchased the Super Deluxe Edition of Sparkle In The Rain
will be aware of the
problems with the DVD and the printing error in the booklet. (The Hi-Res Stereo mix was in
"mono", there were problems with Steve Wilson's 5:1 Surround Mix and spurious
newlines in the last part of the booklet meant the final few sentences were missing).
Unfortunately the problems which marred the DVD are also on the BluRay.
The good news is that replacement DVDs, booklets and BluRay discs will be available in the
next couple of weeks. Please send proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org
to request your replacements.
For those who were holding off purchasing until the problems were resolved, the process is:
1. Purchase the Super Deluxe Edition and/or BluRay.
2. Request the replacement discs from the address above.
Strangely, Jim and
Charlie appeared in
Biggest Band Break Ups And Make Ups
which was shown on BBC 4 on the 10th April. I say "strangely" because
Simple Minds never broke up or made up in the spectacular fashion described in
this programme. But Jim and and
Charlie were the counter-argument of the show, putting
forward the idea that things could work out... even if there was a touch of "lead singer syndrome."
It's still available to watch on the the BBC's iPlayer.
Again, Dream Giver has gone quiet, and again the answer is the same... I'm currently working
on some new Universal releases. These will be revealed very soon.
"Thanks to everyone for another truly memorable night in Blackpool.
Bridlington tonight - 8 weeks since the tour started and we are still adding
fresh tunes to the set. See you tonight" - Jim, 4th April 2015
Full details of the Midnight Walking promo are
now online. The single will be available as a download on the 20th April.
City Hall, Newcastle, UK 6th April, 2015
"It was Easter '77 that Charlie and I made our live debut with
Johnny and The Self Abusers - preceding the formation of
Simple Minds by 6 months. 38 years later we are still writing,
recording, playing music enthusiastically. What a life, thanks to all who have helped/supported us.
Next up is Newcastle... see you tomorrow night." - Jim, 5th April 2015
"Newcastle/Edinburgh/Perth all this week. Been looking forward to these for a long time.
Actually we look forward to every gig.Thanks to all who come to see Simple Minds live"
- Jim, 5th April 2015
"Edinburg and Perth tonight and tomorrow: A highlight of any tour is
when we get to play in Scotland. The Usher Hall is special as ever, and as for Perth...
last time was 1978 I think? " - Jim, 7th April 2015
"Atmosphere of last night's gig in Edinburgh will be hard to beat, but with
Mel Gaynor bang in form anything is posssible.
See you tonight in Perth" - Jim, 8th April 2015
"Thanks to all for two very memorable nights in both Edinburgh and Perth. We're lucky in that
wherever we go we usually get great audiences. No getting away from it however, the audiences in
Scotland are more than special. No Glasgow gig though? Do you really think we'd tour
Big Music and not play in our hometown... Glasgow?
I don't think so! Look out for news..coming real soon." - Jim, 9th April 2015
"Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield. Big weekend coming up, starting in Manchester tomorrow night.
All cities we enjoy performing, all of them played a part in the history of
Simple Minds. See you there!" - Jim, 9th April 2015
"From Liverpool to Perth made it 6 gigs in 7 days. That is a pretty heavy schedule - but of
course we feed off the energy of the audience, have energy to burn as a result. Spare a thought
though for all our road/technical crew. They go in to the venue first thing every morning and leave last
thing at night. We all owe them a very big thanks, no show without them." - Jim, 9th April 2015
31st march, 2015
midnight walking, grimsby, 10 of the best, turboweekend, telegraph, stoke
Midnight Walking has now been issued as a single.
The CD promo featured the now usual collection of edit, album and instrumental versions, but
the download was comprised of three remixes of the title track. Best of the bunch was the
remix by Johnson Somerset who is well known amongst Simple Minds collectors
for his great remix of War Babies.
(He also put together an extended version of Space but that's
yet to be released).
When asked about the remix Johnson Somerset replied "I love 'em. Still a true rock-n-roll band and the
gig I saw the other day was outstanding. I've done a killer [remix] of
Blindfolded but I think the plan is to let this one do the rounds first."
"One of the great things about the upcoming UK tour is that more than a few of the venues
also featured in our very first UK tour - playing support
to (the phenomenal) Magazine in April '79. Stoke, Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester,
Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge in particular are just some of the venues we played back then - and
now set to play 36 years later. Quite a difference in ticket price though." - Jim, 24th March 2015
"Despite the effort, the lofty ambition to never play the exact same set on this tour
has for various reasons not come to pass. Nevertheless the desire to keep things fresh by bringing in
tunes both classics and new continues. Of course bringing something in means another tune is left out.
Difficult then to keep all happy, always good to try though. Putting setlists together is as you'd imagine
more than just choosing a bunch of fave/random songs. A narrative needs to be presented. It involves mood,
dynamics... and, er... combining melodies and words in an order that work more coherrently
within the underlying story of that particular show. And it is very much a show that we are presenting
on this current two-set tour of the UK. Unless a clearly defined Greatest Hits set or another particular
themed set that has been advertised in advance, the live set should be both "in the moment" - showcasing
where the band is musically right now - plus show some of the evolving story of the band to date. With a
story as long as Simple Minds and a limited amount of time each night, it is inevitable
that the story gets edited - sometimes brutally I guess. But it is above all important that the story is
always evolving, always growing, always demonstrating new creative life. Above all the chosen set has to
motivate the band as they perform, but ultimately move the audience - always the main goal.
Liaison the latest addition is shaping up real well.
Who decides the setlists? No one really. Things are suggested, we sit down and talk about it, exchange views.
Then it is a case of trial and error as we hone and shape." - Jim, 24th March 2015
"24 hours to go until we start the UK tour. We look forward to every one of the upcoming 30 gigs
and thank everyone who is planning to come and see us live. Please note that there is no support act.
We do two sets with a 15 minute interval. We will go on stage at 8pm at every show. See you there." - Jim, 27th March 2015
"Thanks to all In Grimsby for getting us off to such a good start to this UK tour. Sorry we could not
hang longer afterwards. All of us are now looking forward to Llandudno tonight. Recall it being
very good last time." - Jim, 28th March 2015
26th march, 2015
belfast pipes, sparkle in the rain: super deluxe recall, copenhagen, sparkle in the rain: radio promos, orebro, discography updates,
stockholm, sparkle in the rain: mastering info, gothenburg, midnight walking video, oslo, midnight walking single, bergen, stavanger, bonnie wee studios
The new single by Mick MacNeil, Belfast Pipes, featuring
the Glasgow Police Pipe Band is out now. For a preview and links to Amazon and iTunes, then check out the following
Those who've recently purchased the new super deluxe edition of Sparkle In The Rain
may have noticed a couple of problems. Firstly, the DVD was erroneously pressed with a "mono" mix of the
album instead of the Steve Wilson stereo mix. Secondly, a printing error in the booklet caused
several line-breaks to appear in several sentences towards the end of the essay which caused the final lines
of the last paragraph to drop off the bottom of the page.
Both these problems are being corrected.
Universal Music have put a process in place to allow fans who bought the
Simple Minds Sparkle in the Rain Super Deluxe Edition Box Set
to get a replacement DVD which, in error, contained the Steven Wilson hi-res 'stereo'
mix in mono.
The DVD is being reproduced so that is 100% correct. In order to get a replacement,
you just need to send your faulty DVD to the address below. If you send your booklet as well,
you will get a new one of them too, because the last paragraph was inadvertently missed off
As an alternative you can email proof of purchase to
they will send you out the replacement disc. Put SIMPLE MINDS REPLACEMENT DISC in the subject line.
Send with a return address to:
Simple Minds Returns 5th Floor
UMC 364-366 Kensington High Street
The final part of the essay should've looked like this:
"Made it to Stockholm after a two hour drive - and a great audience in Orebro. One of the world's
most beautiful cities and always a great place to perform - see you tonight in Stockholm." - Jim, 15th March 2015
There has been some confusion regarding the new Sparkle In The Rain
reissues. All formats feature the new Andrew Walters' remaster, created from the
original ½" master tapes. Everything has been remastered including the original album,
all the B-sides and the Barrowland live concert.
Midnight Walking will be the next single, released on the 20th April.
It will follow the same pattern as the previous Big Music singles: a
single track download will be made available, but it's the 3-track promo CDs which will most interest
collectors. (These include an edit, album and instrumental version of the title track).
"Tonight is the last gig in mainland Europe. Who knows how many miles we have travelled
from southern to the most northern part of Europe and all in between? 6 weeks and 29 gigs
later from when we started, a lot of fine memories and great shows everywhere. Thanks to all
who came to see Simple Minds. Thanks to our remarkable crew who worked so
hard in making it happen every night." - Jim, 20th March 2015
"Big Music - Our best ever album? Last week
Bittersweet featured, last night saw
Liaison made a live debut. In total 13 songs from the
Big Music era have now made it into the current
live sets - with more to come. Being so Big Music
(including deluxe) has now produced more songs considered good enough to feature in our
live shows that any other of our previous albums. Does this further the notion/argument that
Big Music might be our best album to date?" - Jim, 20th March 2015
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 talking to
Jim Kerr and we've been through all the tracks on the
Big Music album the vinyl version of it but
there was a deluxe version so can we move into that Jim
and we'll talk about the other songs. JK: Yeah, it's important. MH: And we start with the one that comes up next on it is
Swimming Towards The Sun and the name
Kevin Hunter and where that song comes from and the album where that
song comes from? JK: Well, Swimming Towards The Sun was
first recorded for an album we did called Our Secrets Are The Same,
and you'll remind me if I'm wrong, 1998 was it? Or 1999? MH: Yeah,it was 1998 to 1999 and it was really the first time I got to work with
you in a creative way. I was there and Kevin Hunter was
the catalyst to make that happen. JK: The album itself, Our Secrets Are The Same,
recorded at one of the most frustrating times for the band. Frustrating in terms that we were
still within a record deal but we were tied to a record company that really wasn't interested.
And though we were bravely soldiering on, it's hard when you know that that's the case.
But all is not lost, because although the album itself it became, it wasn't even released
for a while, in the end it became almost our "lost" album which, you know, all the great bands you've
got to have a lost album if you're a great band and stuff - and it was our lost album. It has since
been released as part of a box set but there's
some great songs on it. Again, thanks to you who introduced us to
Kevin Hunter, who comes from not so far from where
you are right now and Kevin Hunter was... what was
the name of the band Kevin was in again? MH: He was in a band called Wire Train. JK: Wire Train, that's it. MH: Originally from San Francisco. JK: Anyway, Kevin produced
Our Secrets Are The Same with us and he came
over to Scotland and he wrote, or co-wrote, a number of the songs. One of which was
Swimming Towards The Sun which, again,
I think... Our Secrets Are The Same, one
of the things it suffered from in the end, was a poor mix and it's only my opinion but the
songs merited some of the songs merited having a look at again. And in the case of
Swimming Towards The Sun, and a lot of
it on this version is sung by the great Sarah Brown
who sings with us live, and she's an amazing talent. She had heard
Swimming Towards The Sun and said "I'd love a
crack at that" and I thought "Let's do it and who knows and where it will be?" but once we
heard it, we thought "We've got to get this out." JK: There's something about this song maybe it was the time it was done but
it was at the height of the whole Breaking Bad mania and the new production on
it, makes me think of some of the sounds, there's a real edge to it, some of the sounds make
me think of [laughs] that TV series. Even though that came after the song was written. But
I think it's OK to review work because it's never a fixed thing. Whenever we go and
play we update, we have new versions, we polish and I'm really glad we had the chance
to look at Swimming Towards The Sun again. MH: So here's the version that's on the deluxe album of
Big Music. It's a
Kevin Hunter song and it's
called Swimming Towards The Sun.
MH: Talking to Jim Kerr from
Simple Minds and I'm going to ask you a question
Jim about and we've kind of talked about
it before but it must be difficult to ... because we're going into a song called
Bittersweet. How did
Bittersweet, as a song, end up on the
Deluxe record, but not on the [main] record as it's a great track? JK: Well, it's a simple answer. They just all can't go on! Something's
got to be left out. But I guess your question is why that was left out and not something
else? And, it's an either or. At the end of the day, we always think, a great tune, as
ong as it gets out and I think most of our fans now, if they're going to buy the album,
if they're going to buy it, they'll spend a couple of bucks more and get the whole deal.
So, it's more kind of symbolically "Oh God, it was left out." But not really. It's there,
it's on iTunes, and it's become a dark horse. It is a lot of people's favourite track.
I mean how did Theme For Great Cities end up on
Sister Feelings Call and not
Sons And Fascination? What would you have left out? MH: It gets its own credibility by somehow being left out from somewhere. JK: It does. But it's not, in any way, overlooked. MH: The work that you do on all the songs it's the timeframe. But you're
also sure you're painting some sort of picture and that picture has to be a certain size and
fit on something... JK: Yes, it does. And even though.... it's the same when you come to running
order. You could argue all day: "This is our running order." And usually people will go
"You're right and I can't hear it being any other way now." You kind of get the orders right.
It doesn't mean that you are right because with hindsight, quite often, you go "Oh no, that
should've been this or that should've been that" but it's your thing and somebody has to
call the shot and Charlie and I kind of go "Well, what
are we going to leave out? When's it going to be too much you were always afraid of making
it too much. You can blow it. ... you know, thirteen songs is too much. There's a tipping point. MH: I'm going to play these two tracks together and I want to talk about
Liaison as I've known this song and want to listen
to this song. It's always been a favourite of mine and it kept on coming up and it comes again.
And Bittersweet and Liaison when
you look at them is there a chance when you look at this new live set that they're and I
know how many songs that you work on for a live set so you can change it up do they look if
they're capable of getting into this live set? JK: They will be an either or. It's so tough. Because you go
"Blindfolded's got to be played,
Midnight Walking's got to be played,
Let The Day's got to be played,
Honest Town's got to be played,
Big Music's got to be played',
it's like "Wow!" So, you know, the tour's going for months and months and you
don't change too many things the first few weeks as you've got to settle down. You don't
want to be chopping and changing and making everyone neurotic and but then it settles down,
and once it's settled down within a week, just before the boredom sets in, you start to tinker
and you think "All right. We'll put this one in and we'll take that out." And gradually the fans
get excited "Oh, they're playing that. I never thought they would play that." And that kind of
thing starts to happen. JK: First of all it's a real problem, you've only so much time, but let's be
honest, it's a great problem to have. You'd rather have that problem than not having enough songs
that can hold their own. I mean, it's a different subject, but the anniversary of
Sparkle In The Rain is in March next year and
it's the 25th anniversary (sic) and it's like "We've got to play
Book Of Brilliant Things. We've got to play
Speed Your Love To Me. We've got to play
'C' Moon Cry Like A Baby." MH: What about "Up On The Catwalk?" JK:Up On The Catwalk,
Waterfront... I mean, there's half an album.
After 25 years, this whole box-set is
coming out , and people are excited about that. But we do condense them now. If they were four
and a half minutes on the record, then we've got to get them down to three minutes. MH: Yeah, so you can get them in the set. So I'm going to play these
two tracks, Bittersweet followed by
Liaison, from the deluxe
version of Big Music, by
MH: So talking to Jim Kerr of
Simple Minds on KX935, and staying in the vein of the live show,
the two other tracks that I've got on here, and we'll play these two together,
Riders On The Storm and
Dancing Barefoot. You're on lead vocals on
Riders On The Storm and
Sarah's lead vocals on
Dancing Barefoot. I've heard these tracks live amazing what
gets them on the deluxe version of this record? JK: Certainly Dancing Barefoot had been part
of the mainstay set for the past year and Sarah just rips it up.
You know, you and I and a lot of people know about Patti Smith's song, there's quite a lot
of Simple Minds' audience who don't know it, so it's a new thing for them, and
Sarah just shines on it and she does it her way, she doesn't do
it Patti Smith's way, she does it her way. Fantastic. JK:Riders On The Storm, again it just, just
as we were coming towards the end of the summer dates there, we've got this song
Ghostdancing, and it breaks down and quite often we improvise different
things. I guess that day I had been listening to The Doors and it came down and
Charlie had the chord and it must've been the first chord
and I thought "OK, I can sing Riders." So as soon as I said that word, the place exploded. I just sang
"Riders On The Storm, Riders On The Storm" and it was like about 60,000 people went "Yes" and I was
like "I dunno the rest of the words!" But so I did it the next night, and the next night, and by the
end of the week it was part of the ritual now. It had gone that far. So we thought "Let's make this the
cover for next year." And as it's going to be our cover for the next year, let's stick it on the record,
so that people, when they come to the show, will know it. If they don't already know it, most of them will.
But done our way. And we decided to be a bit sassy with it, no point in doing a Doors version,
because there's only one Doors. I think what we did was the Frankie Goes To Hollywood
version of it [laughs], kind of supercharged and souped-up and it's a bit camp and all that. And it'll go
down a storm. MH: It's been fascinating of all the years seeing you live, how songs end up in
Simple Minds' sets: cover songs, [like] Gloria by
Van Morrison, it just appears and they just take on a life of their own. MH: And talking about the touring schedule, I have to ask, as everybody over here's like
"Are they coming back?" I know you're going out in Europe you start in Lisbon on the 7th of February for
the European Tour and I know that goes for a few months and
looking at the schedule I don't see anything after that is there any chance you could get over to America again? JK: Well, we're getting calls, which is always good. We getting calls. Like everything else,
since the last time I spoke to you, we have been back to America and played and boy did we love it, albeit it,
it was so brief. We're getting calls and that's a good thing. Probably certainly we're full on up until
the summer, but I would be very surprised that within the campaign of the next year for
Big Music, if we never made it to the States to play.
And if we did, no-one would make me happier than me. MH: Well, I'm going to push you even further. I was talking to the guys here at the station
and they're all huge fans and they have this one show a year and it's a festival in Laguna, and it's a lovely
setting, and it's 3000 people and it's a beautiful outdoor venue and we had The Beach Boys
last year and Tylor said to me "If you're talking to Jim today, ask him
if he's doing anything on the 26th September?" So there you go, we'll talk about it off-air. JK: 26th September. There you go indeed. Laguna. MH: We'll have a word with Mr. Grenfell and see if we can twist your arm.
I'd be great to get you back out here on tour. And talking about live shows and I've got to bring this up my
wife Marlene's a huge fan and she's seen Simple Minds, she's been around
you guys now for 28 years, and she just keeps on going on about it and today she said "Don't you forget to tell
him 'thanks for that show in LA'" and I wasn't at the show in LA! JK:Marlene was a good twenty rows back but I could still see her smile. MH: And she said to me "Did they pay those people?" And I said "What?" And she said "It's the
best show I've ever been at." JK: Yeah, people are amazing. We hadn't played in American for ten years and what was
the theatre again down in LA? The famous one? MH: I'll try and remember. As I said, I wasn't there, unfortunately, I was in Austin,
Texas, at the time. There was a time I did catch you in New York. But she was as soon as you came offstage
my phone was ringing. JK: I remember when we used to play in LA I guess in the early days when it was mostly
industry that came to see us LA was always cool and stuff and I always had that impression. Anyway, ten
years ago, I'm on the side of the stage, the lights go down, and the noise! I was like "Are
The Beatles playing here tonight?" People were so into it. I felt the band did definitely
deliver that night. We were on it. And you know when it's like that, and it was a beautiful theatre, and
security were good, there were seats but people could get up and dance, and we just had a ball together. MH: It was the Orpheum Theatre. Is that what it was called? JK: Sounds about right. Amazing, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. MH: I'm going to play two tracks here and if you get the chance to see
Simple Minds live then you've got to go. Incredible. Not even just the band you've got
Sarah in there, and now you've added
Catherine playing keyboards and I haven't seen that no-one has. JK: She's amazing. She does this version of
Dolphins and it's like Laurie Anderson or something. MH: Fantastic. Another great track. So we're going to play two tracks: this is
Riders On The Storm and
Dancing Barefoot by Simple Minds from
the deluxe Big Music.
MH: So talking to Jim Kerr of
Simple Minds on KX 93.5 and coming to the end of the interview unfortunately.
I want to ask you why we go to Blindfolded (Reprise) but a
few things before we get there. It's been a great record to listen to and to play and to live with
for the past few months. And it's a young record. And it's hard for me to say that because I'm
the same age as you. But this is a very young record where's that energy coming from
Jim? JK: If only we knew Martin. But you said earlier
that ever since you've known me, there's always been ideas, there's always been energy and stuff. But in fact
there was a period when it wasn't there. There's not been many periods. But there was a period where it wasn't
there and I thought it had gone forever. It was you and Ged Malone
who convinced me that it hadn't. Where it comes from, I don't know but I ... thank God it's there because
energy is central to everything but it's certainly essential to Rock and Roll. I went to see
The Who play last week and they were off the scale good, they were just so good, and the guys
are 70 years old there's a physical energy there. But, OK, there wasn't any new stuff or anything but I
mean the energy is colossal and certainly if you're going to go and see a band playing live, then that
energy has to be there. But the energy to get up in the morning and be creative... JK: I'm a very, very lucky person in the sense that I have this life beyond my imagination.
And when you I'm even luckier than that because I realise that I'm really lucky there's a lot of people
who are really lucky and they don't even realise it and they come a cropper later. I realise that I'm lucky
so it's not so much that I spring out of bed in the morning, but you know yourself, usually you can get
me at half-past-five... MH: When I'm going to bed I'll send you an e-mail and the next thing is I'll get an answer
and it's five thirty in the morning in the UK. JK: Which is ironic because when I was young I thought I was being cute thinking
"You know. I'm going to get into a rock and roll band and then I can lie in bed all day." And here it is
now. I'm in a rock and roll band, I'm an artist, I want to embrace the day... every day you get up and go
"Everything's OK, family's OK, we're alright" and you can put yourself into work that you love life doesn't
get any better than that. And that doesn't matter if you're a truck driver or whether you're a whatever but
if you realise that and feel that way then you've won more than the lotto and that's how I feel and I think in
terms of your question within that recognition comes with energy, comes with ... because we have been given
this chance, we have been given, dare I say it myself some kind of talent OK, we've worked on it but we're
types, we're born types and we were lucky certainly I was lucky to be born this type because in the line
I work in and do, it's become natural to me. What I feel is that it would be a great irresponsibility not to
make the most of the talent. And for a while I was very down because I thought I wasn't making the most of my
talent, that Simple Minds were going to be one of these bands that did well but had so much
more potential and just kind of petered out well, that isn't going to happen. MH: So, last question then. Thank you very much for your time
Jim, always a pleasure, amazing insight, great record so why
Blindfolded (Reprise) to end it? What's the difference between
Blindfolded, what's the reason for this being the last track on the
Deluxe version of the Big Music. JK: It just kind of bookends. There is something different about it. To say it's stripped
down and it's a bit more of a David Lynch version of it, it's a bit more leftfield, it's a bit more guy and a
guitar, the vocalist coming at you with these mysterious words. You open with one with this sentiment and you
end with this sentiment. MH: So opening with Blindfolded and this interview
closing with Blindfolded. JK: And that chorus: the sense of looking down. The sense of looking down so we all feel
better, the sense of looking down so we must know. The sense of getting to never read this letter, it
became Blindfolded long ago. It's cool. MH: It's very cool. So thank you very much Mr. Jim Kerr of
Simple Minds I always call you James Kerr so thank
you very much Mr. Kerr and we'll finish with the reprise version of
Blindfolded from the great
Simple Minds record Big Music. JK: Great. All the best to everybody in beautiful Laguna.
Jim will be on BBC Radio Two this Saturday on
Zoe Ball's The Sound Of The '80s. The interview will centre around the new
Sparkle In The Rain Reissue which is being released
next week. You can listen to the programme live via the
BBC's website or
steam it later via the iPlayer.
The radio promo continues the next day (March 15th) with Jim appearing
on Absolute Radio where he's appearing on
Pete Mitchell's Q Radio Show and talking all things
Sparkle In The Rain.
"The last two German shows of this Big Music Tour will take place tonight in Karlsruhe - followed
by Munich tomorrow night. All gigs have been a pleasure for us - the audience in
Leipzig being the noisiest of all in showing their appreciation. Thanks to all who have
supported Simple Minds over these last weeks in Germany." - Jim, 7th March 2015
Simple Mind are making up after their "holiday" from last year's Record Store Day
by releasing two exclusive, and limited, records for Record Store Day 2015.
First, on Edsel Records, is a lovely new vinyl pressing of
Celebrate: Live At The SSE Hydro Glasgow. Pressed up on transparent
vinyl, and packaged in a glossy gatefold sleeve, this set will be limited to 1000 copies.
And, to tie-in with the forthcoming Sparkle In The Rain Reissue,
the iconic Waterfront single is being reissued. There was a gap in
the discography here, as there was never a limited edition release of Waterfront,
so it seemed fitting to fix that, and complete the set of all the Sparkle
singles on picture discs, by releasing this limited new picture disc.
Eneas Mullen has been in touch recently and
I asked him about Biba-Rom!. "Looking
back on Biba-Rom! days always new something big would
happen. Jim had a great vision and
Charlie was just a genius. Throw into the mix
Brian McGee on drums and
Joe Donnelly and you couldn't fail!
As far I know we are all to this day still involved in the music business
with myself dealing in the dance music scene! I know at my age ha! Still keep in
touch with the boys when in town more, so with
Brian who has produced some music for me."
And the name? "... there was a band at that time called Be Bop Deluxe and
I think we said we can't use be Bop but Biba was
close enough and Rom just because it sounded a good fit! Simple as
"Thanks to the audiences in Koln and Muenster. The reaction was
overwhelming, really great atmosphere. Hopefully
Catherine will have recovered from "a bug"
and be fit enough to join us tonight in Olsberg. See you there!" - - Jim, 28th February 2015
lingen, travelling life, don't you (forget about me), bleecker street offer, sparkle in the rain reissues, an acoustic mind, cologne
Many thanks to Martin for the set-list, ticket scan and photos.
"Playing as good, if not better than ever! Mel Gaynor
will be at the core of our Big Music tonight." - Jim, 21st February 2015
"12 gigs in and at every show we have had fantastic audiences. Last night's crowd in Lingen was
truly special. Thanks to all who have already come - and to those who are plannning to come see
Simple Minds live." - Jim, 22nd February 2015
The Telegraph recently interviewed Jim
about his travelling life.
It's standard Q&A fare, but it's worth a read.
Talking of articles which are worth a read, Slow Change May Pull Us Apart
is the definitive background of the legendary Don't You (Forget About Me).
All the key players are there, and it looks into the song's history, Simple Minds'
involvement, the video and its impact in the film.
It also answers a long asked question about the short instrumental version of
Don't You (Forget About Me) which plays in the background
after the main titles. I'd often replied that I didn't think it was Simple Minds and
it turns out the hunch was correct - it's an instrumental take of the demo.
And if you're wondering about the demo, then wonder no further. Forsey's and
Schiff's original recording which was presented to the band has also been
published with the article. (And, for the first time, I now understand why Jim
mentioned a Psychedelic Furs influence which I never understood before).
Simple Minds are back on tour! Starting this February, the likeable rockers
are going to be live on stage again to do what they do best. After playing a fantastic tour in
2014 with the greatest hits from 37 years of band history they are still not done.
Over the years the Simple Minds sound has become an inherent part of record
collections of the time. But the live experience can not be replaced.
Along the lines of "don't you forget about me' we would like to take the tour
a the occasion to offer all live-music fans and Simple Minds lovers
all USB-Sticks from the 2014 Greatest Hits Tour
for 15 instead of 20 and on top you get an additional recording of the concert in Taormina in July 2014,
Italy for free. The offer is valid until 28th of February. You can order the recordings here:
In the meantime, The Guardian has published an old interview from 1982
to mark the occasion. 'I'd rather see De Niro than David Bowie or David Byrne' was originally
published in Smash Hits.
Tartan New York
March / April 2015
If you travel to New York during the next two months drop in and say Hi at one of
our gigs in March and April (for Tartan Week). Eve Blackwater,
bass player, singer/songwriter and guitarist is a highly valued recent addition.
My former position, the drummer, remains fluid we will have one for most of these
gigs.The sound with Eve is tight, groovy and punchy.
We'd love to see you for some bouncy Scottish Reggae - Hoots Mon!!
"Show Number 9: Played best of the tour so far last night in Geneva? It is possible.
Andy Gillespie reckons it takes about 8 shows of
any tour to really find the right level of performance. Tonight in Luxemborg is show 9.
Charlie plays great every night. See you there!" - Jim, 17th February 2015
"The best ever Simple Minds clip? I have no fave but I have some great memories
of making this video in Capetown. As for the song
War Babies, it is one of my favourites.
Linda Jekevica has coincidentally requested that we add it to our set tonight
in Luxembourg? Let's see if we can make her happy." - Jim, 17th February 2015
"Played 7 concerts in last 8 days, not forgetting the handful of rehearsals days
spent before the first show. That is a lot of singing and playing. Today is a day off,
chance to rest the voice and make sure we are fresh for next week's shows. Thanks to
everyone who came to see us over the last week, thanks so much for giving us a great
start to the tour." - Jim, 15th February 2015
"Set Lists: Keeping It Fresh and Making Every Gig Unique! As promised,
as the tour progresses we will vary by bringing in and out certain songs.
Since the first show we have included songs like New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84),
Home and Mandela Day.
Tonight might be the turn of Real Life." - Simple Minds
"We look forward to Lyon this evening followed by Switzerland tomorrow night." - Jim, 13th February 2015
"Thanks to the audience in Nantes last night, especially for singing Mandela Day.
Of course, it was 25 years ago yesterday that Mandela walked out of a South African prison - a free man. A
day I will never forget. Tonight in Douai - I am sure they will also sing with us. See you there." - Jim, 12th February 2015
Many thanks to Nacho for the ticket scan and photos.
"Beautiful venue, wonderful audience. Tonight was the last of the Iberian concerts,
so thanks to all in Portugal and Spain who appreciate our music and our live shows.
Until next time!" - Jim Kerr, 10th February 2015
"Always a pleasure to have shows in France. See you in Nantes tomorrow night!" - Jim Kerr, 10th February 2015
"Porto - Blue Sky, White Cloud, Burning Flame. Thanks to the astounding audience in Lisbon
last night. You made us feel great as we take another great leap forward with this new tour.
Good start - it will get better - and I have much to improve. Re: Porto - arrived middle of the night,
spent this afternoon sightseeing with Andy Gillespie.
A wonderful city this is. See you later tonight!" - Jim Kerr, 8th February 2015
"Thank you Portugal, and especially to all in Porto for singing and dancing with us last night.
Unforgettable! Tonight Madrid. Always special for Simple Minds. We are ready to
give 100%." - Jim Kerr, 9th February 2015
lisbon, classic pop magazine, summer tour usb sticks, honest town edit, the real mccoy big music interview, discography, press releases, waterfront documentary, wogan acoustic, various interviews, spirited away cover
Home was included on the set-list (listed after
The American) but wasn't played.
"Lisbon tonight: the jitters? And finally - time to start another tour. I think most
would agree that the Big Music album is a bit special.
Well, likewise with this tour, it has to be special in its own way, maintaining all the good things
from previous but providing something new - something that shows Simple Minds are still
evolving even after all these years. And do we get the jitters still with the opening of a tour? Yes - of
course we do. But you would never guess it looking at this pic from yesterday's rehearsals. We
are having fun really!" - Jim Kerr, 7th February 2015
"Thanks to all who wish us the best for tonight's tour opener. Photographer Alan Wild
has kindly provided a little clip that gives the atmosphere of the last days rehearsals - and a taste
of things to come. Be warned though - soundchecks/rehearsals etc., are never that exciting but you might
like it all the same. Thanks Alan!" - Jim Kerr, 7th February 2015
"Setlist will vary each night, never playing same set twice, every gig unique. Let's start
with these songs in Lisbon. First time for Belfast Child
for over 7 years. Hope you enjoy." - Jim Kerr, 7th February 2015
Unfortunately I don't believe any of the track times published on Bleecker Street's website. (They
seem to be based on the original recording timings). Therefore if anyone can help out with
the song timings for this tour then it would be greatly appreciated.
Amazon Germany appear to be offering a slightly different version of the
Honest Town Radio Edit.
Their version clocks in at 3:37 whilst the UK version, and which is
available on the promo has a total running time of 3:48.
It's only eleven seconds, but can anyone confirm they are different?
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: So as I say, I'm siting with the album version, the vinyl version, of the
Big Music and we're on side two. And the opening track, an amazing track,
I love it, I love the version you've done, not an original Simple Minds song, a song written by the
wonderful Michael Been from The Call. So, go ahead and explain
that one Jim but it's a great track. JK: Well, we love the track. As you rightly say
Let The Day Begin was written by Michael Been and
for those who don't know, Michael Been was from Oklahoma, and the band The Call
Michael's the chief writer and vocalist in the band, and we came across
The Call in the mid 80s when Simple Minds I think we toured the States twice
with The Call on tour and they were opening for us and we watched them every night. And
Michael, himself, he became a bit of a guru to Charlie Burchill
and I because he was a bit older, he was probably about ten years older and he had lived a bit more and he knew
America like the back of his hand. We just couldn't get enough of the guy and we couldn't get enough of his music either. JK: And I think the second time we went back to tour with him, he pulled me over, he had a
little light in his eye and he said "I've written this new song." And he said "It's not a million miles away
from your song Waterfront because it does have the same kind of pulsing
rhythm a kind of bluesy rhythm but when he played me the tune, the lyrics just floored me, just such great
writing. And it was always one of our favourite songs of anyone. JK: But it was only just over a year ago when we were preparing to go back to the States after
having not being there for a decade, and the realisation that Michael wouldn't be there because
sadly he'd passed away I think three years ago now, the dawning of that on us, we were sad that Michael
wasn't going to be with us, that we'd miss him, and it was like "Let's take some of Michael's music
with us." And we thought "Let's do a version of Let The Day Begin. We'll
do it in the encore. No pressure we'll do it in the encore, people who were at those gigs in the 1980s will
come back and we'll get the connection, it'll be cool." JK: Anyway, so we started doing it in the rehearsal room and people were walking around going
"What's the new song? It's incredible. When did you write this?" There was no problem with identity it sounded
like a Simple Minds song. And so we thought "It's too good to do in the encore, let's just throw
it right in the set." It went down a storm every night. Most of the people didn't know the song but it went down
a storm by the end of it. And so much so that I knew it was really cooking and the day we came back from the States,
we had one day in London between coming back and wherever our next engagement was, and I said "Book a studio and
let's throw this thing down. It might be a bonus track or whatever." We threw it down and everyone in the room
knew it was going to be on the album because it really was a bit special. MH: Listening to it, and you gave me the tracks in London before it was released, and I
remember sending you an e-mail at one o'clock in the morning saying "I remember walking around in London back
in the summer years ago when Brian McGee gave me the tracks of
Sons And Fascination / Sisters Feeling Call I
was walking through London with this thing no-one else had and I had a different kind of gait, a different
kind of step to myself when I was in London and I was listening to these tracks before the album came out this
was the one - because it starts and you think "this is a great intro, it's a great Simple Minds
intro" and it's going somewhere, and then the beat comes in and you're thinking "great, another great
Simple Minds' song" and then you realise "Oh, wow!" It's just a great song. JK: It's a great song. We should say for any younger kids that might not know, the
Black Rebel Motorbike Club, the singer of the band is Michael's son. And they've
also done a version fairly recently of Let The Day Begin which
is very good. MH: So this is Simple Minds' version of The Call song, written
by the great Michael Been, and it's called Let The Day Begin.
MH: Moving onto the next track, on the Big Music,
Simple Minds' new record, we come to Concrete And The Cherry Blossom.
I remember luckily enough being in the studio when you were working on this track, you recorded the vocal in
Jez Coad's studio and sent it back and the combination of those
two words was great and the imagery you came up with. Going from what was in your head and getting from that
thing in your head to the music what's the journey on that Jim? JK: Well, the journey is Charlie Burchill to begin with,
even though we're talking about Iain Cook there and stuff, still primarily
the music that I work with is Charlie. He had it's amazing how we work because
99% of the time we are so in sync without even talking to each other. I mean, Charlie
and I, the one thing we have in common, outside of our friendship, is that Simple Minds has been
the crusade of our life and I don't mean crusade as something heavy we've had to carry on it's been an absolute
blast but we made this cause central to our lives whereas other people we've worked with after ten years or
whatever have said "that's enough." Charlie and I can't relate to
that it is our life, it's not a career, it's our life. JK: Anyway, we're great mates but we're very, very different people. We've got we keep
different times of the day, we're different social animals and all that but nevertheless what is amazing is say
having not seen Charlie for two months, and then we hook up, you can
almost bet that he'll be reading three books that I'm reading, the same three books, or he'll have found some
obscure movie, some Columbian movie that I'll have found, or we'll just have the same things. So when he sends me
a tune, quite often I'll have perhaps been thinking about some words anyway I think about words almost every
day I'll be thinking about some words, I'll have made some notes and he'll send me a tune and not just a
tune, there'll be an atmosphere in the sounds he uses because Charlie I'm
very lucky with Charlie, he just doesn't send a melody, he sends me these
soundscapes and for me it's very easy to see a picture them, or feel that I can see a picture in it and usually the
kind of atmosphere he's been sending me, I'll have been writing words for that kind of atmosphere a few days previously. JK: And indeed, in the case of Concrete And The Cherry Blossom,
we're talking about Glasgow earlier and it was only after the album was done that I realise there are three songs:
Broken Glass Park (which we'll come to probably next or soon) and
they're all written in some way about Glasgow either ourselves or whatever. The story of Concrete And The Cherry Blossom
is pretty funny in the sense that Charlie and I grew up in this I guess
in the States you would call it a project they were these council housing schemes that they moved the working class
families when we were kids into these areas. And they were all new buildings and they were made from cheap materials
and they fell apart very quickly. But we loved them. However, it was just all concrete. [Laughs] They forgot to build
facilities. So like any anywhere else, you would hang around and this was the modern world. JK: But, anyway, on a recent journey back there while I was doing stuff for my solo album
Lostboy, one of the promo things was to go back our neck of the
woods and have a look around and talk about growing up there. And as I was doing it I realised that in amongst all
the concrete of these buildings they'd made, someone in their wisdom had made the decision to plant some beautiful
cherry blossom trees. And we were there in March/April and they were coming through and I had this great, great
feeling because even though when I was a kid, I loved those trees not because I was a nature freak but because
when the blossoms came it was "Hey summer's coming. We're going be able to stay out all night." And it was just
a great, great feeling after the long darkness, these trees were a feeling of "Great. We can hang out." Anyway I
was back there in March/April and I was being interviewed, and as I was being interviewed there were people with
cameras, it draws the kids, and people were coming up with young kids there. And one of them said "Hey Mister.
Are you in a band?" and all that stuff. And I said "Yeah." And one of the wee guys said, and it made me laugh,
one of the wee guys said "What band are you in?" and I said "What band am I in?" and they said "The Beatles!" [Laughs]
I said "Is that the only band you know?" and the he was like "I dunno" but, anyway, he goes "You're a rock star"
and I said "Well... thanks." JK: So, anyway, they kept interrupting in a nice way. And finally one of them said to me "Where
do you live?" And I said "That's a good question. I don't really know where I live" and this other little one
chipped in with "You could live anywhere!" and I said "I know" and then his little mate went "If I were you, I'd
live in Japan." And I said "Why would you live in Japan?" And he said "On the videos, a lot of games are made in Japan.
All the video games. All the PlayStation stuff they're Japanese. I would live there." And as he was saying that to me,
I was looking over to these cherry blossom trees which, of course, as we all know, is the symbol of Japan. I don't
know how that ends up being Concrete And The Cherry Blossom the song and
I talk about this little kid having dreams he lives in a tower block but, as far as he's concerned, he's going to be
in Shinjuko that night and he's going to be living in Japan and he's going to be embracing that world. MH: It's a Glasgow thing isn't it? Young kids and dreams and they happened to us and here we
are yours ends up on a record. This is a beautiful song called Concrete And The Cherry Blossom
by Simple Minds.
MH: Track number nine on the vinyl album by Simple Minds,
the Big Music, is Imagination. A Kerr/Burchill
song. I'm sure this track was around for a while. I remember it and always really liked it and you were always
working on it and it's great to see it come to fruitition and end up on this record. JK: One of the things we did we played the summer, the past summer, we played a lot of festivals. Obviously
the record wasn't out, in fact it was still in the last flushes of recording, but we decided to start playing some of the songs
and one of the songs we played was Imagination because we just felt confident. When you play
a new song especially a song people haven't heard it's got to have something about it that you feel is going to make instant impact.
And in the case of Imagination apart from the melody, was it's got this great charge to it,
it's got this great energy and we felt confident it would go down well live. And indeed it did. JK:Charlie had come up again I struggled to begin with because it
was such a theme. I thought "I wonder if this is an instrumental" it's got such a strong theme. But again one of the things when you
write, people ask "What do you write about?" Your experiences come through you. But you're also stoking up the pool with the things
you read I've still got a voracious appetite for reading or listening. I'm always looking for a riff, something someone's says
and there'll be something about it and I'll think "That's a picture" or "That has a rhythm to it" or "That's a song title or whatever." JK: In the case of Imagination I just happened to be reading it's
such an obvious thing but you don't think about it one of the great world professors was saying that the greatest quality man has
is imagination. Because we don't know how the animal world uses its imagination but everything around us right now is a process of
human imagination. And when you stop to think about that for a second then it's overwhelming. And I thought "Well, I'm going to write
a song about imagination." We know that John Lennon wrote a song called Imagine and that's one thing. But imagination to
me everything we've done Simple Minds, our music we've had to dream the whole thing up but we imagined the
whole thing up. We imagined it into being. And every night when we go on stage, you look out there and that's all a process of imagination.
That is "If you built it, they will come." And that became the backdrop of the song. MH: In the lyric there's a great quote and it's like "Money can't buy, no money can't buy" and in all the
moments in this journey which is still continuing and will go on for quite a bit of time because your energy when I see you
live these days and we do get to meet seldom not as much as I would like but there's always positive energy there and there's always a
push. And I keep on thinking, one of these days, I'm going to meet you and you're going to go "You know what? I've run out of ideas" but every
time I meet you it's "OK Martin. I've got forty million ideas and help me pick the ones to go forward. These I want to do." And it was never a
case of saying if you had something, you could do something else you always took what you had and turned it into something special. And even
this song, the movement live when you do this song, it's a big song for you. So this is a great song called
Imagination by Simple Minds from Big Music.
MH:Martin Hanlin here on KX 93.5, The Real McCoy Radio Show with
special guest today, Jim Kerr, from Simple Minds, discussing the tracks from the
great record Big Music. We're onto a track Jim,
called Kill Or Cure, written by yourself and a guy called Paul Statham,
who I know you've worked with before, and it's great to see this track on here because he's a great writer. Another writer harking back
to what you said earlier about influenced by Bowie. But he works really well with you. JK: Yeah, he certainly does. You mentioned Iain Cook, and we'll be talking about
Owen Parker in a minute and Paul was the third writer outside
of Charlie Burchill and Andy Gillespie who we worked with.
And it's thanks to you because the connection with all these guys goes back to my own solo project with Lostboy
and Paul had written a track with me on that called Return Of The King
and that really comes out of the Bowie world as well. JK: But a year ago, and I think you probably played some of the stuff on your show Martin,
Paul put together a beautiful project called The Dark Flowers that,
coincidentally, was my introduction to the sound of Catherine AD, who will now tour with
Simple Minds. It's amazing how it all goes around. But there are people who, you walk into their work environment,
and you just know by the books on their shelf... they've got the same books as you, the exact same records as you, they've got the
same incense as you and you just know "We're going to get on here." And Paul and I have
written a ton of songs we've probably written about twenty songs and it was a pleasure for me to work with him and his Dark Flowers
because it was the style of song that otherwise I wouldn't have worked on. So it was great to be stretched like that. JK: I was really happy that Kill Or Cure made it onto the album.
Towards the end it was really Andy Wright and Gavin Goldberg the final
producers and mixers- that were pushing for Kill Or Cure. I always liked it but I
was not quite sure that it was going to sit right on this. Anyway they came up with a treatment that kind of made it a lot more youthful
sounding somehow. First it took me, it was one of these ones they said "We've got a new angle on this. We're really excited about it.
We'll send you it tonight." I was in Germany. "We'll send it to you tonight. We've chopped and changed some of the format. Think you're
really going to like it." I thought vibed. I was like "Great" I'll get back tonight after the gig and check this out." Got back, put
it on, I was like "Jesus. What's that?" MH: [Laughs] JK: And I made the mistake of e-mailing them instantly. And I was like "I don't get this? I really don't know what
this is all about. It's just not what I thought it was. I'm really not sure about this guys. So... sorry." And I didn't know, but
they got that, called each other, and went "What a bummer. We think this is great and Jim's
so strongly not getting it." Anyway, the next day, it came on random on my iTunes, and it came up again, and I was like "Oh, hang on a minute"
and halfway through I went "I can see what they're doing here. Oh, I can see why this would work" and even though I wasn't on the inside
jumping up and down I was on the outside more than calculatingly going "I get it. I see why this will work even though I wouldn't go on
stage tonight and play this in this format. But I can see why this will work on the record." And I called
Paul, who by this time had heard it, and said to
Paul "What do you think?" and he was amazing, he went "You know what? I really didn't get it this
morning but now I've listened to it half a dozen times and I think it's fantastic" and I was kind of "Yeah, that's what kind of happened
to me as well." MH: So I mean we're talking about the tracks on the album and you know, the process, the album has twelve tracks on it and
with Simple Minds you're looking at sometimes about twenty-five or even thirty or forty songs to melt down into the tracks
you want so every song has been through this process and Kill Or Cure gets through this stuff.
How much do you you give a lot of credit there to Andy and Gavin who worked with
you there on it how do you remain open to that outside influence Jim? You have so many songs,
and I know how much you like the songs, you put so much into every one of them, how do you decide? JK: This is where it is hard to describe although hopefully, through the conversation tonight talking about the album, hopefully
I've managed to articulate well but there are certain things I can't really summarise. Sometimes you just have a hunch "This is a great song but
it's not for just now." And trying to say that to someone, they go "OK, tell me why?" "It's just not its moment yet. I don't know what it is.
It could be that the lyric isn't quite there or something in the rhythm isn't there or something's not quite right about this." The thing is that
it's great, but something is not right. The diamond needs to be polished and I don't know how to polish it. And I don't feel this is where I
get to call the shot is because I've got to sing and I can't sell this now, I can't sell it to myself. I don't believe in it fully enough yet.
I mean I'll jump up and down, hand on heart, because I would never bullshit, I would tell people "Hey, that's a good tune but, you know what, the
difference between good and great is colossal. And good is no good anymore." But once you explain to people that you have to do the work, you
can't always have a bull's-eye, you have to do the work and if you do the work and you stretch the muscles and sometimes it's hard, you'll be
working something for a week and by the end of the week, you take it home, you go "Yeah, It's great" and then by Saturday you go "It's not."
And we have been tricked by it because there is something great about it. But something great about it and it being great is a different
thing. And sometimes you get tricked. Sometimes you get bewitched or beguiled by something and then you've got to go "Yeah... but." You hear
it with different ears once you get out. MH: Absolutely. JK: And visa-versa. Sometimes you think "Yeah, it's alright" and then you're "This isn't alright. It's fantastic!" So that's
what you have to call it intuition, instinct... I was recently reading about the great painters, about the Picassos and the
Chagalls they would turn a half finished painting to the wall for three years wouldn't even look at it. It frustrated them,
they knew they hadn't got it, they would turn it to the wall for three years and then turn it around one day and go "Oh! I know how to fix this!"
And in a way we sort of did that with the track Big Music as well as I explained to you. And then,
of course, the differences with you get tracks like Honest Town which just appears it's like
"boom!" You could put that out tonight. But that's hard for the writers, because they're in there and they've said, you've just got to say to them
"Look. It's just the way it is. Sometimes songs take forever. There's this song I'm very excited about that you introduced to me, a guy called
Steve Eddie, a song called Fireball God, I've had that for seven or eight years
and I played that this last month and I just know that its time has come. MH: We'll play this track and then we'll talk more about this song writing thing when we get to the next track. So this
is a track number ten on the vinyl album of Big Music. It's Kill Or Cure by
Kerr, Burchill and Statham.
MH: So I'm in talking with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and we're
in discussion about song writers and how the songs end up happening on Simple Minds records. And one thing you talked
about is it having its moment and quite a few people that you've worked with before that crash on the rocks, because they wanted it to
happen at that time, and it hasn't and they can't wait and they give up on it. And we're going into two tracks here, co-written with you
and a guy called Owen Parker: Broken Glass Park and
then Spirited Away. And Owen is a really great writer and
he's been there and, of course, we came across him when we were doing Lostboy and he has the
patience to hang in there, the reward is these two fantastic tracks, both of them. We'll start with Broken Glass Park. JK: It's hard to find enough praise for Owen in the sense of what he's brought to me.
When I think of if anyone is interested in knowing anything more about Owen they could check out my
Lostboy album because he wrote two tracks on that: one called
She Fell In Love With Silence, which is about domestic abuse, and then another one called
The Wait which, I can say this because it's his music, but they're masterly. And then
Broken Glass Park which although we said it was Blindfolded
that got things going we actually did a version of Broken Glass Park for our
Greatest Hits album that came out a year and a half ago. It's a different version from the
version on Big Music you could actually say it was that that got the ball rolling as to the
new Simple Minds, or the current Simple Minds, and we've been playing it live for the last tour we opened
with it in many places. Which when you're opening your set, a set of classics, opening with a brand new song is almost a recipe for disaster.
But we felt the song was good enough, the melody was great enough and I know that you the first time we checked it out for
Lostboy we just thought "This is a mini opera." And it had this great, nostalgic sense of
nostalgia in the melody and I wrote it about this park that we used to hang out in. Again the clubs and discos had come out well, they called
them discos in those days there was nowhere to go so you took shelter away from the mad Saturday night crowds and people would just hang and
you had your own world and Broken Glass Park is a song about those days. MH: I remember you cutting the vocal in the rehearsal room in Glasgow when we were doing rehearsals for
Lostboy. And once again, back to the Bowie, there's just a great
middle-eight part and you just swell into this and Jez Coad recorded it as the time he was
doing the recording and both of us thought were like "He's Bowie. Just for three lines he's turned into Bowie."
It's Jim Kerr's version of Bowie but it was certainly you. It just made the song
the way you pulled it in, you just painted its picture. JK: It just has nostalgia written all over. I was really pleased when lines started coming through like "the last days of
the last great century." Even though they're my lines [laughs] they didn't feel like my lines, so I can say that's just great. You're just
like "What's that?" But again, the atmosphere, not just the melody, the atmosphere of the melody, the atmosphere of
Owen's little demo picture I could see all this stuff in it, or it brought all this stuff out in
me and, for me, that's what great music does. MH: Painting the pictures with music, and you're talking about Broken Glass Park
and growing up in Glasgow and being aware of it, we'll talk about the moment where you did the middle part where it's "one day longer, the sense
gets stronger" and it's the phrasing and the feeling of that it sounded like you'd managed to transport a song that we were doing in
2010 and it just went back all those years and that was the kind of music that was flying around our heads at the time. And it's just a
perfect middle-eights are meant to give you this different aspect of the song and a lot of people don't get it right. But his one was
like: this is a great song, a great chorus, but let me take you over here for a second. JK: That's a great way of putting it Martin. I must've done a thousand interviews for
Big Music where no-one's spoken about the essence of the middle-eight. And it's so great,
it's true. That's when you've got the broad line of the song, but the middle-eight is where you really whisper what it's all about. MH: Yeah, and it's that picture and the thing is, we're talking about writing great songs, and we're brought up in pop and pop
to you and I would've been the classics of Bowie and Roxy doing Virginia Plane and Jean Genie and stuff like
that and Driving Saturday and Life On Mars which aren't really pop records as such but you don't get them these days and they have hooks
and also in Broken Glass Park not where you go off in the middle-eight and you come back to
the chorus and you're like "The chorus is back" and you welcome it. There's a bit where it goes out and you're like "OK. He was
Bowie for a minute. Now he's into the Iggy Pop thing and it's another call that goes out" and for me
Broken Glass Park is a pop-song from the first beat to the last beat, and from the first
word to the last word, they're all calculated to make you feel something special. JK: Yeah, indeed. And even the way it wraps up "We had fun, fun, fun, fun, fun" and I realise the other day that people of
our generation might know Monty Python's "And we've got beans, beans, beans, beans, beans" [laughs], it goes out almost
comically like a clutch but when the audience is there and they're all punching the air singing it, grown men singing "we had fun, fun, fun, fun"
talk about a banal way of describing our teenage years. But we have fun! MH: We did have fun. I see it up there as a beautiful piece of work by you and you puncture it with the Monty Pythons.
It was all part of who we were. We'll play this song. This is Broken Glass Park by
Simple Minds from Big Music.
MH: This is Martin Hanlin, KX 93.5FM, Laguna Beach, California talking to
Mr. James Kerr who's back in Glasgow and we're working through the tracks of
Big Music and we're looking at the vinyl this is what I've got in my hand and it's
a beautiful piece of work and the last track on here is another track who'd co-written with
Owen Parker and it's called Spirited Away, a beautiful,
really beautiful track that just takes your imagination and film theme music. JK: I was in London and Owen sent me it on a Tuesday evening and I called him
back later on that evening and I'd written it and I said "Meet me tomorrow somewhere and we'll stick a vocal on this and see what you think"
so I remember in the room was me, him and a little guy called Jim who works for Paolo Nutini - MH:Jim Duguid I think it is - JK: There you go. Jim Duguid. We just knew it was rather special. What was special about it was I don't
think I'd ever done something so conversationally. I'm really talking my way through most of the track. But this is where we've been
really lucky because we've worked with some of the greatest producers ever and even our secondary producers, the non-legendary ones
in terms of reputation, are still great we've worked with some of the best guys. Andy Wright
who worked with us, had lots of talents, what he did quite a few times with me was say "I'll see your second verse now" and I'm a well
seasoned song writer having written hundreds of songs he'd go "I'll see your second verse now" and he'll go "It's your first verse."
And I'll go "No, no, no" and he'll go "No, it is" and he'll go "If you open with "I'm not a complicated guy. I like things simple as can
be" we're there, we're just there, you set the scene." And I was kind of resistant just because the way I heard it out of habit, it
was working everyone liked it, why would I change it? And he went "No, no, no. This is it." JK: He also did it with Midnight Walking. At the end we had this bit
"All these people, all these lonely people" and he brought that into the first verse as well and it was a great insight. But I think on
Spirited Away it sounds like ships in the night where ships are passing and we know
there's something special between us but we know it's never going to get to come to fruition. But it's a beautiful little fairy tale song. JK: The great thing about it is Owen wrote it and I did the words but in the end
it was Charlie Burchill's little guitar flourishes that just kind of sealed the deal. However, trying
to get Charlie on it was impossible I don't know why he was resisting, we had a million things
to do and he was like "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Soon. Whatever." But the door was closing, the studio clock was moving, and I thought
"We're never going to get this done" and I had to tell him a white lie to get him on it, and as soon as he got on it, it was done. A lot
of people know it is Charlie's favourite song on the album even though he wouldn't go on it to begin
with! JK: And the other day we were doing the set-list for the album for the tour rather and by mistake I had omitted because
it sounds amazing live, there's not a dry eye, we've got these hardened roadies standing behind us and they're all kind of sniffling
when the song ends and I forgot to put it in and Charlie was like "Where's Spirited Away?"
I thought there was going to be a fight or something and I was like "We're gonna do it. Calm down!" And he said
"How can you forget about it? It's the best song on the album!" And I was like "Yeah, and you wouldn't even play on it mate!"
[Laughs] But that's the way it goes sometimes. MH: Yeah, there's Jim Kerr time and there's
Charlie Burchill time and I must give you a lot of credit because
Jim Kerr time moves very fast and is very creative and
Charlie's just like "Hmmmmm, let me think about it" and both of us were sat and thought
"How do we get Charlie involved" and then one day he just gets involved and he puts this
thing on it and it just makes it Simple Minds and it just captures the moment. JK: Yeah, he did. As much as you and I were talking about Honest Town,
it was right there and all that and as a song it was from the very first time we did it in Iain's
basement but when you listen to the record and Charlie comes in with that riff it's like,
it is another thing. And it really just seals the deal. I don't mean it minorly seals the deal, it just not only puts the ball in the net,
it bursts the net. MH: So thanks to Charlie Burchill for making it happen. This is
Spirited Away, track number twelve, a beautiful version from the vinyl version of
Simple Minds' Big Music. Written by
Owen Parker, Jim Kerr and
Charlie Burchill. It's Spirited Away.
The acoustic line-up reformed for Ol' Terry's BBC Radio Two Sunday show on the
18th January. Fast forward to
22 minutes in (try to avoid Anne Murray's Snowbird... my ears...) to catch
the cosy conversation with Terry.
CB: The first thing that really,really kicked it off actually was we had a bass amp
called a Dynachord and you could sample a note and it would repeat. I don't know why it was on a
bass amp I've no clue our bass player Derek had played
something, he was playing with it, and he started playing this rhythm and it's funny, we have a
friend who always says this: "Great bass line. You know, like one note! But great bass line!" JK: In the early 80s, when we wrote Waterfront,
Glasgow kind of was on its knees. Since the war up to the mid 1970s, Glasgow was a powerhouse,
industrial engineering and especially shipyards, but by the early 1980s, one by one the shipyards
were coming down, Glasgow was coming down, this place was like a ghost town really. The typical
images that you see miners striking or factory workings being made unemployed etc. was very much
happening in Glasgow and it was indeed a sad and angry time, a desperate time. JK: And I used to like walking along here, as sad as it was, and this particular night,
the summer of 1983, August, a beautiful night, the river was flowing and I don't know there was
something about it that made me think about cyclical things things don't just come to an end.
Symbolically one of the things about industry coming here was that the river was polluted beyond
belief. It was a dead river. But when the industry went after a few years, the salmon were coming
back to the river. A week later and Derek Forbes, our bass
player, came up with this throbbing pulse, and it just sounded amazing, it felt amazing, it felt
built for big venues, it actually felt like a steamship or something, it really had this size to it.
And I don't know if my walk here, and my thoughts of the river, and all this stuff I immediately
started writing words. And within half an hour, we had this song,
Waterfront. CB:Waterfront was a strange one because,
on top of this big bass pulse, there was this big hit on the piano and then the guitar plays this heavy
line. It's a bit like "BANG... de de de-de" things all happen and it's the big combination of all
the parts that make up the music really. The verse is just guitar chords and that's something
straightforward but all the rest of it is a very unusual song actually. JK: We used to start playing bigger venues and festivals and all that stuff and
you need one or two things that really work and if you're going to play a club you need a funky
track, if you're going to play a stadium you need something with a big picture to fill it. JK: And the thing we were saying earlier, it's still a great ... and sometimes
we're playing a festival and maybe the band before us have gone down a storm and you have to
follow it then we'll say "We'll start with Waterfront."
And the ball's immediately in the net.