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news 2015

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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.

  • "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

    No live recordings were made available during the Big Music Tour, so the release of Live Big Music Tour 2015 was a welcome souvenir of the tour.

    It's been initially issued as a double CD in a digipak sleeve.



    Also released the same month, and in preparation for the next tour, was the (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) single. As Simple Minds were preparing to team up with The Strangers for a short arena tour, the two bands grouped together to record The Strangers' classic (Get A) Grip (On Yourself).

    This was available from the on-line shop and at the gigs themselves.



    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.

  • Jim was recently briefly interviewed by The Independent as part of the promotion for the forthcoming tour.



    Most of the track times and details of the Greatest Hits Summer Tour 2014 have now been added. However, I still don't have the times for the songs played at Piazza Castello, Ferrara, Italy on the 28th July, 2014 - can anyone help with these?
    Neo Romantix Years is a new covers album of songs by various eighties bands. Included are two covers of early Simple Minds: This Earth That You Walk Upon by Agents In Infrared and Someone Somewhere In Summertime by Zarkoff.

    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.

    hivmusic1.bandcamp.com/album/neo-romantix-years-upr-025-cd



    If you missed the limited edition transparent vinyl pressing of Celebrate - Live At The SSE Hydro Glasgow, then you can now pick up the limited edition black vinyl pressing instead. This was released this month and is available through the usual retailers.



    Monte Carlo Summer Festival, Sporting Club, Monte Carlo, Monaco
    30th July, 2015
    Main Set: Waterfront / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Honest Town / Love Song / Mandela Day / Dancing Barefoot / Rivers Of Ice / Dolphins / Don't You (Forget About Me) / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore: Let It All Come Down / Let There Be Love / Riders On The Storm

    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 through iTunes and also available through other free music services such as Spotify.



    Now the main part of the Big Music Tour is over, the official site are releasing videos of every track recorded at Edinburgh on the 7th April 2015.

    A new video will be released every week.



    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."



    Fangirl Katie Puckrik grills Jim in this interesting and entertaining BBC 6 Music interview. (She goes right back to Empires And Dance and talks about seeing the band at the 9:30 Club in Washington.)



    "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."



    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 mk.customerservices@umusic.com 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.

    De Montford Hall, Leicester, UK
    31st March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / Speed Your Love To Me / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Hunter And The Hunted / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    Many thanks to Richard for the picture.



    Empire Theatre, Liverpool, UK
    2nd April, 2015

    "Liverpool/Blackpool up next: Both venues are among my fave's in the UK. I have no doubt we will again have memorable gigs. See you there " - Jim, 1st April 2015

    "Cannot tell you how much we love playing that theatre. As for the audience... unbeatable! Thank you" - Jim, 2nd April 2015



    Full details of the limited edition Waterfront picture disc are now online. This is being released on the 11th April for Record Store Day 2015.



    Opera House, Blackpool, UK
    3rd April, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / I Travel / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Hunter And The Hunted / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking



    The Spa, Bridlington, UK
    4th April, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / I Travel / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: White Hot Day / Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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

    Usher Hall, Edinburgh, UK
    7th April, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / I Travel / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: White Hot Day / Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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



    Concert Hall, Perth, UK
    8th April, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / I Travel / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: White Hot Day / Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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

    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."

    But there's no need to wait. Somerset's smooth extended remix of the edgy Blindfolded can now be found on YouTube.

    The press release for Midnight Walking is now online.



    Grimsby Auditorium, Grimsby, UK
    27th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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



    The Guardian recently featured 10 Of The Best of Simple Minds. Sadly, it limited itself to earlier material so don't expect to see anything from Black And White 050505, Graffiti Soul or Big Music.



    The intro of You're The Cure by Turboweekend sounds familiar:



    The Telegraph recently published this insightful interview with Jim: It's Not Us Who's Coming Back. It's You.



    Victoria Hall, Stoke, UK
    30th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Glittering Prize / Speed Your Love To Me / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Hunter And The Hunted / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / I Travel / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    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 YouTube link:



    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 the original.

    As an alternative you can email proof of purchase to mk.customerservices@umusic.com and 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
    London
    W14 8NS

    The final part of the essay should've looked like this:



    Falkoner Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
    12th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home - Real Life / Honest Town / I Travel / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Bittersweet / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "Mel Gaynor is currently playing better than ever. Don't take my word for it though. See for yourself tonight in Copenhagen." - Jim, 12th March 2015

    "Super shows in Denmark. Aarhus, Odense, Copenhagen: great feelings in all three. Audiences were fanatstic throughout. Thanks again... hope to see you next time." - Jim, 12th March 2015



    Jim will be appearing on BBC Radio 6 Music today as part of Steve Lamaqc's Roundtable show at 6PM. He will also be appearing on Jools Holland's BBC Radio Two show on March 30th.






    Conventum Arena, Orebro, Sweden
    14th March, 2015

    "The rivers of ice could be seen as the flight was landing earlier today. Orebro will get the chance to hear Catherine A.D. tomorrow night. Great having her along with us." - Jim, 13th March 2015

    "Lot of requests asking if Simple Minds will get to Ireland with this tour? Of course we will.. look out for us Dublin and Belfast hopefully at the end of the year!" - Jim, 13th March 2015

    "Little known fact... lyrics to New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) were written in Orebro, Sweden in August '82. Looking forward to playing this song in Orebro tonight."- Jim, 14th March 2015



    Updates to the discography include:



    Mόnchenbryggeriet, Stockholm, Sweden
    15th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home - Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Let There Be Love / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    Many thanks to Joakim for the set-list.

    "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.



    Lisebergshallen, Gothenburg, Sweden
    16th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking



    The video for the new Midnight Walking single was exclusively unveiled on The Guardian's website on the 24th March. It's an abstract video, similar to the one for Blindfolded. You can watch the new Midnight Walking video here.



    Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
    18th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking



    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).



    USF Rokeriet, Bergen, Norway
    19th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Let There Be Love / Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking



    Zetlitz Stavanger Konserthus, Stavanger, Norway
    20th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American - Home / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Liaison / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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



    If you fancy a retreat in Scotland, how about this Loch-side property? It also doubles up as a former recording studio.

    Amazon have been running adverts in music publications for the Sparkle In The Rain reissue and have also published a video of a Q&A session with Jim.





    Audio: Honest Town

    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, it was 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.

    Audio: 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 Simple Minds.

    Audio: Bittersweet

    Audio: Liaison

    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.

    Audio: Riders On The Storm

    Audio: Dancing Barefoot

    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.

    Audio: Blindfolded (Reprise)

    Martin Hanlin
    The Real McCoy
    KX 93.5






    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.



    Tollhaus, Karlsruhe, Germany
    7th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American (Acoustic) - Home (Acoustic) / Real Life / Honest Town / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Bittersweet / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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.



    Posten, Odense, Denmark
    11th March, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Let There Be Love / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    Jovel Music Hall, Muenster, Germany
    27th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / Broken Glass Park / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American (Acoustic) / Home (Acoustic) / Hunter And The Hunted / Honest Town / I Travel / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

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

    Catherine AD wasn't at the gig so her songs (Rivers Of Ice and Dolphins) were dropped.



    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 that really!"






    Konzerhalle, Olsberg, Germany
    28th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / Broken Glass Park / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Hunter And The Hunted / Honest Town / I Travel / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    "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

    Emsland Arena, Lingen, Germany
    21st February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American (Acoustic) / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Love Song / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    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: www.bleecker-street-shop.com/collections/simple-minds



    Reviews of Sparkle In The Rain have started appearing for the forthcoming Sparkle In The Rain Reissue. These reviews are from Q, Classic Rock and Mojo April 2015 issues:




    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.



    Anacoustic Mind
    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!!

    Mike Ogletree



    Palladium, Cologne, Germany
    24th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American (Acoustic) / Home (Acoustic) / Real Life / Honest Town / I Travel / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

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

    Rockhal, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
    17th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Riders On The Storm / Alive And Kicking

    Many thanks to Fred for the set-list.

    "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 Ješkevica 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

    Salle de Fκtes de Thτnex, Geneva, Switzerland
    16th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Real Life / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / She's A River / Riders On The Storm / Sanctify Yourself

    Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland
    14th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Home (Acoustic) / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / She's A River / Riders On The Storm / Sanctify Yourself

    "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

    Amphitheatre 3000, Lyon, France
    13th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Honest Town / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Real Life / Waterfront / Speed Your Love To Me / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / She's A River / Riders On The Storm / Sanctify Yourself

    "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

    Zenith, Nantes, France
    11th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Let It All Come Down / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / She's A River / Riders On The Storm / Belfast Child / Sanctify Yourself



    Gayant Expo, Douai, France
    12th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Stars Will Lead The Way / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Mandela Day (Acoustic) / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice - Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Let It All Come Down / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Glittering Prize / Riders On The Storm / Sanctify Yourself

    "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



    Updates to the discography:



    This excellent article in The Guardian features more about Catherine AD.



    JohnnyBGood's back and has put together a new Simple Minds Megamix using many new Big Music tracks.

    Teatro Nuevo Apolo, Madrid, Spain
    9th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Broken Glass Park / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / The American / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice / Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Let It All Come Down / Midnight Walking / Big Music / Alive And Kicking /
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / She's A River / Riders On The Storm / Belfast Child / Sanctify Yourself

    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

    Coliseum, Porto, Portugal
    8th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Broken Glass Park / New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) / Home / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice / Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / All The Things She Said / Let There Be Love / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Big Music / She's A River / Belfast Child / Riders On The Storm

    "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



    Updates to the discography:

    Coliseum, Lisbon, Portugal
    7th February, 2015
    Main Set #1: Let The Day Begin / Blindfolded / Broken Glass Park / Imagination / Stars Will Lead The Way / The American / Stay Visible / Honest Town / Love Song / Rivers Of Ice / Dolphins / Waterfront / Don't You (Forget About Me)
    Main Set #2: Book Of Brilliant Things - East At Easter / Speed Your Love To Me / Once Upon A Time / All The Things She Said / Let It All Come Down / Someone Somewhere In Summertime / Midnight Walking / Alive And Kicking / Sanctify Yourself
    Encore #1: Spirited Away / Big Music / She's A River / Let There Be Love / Belfast Child / Riders On The Storm

    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



    Classic Pop Magazine published the following four page spread in their December issue. It was written by Pierre Perrone who also wrote the Celebrate: The Greatest Hits+ tour programme.


    The current issue of Classic Pop Magazine is also running a competition to win the forthcoming Sparkle In The Rain Super Deluxe editions. Click here to enter.



    The USB sticks (produced by Bleecker Street) for the Greatest Hits + Summer Tour have now been added to the site.

    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.

    Audio: 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.

    Audio: Concrete And The Cherry Blossom

    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.

    Audio: Imagination

    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.

    Audio: Kill Or Cure

    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.

    Audio: Broken Glass Park

    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.

    Audio: Spirited Away

    Martin Hanlin
    The Real McCoy
    KX 93.5



    Updates to the discography:



    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.

    They played acoustic versions of Let The Day Begin and Don't You (Forget About Me).

    Hear it on iPlayer.




    Alcaline Magzine recently published this entertaining romp through Simple Minds' history. It was primarily put together to promote Big Music with an interview (dubbed into French) with Jim and Charlie, but also included bits of various promo videos such as Don't You (Forget About Me), Honest Town, Promised You A Miracle, Alive And Kicking, Let There Be Love, Glittering Prize, Love Song, Sweat In Bullet, Chelsea Girl, Mandela Day, Ghostdancing, War Babies, Glitterball, Belfast Child and See The Lights.


    Other interviews included: Did Simple Minds fast forward, or new bands rewind? Big Music sounds fresh either way from Digital Trends (the most technical interview yet); 7 Of The Best: Simple Minds (Clash Music); My Haven: Jim Kerr (Daily Mail);


    New press releases for Big Music and Let The Day Begin have been added to the website



    Dutch NPO programme Top 2000 recently screened a superb mini-documentary about Waterfront. Fast forward 34 minutes in for all the background info.

    It includes an interview with Jim and Charlie in the studio, Verona footage, archive footage of Glasgow in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jim in Glasgow by the Clyde and clips from the SSE concert.

    Highly recommended.

    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.

    Top 2000
    NPO



    This cover of Spirited Away by TurnTheMachinesBackOn is of extra interest as feautes one Owen Parker:


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