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How to play like Charlie Burchill...

The reissue campaign by Demon Records continues as Big Music Live is due to be released on 180g white vinyl on the 24th May. The release of live material from Big Music Tour has an interesting history: it was first released as a double CD in November 2015; before being picked up by Demon Records and released for Record Store Day 2016 on limited edition red-vinyl. This new release increases the number of colour options, being pressed up on white vinyl.

"Recorded during 2015's highly acclaimed 'Big Music' Live Tour, the recordings features blistering versions of many of the Simple Minds' classic hits from across the decades - Don't You Forget About Me, Alive And Kicking, New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84), Waterfront - alongside some of the best songs from the band's then most-recent hit album Big Music. "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

The confusion surrounding the Acoustic Promo CDs have now been resolved. There are four promos for the album: a simple watermarked version of the standard album; a similar watermarked version but in a digipak with sleeve notes; a version with the bonus tracks; and finally a version with just the three extra tracks.

The so-called "International" version was just the promo with the digipak with "International" stamp. This was intended for overseas journalists and reviewers; it wasn't a separate pressing.

Other additions to the discography include:

All of the LPs and CDs featured in the recent Rejuvenation LP and Rejuvenation CD box-sets will shortly be available separately. They are due to be released between the 24th and 29th May.

The LPs are pressed on coloured vinyl and feature the same artwork as those in the box.

As a bonus, the CDs are presented in multiple-fold digipaks which include extra artwork, extended sleeve notes by Jim, and feature the bonus tracks included on the versions in the box set.

Simple Minds cartoon by Ardy Beld. See more of his band cartoons and political caricatures at

How to play like Charlie Burchill...

Mick MacNeil is now hosting a weekly radio show. The Mix Records Show broadcasts every Thursday from 9PM to 11PM on

Further details can be found on its Facebook page.

A limited edition of Graffiti Soul will be released for Record Store Day 2019. Pressed on 180g yellow and blue vinyl, this double LP also marks the 10th anniversary of the original album's release.

It also presents the entire album and its bonus tracks on coloured vinyls, as only the main album was released in last year's Rejuvenation LP Box Set.

Only 2000 copies will be pressed.

The first Simple Minds release in 2019, and perhaps the most unexpected, was Rejuvenation.

This time, the package included seven CDs and one DVD, moping up all the albums, B-sides, bonus tracks, videos and EPKs released from Neon Lights through to Big Music.

Jim's sleeve notes from the original LP box set are included, and he's written extra album-by-album notes exclusively for this package.

The addition of the EPKs required a certain amount of archive research. And one of the most surprising discoveries was the discovery of the Neon Lights EPK which was never actually released in 2001.

The set is released at the end of March.

Remember Play One? They were mentioned in the news section back on the 20th March. They were collaborating with Jim, Charlie, Sarah and producer Andy Wright on new versions of twleve Simple Minds classics.

The project has gone quiet over the past year, but two remixes of Waterfront have now appeared on SoundCloud. These include the radio edit and the dub edit.

Remixes often divide opinion but I really like these - they've given a modern twist to this 80s classic.

80s Symphonic was released on the 9th November and collected together some of the most iconic tracks of the 1980s, all rearranged for a 50-piece orchestra.

Simple Minds were well represented by a new orchestral version of the classic Alive And Kicking which was digitally released as a teaster on the first day of the month.

Other artists given the orchestral treatment included David Bowie, a-Ha and Ultravox.

In addition to the 80s reference, there were several other Simple Minds connections with this release. Most of the tracks were produced by Andy Wright working with Gavin Goldberg, the team who produced Big Music, Acoustic and Walk Between Worlds. The arrangements were by Sam Swallow who'd also arranged the orchestral backings on Walk Between Worlds. And, in another Simple Minds connection, the sleeve was designed by Stuart Crouch of Peacock and Stuart Crouch Creative. He'd been working on Simple Minds' artwork since Celebrate: The Greatest Hits.

Collectors will be kept busy searching out the one-track promos which were also released on the 1st November.

Alive And Kicking was not the only orchestral reworking to be released by Simple Minds during the winter. They also appeared on Trevor Horn's Reimagines The Eighties with an orchestral cover of Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms.

Trevor was interviewed by Billy Sloan where he talked about how the project came together, how he asked Simple Minds to be involved, and how it lead to the involvement of Mick MacNeil.

BS: It's a real pleasure to welcome to BBC Radio Scotland Trevor Horn. How are you?"
TH: I'm fine thanks. A bit cold - because I was in LA last week - but I'm getting used to it.

BS: The brand new album's called 'Reimagines The 80s'. It's a collection of your favourite songs from that period performed by some of your favourite artists. What was the catalyst for putting the record together?
TH: My manager came up with the idea. He's an A&R man really - or that was his first job. And its like an A&R's man's idea if you think about it. It's one of those things where you might as well play to your strengths. It's slightly difficult as one gets older... I've done so many different kinds of records and I like playing live, so to find some sort of vehicle that is some way where I can enjoy myself. And this one seemed a really good way because the songs are good. A good song you can do in any number of different ways.

BS: Did you inevitably start off with 200 possible songs and have 50 artists of choice and have to narrow it down to the top twelve?
TH: It sounds like it would be easy and fun to some degree, but it is quite daunting when you start. We did about ten, fifteen tracks to start off with. And we did guide vocals on them ourselves. And you listen to them for a while and think "Now who would do this really well?" And we gradually whittled it down - this is where we ended up after a year of working on it – with these twelve tracks.
BS: Because it almost seems that you've deconstructed each song, rebuilt it and carefully orchestrated it. Was that always the idea?
TH: Yes, that was the idea. We were always going to do that. Most of the songs started out without drums and drums come in, maybe, on some of them as they go along, but I wanted to try and get the orchestra to take as much of the weight as it possibility could. Because it's interesting - orchestras are wonderful things.

BS: Some of the songs on the record are songs you've had a hand in. There's a great version of 'Slave To The Rhythm' by Rumour; Matt Cardle tackles 'The Power of Love'; and, of course, you revisit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' yourself. Did it put any additional pressure on you revisiting songs that you were so much originally a part of?
TH: In the case of 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' it didn't really because Julian [Hinton] did the first part of the arrangement to see if I liked it. If it would work. And I liked his string arrangements so much... and then I started messing around with the time signature and sending it back to him and saying "Put two 3/4 bars, and a 4/4 bar in that bit there." I was doing the guide vocals. So I guess I got used to the idea of me singing a few of the songs.
BS: "And 'Slave To The Rhythm', originally by Grace Jones, was the title track of the album you worked on with her. As performed brilliantly this time by Rumour. Going back to that, did it feel you were messing with the crown jewels to an extent?"
TH: I didn't feel even remotely like that because it's so different. And it has no rhythm in it. I couldn't possibly do a better rhythm track for that song than the original one that we did. You know Steve Lipson's a brilliant engineer and the way he put that rhythm track together was something else. Rumour's voice has such a feeling of stillness to it. I really enjoyed doing that track because it was so different to the original.

BS: Track number seven on the album sees you reunited with Simple Minds. Of course in 1989 you worked with Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill when the band were making the Street Fighting Years album. Why did you want to work with them again and how did the choice of song come about because they do a great version of the title track of the Dire Straits' album from 1985 Brothers In Arms?
TH: Well, I'll tell you how that came about. I'd been playing in a band called Dire Straits Legacy. Dire Straits Legacy is five of the guys from Dire Straits – all brilliant musicians. So I’d been playing Brothers In Arms and I never listened to Brothers In Arms much in the 1980s but when I had to learn it – because I was playing the bass part – I thought what a good tune it was, what a great song. And it sounded like an old folk song. And so I put it into 3/4, because I thought a 6/8 tempo for it... from the way it originally is in 4/4.
BS: And you actually came to Glasgow to record it with the guys?
TH: Yeah, I did. We did the backing track first. And it was while I was doing the backing track that I thought of Jim. It just hit me, I didn’t think of it straight away. And I thought "Jim. Of course." And it worked. And they liked it.
BS: And half way through the session you suddenly decided you needed an accordion on the song. And you thought "Who can we phone?" And you picked up the phone and reunited another member of the band, didn't you?
TH: Yeah, it was Mick MacNeil. We originally had a fake accordion. It was Charlie who suggested Mick. I always liked Mick – he left the band a long time ago. And Mick showed up and boy was he in good shape. He had the accordion part down – pretty complicated parts – and he had two takes. And we were there with it.

Trevor Horn and Billy Sloan
The Billy Sloan Show
BBC Scotland
26th January 2019

The annoucement of the album, and Simple Minds involvement, also solved the mystery of what Jim, Charlie, Mick and Trevor were working on earlier in the year.

Jim discussed the track, along with the recording of Street Fighting Years with particualr reference to Belfast Child with Trevor Horn, in a video posted to Facebook.

TH: Jim, you and I haven’t worked together since 1988 when we did Street Fighting Years.
JK: Of course the big success was when we did a track called Belfast Child which was a traditional Irish folk song based on the air She Moved Through The Fair. And we had played around with it, but we were never in a million years going to do it, because we were Simple Minds. We didn't do folk stuff. We were a big rock band, we were electro, and we were all that stuff... And yet you wouldn't let it go. You were 'You have to do this. You've got to do it.' And lo and behold, the song that was never meant to happen, goes on and becomes a number one. And it was our only number one ever in the UK; and in some places in Europe. But it became this epic.

JK: But of course, when you asked us to get involved in the project, Charlie and I in a heartbeat wanted to do it. Even though, I never thought of Simple Minds ever covering a Dire Straits song, when you sent up the [great] demo of you singing it, and when I heard the little pipe, and the accordion and stuff, I thought it was from the same cake as Belfast Child. So this was going to be good.
TH: And, of course, you got Mick to play the accordion part. I hadn't realised that you hadn't played with Mick for twenty years.
JK: Well, he's a champion accordion player since when he was a kid. I mean he's the real deal. And I knew you really liked Mick as well.
TH: Yes, I always loved Mick's keyboard playing.
JK: I would presume many Simple Minds fans, when they hear that they're working on this track, and that Mick MacNeil has come back to work on this track, is quite an event.

Trevor Horn and Jim Kerr
Jim Kerr and Trevor Horn in Discussion
Posted 4th February 2019

It felt like Simple Minds were permanently on tour throughout 2018. Full details of all the tours have been updated including:

One of the highlights of the tours were the welcome return of the tour diaries. Shot by Cherisse, the tour diaries contentrated on activities behind the scenes, documented a particular tour, or concentrated on a particular band member.

Multi-instrumentalist Gordy Goudie was the subject of the tour diary posted during the Grandslam Tour. He talked about his introduction to music and the first gigs he attended (one of which was by an early Simple Minds. It's also worth watching for acoustic versions of Sanctify Yourself and Home).

The emphasis shifted for the next diary which concentrated on the Grandslam tour. This included interviews with co-headerliners K T Tunstall and Chrissie Hynde.

The final diary was an interview with Jim, shot during a break between tours, on the banks of a Loch. It was ompulsory viewing as it also featured interviews with Jim's father Jimmy. Plus it also included an acoustic version of She's A River.

Cherisse also wrote a piece for Modern Drummer in which she talks about her touring experiences, helping to craft the Acoustic album, touring with Simple Minds and her gear and electronics setup.

And congratulations to Cherisse who was voted Number One
in the '12 Best Live Session Drummers' In The World by Rhythm Magazine

"Brit sensation Cherisse took the number three slot in this category in 2017. She's clearly delivered the goods this year and rightfully earned the top spot for 2018. So how did she do it? Simple Minds headed back on the road in support of new album Walk Between Worlds (on which Cherisse also contributed some drums and percussion). Cherisse had been handling percussion duties on the band's previous acoustic tour, so it was a no-brainer that she should take up residence behind the kit for the Scottish pop legends. CherisseCherisse brings grace, style and pocket to the kit and the latest shows have been extra special as a result."

The last Simple Minds release in 2018, and perhaps the most unexpected, was Rejuvenation.

This was the second vinyl box-set released by the band and it covers the years 2001 through to 2014 when Simple Minds gradually regained momentum and critical appraisal through a series of albums and tours.

It included the vinyl debuts of Neon Lights, Cry and Black And White 050505 - albums which had only been released on CD previously.

Extra gravitas was given to the set by its coloured vinyl, impressive box design and exclusive notes by Jim.

Work is progressing on the second Dark Flowers album.

The album has now been recorded and is currently being mixed by Paul Statham. One of the contributions from Jim is a new song called The Dominant Colour Is Rust, which has changed from its original demo to darker Loenard Cohen style ballad.

Paul and Jim have changed Night Is The New Day for the new album and Catherine A.D has worked on a track called To England. This has also undergone a radical re-working from the original.

Paul is also working on two more tracks with Jim called The Lie That Tells The Truth and Grace. It's still unsure how they will fit on the rest of the album.

Thanks to Stuart Holland for the info.

Jim was interviewed during the US Tour by Jim Ryan for the classic Forbes Magazine.

The interview was - and no surprises here - very US centric with the interviewer discussing the history of Don't You (Forget About Me). But there were some interesting asides, particularly the influence of punk on the band, and recording at Abbey Road (for both Life In A Day and Walk Between Worlds.)

Most will be familiar with the band's first BBC's In Concert broadcast from 1979, as it's been heavily bootlegged over the years, with three tracks eventually being formally released on Silver Box. (Recorded at the Paris Theatre on the 8th August 1979.)

But I was interested to hear the full original broadcast. Available on the Past Daily website, this recording features the opening preamble from the presenter, his closing comments and finally the performance from second-artists-on-the-bill The Pretenders. It's well worth listening to the perfomance in context.

Many thanks to Sadiq for the tip-off.

Updates to the discography:

One of the songs mentioned around the LostBoy! period from eight years ago has been released. Jim wrote extensively about the many ideas and songs which were floating around at the time (2010-11), and which were destined for the second LostBoy! album, one of which was Love Is A Four Letter Word.

The song has now been recorded by Jim with Phunk Investigation - who were behind some of the the Simple Minds remixes between 2001 and 2009 - and released as Phunk Investigation Featuring Jim Kerr. Snippets of various remixes first appeared on Soundcloud in November 2018; before a Spotify exclusive on the 25th January 2019, and the full digital release on the 1st February 2019.

It was packaged as two separate releases: the House Remixes included the Original Radio Mix, Lino Di Meglio Dub Remix and the Lino Di Meglio Remix. The Techno Remixes, which were more hardcore, included the Engi Remix, Diezel Remix, Vanity Crime Remix and the Vanity Crime Overseas Dub Remix.

More information can be found on the single's page.

Thanks to Stuart for the initial info.

"I found myself at the cinema today watching Bumblebee, the Transformers prequel. Don't judge me! It was not my choice... It was set in the late 1980s and had a predictable Minds link via the robot learning to communicate via watching The Breakfast Club and consuming the language. Dont You (Forget About Me) emerged in a car chase as you can guess, but there was a cooler thread where the young lead girl was a big Smiths fan. Anyhow, nerd that I am, I thought you might like to know that she was filmed in front of her dead dad's vinyl collection and there was Life in a Day front and centre." - Anon.

archives: news 1995 | news 1996 | news 1997 | news 1998 | news 1999 | news 2000 | news 2001 | news 2002 | news 2003 | news 2004 |
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