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news 2019

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"The greatest virtue is in helping others for one's own sake and peace of mind as well as theirs. Justice, goodness of heart, duty, courage, and fidelity to fellow creatures, all qualities worth pursuing on their own." (Sympathea.) Hardly my words, they date back to ancient times. However on reflection, while recently being interviewed for Simple Minds remastered Street Fighting Years to be released early next year, it struck that perhaps some of the ideals behind the songs on Street Fighting Years aspired to that enlightened quote? And what great things to aspire. Because the alternative is?
"How fortunate we are to have loyal fans all over the world, that of course includes Spain. For that reason it gives much pleasure to see both Madrid and San Sebastian recently included on next year's 'grand tour'. We look forward to those shows immensely."

"Simple Minds' first ever Spanish gig (of our own) was when we played the Rockola club in Madrid. It was on Sunday, December 20th, 1981, and thanks to heavy snowfall in the UK we almost never made it."

"The scheduled morning flight from Gatwick had become increasingly delayed, to the extent that by early evening we were still hanging around the London airport terminal. By that time I was getting sick of losing at scrabble and chess, and all were becoming more doubtful with each passing minute that our gig in the Spanish capital would take place."

"Never ones to give up hope. Our luck suddenly changed, and around 7PM the flight eventually took off, meaning that we arrived in Spain around 10:30PM - half an hour before we were due on stage."

"In those days we had almost no road crew, therefore we all rolled up our sleeves while hauling our sparse equipment on stage, including our manager/mentor Bruce Findlay, who seemed to thrive on the chaos playing out in front of us - a huge smile across his face as he gazed over at Charlie Burchill, on hands and knees with a hammer and screw driver, vainly attempting to repair his guitar pedal board that had seemingly been damaged during the flight over."

"Predicting that the packed Rockola audience would forgive us for being late, and that they would go wild on hearing songs like I Travel, Celebrate, The American, come blasting out at them, Bruce - who was seldom wrong - was absolutely right again! Madrid has become part of the Simple Minds story ever since" - Jim, 12th December 2019

"We are all delighted to know that Simple Minds have finally added 4 Italian shows to next year's touring schedule. To be on a stage anywhere in the world and in front of an appreciate audience is honour enough. To be on a stage outdoor on a summer night in Italy, performing in historical cities/towns/venues, beautiful enough to make you think you are dreaming? Well, that raises the sense of honour and appreciation to another level entirely."

"Simple Minds' love affair with Italy began during our first ever tour of the country in 1983. The opening show was performed in a packed and swelteringly hot basketball arena in Bologna - where we were met with an audience so passionate - we will never forget the excitement experienced, and where arguably the first time in our lives we were genuinely made feel like 'rock stars.' (And if you are wondering - what does that mean? In this case it means we were made to feel very special.)"

"That same experience continued with each subsequent show of the tour, in doing so taking us by such surprise - as we had no idea previously that our music and reputation had travelled in front of us - that Italian kids/students had already been turned on to the sound of New Gold Dream and as a result were impatiently awaiting our live presence."

"Decades later the excitement is once again palpable. And whether it is in Pistoia, Roma, Taormina or Verona, we hope to see you next summer in Italy!" - Jim, 10th December 2019

Derek has announced a new project called Derek Forbes And The Dark. He has announced a new album and and a UK tour, both planned for March 2020. First, he'll be appearing at the Spanish Simple Minds Convention where he will be peforming an acoustic set.

See his website for more details.

"Between many workers' monthly payday falling that weekend, and pre-Christmas festivities starting to kick - in, there was an even livelier atmosphere than usual in Glasgow city centre last Saturday night. Meanwhile, over in the trendy Merchant City area, only a few minutes walk from where I was born, 'The Great and The Good of the Scottish Music Industry' had gathered for the Nordoff Robbins Scottish Music Awards. The annual award ceremony is a fund raiser that helps the Nordoff Robbins charity within its aim of providing music therapy to vulnerable and isolated people with a range of challenges, and for more than two decades a dedicated group of locals have admirably given their time and energy to make sure that these nights in Glasgow are successfully organised. Hats off to each and everyone of them for doing so. In my opinion it is they themselves that deserve the awards."

"Simple Minds were initially recognised twenty two years ago by Nordoff Robbins, when they kindly presented us with a 'Lifetime Achievement Award.' I suspect no one in the room that night could have foreseen that more than two decades later we would be back - this time to be presented with an award for 'Outstanding Contribution To Music.' (Try saying that after you've had a few whiskies)."

"Nevertheless we were delighted to again be at the event, in and among so many old friends and fellow Scottish artists from varying generations. On top of that, it was so good to have all our band and crew back together for the first time in over a year - as we plugged in and played a few songs after midnight. Our job was to bring the evening to a good old fashioned, raucous, climax. I think we succeeded in that?"

"But of course I need to also mention the audience who in typical Scottish fashion, overwhelmed with their enthusiasm for what we do."

"As far us our contributions to music goes? Less than a mile from where the award ceremony took place, we had spent the preceding days recording a handful of songs that look set become the bones of our next album of original material. (Our 19th. I think?) That might not be due for release anytime soon, but we are already getting excited about how our follow up to Walk Between Worlds is progressing. No doubt our contribution to 'new Simple Minds music' looks set to continue for the foreseeable future at least. Thanks again to all who made Saturday night so memorable!" - Jim, 2nd December 2020

The event took play on the 30th November with Edith Bowman hosting. The location was Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket, which would be instantly recognisable to fans as the location for the Promised You A Miracle (Acoustic) video.

Simple Minds came on after midnight and played Waterfront, Love Song and Don't You (Forget About Me).



Cartoonist Ardy Beld has sketched another picture of the Minds:

More can be found on his blog at punk-cartoons.blogspot.com

With the Argos campaign in full swing featuring its aspirational female drummer, it was a matter of serendipity that Simple Minds' drummer, Cherisse Osei, was asked for her advice for beginners:

"My advice would be: Practice. Practice. Practice. Learn as much as you can and explore different techniques and styles. Listening to great music is as important as actually playing the drums, in order to develop good ears (listening). Also learning about music history is essential. Everyone is different of course, but my favourite part of my job is playing live. This is what I love the most. Nothing beats the adrenaline and spontaneity of a live show. No matter how much you rehearse the set, you never really know what will happen at the gig. Once you're on that stage you go into 'fight or flight mode' and once you start to fight, the adrenaline hits. Of course, you've got to concentrate on playing your parts right but I also believe that people have paid to see a show. There is no reason why the drummer can't be as interesting to watch as the singer in the context of the show! So performance is something I have always worked on and I believe it is as important as my playing skill. I love the energy at gigs and if you get a great crowd then it makes you step up even more. Above all else, you should enjoy yourself and have fun."

The mainstream interviews on TV and radio often yield little of interest when it comes to the nitty-gritty behind the band. Sure, they're good for unveiling the latest single or promoting the just-announced tour, but offer little in the behind-the-scenes glimpses, or recording minutiae, that the more hard-core fan craves.

Therefore one has to stray off the beaten track a little to find such gems. Long form interviews with independent radio stations are excellent, as are web blogs and speciality web sites. These are where you'll get the necessary low-down.

Such was Jim and Charlie's recent interview with Jamie East for Virgin Radio. Not only is East a massive fan, and really relished the opportunity to interview the guys, but the dug out more about certain songs and events than had previously been put in the public domain.

Jamie East: Hello and welcome to yet another Virgin Radio Classic Artist and this is one off the bucket list for me. I remember singing along to these guys on the back of the school bus many a time. I wore many a raincoat and acted very miserable to most of their back catalogue. [Laughs] This week's Classic Artist is Simple Minds. Dead chuffed to welcome Charlie and Jim. How are you doing guys?
Charlie Burchill: Hi Jamie.
Jim Kerr: Pleased to meet you.

JE: Look at that [Indicates cover of 40: Best Of]. First of all, what a great cover.
JK: Isn't it great? Nothing to do with us but it is great.
JE: Back in '79, did you ever, for a second think, forty years later you would be here celebrating it?
JK: The first time we got in the rehearsal rooms as Simple Minds was in November 1977 - so we're actually forty-two years old James. Our parents weren't even forty then. We had no concept of what forty...
JE: Forty is ancient. When you're not forty, forty's ancient.
JK: And in the terms of rock and roll, even the old guys weren't anything like that. In fact, the only old guys then would've been the old blues guys that were 'old guys'.
JK: People say to us 'Great being forty. But why do you still do it?' There are a million reasons why. But I think - I like to think (and let us off the hook here if we're in high definition) it was written in those old guy's faces why they still do it. It's who they are. It's what they do. And I think after forty years I'll have wrestled and conceded that this is what we do and how fortunate, how grateful we are having had this life in music, encapsulated in this compressed compilation, curated by none-other than Charlie Burchill.
JE: How do you even begin to do that. Because, surely, you've got to please so many different sides. Obviously, you've got to get the hits on there. You've got to get the deep cuts on there. It must be quite a juggling act.
CB: The truth is.... We didn't do it.
JK: CAREFUL CHARLIE! We presided over it.
JE: You should! Like grand masters.
JK: There's a million combinations here.
CB: Well it is difficult. There are obvious tracks. But when you go to the less obvious tracks then that's a bit tricky. We've got a huge fan base - they always go on about the first five albums - none of them bough them, you know! 'They were the best albums!' Nobody bought them. But you've got to try and cover all that stuff.
JE: But when you're showing the history of the band, you've got to include everything.

JK: It's a bit like playing live as well. It's a great problem to have. When there's that kind of quantity - hopefully there's a quality to match. And as Charlie was saying there's a lot of different boxes to tick; we've different generations of fans. We've some that know the big MTV years, there's some who were in at the start, we've got younger kids coming along now..
JK: I was telling the story the other day that sometimes you're at a gig and you'll single them out and you'll say "Did your parents drag you along here?" and one or two cocky ones will nod their head to which we say "Could be worse. Could be Spandau Ballet.
JE: [Laughs] Hi Martin!
JK: A Spandau Fatwah comes on me! But it could be A-Ha. But it could be all those great bands. The point being that whenever we put a set together, or this here [40: Best Of], you've got to do all the big hitters, but you try... compressed it should give the sense of the collected thing.

JE: Let's go right the way back. You were rooted in punk.
CB: Yeah, that's right.
JK: We were...
JE: Sid Syphilis. Is he still knocking around anywhere? Have you seen him lately?
JK: I hope not. [Laughs] But you never know.
JE: Just for clarity, you guys gave yourselves nick-names.
JK: You never know who'll you'll bang into!
JE: But that was from where you guys came together.
JK: Liberated by punk.
CB: As were many bands from that era. It was great. You didn't have to play anything to get on a stage and do something.
JE: But I've spoken to quite a lot of people who formed around that time and that's the beauty of that era, that it gave everyone the self-belief and confidence to get up there and start banging them out.
JK: Genuinely yeah. We talk about people who know our history, there was a pre-Simple Minds called Johnny And The Self Abusers who were a tenth-rate punk band. But in some ways, it was still better than some of this stuff: it had the energy, it had the fire. This stuff wouldn't exist if it wasn't for it. Even if it was a bit of a joke and a satire.
JK: We used to stay in this - it wasn't quite a squat - it was this flat where we all stayed. And someone said "Could you describe it?" And I said I'm sure The Young Ones were based on it. The famous TV show. Because it was a bit like that.
JK: But the point being, had we not done that, it was the catalyst. Because we'd probably still be sitting in a pub and saying, "One day we'll get a band together." But in the madness of that punk thing was where the whole ethos was. And it was a brilliant ethos: anyone can get up and give it a go. Because the year prior, when prog rock ruled the world - and we liked a lot of that too - we didn't see ourselves in that.
JE: It's difficult to play.
CB: That was the thing.
JK: And for a start you'd need to be classically trained and all this stuff. But that punk thing liberated not only the music but also out there in the Styx people were starting their own fashion labels and fanzines and doing their own documentaries. It was almost like the gatekeepers had moved aside and we could get in. And it really did liberate us. And, certainly, from the first gig we played - this probably didn't happen - Charlie and I looking at each other and thinking "Wouldn't this be amazing if we could really do this!"
JK: Because we were lucky. When people talk about their first gig it's normally two men and a dog. The first punk gig in Glasgow - people were just rabid for anything punk and...
JE: Didn't you support Generation X?
JK: We did eventually. But when we played our first gig there were queues around the block. So, we thought we were the real deal before we'd done anything.

JE: OK. That's all well and good. But how do you morph into more structure and more of a career? Thinking "Let's nail this."
CB: After the punk thing, the band we were in dissipated and it was back down to Jim and I. And at that point there was definitely a change going on. And it was getting a bit more electronic. Which we, in our background, had loved a lot - all the Kraut rock stuff. So, for us, we embraced the synthesizer. Sequencers and things like that. We started writing slightly differently. Jim and I had written some songs in the bedroom, and recorded them, and we'd released a single and stuff like that. But by the time we were Simple Minds - not so much the first album - but certainly beyond that we were embracing the electronics a lot more.

JE: How did you go about writing songs?
JK: You could say it's a classic thing with a lot of rock bands. UK rock bands were school mates - we lived in the same street so you started to identify as you get older, you see people with the same albums under their sleeve, it was what you were into... Queen? Maybe. Velvet Underground? Yeah. The Doors? Yeah.
JE: You find your people.
JK: Yeah. And Charlie had a guitar as well and could play by then. And I think the other thing was Charlie's brother Jamie - his elder brother - he had a lot of the cool music that wasn't on radio yet like Alice Cooper, a lot of Dylan's stuff, Joni Mitchell and we were taking it all in. And I just think the enthusiasm for it - I don't know how I got it into my head that I would write words, or want to write words - but I just did and it seemed natural to us to get creative. And I think...
JE: What were you writing about? Were you writing about what was around you? What was Glasgow like at the time?
JK: I think the early stuff you're just emulating your heroes; you're doing your version of Bowie...
JE: As Bono once said, "Every artist is a cannibal; every poet is a thief."
CB: [Laughs]
JK: There you go. We have a song, it was the first I thought "This is a song, not just a riff" and it was a song called Chelsea Girl, that we did on our first album - we did a debut on the Old Grey Whistle Test and we played it - when we got that done - it's funny because as soon as I say 'that song', not only do I get the image - this time we weren't sitting in Charlie's bedroom - we were sitting in my mum's house and we were sitting on the couch and my mum worked in one of the first Greggs in the UK. Anyway, we're working away, and we think "We got one here" and the door goes and my Mum comes back from work and she goes "Hey boys! I've brought you strawberry tarts" [laughs] and I was like "No! No! We're working! - Oh, maybe we'll take a break." I think they were three-day old strawberry tarts and Charlie and I scoffed everyone. Every time I hear the song, I get kind of nauseous. A bit queasy. But that was the first song that...
CB: She thought it was a hit.
JK: She said, "That song's a hit!" And it wasn't a hit, but it got us a record deal. We would play it live...
JE: And the Whistle Test as well?
CB: Yeah - and we screwed it up on the Whistle Test [Laughs]
JK: We still screw it up. But it got us going and we played it on the Acoustic Tour and I'm always amazed going back to those early songs because we think they're - well, we think we're much more sophisticated now and we didn't know what we're doing there - but, when you go back, there's already craft there. But I think that came through listening to records and emulating and... we wouldn't know what a 'bridge' was, we wouldn't know it was called a 'bridge' - but there was that little bit that needed to go in there - so it was all handmade and still is homegrown.

CB: The first album you do, you've been writing that for a long time. Jim and I had been writing songs for quite a bit. So, the first album is that collection. But, by the time we got to our second album, it was like...
JE: There's nothing in the tank!
CB: There's nothing left. And you can hear that on the record.

JE: Over the years, you guys have worked with some cracking producers, who have shaped - your sound has changed, you've gone from this to that - and a lot of that is down to the producers you've used. You've had people like John Leckie - he was one of your early producers...
CB: Yeah, he did the first three.
JE: Presumably after XTC but before he got onto Radiohead and Stone Roses...
CB: Magazine, XTC, ...
JE: What was it like working with producers? Did you guys pick your producers? Was it the record company suggesting them? How did it work?
JK: We were so into the music, we knew the engineers, we knew the producers... we didn't know what a producer did! But we knew this guy's the producer and he'd been involved with these four or five records.
JE: Were you surprised when you found out what a producer did? Who's this guy telling me what to do!
CB: We still don't know what a producer does [Laughs]
JK: To be fair, we're a band that loved to this day, loved, all of them. It's just great working with all these people. And it's just nice that you pick out, or mention, that because a lot of people don't. But we feel, or our generation, we worked with the best. Lillywhite, Trevor Horn, Iovine, Clearmountain, Steven Lipson, ...
CB: Hillage...
JE: They all bring something to the table.
JK: They do.
CB: John Leckie was like a film student and he was quite 'out there' and experimental and encouraged us with synths and stuff like that. And then Steve Lillywhite was great for the bombastic side.
JE: When Lillywhite met Mel Gaynor, that was a big day!
JK: That was! I can still see Steve's face red with enthusiasm. "Go Mel!" [Impersonates drum roll] I just don't know we needed to do it every song. But it was quite a combination that.

JE: What was the first moment when you two looked at each other, or what song was it, and went "We've got this?"
CB: It was probably Alive And Kicking about ten years later.
JE: That late on?
CB: No, it would've been...
JK: I thought when Charlie and Mick came up with The American, the noise of that. I thought this is it. This is a Simple Minds thing. There was a swagger there. I think we just knew.

JE: Were you incredibly ambitious at the time? Were you like "Right! We want the stadiums?"
CB: No, not at that point.
JK: Well, no-one really knew about the stadiums then. What happened was we were incredibly ambitious - in the sense of "What do you want to get out of this?". From the very start we only had two things in our heads: to try and be a great live band. Why was that important? Well, it was important to us because - as I mentioned earlier about being big record fanatics, we also started at the age of 13 or 14. Charlie's first gig was Led Zeppelin - he then he saw Alice Cooper. At the time I was seeing Peter Gabriel on stage with Genesis, Bowie, Roxy, ...
JE: Such a great time.
CB: Amazing time, yeah.
JK: It was a great time. And we knew enough that certain people really delivered and could make the hall feel small. And then other people would play the music, and it would sound good, but you didn't feel they knew you were in there.
JE: Eyes looking to the back of the hall.
JK: So, we wanted to be a great live band. And we wanted to go and take it around the world. That's still what we want to do. And still the challenge we have to deal with every night. But I think - in terms of the big thing - before Glastonbury got mega here - there were huge festivals in Holland and Belgium 80,000 and 90,000 people - and we would turn up at that stage - say it would be the middle of the afternoon - and we'd come across real good. But we'd watch people we loved - people like Van Morrison, Elvis Costello or someone like that - as good as they were, it wasn't quite built for that. And I think we thought - we never had meetings about it, but you think subliminally - you know what, we're going to need different sonics here if you're going to get across to all of this. And lo and behold, Waterfront would appear.
JE: Waterfront, it really kicks you in the gut doesn't it?
CB: Yeah, it really does, it's a really unusual kind of track. And it's an amazing sounding record.
JE: And it was also a blessing to every school band in the eighties. Because the bass player's like "Thank you!"
JK: It's a very original [bass] line isn't it? [Laughs]
CB: You need a lot of training for that line [Laughs]
JK: You don't need Pavarotti to sing it either. [Laughs]
JE: Well, it helps if you're Jim Kerr. That's a proper 'hairs on the back of your arms' standing up one, where you want to be with the crowds, singing along.
CB: It was funny how it came together, Waterfront. It kind of fell together, strangely enough. Because, again, I still think with a song like that - Jim and I still don't really know if it's a song.
JK: It's a poem Charlie.
CB: It's kind of, again, there's elements of what we did in the early days, where the bass line just runs all the way through it. There's stuff that riffs off of that here and there.
JE: It's got it musically. It's got a lot to do with rock. It's got that solid "dom dom dom", driving through it.
JK: I think it's a great piece of music. I can say this because I wasn't involved in the music. I just remember - the first time we played it live, we went into rehearse a couple of days prior to going to Dublin, it was our first tour to play with U2 who were coming back from - it was a homecoming tour - it was the first time they had been outdoors in Ireland. And they'd just had their first break through in America - gold disc and all that - so it was a big, big deal. And they'd invited a few bands over to play at their event in Phoenix Park. And we'd gone in to rehearse for that. And, well, when we were in there, the bass player started to come up with Mouldy Old Dough...
CB: [Laughs]
JE: Lieutenant Pigeon! Their mum played piano!
JK: We were like "What is it with Mouldy Old Dough?"
CB: The B-side, Desperate Dan, is exactly the same tune [Laughs]
JK: But then the guy started playing, and then Mel, and Charlie with the chimes and all that, and I thought I couldn't see it being a song and I thought "This would be a great intro music" - an intro music to something. And it would be a great opener. And the previous week I'd been in Glasgow, at Clydeside, and - Derek's sound sounded like inside a steam engine or one of those big cargo boats - I have this whole water thing going on. And the city being reborn again, the river always flows.
JE: It's great that you're painting these pictures in your mind. "Come in, come out of the rain."
JK: Yeah, all those images. I could feel that atmosphere in it and I guess in my notebook I had that. So, we had this chant, this "Come in, come out of the rain" thing. The song wasn't fully written - we hadn't finished writing it. And yet, we decided, in Dublin, to start the set with it. Because it'll be an intro tape that we're playing.
JE: Good for the sound guys. It starts with the bass and then ...
JK: There you go. And maybe the crowd will get into it, who knows? But it shows how adventurous we were to go on with a new song. "Yeah, we're playing a song that isn't written yet!" And we went on. And people went mental, onto the rhythm with it, we knew we were on to something. And then we had to go back and work out with Steve what it was.
JE: I guess that heralded a lot of people's first ever introduction to Simple Minds. Which was, I guess you guys would class, is the stadium kind of rock.
JK: That era.

JE: Which was hugely successful. And must have changed everything. Because after Waterfront you went through this huge string of proper rock anthems. You had Sanctify Yourself. You had Don't You (Forget About Me), Alive And Kicking... You just hit a rich seam. What was it like to be in that - to be in the eye of the storm.
CB: Well we'd recorded that album in America. And we'd been working with Jimmy Iovine. And Jimmy was really pushing song writing. So even though the album before, Sparkle In The Rain, had pretty much the kind of album you could hear in big stadiums, very bombastic with a big live sound, and then we found ourselves crafting songs a bit more and Jimmy was encouraging that. It was great, but I don't really know if we had such big success because we were making the record. It might have been the subsequent years - when we were playing really big, big places. Was it Jim? After Once Upon A Time?
JK: Well there was two things. Outside of America, everywhere else, the band had gone through the door into the big league with Sparkle In The Rain. And Sparkle In The Rain to us - there was a lot of great things about it, and Steve's sound which you mentioned, and Waterfront, and Catwalk, and Speed Your Love. But I felt that that was a great "vibe" record and the songs that I mentioned there, I think are really good songs. But I felt, on Side 2 - going back in time! - on Side 2 I felt that if someone had pushed us more on the song writing, then it would've been a much better record. And so this Jimmy Iovine, we heard he was the guy that got on artist's backs - Springsteen, Stevie Nix, he'd worked with Dire Straits - it was all good stuff - Patti Smith, of course.
JK: There's a story that's quite good. Earlier we'd been trying to get Jimmy's attention. Because we hadn't done anything in the States - this is pre-MTV - he wasn't quite biting. And it's funny how things turned out because Jimmy - he'd done the U2 record live and it was "Oh God. He's done U2. And we want to work with this guy" And it was just a dodgy live record.
JE: Was that Wide Awake In America?
JK: It was Under A Blood Red Sky and it was great. Brilliant. And we were trying to get his attention, and he's not quite biting, and, do you remember that mad band Men At Work? They'd had big success but CBS in America, it thought if the band could lose some of the eccentric Australian stuff, then they could be the new The Police here. But being Aussies, they were like "Get out of it." But they sent Jimmy down to...
JE: To fix Men At Work.
JK: Yeah, because he's a bit of a hard case Jimmy. He's a bit of a street guy. Anyway, he went down there and Jimmy's thing didn't work.
JE: Is there a lost Jimmy Iovine Men At Work album somewhere?
JK: Yes. That's the story Jimmy told us. But Jimmy didn't care. He said, "They're paying me a lot to go down and I didn't like them anyway." He said he couldn't even get in the rehearsal room! And Jimmy's one of these guys that hates travelling. He said "So I just went back to the hotel. Grabbed my bag." And he says he's getting the cab to the airport and this Australian guy - this young cab driver - he says, "So what are you doing here Jimmy?" "Well, I'm a record producer." "Worked with anyone that I would know Jimmy" "Well Springsteen, U2." And the guy said "Yeah? Well this is my band" and he puts on Waterfront. And Jimmy's like "Who's this?" He said he thought it sounded amazing. "It's Simple Minds." And Jimmy was like "Oh wow." And Jimmy responded.

JK: But that took months before he responded. And we'd done this thing for an obscure movie soundtrack called The Breakfast Club. We used to refer to it as "The Black Hit From Space" because it was like "Where did that come from?" For those who don't know, we didn't write that song. We were cajoled into doing it.
JE: First of all... it went to Billy Idol and then Bryan Ferry.
CB: So they say. Maybe Billy...
JK: I have my doubts.
CB: I have my doubts as well.
JK: I tell you why I have my doubts. For an A&M movie they want an A&M act. And neither of them were.
JE: That was quite the norm at the time for songs to be landed on bands, especially for movie soundtracks.
CB: At that particular time, I don't think it was. The reason we were always wary about doing that in the first place, we couldn't understand why they'd want us to do somebody else's song. We were writing our songs. So, it wasn't really quite working for us.
JE: So the song was written for the film then?
JK: It was.
CB: It was kind of like a real demo. When we did it, we really upped it to where it became.
JE: So nowadays your name would be above that door. You'd get a co-writer.
JK: To be honest, they offered us - and I don't know if Charlie remembers this - but we're not going to take the geezer's dough.... How daft! [Laughs]
JE: And six weeks later it's "Oh my God!"
JK: Honestly, we were like "Nah!"
CB: I think the demo of it's great. The very original is really great.
JE: Has that ever been heard?
JK: I think the demo's well dodgy. It sounds like a Psychedelic Furs B-side. We gave the song grace and stature, we came up with the most insightful "la la las"...
JE: So the "la la las" were yours?
JK: They're home grown! [Laughs] Made in Scotland. From girders.
JE: That changed everything. It was just crazy big. And it still is.
JK: We didn't see it coming.
CB: No, we didn't. We didn't put it on the album.

JK: So, Jimmy was like "Hey. How are you going to follow this? You're really going to have to.... I don't know how you're going to follow this? And if you don't follow it, you're going to look stupid." We were like "auuughhh".
JE: But at least you at to write to brief a little bit then, because you got this huge hit on your hands and it was like "Right. Let's try that out for a while." Is that how it went?
JK: Confidence was high and Charlie and Mick were coming up with things like All The Things She Said. It was like "We're gonna be alright." But we knew we needed some kind of "big event" song. Because it was MTV world. And it wasn't good enough to have a song. And Jimmy was great, and he was really pushing us in that way. "You should go back on the vocals. And it should be this." He was coming to the rehearsals and we'd have ideas and he was - I think the thing with the guys was that there was so much music there. Because everyone was contributing and writing. But Jimmy was being that area.
JE: And that was Alive And Kicking. That was the one. That was "We can do this ourselves." So, talk to me a little bit about the gestation of that. How did that come about? Where did it start? The piano line or the drum beat?
CB: I remember it vividly. We'd taken a break and Jim had been away somewhere. And he'd been listening to some jams we'd been doing. And there was one bit that was three guitar chords with echo and a rhythm. And it was just a rhythmic thing over three chords. And Jim said "I think this is like..." And I thought "We'd be able to write on that." And it was ... And that's the very, very first thing I remember about the song. And, on the way to where it ended up, Jimmy was a bit influence on that. Because every time we'd progressed on a certain part of it, Jimmy would come in and go "You need another bit. And you still need another bit."
JE: Were you under huge pressure to put more "Las" in Alive And Kicking?
JK: Well no. But I laugh about it. I love the way how there'd be a piece of music and I'd go to the guys and say 'It's good because I can see the cityscape, and the sun's rising, and there's a guy" and he'd go "No. No. No. It's three chords and a rhythmic thing." [Laughs]
JE: You're very romantic about it.
JK: I think I was writing a video more than a song. The funny thing is - and we always laugh - but Charlie says that... No the music was fantastic and we had it there. But how do you articulate? For instance, I was trying to articulate the joy, there was a great joy in the song, there was great overwhelming feeling in it. What catch phrase would go with that? Life affirming. To me - and I love saying this to Charlie - I love not being a musician. To me it's not what they're doing, although I know it's amazing - it's what it does to you. And Simple Minds' music is - I think - there's pictures in it, strong pictures in it, you trying to pick out the images, the story, and something that would just match.
JK: We laugh about Jimmy. It's funny. So I did a scat vocal with a half-written lyric. And of course, I go to do it, and I think "I'll nail it properly now." So Jimmy's already in the song. So I can't remember what I came up with, but I changed the first line. So I sang whatever it and Jimmy goes "Hey. Stop, stop." He goes: "Where's 'You turn me on'?" And I said "You can't sing 'You turn me on'. Give me a break. Jimmy, I can't sing 'You turn me on'. It's awful."
JE: That's not life affirming - it's horny.
CB: [Laughs]
JK: It's just terrible. It sounds like some soul band in Scarborough. And he was "You've just ruined a million seller. My girlfriend - she calls it the 'You turn me on song.'" And I was like "Really?"
JE: Now I'm interested - now the girls are involved.
JK: But it was true. It was "Jimmy, you're kidding. 'You turn me on?' I'm not Marvin Gaye. Unfortunately." But, lo and behold, Jimmy's persuasive...
JE: And he was right.
CB: He was right, yeah.

JE: Now after that era, you turned it on its head again, and you went into the Belfast Child kind of era. And it was around about that time - had you supported Peter Gabriel at that point? - and I guess the more political side of you guys starting to come out. The more activism. And that kind of thing started to come to the fore a bit more. Talk to me about that. Was there a conversation that you had? What was the turning point? Had you always been like that?
JK: Certainly a lot of the people who'd influenced us were at that forefront. Certainly when you think about the 80s, the first image is the cliched image of the hair, the videos and the "Greed is good and...
JE: And the Jim Kerr stance on stage!
CB: [Laughs]
JK: But if you think of it all, people like Springsteen with his Born In The USA album, and Little Steven, and Peter was doing stuff in Britain, Jerry Dahmers, and Costello had written stuff and ...
JE: Everyone was quite angry.
JK: Yeah, I think everyone was quite angry. I think with us, we liked a lot of that music. After the big album and that tour, I'd gone on holiday, I went away for ten days with my Dad to Senegal, and we'd gone on one of these tourist trips, and I was thinking about it recently, it'd taken us to one of the first places where the African slaves had gone on the boats. These things are still existing, these ports, and you could see where this all began. I think it really affected me. And when I came back, at that time, the idealism of Live Aid and all that - although that was charity - the generation, our generation and that period, there were certain themes coming to the forefront: Anti-Apartheid, Greenpeace, still all the same stuff but with different names and different profiles.
JK: And Prince had written this amazing song, he only did it with one because I can't remember Prince being political, he wrote Sign O' The Times, and in three minutes nailed it. And I think we were finding all that inspiring and, at the same time, because we were a big band, people were asking us to get involved and things that mirrored our idealism.
JE: Well, you were big enough to do what you wanted.
JK: We were big enough to do it, yeah. I think at a certain time, if you're going to write... I think sometimes you try too hard but if you want to take on the big themes and ...

JE: Talk to me about Belfast Child. Because that's one of my favourites of yours. It's a great running song by the way. Put it on when you're flagging and when the drums kick in, you're in a Chariots Of Fire moment. Talk to me about how that came about because it was a real shift in sound for you guys.
CB: Well it was Trevor really.
JK: The Celtic idea.
CB: We were working with Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson. We'd built a studio in Scotland in the highlands.
JE: What was it called again, your studio?
CB: Bonny Wee Studios. [Laughs] We'd been working - and Trevor came from this... he threw a curve... and he was like "You should really do a Celtic song." That would've been the last thing on our minds because we were always a bit conscious about trying to avoid the Shortbread and the kilt stuff. And then Trevor said that. And was John playing it on a piano?
JK: As Charlie said, Trevor always tries to throw a curve and we were doing our thing, and he said "You're up here now. Have you ever thought of using any of the musicians and doing something Celtic? People love that." And as it happens, Mick MacNeil, the keyboard player, his family are from Barra - Mick's an accordion player. And he was up for it. So, the idea was up in the air, but we weren't quite sure how to go about it. In the meantime, we were getting on with the rest.
JK: And then it's amazing how things fall into place. A particularly horrible thing had happened that week in Northern Ireland and it was all over the media and John Giblin our bass player - who could play keys as well - after dinner one night, the guys were still sitting around, having a glass of wine or whatever, and John was just playing this haunting melody that I then discovered that he hadn't written - I said to him "When did you write that?" and he said "About two hundred years ago." [Laughs]
JE: It's based on an old folk song?
JK: An old folk song She Moved Through The Fair. I thought I wondered if you could take that and take some of the sentiments, some of the imagery, it's been around...
JE: Some of the soundscapes that's in your mind. You can hear the drama.
JK: But how it went from that to essentially what you're referring to - this great jam - it's into Stairway To Heaven.
JE: It's almost as if you started this nice Celtic folk song and Mel Gaynor's like "Hang on lads" and [mimics crashing drums]
JK: And those chords and the whole thing. I don't remember that getting worked out - it probably wouldn't have been a jam - but it come from a jam and I think it would've been Charlie... we couldn't have worked that out, Mel would've done that and Mick would've got on the Hammond and then Charlie - everyone had a go I think. And then to me the movie was opening and you got all this turmoil and it starts to mirror the...
JE: That was huge for you.
CB: I remember in the early days with it, because we knew the rhythm of that would be... We wanted to get a Bodhran player - there are so many different ways to pronounce that - you know the handheld drum - and we wanted to get somebody to play that. There were a few people who played on it: we had a penny whistle and a couple of other things. We had that rhythm which is very Celtic and it's so generic but it's part of that, and that was really the thing. And I remember at one point we did a discussion about "It would be great to make this sound like The Who." If only! But that's what I think we were trying to do.

JE: And recently you revisited it acoustically. You did acoustic a few years ago. Is that something you eagerly did, were you a fan of doing acoustic stuff?
CB: No. [Laughs]
JK: It's funny. As we're sitting here I'm thinking of all the good stuff we did that we didn't want to do. "We're not doing that dodgy film soundtrack. We're not doing that dodgy acoustic stuff. We're not doing that dodgy 'You turn me on' thing." [Laughs] "We're just not doing it. "That Celtic thing? Leave it out." [Laughs]
JE: All the things that paid the mortgage off, you didn't want to do.
JK: Exactly! [Laughs] Rather die in a ditch! Thank God someone said "Wise up!" Never looked for gift horses in the mouth. The acoustic thing - we wrestled for that for 30 years - from it first coming up. We always felt that a few songs could work but the problem was, early on, we started calling it "Bongos on the beach." And once you call it that, it's hard to take it seriously again. We thought three songs [would work] but how are you going to stretch it out over a night or over an album? And we wrestled back and forward. But thankfully, in our career, which must be apparent by now, there's people around us who said "Settle down. Sort it out." And I loved working on that. I remember... acoustic album and seeing this van load of amplifiers turning up. [Laughs] Charlie's going into this a bit like someone going into the North Sea. "Could we lose ten of the amps?" [Laughs]
CB: We had more equipment for that tour - than we did for any tour.
JK: I thought we'd make a fortune. Just me, Charlie and a guitar. We lost our arses on it. We had chandeliers and all that. [Laughs] We are the only ones who could cut down and lose. We got carried away.

JE: If you could pick one song you could play on the radio now, what would yours be Charlie?
CB: Jim mentioned it, and I have mentioned it in the past, and it's got a particular, strong place for me: The American. Because I remember it was between where we were - the breakthrough album for us was New Gold Dream - this was on the album before that and we were working with Steve Hillage, which was a record company suggestion because Steve was from the 1970s and a totally different genre completely, more like... And when we worked on it, we worked in The Manor up in Oxford, the Virgin studio and it just all came together - it was really great. And it had all the elements that we really liked: a bit of Kraut-rock, and it really felt that we kind of hit on something.
JE: The seed of Simple Minds was there.
CB: I'd never really heard that kind of a noise before.
JE: What about you Jim? Which one would you choose?
JK: Waterfront, probably, it's still a bit of a anthem and as we get around to thinking about playing live, it's always great knowing you've got that one. And it's great for the bass player. [Laughs] To know that he's going to be tested. [Laughs] It's like there's never a situation where it doesn't work. And it's so great to have that.
JE: Listen guys, the fire is still very much in your bellies and it's great to hear from you. And what a great collection. Thank you so much for coming in.

Interview with Jamie East
Virgin Radio
17th November 2019


"Around this week in November 1977, we entered a rehearsal room for the very first time. Well, it wasn’t actually a rehearsal room. It was the top floor of a then typical to our hometown, crumbling, red-bricked factory building that belonged to another age. With shattered glass windows and rain dripping through a roof that was well beyond repair, the temperature inside was always colder than the the temperature outside. And as is normal in Glasgow during winter months, the outside temperature was often around zero."

"No matter! Apart from musical instruments, the room had what all rock bands need most of all. Electricity. Equally important, it had walls thick enough to allow us to play at volumes not acceptable in most circumstances. The room therefore was a godsend to us, and to this day we are indebted to Jim Duffy, the kind owner who allowed us to use the facility without once looking for any payment."

"Jim knew our reality. And the reality was that - we had no money."

"That then was the very beginning for Simple Minds. And right from the start we already had the most crucial thing necessary at the beginning of any endeavour. We had an end in mind." - Jim, 11th November 2019

Jim's interviews with Billy Sloan are always an absolute treat. If I could only listen to one interview from a promotional campaign, then I'd always pick Billy's. With his extensive knowledge of the band, and long association with Jim and Charlie - he was even at their first gig - then his interviews can always been relied on to either cover subjects in greater depth, or shed a new light on old stories.

BS: It's a real pleasure to welcome back to BBC Radio Scotland Jim Kerr. How are you?
JK: I'm really good. I'm delighted to be on the show. Two weeks ago I was driving across the highlands and got caught in a traffic jam - it was 10 o'clock at night and I don't know what was going on - and it was lovely to hear your show. I hadn't heard it for a while. And you were playing great stuff. And here I am. So hopefully we can do another great show together.

BS: The new album is called 40: The Best Of: 1979-2019. It celebrates a landmark anniversary for Simple Minds. And it must be a proud moment for you and Charlie and Simple Minds as a band to chalk up four decades of making music and being creative.
JK: Inevitably there's pride. Funny enough, I don't think pride is one of the main things we feel. We feel great fortune, we feel blessed, surreal - I mean, you and I talk all the time about where the time goes within our own lives - I can't believe the age we're at. We've always appreciated the chance that we've had in life and always appreciated the things that music has brought us.
JK: But I think - and just taking a second to pause on where we are just now - the sheer magnitude of it has brought a more intense appreciation. Up until now, we'd say this is what we'd like to do with our lives, whereas now, and I'm turning 60 this year, this is what I've done with my life. And whether that's been any good or not, certainly the idea that we'd had this chance to make a life out of music, touring and playing and writing songs, creativity, and the key word being 'playing'.
JK: Because Charlie and I, we began playing in the street, and in this summer, amongst the other things that were going on, we sat in my room in Glasgow, playing about, and Charlie said "Let's play about with the gear and see what emerges." And a whole bunch of songs came out. The idea that no only have we had all this, but there's foundation stones for still more to come, is incredibly pleasing.

BS: When you look through the tracks of the brand new compilation, it's songs from every era of Simple Minds' incredible career from Life In A Day - the debut album back in 1979 - up until Walk Between Worlds in 2018 - when you were putting the tracks together, there are some obvious choices obviously - which you can't leave out - but to they spark great memories for you as well, because when you're looking back at these songs and listening to them again, I guess you wouldn't have listened to some of them for a number of years, what kind of emotions and memories was it sparking off for you personally?
JK: It's funny that when you play the tracks I remember. There's odd different kinds of thoughts that go through your mind because - sometimes I remember walking into the studio that day. And usually if it's those early ones, there will be an element of fear involved, because we didn't have the budgets then - if we didn't get it right we couldn't do it again - it was real hit-or-miss stuff. And also, on those early records, we weren't really selling records but we were under pressure to sell records and at any time the record company was maybe going to pull the plug on us. If you asked if that was in my mind when I walked up to the microphone to record the vocal on Changeling or Celebrate then yeah, it was. Because I can tell you, the lead vocalist - in the case how Simple Minds worked we would construct the songs as a kind of soundscape and I have to say the guys did - if you hear Celebrate without the vocal, it's probably better without the vocal, it sounds immense. And then I had to go up - none of them had heard yet what I was going to do, or they knew there was a working title called Celebrate - but it was like 'I'm taking a penalty here. And I better score.' Not only for the public outside, but the guys in the room - I was working on their ideas. So things like that come back when I listen to those songs.
JK: When I listen to the bigger songs, for instance, the irony the biggest song of all Don't You Forget About Me - again, well, well, documented - we left the studio not even thinking about it. We thought 'Well, we got the record company off our back. Who knows what this thing is going to be? It might be a B-side. It might be on this movie soundtrack. Tina Turner's going to have a big song or whatever.' We didn't know anything.
JK: Alive And Kicking I remember because, after the success of Don't You (Forget About Me), we were terrified we didn't have anything up our sleeve to follow that and therefore we thought we'd look really stupid. And we knew that we needed - not just another strong song - but an event song. "What's an event song Jimmy?" "We need an event song. We need an anthem thing. We need all this stuff." And then finally after working on it, recording it, I remember - and this is what comes to me whenever we play the song - I remember the mix of the song was too complicated, we'd never get it out of the studio... It was in Manhattan at about five in the morning, but it was the summer months, so it was already light and the garbage trucks and - you know, New York smells in the summer - and walking down and I had a Sony Walkman. I was nervous. I wondered if this thing sounds as good as I thought it did in the studio because it really sounded great. And I plugged in, and the sun was coming up, and I was walking down towards Columbus, listening to Alive And Kicking and I thought 'This is really going to work.' By the time I got to the hotel - and I can tell you this because there's a local element to it - I went in for early morning breakfast and the guys from the brilliant Blue Nile - Glasgow band as well - were staying in the Mayflower Hotel. And normally I wouldn't say this, but I was sat, having a cup of coffee, I said to Paul "I've got this song. I've got to play you it. You have to hear this." And he went "I'll listen to it later." [Laughs]
BS: The man had more important things. He had tea and toast in front of him.
JK: And I can understand. What was he supposed to say? "Oh, no it's crap" or, regardless. But I remember thinking "Listen to this outside of us because it really sounds like the canine's bollocks."
BS: If you had been sitting there with your mushroom omelette and he said "Listen to this new Blue Nile song" you'd have said "Oh. I'll check it out later this afternoon."
JK: Yeah, you're right.

BS: Now, you're quite understandably looking back on the new compilation album, but Simple Minds inevitably are always looking forward. And the new track on the album is a song called For One Night Only by King Creosote, Kenny Anderson. And it comes from a musical project called From Scotland With Love. It seems to be a bit of a left-field choice. First of all, how did you discover the song and how did you think Simple Minds could put their stamp on it?
JK: We've always enjoyed doing covers. In fact, I think all great bands love doing covers. The Beatles did covers. Springsteen worked on Australian stuff, a Bee Gees song... leftfield choice! When you think of some of the covers, the main covers that Simple Minds did in our early days - outside of Lennon, the Glorias, the Waiting For The Man and all that... Biko - who would've done that? Sign O' The Times - who would've done that? Street Hassle - who would've done that? Whenever we've gone to covers, by and large, we do either look at the leftfield or we look to pick up a jewel that's not known to the wide, mainstream public. Or certainly wouldn't be know to our audience. Because it's not your song, but you're delivering something new and they might not know.
JK: In the case of King Creosote, we've been big fans of the music and Kenny in particular over the years. And it may have been your show where he did that wonderful album - From Scotland With Love - and for those who don't know that album, in amongst all these really beautiful, romantic, almost wistful songs, there's this barnstormer, this kind of Kraut Rock thing called For One Night Only that Charlie and I not only loved straight off the bat, but kind off - hopefully not being arrogant - but thought 'There's something about the Simple Minds about that.' Because sometimes you hear things and there'll be a style or framework and you think - if not directly influenced by us, maybe we share the same influence or whatever - but we thought that's the song we should look to doing it the next time we do covers.
JK: So, of course, the new package, whether it's a Greatest Hits or Best Of - and there's lots of arguments of the merits of those things - but, in the case of Simple Minds, a band that's always evolving, and a band that gets every five or six years - its proven - new generations coming along, you need a new package. And it has to be remastered. And it needs to sound good. And the catalogue always needs to be freshened up. But you always want to offer something new to show where you are at this time.
JK: Where we are at this time is that we're writing a bunch of new songs. They will come. But in the meantime, For One Night Only - what I liked about it, apart from the song itself and the sound of the song, I liked... Kenny's thing was written with a soundtrack in mind, but I liked that phrase. Because Simple Minds have this ethos, ethic about playing live. When you go on tour, and next year we might do a hundred and fifty gigs, but by and large, for the audience coming to see you, in any given city, it's for one night only. And when you go on stage with that attitude, because that's the attitude we have, we don't pull back on a lesser city, we don't try harder on a big city, because - what are we saying when we go on stage live? And this goes back to your first thing. We're saying 'This is what we've done with our lives.' And when that's at stake, every single night, you try and deliver beyond the odds. We like the slogan of the song and the chant of the song and as we sit here just now, we've still never played it live, I think it'll become a showstopper, as they used to say in Broadway.
BS: Let's hear it now, from the brand, new album 40: The Best Of: 1979-2019, this is Simple Minds and their version of the King Creosote song For One Night Only.

Audio: For One Night Only

BS: This is Billy Sloan on BBC Radio Scotland. You join me with my special guest Jim Kerr of Simple Minds. Looking back at the band's incredible career, you're celebrating your fortieth anniversary, and let's go back to the very beginning, the 17th January 1978, you played your first gig at Satellite City. You were third on a four band bill: Steel Pulse were the headliners. You'd come off the back of Johnny And The Self Abusers - who'd had a bit of success - you'd been playing to good crowds in places like the Doune Castle and stuff like that. You'd released a single, albeit splitting up the day it hit the shops, but what was the expectation with Simple Minds? Do you think if you got a shot, this could really fly? What do you remember of the gig first of all?
JK: As we went on that first night?
BS: Yeah.
JK: It's funny how things do stick in your mind. You'll remember but Satellite City was a discotheque, and it was on top of the Apollo Theatre so you had to go - there was a lift - but you had to go up six or seven flights of stairs. It was a serious hike. And I remember we arrived there - and the main band must've been using the elevator - so we were carrying McGee's drums up and carrying all this stuff up and you'd line your gear up hoping you'd get a soundcheck and stuff. And there's a few things about that night. It was the first time I'd seen any Rastas - I'd never seen a Rasta, because we didn't have a West Indian community in Glasgow or in Scotland - or any visible - sadly we didn't. So seeing these Rasta guys was like mind-blowing. We were sitting and watching the soundcheck and - you're right - with Johnny And The Self Abusers we'd had a little apprenticeship - but for Charlie and I, as soon as we went in the rehearsal hall for the first day of Simple Minds, we knew this was all or nothing because Johnny And The Self Abusers had kind of been a joke band - this was real. This either was going to work or not work. And the chances that it wasn't going to work were much greater.
JK: However, we'd written these songs, one of which was called Pleasantly Disturbed which - and I can say this, because I'm talking musically more than lyrically so I'm not being big headed - but I thought it was a master piece that Charlie had written. He'd really come up with something there. So I knew we had a great end to the set but I wasn't quite sure about the 25 minutes previously. However, a couple of days before the gig, Charlie came up with this riff for a song called Act Of Love and just hearing it coming out of the amplifier for the first time, I just thought "I think we're going to be OK here. I think this is going to work." But it's not until you walk on stage, to the sound of your own feet, and welcomed with two hand claps...
BS: Because I remember being there, and first on were a band called the Nu Sonics, who, of course, evolved into Orange Juice. Second on the bill were Rev Volting And The Backstabbers, who became James King And The Lone Wolves, and Steel Pulse had just had a hit with Ku Klux Klan at the time so they were flying high. But I remember seeing you, and you looked like no other guy I'd ever seen in Glasgow, you looked very ill at ease, you looked nervous, you almost looked like you'd rather be anywhere else than standing up in the spotlight behind that microphone having to entertain an audience. So what was it that drove you? What was it that made you think you could do it?
JK: I remember that clearly because the way you describe me there is pretty apt. But do you remember, between the soundcheck, it was a freezing night - and between the soundcheck and the gig I went downstairs - there's a chip shop...
BS: Mr. Chips.
JK: OK. You even remember the names!
BS: I used to go there. I used to have a loyalty card. They invited me to their Christmas nights out, I was such a valued customer.
JK: You glutton! I'm amazed you remember the gig but - anyway - you remember the chips. Anyway we went down and I was starving - and it was the first time I knew 'I can't eat these chips' because the nerves were so bad that I knew I would hurl them up as we went on stage. That's how ill at ease I was with the whole thing. And yet, the other half of me, was saying 'We're going to be one of the biggest bands in the world.' [Laughs] So there was this conflict. We didn't know anyone from a band. There was no local scene, really, to grow out of because up until then, people still felt they had to go to London to make it. So Glasgow - I wouldn't say it was a desert but there wasn't many people playing their own stuff in bars and pubs then.
JK: So the idea that you could... it was so unlikely.

BS: You've said live music, and playing live, is so important to you. It's estimated that over they years you've played something in excess of 3000 gigs. And, of course, you went to America last year on the Walk Between Worlds tour, you'd not been to the States for a long time, and it was a pretty exhaustive coast-to-coast tour of the USA. While there, you recorded one of the gigs at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, and it transpired into Live In the City Of Angels, the brand new album that's just been released. What was it like going back to America? Because when you first went there it was the start of the eighties and you went to do the Whistle Test at Hurrah's New York? So what was it like going back there? Was it as exciting as it was the first time?
JK: I said earlier when we started the interview about the sense of appreciation. We always appreciated - but I think there's a depth to the appreciation now. The greatest thing about going to America now is - or going anywhere now - should you be of the mind, and I am, you can go online and you can research where you are and you really... there was always books before, history books, but we always laugh, because we'd turn up at a theatre in downtown in Detroit and somebody will say "The Doors played here." And you be like "Really?" "The Doors played here. Jimi Hendrix played here." And I'd go "The Marx Brothers played here." [Laughs] "Charlie Chaplin played here."
BS: You've got it spot on. You've got it dead right.
JK: And the sense is, as silly as that all is, it's not silly because you're on that stage. You know they had to deal with a crowd, they sent them home happy, they had to make sure that that crowd would want to come back and see them again. Join the club. So did we.
JK: So I didn't have that when we were in America in the eighties. I was like "The Bunnymen are playing here next week, we better do the business!" So there's a maturity. And just that landscape. Because as much as we love - and you and I are from a generation and we certainly - some of the greatest rock bands ever came from these shores - but America invented it. And there's still that thing. It's still mega. And you turn up there, whether you're in Miami or New Jersey - you're playing New Jersey - everything that that resonates. "Frankie Valli played here. Springteen played here. Sinartra played here." I don't take any of that for granted. There was a level of pleasure, outside of the fact that - after ten years of not touring coast to coast - the place was packed every night and there was magic in the air.
BS: Well, let's hear a track from it now. This is the brand new live album from Simple Minds, once again it's called Live In The City Of Angels, and here's the ultimate romance recorded live on stage in Hollywood, California. A song about their favourite venue in this part of the world, this is Simple Minds and Barrowland Star.

Audio: Barrowland Star [Live]

BS: ... And just before Barrowland Star, Jim, we were talking about how important it was that Simple Minds was perceived and seen as being a great live band. Let's talk about two of the most significant gigs that you would've played over the years, the 3000 or so that you've done so far. Let's go to the 13th July 1985 - Live Aid, Philadelphia, the John F Kennedy Stadium. How did you get the call and how did you end up being in Philadelphia, as opposed to being in Wembley?
JK: Well, we got the call from Bob Geldof. I was at home - I was still staying at home whenever we weren't on tour - it was my Mum and Dad's house. And I remember being in bed. And my Mum saying "Bob Geldof is on the phone." We hadn't featured on the Band Aid single, and until then hadn't heard anything about a concert. So, we got the call and Bob, in his fashion, explained what was going on and I was immediately excited. Geldof had always been good to Simple Minds. He came to see us in the early days, and he'd always been a bit of a champion of our course, but we were number one I think, that week, in America when he called, so they were looking for all the big acts, and we were courted.
JK: So, he called and he explained it all, and I was just excited. And then - to be honest, my heart sank a little bit - when he said "We want you to do the Philadelphia side." Why would your heart sink? You're at Philadelphia!
BS: And you'd likely be on stage with Madonna, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, ...
JK: Plant and Page, Stones,...
BS: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.
JK: Stevie Wonder...
BS: Stevie Wonder, yeah.
JK: But there was just something about it. I just thought "It's going to be better here." Because Live Aid, and the whole Live Aid campaign, of course, was a British thing. Well, an Irishman, but a British thing. And I just wondered if America would get the thing in the same way.
JK: Anyway, I think I protested, but you don't really protest with Bob that long. "Nonsense, you're number one over there." And as it happens, we were going across anyway, to record. So, we did it. Was that a regret? No! Not a regret. And you've heard the anecdotes as well. Going up there and Jack Nicholson introducing you and all that stuff.
BS: It must've been surreal to be hanging out backstage with Jack Nicholson no less. That Oscar winning, fantastic actor.
JK: Well the thing is - the legendary, for people who know the music business, you'll know this name, the legendary Bill Graham...
BS: Yeah, the promoter.
JK: He promoted the gig there. The thing is Bill was hands-on like all the legendary promoters are. And they're tough guys as well. It was a bit like being herded on stage. And, of course, they were so paranoid about people playing longer than their due spot. Anyway, so we turned up, and we get to the bottom of the stage, and the legendary Bill Graham's there and ... We'd been in his house about six months earlier, he invited us to Sunday lunch, because we were one of the bands coming up and he'd get you over and he'd do a number on you. He's your pal and all that. And we turned up. And I thought we'd have this greeting from Bill as "How are you getting on guys?" He has a bull of a head and, I can't use the language he used, but he said "Listen. Play one second more than your allotted fifteen minutes and I'm gonna bust your head..." And I was "I thought you were my pal Bill." And then he said "Go up the stairs. And the presenter - you'll meet your presenter. And you're on in three minutes. Do not go." So we walked upstairs thinking "Man, Bill's in a bit of a mood" and we don't want to get on the wrong side of him, get upstairs and the presenter's Jack Nicholson, wearing the Ray-Ban glasses, and he said "Howya doin'?" And I think, when people say to me... the fifteen minutes I spent on stage, thirteen minutes my head was thinking "Jeez. Jack Nicholson!" And the last two minutes were spent thinking "Wrong trousers."
BS: [Laughs]
JK: I could feel them flapping in the wind.
BS: Yeah, they were bad trousers. It has to be said.

BS: Another gig you did of course, and I was lucky enough to be at this one, was the 11th June 1988, the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute. Now, it was a real kind of landmark in every respect, because Mandela was a bit of a political hot potato, he was still in Robin Island, you got the call from Jerry Dammers of The Specials, who was putting the show together. What do you remember of that day Jim? Because, again, when you look at the bill: Sting, Eurythmics, Joe Cocker, ...
JK: Stevie Wonder.
BS: Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits. I mean it was a real special moment. The very fact that the BBC broadcast it live was driving the Tory government crazy at the time. So, what do you remember of that day? Did you think it could make a difference? By shining the spotlight on Mandela, it was going to have some real lasting benefit?
JK: Well, you remember the context. The thing was inspired by Live Aid because Live Aid was the first big - well, Woodstock was - but Live Aid was the first real focussed... but Live Aid was a charity concert. The Mandela concert was not a charity concert and it's amazing, as we seen now, that the BBC went with it because it was a rallying call, it was making a political point. I mean when people think of Mandela now, they imagine that lovely granddad with the grey hair and all those shirts and the big smile, arguably at the end the most popular man on the planet.
JK: However, at the time of the concert, a lot of the governments of the world were referring to him as a terrorist and he was still in jail. That was the whole point. So there was an anger in me - there was a definite - certainly the acts were there for genuine reasons. There was a point to prove. There was a rallying cry. And we'd been influenced by great artists like Peter Gabriel, Steven Van Zandt, and there was the generation before that, Dylan, Springsteen - people like that, people who weren't afraid to use their popularity to, as you said, shine a light on a bigger cause. And so we were well up for that. And when I think about it now, every generation has its moments in time, and for our generation, that summer, the year after the Berlin wall came down, Apartheid ended, the cold war ended, they were great times to be young and great times to be an artist in. And we used some of that.
BS: And, of course, you wrote a song, Mandela Day, which we're going to hear in a few moments time. And I think the idea was that everybody was meant to write a song and that kind of fell by the wayside. But you literally got to meet Mandela on a couple of occasions. What was that like? That must've been a really special moment. Of all the things you've done over the years, to come face-to-face with this guy, in a very small sense, campaigned for. Was he aware of what you'd done? What was his reaction to you and what was your reaction to him?
JK: As you said earlier, when we were talking a minute ago, in twenty years there hadn't even been a recent picture of Mandela. No-one knew what he looked like until the day he stepped out of prison in South Africa. And then, within a few weeks, he was in London and we were in a room with this man, not knowing if he'd be some hard-edged guy or - not really knowing what - but this amazingly charismatic man walked in at the same time, sparkle in his eye, all the charm, the most amazing thing you would think, hat I'd spent decades in prison there would be some ...
BS: Anger?
JK: Anger, yeah.
BS: Understandably so.
JK: Understandably so. None of that present. And in terms of your question, your previous question, when you do these things, and when we did those things, you did have doubts. What does it all mean? Once the big event finishes tomorrow, will it make any difference? He always said this thing - which I have kept in mind ever since, he said "When there was no voice allowed, we always heard the voice of the artists." And he said it gave us oxygen, or sustenance, to continue on. And I'm not quite sure I knew what he meant then, but it's true: once a song's out there, the paintings are there, the books are written, it's very hard - you can't really lock them [up], or ban them, but you can't really lock them up. So, I think, through time, art always has, and always will have, a certain potency.
BS: Let's hear the song now then. From the album 40: The Best Of: 1978-2019 this is Simple Minds and Mandela Day:

Audio: Mandela Day

BS: Billy Sloan on BBC Radio Scotland, for the final time tonight. I'm talking to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds about the band's incredible 40 year career and counting. And we've been talking about some of the highlights, Jim, over the past four decades. But if I really put you on the spot, really shone the light in your face and put you on the spot, what would be the personal highlights, Jim Kerr, for you? Is it a particular record? Is it a particular show? Or is it just the fact that after 40 years, you're still doing it and it's still relevant, and you're still enjoying it?
JK: It's all of that but I have to go to the very core, the highlight is the friendship with Charlie Burchill. Because, in any walk of like, to have a friend who you've known since you were eight years old, and still to be friends, is a very special thing, it's a rare thing, so that is the highlight and everything that emanated from that.
BS: I think it's fair to say, like all bands, it's not all been plain sailing for
Simple Minds
over the years. And there were a couple of - let's just say - darker years, when it looked as if, and I've heard you use the phrase, "the wheels came off the wagon." What did you draw from Charlie, and what did he draw from you, to get the band back on track again? Because you must've taken strength from each other in that respect? Did you?
JK: Charlie pretends. Charlie is great at pretending things aren't happening. So, as I might be in a tizz or blow something out, probably to a magnitude that's more than necessary, he'd just pretend it isn't happening. I'll say "What about that time we were going to split up", or we were shutting the office and everything, and he'll go "I don't remember that. I just think you were having a bad week, that week or something." Or he'll just blot it out. So, we're great foils to each other.
JK: The only time Charlie and I have had any real disagreements is generally when we've been out of sync. Like, for instance, he had kids quite a bit later than me - so the priorities in his life would be different at that time - and the priorities in my life. So you don't know that stuff then. You just think we're not getting on or something - it's the benefit of hindsight. We're out of step because of this. Or we're out of step because of that. But, in general, we've always been in sync. And that's been the success of it.
BS: Can you have imagined a career - a career that's lasted so long - with anybody else other than Charlie Burchill as your musical and personal co-pilot?
JK: I always tell him I can. [Laughs]
BS: To keep him on his toes!
JK: To keep him on his toes, yeah. No - it's impossible to... the music is Charlie's. People go "You're the front man. You've got your special place. You're there - at the front." Yeah, I'm at the front doing what? Take away the music, I'd have to improve my stand-up routine, because there would be nothing without that. And Mick MacNeil. And Derek Forbes. And Ged Grimes and Sarah Brown and all the people. I think I frame it. I frame it and I put it across. But the music is the force.

BS: Forty years of Simple Minds. Do you think realistically that you and I are going to be sitting here ten years from now in 2029, talking about fifty years of Simple Minds? Because when you look at the greats - the Springsteens, the Jagger and Richards, the McCartneys, the Brian Wilsons, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry... they're doing it well into their 70s and - it has to be said - they're doing it well. Do you think, in your heart of hearts, that ten years from now, Jim Kerr, Simple Minds, and Charlie Burchill, are going to be up on that stage and in that recording studio? Still being as creative and still being as hungry for what's to come?
JK: You never know what's on the horizon and we know that. However, God willing, health and all that stuff, you need that stuff. But, putting that to the side, we're busy for the next five years...
BS: Because you're already writing for a new album aren't you?
JK: We're already writing for a new album and then we've got this other project beyond that... idea... concept... we want to work on something really different. So, we know we're busy for the next five years. And if you're busy for the next five years then... I mean ten years is a long, long time... but if you're busy for the next five years then ten years doesn't seem too long. Rather, it's imaginable is my answer.

BS: Now, what better way for Simple Minds to celebrate their fortieth anniversary than to kick off an European tour. It kicks off in Norway on the 28th February 2020, and, of course, there's an eight UK leg section, right slap-bang in the middle of it. And the good news is, and I've been plugging it on the show for the last few weeks, is that you'll be live here, in Glasgow, at the Hydro, on the 28th April. You play all over the world but it's still fantastic to do it on home soil isn't it?
JK: It absolutely is. And what's really good about this is that the European tour, or the British European tour, ends in Glasgow...
BS: No, no pressure then?
JK: No pressure. Real party time. But, at the same time, it can't just be a party. It has to be absolutely serious. Normally, when we play in Glasgow, as fate would have it, the last few times we'll be playing in Dublin or Aberdeen the next night, which means that after the gig, I never really see anybody. Because if you've just done your two hours on stage, then you're going to stand talking - as evitable, even more in Glasgow, I want to see everyone and talk to everybody - then you'd have no voice left the next night. Well, I don't have to worry about that at this time.
BS: Well, let's hope that you continue with your success, you continue with your creativity. You've got two albums out at the moment - one a compilation called 40: The Best Of: 1979-2019 and simultaneously a great live album recorded in 2018, at the Orpheum Theatre in California, called Live In the City Of Angels, and let's play out now with a track from that. This is Simple Minds, live on stage in America and this is a great version of See The Lights. Thank you Jim.
JK: Thank you.

Audio: See The Lights [Live]

Interview with Billy Sloan
BBC Radio Scotland
2nd November 2019


The best advert of Christmas 2019 was undoubtedly by Argos. Side-stepping the usual seasonal schmaltz of the rest of the pack - with John Lewis being the greatest offenders - the Argos advert was founded on inspiration and dreams: a father bonding with his daughter, who wanted to follow in his footsteps as a drummer.

It only took a millisecond to recognise that distinctive drumbeat, as Mel's opening salvos, marked both the beginning of the song and the advert. There was also the additional nostalgia boost, as one of the most recognisable opening rhythms and anthems of the eighties, caused parents to stop in their tracks, and reminisce.

The timing was wonderful. On the eve of the tour, on the tails of 40: Best Of, and amongst the band's promotional activities for their 40th anniversary, was a nationwide campaign featuring one of their songs.

I'd have voted it the best advert of Christmas 2019 even if I wasn't a Simple Minds fan.

This is a link to the extended version:

SIMPLE MINDS


40: THE BEST OF
1979 - 2019

COLLECTION CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF ONE OF
THE MOST REVERED AND SUCCESSFUL UK BAND EVER



FORMATS: 3CD DELUXE EDITION, STANDARD CD AND DOUBLE VINYL,
INCLUDING A LIMITED EDITION COLOURED VERSION

INCLUDES THE NEW TRACK, A COVER OF KING CREOSOTE'S 'FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY'


On 1st November 2019, UMC will release 40: THE BEST OF – 1979-2019, a new compilation album that covers all 40 years of the band's now legendary recording career. It captures their early experimentation, cross over chart successes, right up to their new imperial phase represented by songs from 2015's Big Music and last year's Walk Between Worlds, which was their highest chart success in over 20 years, charting at number 4 in the UK.

Formed in the seventies, and named after a lyric – 'so simple minded' – from David Bowie's seminal 1975 single The Jean Genie, Simple Minds have become one of the most successful bands ever to come from the UK, selling over 60 million records worldwide, having number one singles on both sides of the Atlantic, and number one albums the world over, including five UK number one albums: Sparkle In The Rain (1984), Once Upon A Time (1985) and Street Fighting Years as well as the concert recording Live In The City Of Light (1987), and the compilation Glittering Prize 81/92.



Compiled in conjunction with the band, 40: THE BEST OF presents the very best of Simple Minds' extensive catalogue. It is a comprehensive overview of 40 years of one of Britain's most successful bands, taking in the innovative sheen of Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize, the anthemic sweep of Waterfront and Sanctify Yourself, the firebrand strand of Belfast Child and Mandela Day, the colossus that is Don't You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking, and bringing things right up to date with the inclusion of a new track: a cover of King Creosote's 2014 Song, For One Night Only.

For One Night Only captures Simple Minds' unique talent of taking an already fantastic song - as they did with their cover of The Call's Let The Day Begin on 2014's Big Music album - and injecting its sentiment with added urgency. The result is a clarion call to their fans the world over, which is sure to become a momentous live moment on their 2020 world tour.


The collection is a reminder of one of the most musically diverse and adventurous careers ever in British music, which saw Simple Minds record some of the most beguiling and inventive music of the post-punk period. On songs such as 1979's Chelsea Girl (from the band's debut album, Life In A Day), and I Travel, Celebrate (1980's Empires and Dance), Love Song, The American (Sons and Fascination / Sister Feelings Call), Simple Minds set the standard for the British alternative scene.

From 1982 onwards the band produced some of their most inspiring and wide appealing work. Beginning with their 1982 classic album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), with several songs from the album included here, follow up album Sparkle In The Rain (Up On The Catwalk and Speed Your Love To Me), and culminating in two UK number one albums and a number one single: 1985's Once Upon a Time (represented here by the aforementioned Alive And Kicking and Sanctify Yourself) and 1989's Street Fighting Years and the single Belfast Child.

Into the nineties Simple Minds continued to release albums and create gems, many of which have grown in stature amongst fans and become staples of their live set. Included here from the period are Let There Be Love, See The Lights, She's A River and War Babies.



Over the past 10 years Simple Minds have rekindled the magic that made them a vital artistic force in their early days, found themselves referenced by younger artists and playing to countless thousands of people every year, all over the world. They have been the recipient of the Q Awards Lifetime Achievement and received universal critical acclaim for their recent albums. 2015's Big Music was described by MOJO magazine as "their best album in 30 years", and last year's Walk Between Worlds was acclaimed across the board and became their most successful album in over two decades, culminating in their largest US tour to date. Two songs are included from each of those albums: Honest Town and Blindfolded (Big Music), and Sense of Discovery and Magic (Walk Between Worlds).

40: Best Of: 1979 - 2019 is available on a 3CD deluxe edition, single CD, 2LP coloured vinyl and a 40-track digital format. It was remastered at the world-famous Abbey Road studios and has spectacular new art designed by long-time collaborator Stuart Crouch, featuring iconic symbols by Malcolm Garrett which represent the 40 years.


3-CD DELUXE EDITION
DISC ONE
Waterfront
Love Song
I Travel
Glittering Prize
Sense Of Discovery
The American
Up On The Catwalk
She's A River
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
See The Lights
Jeweller To The Stars
War Babies
Belfast Child

DISC TWO
Home
Magic
Promised You A Miracle
This Is Your Land
Honest Town
Glittering Prize (Acoustic)
Waterfront (Acoustic)
See The Lights (Acousic)
Let There Be Love
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
All The Things She Said
Once Upon A Time
Don't You (Forget About Me)

DISC THREE
Chelsea Girl
Cry
Hypnotised
Stars Will Lead The Way
For One Night Only - New track
Theme For Great Cities
Life In A Day
Changeling
Celebrate
Blindfolded
Sanctify Yourself
Mandela Day
Speed Your Love To Me
Alive And Kicking


1-CD FORMAT
Waterfront
Love Song
I Travel
Glittering Prize
Sense Of Discovery
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
See The Lights
Belfast Child
Promised You A Miracle
Honest Town
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Chelsea Girl
Hypnotised
Stars Will Lead The Way
For One Night Only - New track
Sanctify Yourself
Mandela Day
Alive And Kicking


2-LP / 2-LP Coloured D2C VINYL FORMAT
SIDE ONE
Chelsea Girl
I Travel
Love Song
Promised You A Miracle
Glittering Prize

SIDE TWO
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Waterfront
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Alive And Kicking
Sanctify Yourself

SIDE THREE
Belfast Child
Mandela Day
See The Lights
Hypnotised

SIDE FOUR
Stars Will Lead The Way
Honest Town
Sense Of Discovery
For One Night Only - New track


To further celebrate their 40th anniversary, Simple Minds embark on an 11-month world tour in early 2020. Beginning in Europe in February, they tour the UK in April:

14th Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
15th Bournemouth International Centre
17th London The SSE Arena Wembley
18th Leeds First Direct Arena
20th Brighton Centre
22nd Dublin 3 Arena
24th Birmingham Restorts World Arena
25th Glasgow The SSE Hydro Arena

As they turn 40, Simple Minds' legacy is something to be proud of as their story continues to evolve.




As part of the band's 40th anniversary celebrations, a new Best Of compilation was issued to bring everything up-to-date. 40: Best Of: 1979-2019 was issued on four formats: double LP, limited edition silver double LP, single CD and deluxe CD.

It featured a new song, For One Night Only, which was a King Creosote cover.

The deluxe CD featured 40 tracks across its three discs, which mirrored the 40 track limited edition Live In The City Of Angels release.



Universal distributed several very limited promos to promote the album. There was a single CD promo which included its own striking version of the album's sleeve; a triple CD promo set which included the same tracks as the deluxe edition; and a set of three CD promos which, when collected together, also had the same track listing as the deluxe edition.

All of these promotional releases were surprising rare and copies are hard to track down.



For One Night Only was issued as a download a couple of weeks before the album's release. Unfortunately it was same track which would eventually turn up on the album; there were no different versions or other bonus tracks.

No physical copies have surfaced yet and it isn't known if any promos were distributed.

Jim and Charlie appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning for the usual, cosy-on-a-couch, mainstream media interview.

It was spun around the band's fortieth anniversary and used to promote the recently released Live In The City Of Angels, the just released 40: Best Of and the forthcoming 40 Years Of Hits.

You're never going to get an in-depth analytics or relevations with these interviews - see online blogs and specialist music publications for those - but Jim and Charlie always turn these interviews into a self-depreciating laugh, so they're always worth watching.

The promotion trail often involves mainstream interviews with stock question-and-answers which are simply designed to get the word out about the new compilation album and the forthcoming tour to a wider audience. These are par for the course of course, but independent and indie websites, publications and radio stations which often stray from the beaten track, yield the best results.

The best (so far) has been Jim's interview with Mark Millar for www.xsnoize.com. Not only was there the usual chat about Live In The City Of Angels, 40: Best Of: 1979-2019 and 40 Years Of Hits Tour but also background details about For One Night Only, new songs Love Til You Hate Me and Ice, and the forthcoming new album.

The full interview can be found here.

Jim's appearance on the Ricky Ross Show (BBC Radio Scotland) on the 13th October was booked to promote the just-released Live In The City Of Angels, spread the news further about the 40 Years Of Hits tour, and lay the foundations for the forthcoming 40: Best Of: Compilation album.

The interview itself took an unexpected and poignant turn, when host Ricky Ross admitted that he expected Jim to postpone his appearance. "You've come in and I didn't expect you to come in today. You've been looking after your Dad the last two months and sadly he's gone." "Don't make me cry Ricky. People will be turning off. Let's cut to the chase - my Dad was a big fan of your show, a big fan of radio, and a great, great reader as well. You ticked a lot of boxes for him because you're a country show. That was his music."

"There's no way Dad would have accepted me not coming in here and it's a pleasure to see you here."

The interview, if previously outlined or planned, then became a tribute to Jim's father. "Dad was eighty-three and I'm so lucky. He was just the greatest Dad and I feel very fortunate to be born, that was my Dad, he was also my best pal and a great influence."

"He was a brickies labourer all his life. He was a strong guy. Perhaps uncommon - or maybe not - when you think of a lot of the shipyard guards, he was very keen on educating himself. Although he could mix it with the rest of the labourers and go to the pub and football, he had his head in a book from Monday to Friday. The only person who can read as much is my other best pal Charlie Burchill."

"There was a great curiosity in him to know about world beyond the end of his street. Unfortunately, his generation, you couldn't just decide you were going to Nepal - they had to knuckle down, and thanks to them, we were allowed to dream bigger. My Dad would point me out a window and say 'Over there is Africa'."

LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS

On 4th October 2019, BMG will release LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS, an album that captures Simple Minds at the height of their live powers on their biggest ever North American tour. It will be available on deluxe CD (4 CDs in a hardback book), standard 2xCD and vinyl, digital download and stream. The deluxe CD and digital formats will feature 40 songs; the standard CD and vinyl will feature 25 songs.

Following the huge acclaim of 2018's Walk Between Worlds album ("The band's best album in decades." Album Of The Week, Sunday Times), continuing their recent spectacular renaissance, while also building on their reputation as one of the world's great live acts, last autumn Simple Minds travelled to North America to undertake their first coast to coast tour in over two decades. Taking in 31 cities, both critics and fans unanimously agreed that it was the bands most successful US tour to date.



Referencing their first live album, 1987's Live In The City Of Light, this new live collection once again finds Simple Minds 30 years later scaling the heights of those dizzy days, selling more tickets year by year, as each new generation discovers the phenomenal live power of the band.

Simple Minds were greeted by an excitement stateside they'd not experienced since their imperial phase in the mid-1980s. Nowhere was this passion captured better than on a recording of their performance at the Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles on 24th October 2018. 24 of the tracks were performed that night. Glittering Prize was recorded at The Fillmore, Miami Beach on 8th November 2018 and the bonus tracks were recorded at various sound checks and rehearsals.

The resulting album, LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS, is a 40-song collection, spanning one of the most diverse catalogues of, to date, a 40 year career. Simple Minds' live prowess, incredible musicianship, led by the band's exceptional and iconic guitarist Charlie Burchill, and the soulfulness of frontman Jim Kerr's voice – which has matured into a powerful instrument in its own right – delivers a set that proves why Simple Minds are still a vital and relevant band.



In a career spanning set it features songs from the band's Empires and Dance album through to last year's Walk Between Worlds. Beginning with that album's The Signal and The Noise, the first five songs alone – followed by Waterfront, Love Song, Let There Be Love, and Up On The Catwalk – are a reminder as to why Simple Minds are one of the greatest bands of their generation.

Elsewhere the album includes gems from their classic New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) album, Sons and Fascination, Sparkle In The Rain, 1985's colossus Don't You (Forget About Me), as well as Alive and Kicking and Sanctify Yourself from that year's UK Number 1 and US Top 10 album Once Upon a Time, right up to 2015's Big Music (which MOJO magazine declared "their best album in 30 years") and last year's Walk Between Worlds (a UK Top 5 album).



LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS is a must-have collection for any self-respecting Simple Minds fan and a perfect reminder of the band's enduring talent and live appeal.

LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS will be available on deluxe CD (4 CDs in a hardback book), standard 2xCD and vinyl, digital download and stream. The deluxe CD and digital formats will feature 40 songs; the standard CD and vinyl will feature 25 songs.


STANDARD CD & VINYL
The Signal And The Noise
Waterfront
Love Song
Let There Be Love
Up On The Catwalk
Sense Of Discovery
Glittering Prize
Promised You A Miracle
The American
Hunter And The Hunted
Stand By Love
Dirty Old Town
Theme For Great Cities
She's A River
Walk Between Worlds
Hypnotised
Someone Somewhere In Summertime
See The Lights
All The Things She Said
Dolphins
Don't You (Forget About Me)
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Once Upon A Time
Alive And Kicking
Sanctify Yourself


BONUS TRACKS ON DELUXE CD & DIGITAL
Book Of Brilliant Things
Let The Day Begin (Cover of The Call's 1989 song, which Simple Minds first covered on Graffiti Soul)
Honest Town
Midnight Walking
Barrowland Star
Big Music
Blindfolded
Celebrate
In Dreams
I Travel
Speed Your Love To Me
Stars Will Lead The Way
Summer
The Cross (Written by Prince)
Big Sleep


As they turn 40, Simple Minds legacy is something to be proud of as their story continues to evolve!




A release of live material from the Walk Between Worlds tour was anxiously anticipated but few would've predicted the lavish release which eventually appeared almost a year later. Not only was a full set released from the American leg of the tour (with most of the material originating from The Orpheum) but extra tracks, sound checks and rehearsals brough the eventually tally of tracks up to a magic number of 40 – to coincide with the band's 40th anniversary.

It also marked one of the most interesting live line-ups of the band where keyboard duties were shared by the other band members after Catherine AD left the tour. This changed the band's live sound but offered a different take on many old favourites: arrangements were changed, acoustic versions were beefed up, and the Simple Minds of the last half of 2018 was a unique take on the band and their sound. It was a gutsy move to release this part of the tour, and not a set from an earlier concert, but it was one that paid off.

It reached number #9 in the UK chart, another top-ten to add to their tally, and a resolute confirmation of the band's status.

It was also one of most lavishly packaged Simple Minds albums to be released. The limited edition 'book set' quadruple LP set and the equally expansive quadruple CD set have set the bar high.



Alongside the three formats was an Amazon Special which was sold exclusively through the retailer's website. This was the standard edition CD with the front of the booklet signed by Jim and Charlie.

Amazon have now sold out of their limited stock but copies can still be found for reasonable prices on eBay and other collectors' sites.



Two promos for the album have surfaced so far. The first, and rarest, is a 4CD set which replicates the tracks of the corresponding commerical CD set. This was released first, as the tracks were pressed on CDRs with unique label artwork (indicating the final label design wasn't finished) and there was no catalogue number issued.

The second promo is more common and replaces the 2CD set in a glossy digipak.



Several tracks from the album were exclusively played on radio shows before the album's release as part of the promotional push. Some of these were pressed up as promotional CDs. Extremely rare one-track French pressings of Love Song and Don't You (Forget About Me) were briefly available.

Jim appeared on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show (BBC Radio 2) and the show's blurb suggested that it was to reflect on the band's 40-year career and talk about Live In The City Of Angels.

In reality it was the launching pad for the band's next, and most extensive, tour to date. The 40 Years Of Hits Tour was to kick of in Northern Europe before visiting most of the key cities across Europe before visiting America and Australia.

Simple Minds International in conjunction with Shock City Productions are proud to announce the first UK Simple Minds Fan Convention in over 15 years. The event will take place on Saturday 21st March in Saint Luke's and the Winged Ox, Glasgow.

It will be a day full of unique experiences with a program for all Simple Minds fans. The day will include special one-off sets from Simple Minded and Derek Forbes and The Dark plus special guests. We will also have legendary manager Bruce Findlay and original member Derek Forbes "Open to Question" More information will follow.

In addition there will be a charity auction with the chance to win a number of ultra rare pieces of Simple Minds memorabilia as well as a raffle for a fantastic prize. Proceeds from the day will go to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland and tickets are available now from Tickets Scotland. More information will follow here.

https://tickets-scotland.com/whi51
More information to follow at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SMInternational




Updates to the discography include:

So, the 'quiet' period didn't last for long!



On 4th October 2019, BMG will release LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS, an album that captures Simple Minds at the height of their live powers on their biggest ever North American tour. It will be available on deluxe CD (4 CDs in a hardback book), standard 2xCD and vinyl, digital download and stream. The deluxe CD and digital formats will feature 40 songs; the standard CD and vinyl will feature 25 songs.

Following the huge acclaim of 2018's Walk Between Worlds album ("The band's best album in decades." Album Of The Week, Sunday Times), continuing their recent spectacular renaissance, while also building on their reputation as one of the world's great live acts, last autumn Simple Minds travelled to North America to undertake their first coast to coast tour in over two decades. Taking in 31 cities, both critics and fans unanimously agreed that it was the bands most successful US tour to date.



Referencing their first live album, 1987's Live In The City Of Light, this new live collection once again finds Simple Minds 30 years later scaling the heights of those dizzy days, selling more tickets year by year, as each new generation discovers the phenomenal live power of the band.

Simple Minds were greeted by an excitement stateside they'd not experienced since their imperial phase in the mid-1980s. Nowhere was this passion captured better than on a recording of their performance at the Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles on 24th October 2018. 24 of the tracks were performed that night. Glittering Prize was recorded at The Fillmore, Miami Beach on 8th November 2018 and the bonus tracks were recorded at various sound checks and rehearsals.

The resulting album, LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS, is a 40-song collection, spanning one of the most diverse catalogues of, to date, a 40 year career. Simple Minds' live prowess, incredible musicianship, led by the band's exceptional and iconic guitarist Charlie Burchill, and the soulfulness of frontman Jim Kerr's voice – which has matured into a powerful instrument in its own right – delivers a set that proves why Simple Minds are still a vital and relevant band.



In a career spanning set it features songs from the band's Empires and Dance album through to last year's Walk Between Worlds. Beginning with that album's The Signal and The Noise, the first five songs alone – followed by Waterfront, Love Song, Let There Be Love, and Up On The Catwalk – are a reminder as to why Simple Minds are one of the greatest bands of their generation.

Elsewhere the album includes gems from their classic New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) album, Sons and Fascination, Sparkle In The Rain, 1985's colossus Don't You (Forget About Me), as well as Alive and Kicking and Sanctify Yourself from that year's UK Number 1 and US Top 10 album Once Upon a Time, right up to 2015's Big Music (which MOJO magazine declared "their best album in 30 years") and last year's Walk Between Worlds (a UK Top 5 album).



LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS is a must-have collection for any self-respecting Simple Minds fan and a perfect reminder of the band's enduring talent and live appeal.

LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS will be available on deluxe CD (4 CDs in a hardback book), standard 2xCD and vinyl, digital download and stream. The deluxe CD and digital formats will feature 40 songs; the standard CD and vinyl will feature 25 songs.


STANDARD CD & VINYL
The Signal And The Noise
Waterfront
Love Song
Let There Be Love
Up On The Catwalk
Sense Of Discovery
Glittering Prize
Promised You A Miracle
The American
Hunter And The Hunted
Stand By Love
Dirty Old Town
Theme For Great Cities
She's A River
Walk Between Worlds
Hypnotised
Someone Somewhere In Summertime
See The Lights
All The Things She Said
Dolphins
Don't You (Forget About Me)
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Once Upon A Time
Alive And Kicking
Sanctify Yourself


BONUS TRACKS ON DELUXE CD & DIGITAL
Book Of Brilliant Things
Let The Day Begin (Cover of The Call's 1989 song, which Simple Minds first covered on Graffiti Soul)
Honest Town
Midnight Walking
Barrowland Star
Big Music
Blindfolded
Celebrate
In Dreams
I Travel
Speed Your Love To Me
Stars Will Lead The Way
Summer
The Cross (Written by Prince)
Big Sleep


As they turn 40, Simple Minds legacy is something to be proud of as their story continues to evolve!




The Official Simple Minds Shop added various bundles and packages in addition to the standard three editions released. These were:

  • Standard 4LP Edition.
  • Standard 2CD Edition.
  • Deluxe 4CD Edition.
  • Standard 4LP Edition with set list signed by Jim and Charlie.
  • Standard 4LP Edition and Standard 2CD Edition with set list signed by Jim and Charlie.
  • Deluxe 4CD Edition and Standard 4LP Edition with set list signed by Jim and Charlie.
  • Deluxe 4CD Edition, Standard 2CD Edition and Standard 4LP Edition with set list signed by Jim and Charlie.


There were some comments asking why the shop's bundles included signed set-lists and not signed albums. All became clear, when Amazon announced a limited range of the Standard 2CD Edition which was signed. Little additional information was given, but I expect this was also signed by Jim and Charlie.

This limited range has now sold out. It wasn't widely announced, although superdeluxeedition.com was quick with the scoop, so it's worth keeping an eye on that site as well.



On the Shaun Keaveny show, broadcast on BBC Radio Six, Matt Everitt chatted to Jim about the new album Live In The City Of Angels:

ME: And we've got Simple Minds news, the globe straddling Scottish arena rockers. Their last album was Walk Between Worlds, that was 2018, their 18th record? It got really good reviews, they played a whole series of shows all over the world, including North America, where they played their first coast-to-coast tour in over two decades. You've got to remember that Simple Minds were one of the bands who cracked America in the 80s – it was a very small club of groups who managed to do that. It was 1985 because The Breakfast Club featured Don't You (Forget About Me) on it. Making a massive show in the States – that massive thing that really only happened in the 80s with a few bands. Although they'd been making brilliant records years before that point – New Gold Dream from 1982 remains an absolute classic.

ME: Anyway, on October 4th they release Live In The City Of Angels, an album that's documenting this last tour they did. That title also references their 1987 live album, Live In The City Of Light. So this is coming out on Deluxe CD (four CDs with a hardback book), standard CD, a deluxe version with an extra fifteen tracks – you've got everything on it: you've got Waterfront, you've got Love Song, you've got Hypnotised, you've got All The Things She Said, Alive And Kicking...

ME: And it's forty years since Simple Minds' first ever release. Anyway, I talked to Jim Kerr, singer from the group, about where the band are now, look back a little bit, and look to the future and this new record.

JK: I guess you could say we are at the start of a new phase and are about to gear up once again for whatever the fates will bestow on us.

ME: It's a strange thing with some bands. You can release a really strong record and everyone goes "Ahhh – They're back!" and "That's what you said about the last record. And the record before that." Walk Between Worlds was a very strong record.

JK: It was great to get that reaction. Everywhere we went we could feel that. It was so encouraging because everyone likes to think when we're working on something it's got to inspire us and it's got to interest us and it's great – it doesn't always happen – but it's great when it goes out and people go "Yeah – I get it. This is strong. This is a really fully fledged record." And as well as being encouraged it also throws down the gauntlet for the next one because who wants to take their feet off the gas? We're feeling good. Let's put it all in a larger context: it's 40 years this year from when we first released any recorded music. And the obvious question people ask is, or the question people always ask is "Did you imagine then that 40...?" I mean I don't think even my Mum and Dad were 40 then, never mind the idea of playing for 40 years. No-one played for 40 years then. But here we are. And we've been blessed because it's been our life and each time we work on a new phase, and it sounds corny but it definitely is true, it's like a new chapter, a new phase, a new season, a new stage and there's always an excitement when that comes around.

ME: So live records can be really tricky things. Often what happens if that everyone gets the tapes, goes to the studio, re-records all those bits, dubs on the audience from AC/DC Live At Donnington or something, and it's never actually the gig that people went to. It's a tough thing to get right, isn't it?

JK: Well, talking about the live album, which is called Live In The City Of Angels, the title itself is a riff or play on our very first live album, which came out in 1987, and which was called Live In The City Of Light, because it was recorded in Paris. I remember that night and we felt there was magic in the air, it was a particular tour and we wanted to get it down. Through the years and at different times as the band has evolved through different line-ups, different arrangements, we try and take a souvenir of where we are at that moment of time as a live band. And there was magic in the air last year because the tour that the album came from was our first coast-to-coast American tour for decades. So we were excited about that. There was a bit of trepidation prior because we thought "Does anyone remember us?" It had been a long, long time. We were glad to see tickets sold out well in advance, and we had to go out and prove ourselves. First of all, they were welcoming us like heroes, or long lost friends rather. And that makes you really want to deliver. And as the tour went on, we thought "We should really try to capture this. We really should."

JK: There's two versions of the album. One is the main show which was LA: then there was a deluxe version which has 40 tracks which is quite a tome. Some of that was Miami, some of it is rehearsals, some of it is sound checks, all of it on there, very much a fan's package. I think if you're a Simple Minds fan then we were long overdue a good live record and hopefully we've managed to produce one here.

ME: Live In The City Of Angels is coming out on 4th October.

Shaun Keaveny
BBC Radio 6
20th August 2019




"We'd like to invite you to join the Simple Minds Official Group to be part of the new Simple Minds inner circle - you'll be among the first to hear extra bits of info and share your own stories, pictures and videos with other fans."



The description of this new Facebook group states: "Official and fan Group for Simple Minds. We will read your messages and share our favourites." So I expect it to be more focussed than the existing official group with more exclusives. Well worth joining.

For the first time in years, there isn't anything listed as 'Upcoming' on the contents page of this website. Such a quiet period is rare for Simple Minds, but it should be remembered that this 'quiet period' follows years of constant writing, recording and touring. Perhaps it was time for a breather?

It also follows a major remastering and reissue campaign by Demon Records. The Rejuvenation releases are now complete with an LP box-set, CD box-set and individual albums all being repackaged in expanded new formats. It hasn't been quiet on the release front.

I'm using this period to catch up with some omissions on this website. (The 2002 Remasters have finally been documented for example). But I expect I'll be covering future releases soon.



Further updates to the discography include:

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 bandcartoons.com.



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 indylive.radio.

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."

MusicRadar.com



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.


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