derek forbes interview part one, don't you (forget about me) demo, discography updates
There have been several on-line interviews published over the last month. These include chats with
Mick MacNeil, Derek Forbes and the
latest entry in the decade-spanning series between Todd Richards and
Jim. There are hours of new material and revelations to discover.
So the first is an interview with Derek Forbes where he talks to
Retropopic about his introduction to music, playing in Spain and joining Simple Minds.
The full interview can be found on mixcloud.com
(I've only transcribed the interview from when Derek Forbes returns to Glasgow).
RP:In 1977, Jim Kerr and
Charlie Burchill, influenced by punk, began their musical career, in
Johnny And The Self Abusers. How did you get to join the Glasgow punk group,
The Subhumans, later known as The Subs, in 1977? DF: I went back [to Glasgow] for my 21st birthday, 22nd June 1977. And I moved into a flat with a guitar-player
friend of mine, Kevin Kee. I was playing lead guitar with him in other bands before that, before I went to Spain.
Because I was a lead guitar player from 16 so I was now 21 - and I had my life all over in Spain - I was playing six days
rehearsals and one day off on a Sunday - so we played 7 nights a week. We rehearsed from 2 'til 6 - every day apart from
a Sunday - and then we would play on stage from 10 o'clock at night to half-past four in the mornings, 7 nights a week.
And the bass player couldn't sing and play bass at the same time - so I ended up having to do a couple of hours of bass
and then going on lead guitar. I was playing whatever was the hits at the time I was having duals with some of the guitar
players from the other pubs or clubs as well - you used to get the guys coming up to me and I'd be playing with my
teeth - I'm just a bit of a showman. DF: The thing is, when I came back and I moved in with Kevin, and Kevin says 'Do you want to
join this band? You'll need to play bass because I'll be doing guitar.' And they had another guitar player - he
sounded like a tractor revving up in the background - he was awful. DF: [Kevin's] now a very successful rehearsal room owner. He's got this whole big complex and Beyonce's
been there - he's done very well. Kevin and I went down to London with a demo that we'd made.
Stiff Records were interested and they were the first punk label so we signed up to that. RP:Obviously you were aware of punk around you then? DF: Well, Duncan Barnwell came out [to Spain]. He was playing in
Johnny And The Self Abusers - that's a friend of mine from school. I'd
taught him guitar - well, I helped him. I never taught him completely - that's wrong -
Duncan did it himself as well. He ended up in Simple Minds - he was from
The Abusers and when I joined Simple Minds, Duncan was
there. With Charlie Burchill,
Brian McGee and
Mick MacNeil. And
Tony Donald was playing bass.
Tony played at least one gig, possibly two gigs, with
Simple Minds before I came in. My drummer left, Brian McGee did
a guest spot for us, with The Subs. And then I reciprocated - I did a thing for them.
Audio: Gimme Gimme Your Heart by The Subs.
RP:To be honest, I've listened to Gimme Gimme You Heart - I mean it was on a One record. That was a label
attached to Stiff wasn't it? DF: It was actually Stiff Records but it was the One Off series. We were Off One - that was
our [catalogue] number. Off Two was Madness. RP:I really like that record. It's a good record. And, from my point of view, if it was released in 1977,
I actually think it might have become a hit. But, the thing is, it was released in 1978. With the on-set of new wave,
arguably that sort of simplistic punk sound became less acceptable. I just wanted to know what your thoughts are on
that - that first record of yours? DF: Well, we were told that it was a hit in Belgium. And I'm sure it was. When people coming on to you,
and people in Canada coming on to me as well and saying 'I loved it. I loved The Subs.' It was a double-A,
because Party Clothes was the other one. And it was great to work with the producer, Larry Wallis, who
was the original lead guitarist of Motorhead.
Audio: Ace Of Spades by Motorhead
DF: I knew Lemmy. He just turned up in my life all over the place. With Simple Minds we
were on a farm [probably the Farm recording studio]. And he came to the farm to get a motorbike and got dragged
away on a motorbike. We've seen him in rehearsal places. I've seen him in Crazy Girls in Hollywood. And I remember,
my friend Ray McVey and I, with Ian Asprey from The Cult - and we were going out to do a re-enactment,
a World War II re-enactment - Ray and I needed money for the blanks basically - it was in an army camp - proper
training - and we went at half five in the morning and we were standing at a cash machine in London, in Kensington,
and there was a tap on the shoulder and an 'Awright boys?' and it was Lemmy again. It was just great. RP:He's a character. DF: Saying about The Subs there, the actual set of The Subs was incredible. And that had a big part
of me getting into Simple Minds as well because every show we did around Glasgow - mainly the Mars Bar -
Jim Kerr would be there with his girlfriend to see us because he wanted me - I'd
met him when I was in college, when I was a painter and decorator, when I was an apprentice, and he came to a gig
with a friend ... because he was into music Jim. RP:Just coming in there. About the single still. What intrigues me about that single is you've already
come some way in developing that unique style of yours Derek. Haven't you?
Audio: Peaches by The Stranglers
RP:I know you said you were influenced by Jean-Jacques Burnel. In simple terms, what sound do you
look to achieve when you're playing the bass. DF: With JJ Burnell it's the growl. He used a flanger with it as well. It made me write things. It was
just a bit more colourful and - I remember someone saying that the bass should be felt not heard. It's in your face
or nothing. Because I was a lead guitar player - that's why I come up with these melodies and tunes.
McCartney-esque. RP:As you say, you do get to join Simple Minds. You stand in for them. What are your first memories then,
going back to meeting Jim and Charlie
before Simple Minds. DF: I saw them playing in the Doune Castle in Glasgow.
They looked great. Charlie looked amazing - I thought he was really
striking, very sharp, with his wee haircut all dressed in black. Jim
seemed influenced by Howard Devoto - the one from Magazine - was one of the people he would cite - and
Lou Reed from The Velvet Underground and Peter Gabriel as well. DF: Luckily that side of it moved on from the punk so you could wear make-up. It was a bit more wild at that time.
I was wearing leopard skin suits. And with The Subs I was wearing pink satin suits. And white satin suits. And
whacky make up around my eyes - I looked like a panda. My wife's actually a professional makeup artist for film
and television so I could've done with her at that time. DF:Jim had been in the audience of The Subs for so many gigs,
so I got to meet him there and I didn't meet Charlie until the Doune Castle.
We just got on like a house on fire really. I think things won't working with my whole thing. I was going to go
back to lead guitar, because I had my Les Paul my hard earned money had paid for - I just wanted to do that. I
didn't want to be a bass player. The songs were interesting at that point - they were even more interesting
later on. Once we'd did that first album, that's when I became a writer, really, with them. No they were weird.
I liked the weird vibe. DF: I wanted to pursue the lead guitar thing. And then someone stole my guitar. And I know who
it was now. [Laughs] And I was going to thank him - I'm not going to hit them.
Audio: Top Of The Pops by The Rezillos
DF: At that time, I was asked to audition for The Rezillos. Luckily I never go it. I loved wee
Jo Callis - he was great, he wanted me. But they got this cool looking dude called Simon Templar - which
isn't a lie! [Laughs] He got the job. And then someone stole my guitar. I went to rehearsals with him and I went
'Oh right, I'll do the bass then. Someone's nicked my guitar - I can't do lead guitar. I can't afford it.' That was
it - I was in. DF: Then they got rid of Duncan Barnwell. The reason was that he was
playing Led Zepplein stuff with a band called Big Dick And The Four Skins - believe it or not - and
he was still in the loon pants phase. He wasn't for changing. The record company guy said 'You need to get rid of
the guy. The other guitar player. He doesn't look the part.' That was all it was because he was great -
Duncan - he was great, it was great they had two lead guitar players as
well. So there was confusion there. And Duncan had to go.
RP:November 1978 when we get Jim Kerr,
Charlie Burchill, yourself and
Mick MacNeil. My understanding is pretty much straight away you work
on the demos of songs that form the first album. So, just to get a flavour for the listeners, what was the mood
of the new band you'd joined? DF: Very optimistic. They had everything in place for guys so young. Very professional the whole thing. They had
their own big bus, they had their own lighting person and sound person, and they were sister and brother,
Jaine Henderson. That was different from everybody else because we put
a show on and we dressed the part. We looked an established band. And we could all play.
Mick MacNeil was great - because he never knew anybody, didn't even know
David Bowie as he was from the highlands, he was playing all the Teuchter stuff - Teuchter is what we
called people living in the highlands. It was Scottish bagpipe stuff. He knew nothing - it was a blank page. DF: Later on, the track New Gold Dream, [sings first riff] that's
an accordion part and it worked really well. How does he play that?
RP:I'll just summarise about what I think about Life In A Day.
It's got the intriguing front cover and the two singles off it are really good. But the bottom line is that
Charlie and Jim have all the
writing credits. DF: They did write a lot of the songs but we actually wrote in the studio as well so that was a wee bit
cheeky of them. [Laughs]
DF:All For You we wrote. I remember doing that in the
Townhouse Studios. The bass line is me starting my whacky bass lines. There were a few things - we
definitely added to it - we didn't get any publishing for that. But to be fair that was the first album. And we
made quite a pretty penny out of it, but not anything like what was to come.
The Don't You (Forget About Me) demo has become the subject of legend.
Composed and performed Keith Forsey, the band didn't think much of it - and
Jim likened it to a bad Psychedelic Furs B-side - but it remained very
much under lock-and-key. (Keith Forsey does sound like
Richard Butler hence the comparison).
That was until an on-line article, a multiple source interview piece, extensively detailed the making of the song,
and included the demo itself. The rights probably resided with Keith Forsey
and/or A&M, but the legals weren't completely checked, and the demo was quickly yanked from the
Well, it's back. And given its history, it would be prudent to make your own copy, as it may not survive
online for much longer.
The demo also clears up an oft-asked question. After the opening credits, there's a short version of the song
which plays as the various members of The Breakfast Club make their way to the school. Turns out it's the
And in the same vein, BMG Rights Management (Germany) also pressed up their own versions of the
Magic and Summer
singles. These are especially interesting as they're watermarked.
40: best of artwork, quebec 1981
"Today I finally got it framed, so let me show you this unique item that I had worked on for many many months.
When I first saw the cover artwork of
40: Best Of I thought how great it would be to recreate it with
real badges. So after a while I decided that I will make it. I had to re-design all 233 badges, set them to be the
same size as the two non circular original
Real Life badges which I bought for this purpose, and then I got them
made by a badge factory. Thanks to Stuart Crouch for the amazing artwork and his support. As you can see it is HUGE,
about 30" x 30" (see the second photo that has the LP next to it for comparison). It took many hours to create the
designs by scanning photos and record covers, and it was even more difficult to place the badges individually to the
right position. But it was worth it. Now I need to find out where I would place it in the house (and how to ensure
that it wouldn't fall as it is really heavy - about 15 kilograms)." - Otto Jung
An amazing piece of work. The original artwork was created digitally by Stuart Crouch so this is the only
real version of the sleeve; plus some of the badges were designed specifically for the artwork so Otto has the
only physical versions of those now.
Collectors may recognise Otto's name as he supplied many of the scans of rarer promos used on Dream Giver
over the years. So thanks again for those Otto and thanks for posting the pictures of this amazing piece of work.
Le Shoeclack Dechaine, Quebec, Canada October 21st, 1981
"It's been a little while since the Shoeclack presented us with a show. This bar, which used to produce
almost every month a band, often European, coming here to start a career in North American, (Telephonne and
Fingerprintz, for example), had slowed down its activities a bit lately."
"Last month, Simple Minds, a Scottish band, was introduced to us
a little by surprise, the show having been announced barely a week in advance. Simple Minds, of which very few of
the 300 people present that evening had ever heard of, gave a great show. The music (let's say New Wave) is always
very intense, impeccable arrangements for each of the instruments, a voice, that of
Jim Kerr, who often reminded us of
Bryan Ferry's from Roxy Music, everything gave off a very special atmosphere, a little intoxicating.
Add to that, an impeccable sound, making it the best concert we ever heard at the Shoeclack."
"Only shadow in the picture, however, the show only lasted 55 minutes, and there were no encores. It is a shame
because the comments heard after, were more about ticket price/duration of show, than of the quality of the show itself.
Alain Martineau of Polygram explained to us that the band, particularly drummer
Kenny Hyslop, who was new in the group, had experienced technical problems.
For this reason, Simple Minds decided not to
do an encore at all rather than risk making a bad one. If they had immediately explained the situation to the audience
it is likely we would have kept a better memory. All in all, we were treated to an evening of excellent music and we can
only wish that Simple Minds will be back soon." - Quebec Rock, December 1981/January 1982
Many thanks to Philippe Labelle for the scan and the translation from the original French.
I've been working on some projects for the band. This used up my spare time.
So when it came to updating the website, I discovered that I had a 40 track live album, 40 track compilation album
and a super deluxe box-set to cover. And a tour. And two new books. And a convention. And Derek Forbes And The Dark.
And various interviews and magazine pieces. And the COVID-19 situation. And everything
I'm almost up-to-date now, but this looked like a good point to stop and say "I'm still going."
Go back to the
news section from 2019 and read from there. That's where
the story picks up and there's a lot of material there.
The following parts of the discography have been updated:
The postponed White Hot DaySimple Minds Convention has now been rescheduled for Saturday 17th October.
Rescheduled from 21st March, original tickets remain valid. All other details remain the same.
heart of the crowd
A CHANGE OF HEART! WE NOW NEED YOUR CONTRIBUTION PLEASE!
We know! We know! Some may be thinking "What is this? No more Book Of Brilliant Things?"
Well, we've had a change of heart and decided to re-think the book we are currently working on in collaboration
with Simple Minds' fans worldwide.
First thing is to make clear to all who have already sent your stories to . Your
contribution is well appreciated and still applies to this new title.
And for those thinking "What? Have I missed something?" Then here goes:
WE ARE CALLING TO ALL SIMPLE MINDS FANS!
We want your stories and anecdotes for this book.
Want to know how you discovered our music, and what your relationship is with Simple Minds?
How it began and how and why it has continued?
Why for you was it Simple Minds?
Additionally, what are your memories of seeing us live over the 40 + plus years of our existence?
Perhaps you saw us in the early days during our first ever gigs in pubs and clubs?
What did it mean to see us for the first time, or even more recently.
Maybe you've travelled far and wide to see us in theatres, arenas, stadiums?
Crossed continents possibly?
Wherever in the world you have connected with Simple Minds, why not let your story be known, including
of course your connection with others who share your enthusiasm for our music?
Maybe you met some of those at gigs, maybe you became associates through our social network sites?
Likewise, maybe you worked with Simple Minds.
A crew member, perhaps you worked with with one of the record companies/concert promoters who promoted our music?
Maybe you were a DJ who played our songs, or perhaps you have covered our songs in your own band?
Whether you have been a fan since our very beginning or perhaps since teatime last night?
What's your story?
All this and more let us know.
More than any other publications, your unique stories will be at the heart of this book. Simple Minds don't do things half measures.
We want HEART OF THE CROWD to be something that both band and fans can be proud of!
We need your input therefore.
Relying on your support - as always
Thanks to all! Jim Kerr
If you would like to contribute to Heart Of The Crowd then do send your memories - before the end of July - to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Stories of approximately 350 words
would be great, photos of course would be welcome also!
the race is the prize
"It's quite amazing the stuff you can sometimes find lying within dusty boxes in the corner of an attic room."
"The Race is the Prize written by
Alfred Boss was the first ever authorised book on Simple Minds, and
until a few days ago when I came across it inside one of those boxes, I don't think I had ever set eyes on it, since - well,
since the day it was published possibly?"
"It was an odd experience to flick through thoughts and quotations that I held as someone in my early 20's - and in so
many ways still lacking any major experience. And yes, it certainly all seems like a lifetime ago."
"A couple of things I did correctly foresee way back then in 1984, was that Simple Minds would be ever
changing and always seek to evolve. I also pledged that we were in this as a lifetime commitment, that we would
aim to continue making music for a very long time to come."
"Much praise for Alfred Bos. He did a great job of capturing the feeling
within the music and culture of Simple Minds at that period. A wonderful job in fact."
"Re: books on Simple Minds. As many will already know, we are working currently on a forthcoming book based on the
experiences of our fans, how they first connected with our music etc. - and what it means to be an enthusiast of
Simple Minds. Within that endeavour we are looking to create something to which all longterm
Simple Minds fans will hopefully want to contribute their stories. And that together, both band and fans, we can
create something truly special. More on that coming very soon!" - Jim, 26th June 2020
"Wow! Joy Division, OMD and Simple Minds, when ticket prices were one pound fifty. Now less than the price
of a small packet of crisps? I still have memories of turning up at Eric's in Liverpool, 1979, and seeing that poster
on the wall. Realising that most of the bands were already in my record collection and feeling frustrated that I could
not see them as we were always out on tour ourselves, and rarely crossing paths.
No matter how friendly and how enthusiastic the audiences are, I still get momentarily intimidated when turning up to
perform in cities that historically have produced the greatest music.
Liverpool is certainly one of those cities!
Always feel honoured to play in those kind of places.
Always want to go beyond when you walk on stage" - Jim, 14th June 2020
empires and dance
Producer and musician Steven Wilson and
singer and songwriter Tim Bowness have started
The Album Years Podcast where they talk about
releases during a particular year.
The first part covers 1980 during which both Simple Minds and
Empires And Dance are discussed.
Luckily the section where they talk about the band's third album
is available as a clip on YouTube:
bono on new gold dream
"I don't know if I ever mentioned this, but Bill Graham, the Hot Press journalist, was some kind of seer. He certainly had a very
big brain, and he certainly did U2 a favour when he pointed us in the direction of Paul McGuinness and said 'This should be your manager.'"
"When we could just about get into wine bars and underground cellars age 18 (sort of!) and met Bill after he'd been surfing some burgundy,
he would get very excited and repeat "81-82-83-84" into my ears... I thought he was suggesting that U2 would eventually get there during
those years. What I didn't realize is he was hallucinating a hook for a Simple Minds song that would prove germane to U2's evolution
from a rock band into something much more ecstatic. Without the album, NEW GOLD DREAM, I don't
believe there would have been an UNFORGETTABLE FIRE or a JOSHUA TREE... Charlie and
Mick, you accessed this ecstatic music and Jim had the poetry
to paint the picture."
New Gold Dream
Sun is set in front of me, worldwide on the widest screen
New Gold Dream
Burning bridge and ecstasy, crashing beasts and fantasy
"You promised us a miracle, and they're all around us. Thank you. See you with SOMEONE SOMEWHERE IN SUMMERTIME."
15th May 2020
Information about the new album has been trickling out from a variety of
sources over the past year. Surprisingly there's quite a lot.
Now in shutdown and with the tour postponed until next year, Jim and
Charlie are now working on new songs. No real titles or tangible information yet,
but it's good to know that it's being worked on.
Life During Wartime
As though the sky itself had fallen and now lay submerged under the surface of the water.
Not to be missed, I decided to pull over and get out the car for a closer look - in doing so unavoidably recalling
the kids bedtime story of 'Chicken Little.' - a tale with a moral in the form of a chicken who believes that the
sky is falling and the world is coming to an end.
Despite the odd negative 3AM thought, I don't believe the world is coming to an end. At least not more than I ever did - that
means never. That said, I'm not stoic enough (yet) to stop myself occasionally wishing that this current shared reality is
nothing more than a warped dream that we are all due to wake from imminently.
But no - this is real life baby.
And as David Byrne sang in the Talking Heads classic Life During Wartime: "This ain't no party, This ain't
no disco. This ain't no moving around."
So instead of being on stage over the last months, doing what I love doing more than anything else. I returned to Scotland
and went back to doing the things I love doing almost as much: Making banana bread, watching highlights of football matches
from back in the years when players wore shorts painfully tight, making DIY face masks out of some old bandanas that I had
You know I'm only kidding. Right?
Instead, I went straight back to my studio room and began to lose myself in writing stuff. Stuff that from somewhere
inside I feel the compulsion to express.
The good news is that within days the Simple Minds creative supply chain was open for business. Testament being
new tunes that started to arrive from Charlie Burchill,
Owen Parker and
Martin even managed to find a demo recording of a long lost song. An idea of
ours from somewhere around the late '90's, most likely when we were busying ourselves with preparations to record
Our Secrets Are The Same.
Working on that idea again earlier this morning, I felt like a kid who has rediscovered a once favourite toy - thought
to be lost forever - now turned up within the darkened corner of a dusty attic room.
And Jeez! What a treasure of a song this is now turning out to be.
There is more to life than work however, or there should be for those lucky enough to have any work, and of course
I've missed the ongoing everyday interaction with others.
But I've also experienced some unique moments over these weeks.
Moments that I would have most likely missed under normal circumstances.
Standing at the waters edge, staring at my solitary reflection on the surface of the remnant of Scotland's ice age - being one!
Due to the White Hot DaySimple Minds Convention being postponed, the next book in Hanging Around Book's
collection of Simple Minds photographs, which was due to be released at the convention, has been issued today.
This is my favourite from the trilogy. Richard Coward's work was used extensively but he only received fleeting or
no credit - so it's good to finally be able to put locations, dates and - most importantly - a name to these images.
The images of the band taken at Edinburgh's Royal High School, and used as early Zoom promotional glossies, were by him.
The eerie blurred black-and-white stills used for Empires And Dance were
also shot by Richard, the result of experimentation with stills and television images. The images on the lyrics sheet were
from a portrait shoot at his home in Wapping, taken against a brick wall. Thanks to the terse label copy of
Empires And Dance, the credit was just for Coward.
And finally, unused images from a photo shoot at Glasgow's botanic gardens were used for the
These images, and many alterantive and unused versions, can be found in the book.
The impending UK lockdown, and the various lockdowns throughout Europe, have meant that both the
Derek Forbes And The Dark tour, and the Simple Minds Convention, have both regrettably been postponed.
Despite their best efforts, which included playing two consecutive sets to
reduced audience numbers at Copenhagen,
the 40 Years Of Hits Tour has regrettibly temporarily come to an end. With lockdown in Europe, the future of this
tour is now in question.
the suit he wears belongs to me
In seeking out rare and previously undiscovered and unseen music-related images, the long hours of research
usually begin by making contact with friends and families of both the artists and the photographers. In the
case of "The Suit He Wears Belongs To Me", a recent conversation with the supremely brilliant record producer
John Leckie, proved to be fortuitous.
John happened to mention that his close friend Richard Coward was not
only responsible for the TV imagery that featured on the sleeve of the magnificent album
John produced (Empires and Dance)
but that he had also shot the band in Edinburgh, Glasgow and at his studio in Wapping, East London.
John informed me that Richard sadly passed away in 2014, but
that his wife Siobhan was now living in Edinburgh. It has been my delight to work with Siobhan in going
through Richard's archive and digitising the negatives to bring this collection together.
As you'll see in the book, Richard manages to capture a diversity of styles with the 1980 line-up of the band.
There's the aforementioned TV images, band line-ups in the Botanic Gardens of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, atop
Edinburgh's Calton Hill and in front of the city's former Royal High School, as well as a series of superbly executed
studio portraits. It will come as no surprise that the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland has purchased one of
Richard's portraits of Jim Kerr for their collection and it's a fitting tribute
to both a fine photographer and his subject matter.
With foreword by Ronnie Gurr and endpiece by Siobhan Coward.
The next installment of Simple Minds photographs from Hanging Around Books will be exclusively available
at the White Hot DaySimple Minds Convention on the 21st March 2020. They will go on general release later
in the year.
"Stockholm will always loom large in the history of Simple Minds, since some of our most memorable
nights on stage occurred right here. From the smallest club venues, (Only 20 years old when first performing
in Stockholm) going all the way to a stadium show, the locals wholly encouraged us with their enthusiasm
for our music."
"Maybe we will have a chance to re-connect over this weekend with some of those who go all the way back
to those days with us, while also initiating a bond with newer fans who are possibly seeing
Simple Minds for the first time. In any case, thanks to all who are coming to see us in Stockholm
tonight and tomorrow."
"Re: tonight's set list? (We try to never play the exact same set.) It seems appropriate that for the
first time in quite a few years we should play Street Fighting Years.
And why not? When considering that today sees the release of
Street Fighting Years - our classic album remastered
and boxed with a bonus disc of edits, B-sides and remixes, two CDs of the legendary "Live From Verona" concert
plus a hardback book and fold-out poster. Also on new gatefold 180 gram 2LP, 2CD deluxe and single CDs" - Jim, 6th March 2020
In 1978, Laurie Evans was the in-house music photographer for the Edinburgh "what's on" magazine City Lynx.
As such, Laurie was on hand to capture some of the earliest images of Simple Mindsat various gigs at Glasgow's
Mars Bar and the Astoria in Edinburgh's Abbeyhill.
Laurie has opened her archive to us and we've collected these images together for the first time and
produced a beautiful little photobook that features many previously unseen images of the band from those early
days. "Pleasantly Disturbed" (HA031) will be released on February 28th (same day as the band
open their 2020 World Tour). There will be 250 copies
of the first edition and you
can pre-order your copy
to be mailed out on day of release here.
Some of the photographs will be familar to those with The Race Is The Prize
as some of Evan's pictures appear there. Also, some shots, particularly of Jim
and Charlie on stage, were used as early Zoom promotional pictures.
Jim was also asked about the lack of demos and outtakes in the
"Some of the box sets we put out get a better reaction than others. It's hard to explain,
how can I say this without being patronising... I mean, just because you've put something on a piece of tape,
it doesn't mean to say that it's a demo to go out. There was a few songs in the air there, but they were never part of
Street Fighting Years, they were just something at the time. There'd
be songs that Trevor wasn't involved in or
Steve wasn't involved in... we were working every day. If you were to say
every day equates to a demo for Street Fighting Years... no, it wasn't,
it was just that day's work. And even the fact that people know about those tracks, means that someone nicked them and
someone put them online! Who knows? There's a couple of those songs we might go back to - they're unfinished. There are
songs on our last album, Walk Between Worlds, from an idea that was
more than 25 years old. Finally, we cracked it! So, the idea that you just load [the box set] all up with whatever
was in the air at the time, I don't think so."
SuperDeluxeEdition also promoted the box-set with
an exclusive interview with
Jim. He also published a glossy 24-page book which included the full unedited
interview with Jim and an unpublished interview with
Steve Lipson. This small booklet was specially designed to fit in the box-set as
white hot day: simple minds convention
The line-up for the forthcoming Simple Minds Fan Convention continues to grow. Joining Simple Minded will
be Derek Forbes And The Dark, former Minds' manager Bruce Findlay,
and special guest Mick MacNeil.
There will be further special guests and a charity auction of Simple Minds memorabilia.
It takes place on the 21st March 2020 in Glasgow.
derek forbes and the dark
Derek Forbes And The Dark have announced the following tour dates:
Pin Ups (The Islington), London
The Eagle Inn, Salford/Manchester
Duffy's Bar, Leicester
The Rigger, Newcastle-Under-Lyme
St. Lukes, Glasgow
PJ Malloys, Dunfermline
They have also released a CD of newly recorded Simple Minds classics. This is available through
derekforbesandthedark.com. (Also available is Derek's
previous CD of Simple Minds' covers called Echoes).
Now only weeks away from the start of
our year long tour, and it feels great having 'all our gang' back together.
Rehearsals are well in hand and we are looking forward to the months ahead with even more enthusiasm than usual. Along with
Charlie, and yours truly, it is
always a pleasure to welcome a new addition to our ever evolving line-up. So welcome to you
Berenice Scott! We know how much you'll enjoy performing in
front of all who come to see Simple Minds."
"What more to say? Dates are still being added in what is shaping up to be one of our most extensive tours ever. So look out
for us in your corner of the world - we are bound to pop up somewhere near you sooner or later.
Thanks for your support."
A big welcome to Berenice Scott who filled the vacuum in the band casued by the departure of
Catherine AD. Although Gordy and
Charlie shared keyboard duties, which gave the live songs a new dynamic and arrangement
(as heard on Live In The City Of Angels), the band definitely needed someone behind
the keyboards full time.
She'd been most recently being playing keyboards for Heaven 17, after being recruited into the band's line-up in 2011 for
live performances of The Luxury Gap. Before that, she released her own solo album, Ten Takes, in 2007, and has worked on varied
projects, collaborating with Level 42'sPhil Gould and Willy Badarou, and playing live with Johnny Hates Jazz.
street fighting years super deluxe
STREET FIGHTING YEARS
SUPER DELUXE BOX SET
On 6th March Simple Minds will release a brand new deluxe version of the classic album
Street Fighting Years as a 4CD box set, including the original album
remastered at Abbey Road plus a host of B-sides, edits and 12" remixes. It also includes a previously unissued
Verona live show from 1989 plus brand new book including a new interview
with Trevor Horn.
Also available as 2LP, 2CD or remastered single CD.
Street Fighting Years is released in multiple formats which are all fully endorsed by
the band. The album was remastered at Abbey Road studios by Simon Gibson and contains the album as well as a bonus disc of B-sides,
edits and 12 remixes, and a previously unissued Verona show from 1989 round the set off.
The booklet was designed by long time contributor Stuart Crouch and contains sleeve notes by Daryl Easlea who interviewed the
band and producer Trevor Horn extensively for the set. They provide a fantastic insight into
how the album was recorded and produced.
An artistically ambitious and elegant album, it arrived at a time of personnel changes. It saw the band reduced to a trio of
Charlie Burchill and
Mick MacNeil with session musicians playing the bass and most of the drum roles
(notably Manu Katché from Peter Gabriel's band and former Police drummer
Recorded in Scotland between 1988 and 1989, it was also a stylistic departure from the sound of Simple Minds' previous album,
Once Upon a Time. After 10 years of recording and releasing music, the band had
learnt their craft, becoming skilled musicians and songwriters. This resulted in an album with a sense of drama and cinematic in quality.
"I was 30 years old and I wanted to write about Belfast..., Apartheid and I wanted to write about the policies of Margaret Thatcher. I'm
glad I wanted to do that." - Jim Kerr
Having recently turned 30 years of age, and at the end of an incredibly divisive decade in British politics - not to mention global tensions - an
outward-looking maturity emerged in frontman Jim Kerr's lyric writing, which found him confronting
major themes of the times.
This is demonstrated on songs that tackle such subjects as Apartheid (Mandela Day and a cover of
Peter Gabriel'sBiko), the on going troubles in Northern Ireland
(Belfast Child), knife crime (Street Fighting Years - a very
personal lyric about the loss of a Kerr family close friend), as well as the Poll Tax, Berlin Wall and
nuclear submarines off the coast of Scotland.
Musically, where Once Upon A Time was influenced by American soul and gospel,
Street Fighting Years was a much more atmospheric album, incorporating many styles,
including Celtic and folk influences. It was Trevor Horn who recognised a folk quality about the band, especially
in Kerr's voice, and encouraged them to explore new territory.
Nowhere is this exemplified more than on Belfast Child. Released three months prior to the album on the
Ballad of the Streets EP, Belfast Child was based on the
Irish folk song She Moved Through The Fair. Kerr heard
the melody of this song a few days after the horrific Enniskillen bombing, and wrote a song trying to relate to the people of
Northern Ireland and those who had lost loved ones. The song received praise for addressing such a painful and emotive subject, including from
Q Magazine (who also awarded the album five stars).
Street Fighting Years was a creative triumph for Simple Minds and attained the remarkable
commercial achievement of securing a number one single with a song almost seven-minutes in length. Although, as ever with Simple Minds
there is hope and optimism, also present is a wistfulness on an album that captures, and is a reminder of, the end of one of the most tumultuous
decades of the 20th century.
Standout songs on the album include This Is Your Land, which saw the band fulfil a teenage dream, as
it featured one of their heroes and biggest influences - Lou Reed, and
Mandela Day. Approached by Jerry Dammers to write a song celebrating
Nelson Mandela (who was still imprisoned at that time), Mandela Day was completed in under an hour
and recorded in less than a day. It made its live debut not long after at the
Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium, in June 1988.
"It's scary to think that a life could seemingly be made by a single event that took place on particular day, but
that is how I view things. The event I'm thinking of happened
42 years ago this week, (17th of January) on a bitterly
cold Monday night in Glasgow. And although characteristically not the type to take much notice of birthday's and anniversaries,
mine or anyone else's, it always comes natural for me to reflect a little on that date when it comes round annually."
"To say I was excited during the hours leading up to Simple Minds' first ever gig is an understatement. It also ignores the
fact that the emotion I was experiencing most was nervousness. A colossal amount of nervousness. Enough to make me do a U-turn back to
the squalid dressing room - just as we had all begun walking towards the stage. Those nerves suddenly needed an outlet and I needed
to vomit. Stagefright!"
"With that Simple Minds were born. And already sounded 'f*cking great.' At least to my ears."
"True. I hadn't even sung one line yet, and I was convincing myself that we were en-route to becoming a worldwide success. Don't laugh.
What did I know? I was only 18."
"And if you are going to aim for anything, no point in not aiming high? In any case, every story needs a beginning, and our story
genuinely began that night. So what if things had not gone so well for us on that first gig? Would we have crawled back home, licking our
wounds? Drowning in disappointment? Humiliated etc? Yes, I would have experienced all of that and more. But soon enough those feelings would
have subsided and we would have moved forward, even more determined."
"One thing for certain. No way would we have made any U turns within our goal. We might still have been babes, but we were tough.
We had something, and we were hellbent on adventure. Plus, we were more than ready to push ourselves to unknown limits."
"Others seemed to be doing it for fun? Not us. A lifetime of dedication lay in front. That I recognised, from the very first gig.
42 years ago this week."
My only possible response as he stood there awaiting a reaction - a proud look written all over him - and
a brand new bass guitar hanging around his neck.
We had walked to school every day in each other's company. I had sat next to him in class year after year. We'd gone to the
youth club together most evenings, listening in awe to T Rex, Bowie and Alice Cooper among others.
And yet, not once did 'Skinny,' (even my mother referred to him by that nickname) mention that he wanted to play bass guitar?
Then again, Tony Donald was always different. Others would show off brilliantly. But he liked being low-key. Sometimes
Many have played a part in Simple Minds' story. That is for sure. Some may have contributed smaller amount than others,
but all deserve recognition for the part they played. Equally sure is that the deeper roots of Simple Minds formed when a
group of teens from Holyrood School in Glasgow, started tuning out from learning Latin and mathematics, and instead
focused our attention more on bashing out covers of rock n' roll songs.
'Skin' was at the very centre of all of that. In some ways, given his better knowledge of music, (his Dad was a musician, at a
very young age Tony also played drums with the St Francis Pipe band)
it is possible to say that he was the engine that enabled the rest of us to kick start our dream.
Less than a handful of years later those dreams were becoming reality, as were Simple Minds.
I can never find an answer whenever I am asked the question: "What were the best days of your life?"
Had so many great days, it's way too difficult for me to decide.
But I know for certain that Antony Donald was with me when many of those days were happening.
I also know that one of the saddest occurred last week, with the news of Tony's passing.
A childhood friend, an 'Original Mind.' Charlie and I are still hurting.
hats off to the scots, new mailing list
Blogger Kelvin Hayes has recently been musing on the Scottish music scene, concentrating on the various acts which have
appeared since the 1980s. Simple Minds are there of course, but many more idiosyncratic, icronic obscure groups are also covered,
including The Associates, The Blue Nile and (a personal favourite of mine) One Dove.
Hats Off To The Scots has recently moved to Kulture Kiosk
and is well worth a read.
A mailing list has existed in various forms since 1992, being the original source of news, gossip and discussion
about the band online.
It's an alternative way of keeping in touch rather than through social media.
The mailing list was hosted by Yahoo for many years, but Yahoo have now removed support and are going to delete
the archives, and so the list had to move. It can now be found on Google Groups. For more information, and details
on how to subscribe, then check out the Walk Between Minds mailing list.
(The old Yahoo archive can still be found here. I don't know how much longer this will be available.)
What are you waiting for? Subscribe and get posting!