"Mick formed a band with his drum-playing brother when he was 16, and they played cabaret clubs, weddings, social
functions and the like, mainly to earn some money to buy new equipment. "We just went around social clubs doing old Drifters songs
and all that," he remembers with a shudder. "I got really tired of it and I was either gonna just wrap it or do something
I'd never done before."
"Luckily he met Messrs Burchill and
Kerr in the formative stages of Simple Minds and got hired pronto. "It was really good 'cos
they'd just play and you had to play what was in your head, y'know, and I'd never done that."
"Up to that point I hadn't been into music outside of Highland music and all that, so I never watched 'Top Of The Pops' or
anything and I never listened to the radio and I didnae know who did what. It was funny 'cos everybody'd say the keyboards were just
like the stuff from Magazine and Ultravox and all that, and I'd never heard their records or
"Nowadays, of course, Mick himself is used as a reference point for other keyboards players. Move over
New Gold Tour Programme
Mick MacNeil became synonymous with Simple Minds, rightfully recognised as the man
behind many of the band's signature pieces. Along with Charlie and
Derek, his musical contribution was vital to the success of the band in the 1980s.
The relentless touring schedules during the decade gradually wore him down. After the
Street Fighting Years tour, and with impending writing sessions
and tours being planned for the new decade, he asked if he could sit the next album out. In the heat of the moment,
this was seen as a rejection and loss of faith in the group.
The loss of MacNeil was such a blow to the band that Jim and
Charlie considered dropping the name Simple Minds.
Perhaps the only man who could've resolved the situation was Bruce but by cruel
coincidence his management of the band was also coming to an end.
Fans have long clamoured for his return, seeing Mick and
Derek as integral parts of Simple Minds. But his only post-band
contribution has been to add accordion backing tracks to Dirty Old Town (2003) and
Simple Minds' cover of Brothers In Arms (2018)
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
discography: mainstream singles
discography: mainstream albums
videography: mainstream videos and dvds
Simple Minds #4
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Life In A Day Tour 1979
Real To Real Cacophony Tour 1979
Empires And Dance Tour 1980
Empires And Dance Tour 1980
Sons And Fascination Tour 1981
Sons And Fascination Tour 1982
New Gold Tour 1982
Tour Du Monde 1983
Live Aid 1985
Once Upon A Time Tour 1985
Cash For Kids 1987
Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute 1988
Artists Against Apartheid Rally 1988
Street Fighting Years Tour 1989