Wednesday May 7th 2008
Simple Minds Confirmed to perform at ‘46664 Concert Honouring Nelson Mandela at 90’ >
++++ ‘SIMPLE MINDS TO PERFORM AT HYDE PARK, LONDON ++++
Simple Minds have been invited to perform at a special concert to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Nelson Mandela. The ‘46664 Concert’ will be held at Hyde Park, London on Friday June 27th where other invited bands include Queen + Paul Rodgers, Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, the Sugababes, Dame Shirley Bassey, Razorlight, Andrea and 46664 concertSharon Corr, Eddy Grant, and Jamelia.
Along with musical guests numerous world figures will make an appearance including President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Will Smith, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Robert de Niro and Forest Whitaker are amongst those who will attend some of the events. Lewis Hamilton, British Formula 1 driver for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team will attend his very first 46664 event The concert will feature numerous unexpected appearances, with several major artists keeping silent about their involvement in order to take both Mr Mandela and the audience by surprise.
Among the specially chosen artists are many whom Nelson Mandela is recognising for having voiced their support for him over the past 20 years, dating back to London’s historic Free Mandela concert of June 1988, which called for Mr. Mandela’s release from incarceration on Robben Island and which Mr Mandela has said gave him and his fellow prisoners great inspiration. Simple Minds were instrumental in making the 1988 event happen. Annie Lennox appeared with The Eurythmics and has since become of one of the most active ambassadors for Mr. Mandela’s 46664 AIDS organisation.
Lennox, along with Dave Stewart and Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor played a key part in the foundation of 46664 in October 2003. Since then, Queen and Paul Rodgers have gone on to write songs especially for the organisation, including the track Say It’s Not True from their forthcoming album which the band donated to 46664 for World AIDS Day 2007.
46664 Nelson Mandela 90th birthday concert ticket information:
Tickets on public sale Friday 9th May 9am
General admission tickets are £65.00 (plus booking fees).
For further information on ‘46664’ events and projects please visit the offical
Sunday April 13th 2008
‘Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime)’ Cover Version >
++++ ‘SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (IN SUMMERTIME)’ COVER VERSION BY PETER SIMCOE ++++
A truly breathtaking cover version of ‘Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime)’ has been made available on the popular ‘Simple Minded’ website. The following press release was supplied by Peter Simcoe “After taking a break for several months, the Simple Minded blog is now kickstarted again with a fantastic new version of Someone Somewhere in Summertime. The keyboards / bass / vocals are by Christophe Avril [France] with guitars from Pete Simcoe [UK]. To download this track please go to
There should be more collaborations like this in the near future and Pete Simcoe is bringing out a new collection of original material with a ‘Simple Minds’ feel available for download in mid May featuring collaborations with Simon Hayward of Sample Minds. This will be available from www.simcoe.co.uk”.
Friday March 7th 2008
‘Simple Minds Celebrate 30 Years Live’ TOUR 2008 > ‘Night Of The Proms’ Dates Announced >
++++ ‘Simple Minds Celebrate 30 Years Live’ TOUR 2008′ ++++
Simple Minds have announced plans to perform a number of UK shows to celebrate 30 years in the music business. The band will perform their legendary album ‘New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)’ in its entirety for the very first time. The second half of the concerts will focus on the bands more well known hits.
An excited Jim Kerr explains on www.simpleminds.com that they couldn’t let this milestoneSimple Minds Celebrate 30 Years Live TOUR 2008 go by without performing live. “Strangely enough, now that the time has probably come for us to maybe give a nod to the past and the journey that has evolved over three decades, I find that I am enthusiastically up for it.”
Simple Minds Celebrate 30 Years Live UK TOUR 2008
27.11.2008 – MEN Arena, Manchester
28.11.2008 – NEC, Birmingham
29.11.2008 – Wembley Arena, London
01.12.2008 – Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield
02.12.2008 – International Arena, Cardiff
04.12.2008 – SECC, Glasgow
‘Night Of The Proms’ Tour Dates
Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill have also announced plans to play live at the annual ‘Night Of The Proms’.
18.04.2008 – Spiroudome Charleroi, Belgium
18.04.2008 – Spiroudome Charleroi, Belgium
25.04.2008 – Pabellon Fuente de San Luis, Valencia, Spain
26.04.2008 – Plaza De Toros, Benidorm, Spain
24.10.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
25.10.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
30.10.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
31.10.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
01.11.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
06.11.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
07.11.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
08.11.2008 – Antwerps Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium
14.11.2008 – Gelredome, Arnhem, Netherlands
15.11.2008 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
19.11.2008 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
20.11.2008 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
21.11.2008 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
22.11.2008 – Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Monday February 4th 2008
Jim Kerr Pop Art Painting For Sale >
++++ ‘JIM KERR POP ART PAINTING FOR SALE’ ++++
A pop art painting of Jim Kerr has been placed for auction on ebay. The painting which took 6 days to complete Jim Kerr Pop Artcaptures Jim performing live in Switzerland in 2004. To view the picture and auction details please click here.
About the painting
• Original painting of Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr
• This is a real original painting and not a print of any kind.
• The painting uses high-grade acrylic paint on a staple free stretched canvas.
• The canvas measures 16 inches x 20 inches (406.4mm x 508mm) on a box canvas of 0.5 inches deep, the sides of the canvas are painted and is ready to hang.
• Title: Burning Gold Memories
• Size: 16″ x 20″ x 0.5″
• Medium: Acrylic
• Colours: Various
• Artist: Shaun Edwards
• 100% Hand Painted
• Painted Sides Wrap Around Effect
• Ready To Hang
• Original and not a print
• International bidders PayPal only
• Tracking codes are provided with all paintings
• A phone number is required for courier
All paintings are carefully packed. Your painting will be wrapped in layers of bubble wrap then surronded by either corrugated card or corrugated paper until there is a solid and strong box around the painting. Finally they are wrapped in brown paper.
Tuesday September 11th 2007
‘Crashing Beats & Fantasy’ now on ‘Facebook’ >
++++ ‘CRASHING BEATS & FANTASY’ NOW ON ‘FACEBOOK’++++
A group dedicated to Crashing Beats & Fantasy can now be found on the popular ‘Facebook’, spread the word and join by clicking here.
Sunday May 6th 2007
Keyboard Player Required For Minds Tribute Band, Simple Minded >
++++ KEYBOARD PLAYER REQUIRED FOR SIMPLE MINDED ++++
Ian Balm is able to join the group as the lead singer and is currently looking to recruit the rest of the band. Ian said, “What we’re currently aiming to do is to get something really amazing together for fans of Simple Minds. There are other great Minds covers bands out there but we hope to bring a refreshing take on Simple Minds with some great musicians and a fantastic live show. Currently I m looking for exceptional musicians to complete the line up of Simple Minded.
We both have additional projects running alongside so we are looking to “tour” twice a year – a Summer tour comprising of Theatres, Arts Centres and Tribute Festivals in Europe and a Winter tour taking in the best tribute venues and Theatres / Arts Centres. We will rehearse throughout the weeks running up to a tour and then whilst touring will play between 1 and 3 times a week. Because the Simple Minds sound live is so unique we are looking for exceptional musicians. I would also expect that you would need to be a fan of the music to understand the complexities of the wall of sound that is Simple Minds.
We will only do this if we can truly find the best musicians to replicate the sound, so if you love the band and the music contact us with your details and an MP3 demo and we can take it from there. With Summer almost upon us preparations will begin in earnest in the Autumn for a Winter tour but prior to that we would like to get gig tight in other venues over the Summer and Autumn.
We are looking for:
Keyboards – the most essential and possibly one of the hardest positions to fill. If you have heard Simple Minds live you will appreciate the complexities and samples that are happening in their live performance. You really will need to program the intros and sample loops with perfect sounds such as the intro to “Love song”.
Drums – Mel Gaynor, always introduced as probably the best drummer in the world and whilst a lot of people may contest that he certainly is an awesome drummer. Without him, Simple Minds would struggle to deliver the dynamic, forceful and driving beat that they do. You will need excellent gear and great attention to detail. Bass – Unsung hero of the Minds sound. Behind every Simple Minds song there is a driving bass line. Again a critical part of the band.
So there it is, thats what our wish list is. Probably nigh on impossible to source but there must be someone out there somewhere (in Summertime – corny I know, sorry) We will push this hard to ensure that the sound is right as we want to be competing with the other Simple minds tributes across Europe as it is them currently that are playing the tribute festivals across France, Germany and Holland that we want to be doing.
Apply now with your details, demos and any links to your myspace / websites and hopefully with a bit of luck we could be on to something good.
Monday January 8th 2007
Simple Minds Footage Required > Minds To Tour Australia & New Zealand >
++++ OLD SIMPLE MINDS FOOTAGE WANTED ++++
Any Minds fan that has visited youtube recently would of no doubt come across Stuart’s superb Simple Minds site with its collection of rare footage from over the years. Stuart has asked for help in hunting down rare footage of the band from the ‘Street Fighting Years’ & ‘Real Life’ years and if possible any earlier material.
Anybody that can help should email Stuart With over 170 videos available for viewing Stuarts site is a must visit for any Minds fan found Keep up the good work Stuart. Simple Minds To Tour Down Under?Simple Minds Down Under Simple Minds are considering a surprise return to live concerts in Australia and New Zealand early next year.
Although as of yet no contracts have been signed and therefore no dates absolutely confirmed, serious negotiations are however underway. Despite the fact that some agencies are already announcing dates currently, we can asssure again that as from today nothing has been 100% confirmed.
Sunday November 19th 2006
‘Q The Essential Music Quiz Interactive DVD’ > Links page updated >
Q The Essential Music Quiz Interactive DVDQ Interactive DVD
Demon Vision has teamed up with EMAP to create their first interactive DVD “Q: The Essential Music Quiz”.
The iDVD will have a very limited pre-release, in the form of table gifts to the artists and celebrities attending the Q Awards on the 30th October, prior to the nationwide release on 27th November.
The interactive DVD features Simple Minds amongst other all-time favourite artists with more than 800 questions in 8 sections. All the artists and clips featured were vetted by Q’s editorial team, and are organised around eight different sections based on the key features from the magazine (Words Of Wisdom, Excess All Areas, Cash For Questions, Q Radio, Rewind, Rising, Undercover and Behind The Song).
Release Date: 27th November 2006
Links page updated
The Crashing Beats & Fantasy ‘Links’ page has finally been updated, if your site is not listed then please email me with full details. To visit the links page then please click here.
Tuesday October 10th 2006
James Dean Bradfield – The Guardian ‘Music’s Secret Weapons’ October 6th 2006 >
James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers) – Simple Minds ‘Empires & Dance’ I bought it because I heard [the song] I Travel on an old Radio 1 sessionJames Dean Bradfield and I couldn’t reconcile it with the band that had done Don’t You Forget About Me.
You’ve got this vaguely soul voice making a cold, glacial, European album. There’s hardly any machinery on it. It’s one of the truly futurist organic records, cold-sounding but engaged – a massive contradiction but it works. It has the courage of its convictions from the first track to the last. I tried referencing it so many times on The Holy Bible and it didn’t work out.
You can’t understand what Simple Minds were after they made this or what they were before they made it – it came out of nowhere. It’s like if somebody saw Robert De Niro in The Fan, they’d never assume he’d made Taxi Driver. It really is one of the lost British albums but nobody will ever quote it because they can’t stand the idea of a fashionable Simple Minds record.
The Guardian 6th October 2006
Tuesday September 19th 2006
Simple Minded Tribute band > Sparkle Through The Years vzw Fanclubday 18th November 2006 >
++++ SIMPLE MINDED TRIBUTE BAND LATEST NEWS ++++
Peter Simcoe’s new tribute band Simple Minded have released their first demos via their newly launched website and I urge you to take a listen. With vocalist George Porter now on board the guys have delivered a cracking version of Hypnotised along with instrumental versions of War Babies, One Step Closer and my personal favourite, Come A Long Way. If people are still interested in this exciting project then they can contact Peter
To read Peter’s first Simple Minded blog and to listen to the impressive demos
Keep up the good work guys.
T on the Fringe, Edinburgh Review, The Sunday Times
In the usual scheme of things, any band that could be described as a nostalgia act will find itself subject to the laws of diminishing returns. Where once they stayed in the best hotels and hit arena stages running, heroes of bygone may find themselves booked into a last-minute B&B on the edge of town and shuffling into small-scale venues to face dozens of fans whose interest in popular music died many years ago.
By this admittedly narrow definition, Simple Minds cannot be discounted as a nostalgia act. While their recording career was put on hold towards the end of the 1990s, to take time out of a changed musical landscape and to concentrate on family, the band’s broad and memorable back catalogue ensures that, as a live act, they remain much in demand. Add to that the success of two recent albums — Cry from 2002 and Black & White 050505 in 2005 — and you get large and appreciative crowds still turning out to see them.
While recent dates around America and Europe have attracted healthy ticket sales, it is surely in Scotland that the Glasgow Jim Kerr live 2006outfit find their most emphatically dedicated crowds. Jim Kerr, the lead singer, realises this and made a point of noting it here. This is the last night of our tour, he told us breathlessly. What a place to end it. What a crowd to end it with.
Further comments about Scottish audiences being the best in the world somehow didn’t seem like empty platitudes and there’s no denying there was something suitably epic about the surroundings On the last day of the fringe and in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, a set by one of Scotland’s most successful bands reverberating over the packed-out crowd and around Princes Street felt like both a noisy send-off to the Edinburgh festival and a welcome back to normality for the city’s natives.
The years haven’t diminished Simple Minds as a live act. Kerr was never the most glamorous frontman, eschewing the leather-jacketed rock-star posturing of their contemporaries U2 in favour of a far more endearing blokey casualness In jeans and a T-shirt, he looks as if he has just stepped out of the bookies round the corner. But there’s still something rabble-rousing about the way he struts across the stage and pumps his fist in the air at all the best bits.
While the rest of the band are even less attention-seeking than Kerr, they also approach their music-making with a zestful immediacy. Charlie Burchill, guitarist and the other fulcrum in the Simple Minds songwriting axis, has a flair for guitar riffs that are almost as memorable as choruses in their own right, while Eddy Duffy, a recent addition on bass, steals a few minutes in the limelight with the hammering, nerve-tingling bassline of Waterfront.
At a show like this, it is always a pleasure to recall just how many great songs a band you haven’t listened to for a while have produced. Kerr turns and points his mike stand out over the crowd as the familiar intro to Don’t You Forget About Me kicks in, but this song was only one of the lesser highlights of a show played with energy and excitement. Waterfront was another, as was the medley of Ghost Dancing and Gloria, but Sanctify Yourself sounded the most fresh and energising.
Amid the traditional anthems (Alive & Kicking, Glittering Prize), the Giorgio Moroder-like synthesizer stab of New Gold Dream also reminded one of Simple Minds’s beginnings as part of the new wave movement. Given the style’s rediscovery in modern music today, there are far worse candidates than the Minds for a full-scale revival.
David Pollock, The Sunday Times 3rd September 2006
Sparkle Through The Years Fanclubday 18th November 2006
Sparkle Through The Years fanclubday
Monday August 28th 2006
New Simple Minds Tribute Band > ‘Big Issue’ August 24th – 30th >
++++ GUITARIST SEEKS SIMPLE MINDS TRIBUTE BAND ++++
I’m looking to get a Simple Minds tribute band together and need fans who have singing talents, can play bass or keyboard and have a reasonable knowledge of how to play Simple Minds songs. Basically, I learnt to play guitar 17 years ago by playing along to Simple Minds and have a good knowledge of their back catalogue. Whilst I m not quite as good as Burchill, I m not a million miles off!
Looking to do some gigs. Obviously this on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis but if you ve ever seen Simple Minds and want to run around karate kicking your way across a stage – then this might be the perfect opportunity! Look forward to hearing from you.
The Big Issue In Scotland August 24th – 30th
He’s no longer the firebrand he once was, but Simple Minds’ front man Jim Kerr has left his comfortable house in Sicily to hit the road – and it’s feeling good, he tells Leon McDermott Back in the 1980s, when such thingswere in vogue, there were two bands who defined politicised, commercial rock music.
One was U2 – you can still picture Bono, waving that white flag, or saying “fuck the revolution” during the live renditions of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, the righteous young man come to speak truth to power. (Today, of course, Bono is the self-styled saviour of the developing world, who’s moving from Ireland to avoid paying tax.)
The other band was Simple Minds. Jim Kerr – the Scottish Bono, as he was inevitably dubbed – was every bit the firebrand that Bono was, singing about apartheid and the Troubles, glorying in the celtic bond across the Irish Sea. These days, though, Kerr allows politics to take a back seat. There are no meetings with George Bush or the Pope for him; no joint press conferences with Geldof calling the masses to make poverty history, but it’s for the better. You can only play the iconoclast rock star here to save the world for so long, before you descend into self parody. Which Kerr was guilty of when ‘Belfast Child’ became Simple Minds’ first number one in 1989.
“We were so drenched in Labour, because of my dad, we were soaked in that working class industrial culture of Scotland,” he explains now. The 1990s were quiet times for Simple Minds, the last half-decade less so. The band – Kerr, his schoolfriend and cofounder Charlie Burchill, long-time drummer Mel Gaynor and bass player Eddie Duffy – released a new album last year, Black & White 050505. It was more of a success than its dismally-selling predecessor, 2002’s Cry. So, with a massive gig at Edinburgh’s Princes Street Garden sapp roaching, is this a comeback?
“To an extent I suppose it is,” says Kerr. “It’s always a bit of a double-edged thing, the comeback: if you’re making a comeback it implies you’re coming back from somewhere. You might be coming back from making material which didn’t work so well, or won’t hold up.” He admits that for most of the 1990s, music took a backseat for the members but adds that “by the time we get to Edinburgh, we’ll have done a year of solid touring, which is something we’ve not done in quite a while, and it feels good.”
Big Issue In ScotlandThese days – when he’s not touring – Kerr lives in Sicily, far removed from the kind of tabloid circus which defined his life in the 1980s. He was married, first, to The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, and then to Patsy Kensit. Kerr speaks in long, clause-filled sentences, full of asides and qualifications – it’s as if he wants to make sure he’s always understood. But he’s a realist about the past 30 years, which have seen him go from a kid in Toryglen, on Glasgow’s south side, to a restaurant-owning expat, fluent in Italian and happily settled.
“It’s a fringe place, it’s still the badlands, it’s parched and it’s dry and it isn’t manicured,” Kerr says of Sicily. “It’s between Africa and Europe, it’s where the trade winds come together, and those places are always the most interesting to me. There are places you can go in Sicily where the diet is Arabic, and then there’s a tiny church at the end of the road I live on, and the back wall of it is the original wall from a temple to Apollo. Now, this might sound like I’m being a wanky pseud, but I can’t take that sort of thing for granted, you know? It’s very enriching.”
Back in the late 1970s, when Simple Minds were finding their way, emerging as a band whose cold, European modernism was gradually being forged into something more heartfelt – not to mention more pop – Kerr wasn’t thinking of longevity, of being a middle-aged rock star. “I just don’t think we had any conception of what was going to happen,” he says. “I mean back then, words like ‘career’ – they just didn’t even enter into it. You just thought about your next single, or your next album, or the tour you were about to start.
“And we were young, we were 18 or 19- year-old kids and that’s the way you think anyway: you just want to get stuck into it and you don’t necessarily think about where it’s going to take you.” The years of the band’s initial, moderate, success saw them produce a series of albums that still stand up. They were filled with sleek electronic melodies, enchanted by the driving rhythms of Kraftwerk and full of wild experimentation. In fact their second album, Real To Real Cacophony, was originally rejected by their label as “the most uncommercial record we’ve ever been given”.
They were also far removed from the stadium-filling hits that saw Simple Minds play the Philadelphia leg of Live Aid in 1985. That show came on the back of the success of ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’, the song they recorded (after it had been rejected by both Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol) for the soundtrack to teen movie par excellence The Breakfast Club.
Kerr has recently been interviewed for a documentary about director John Hughes’ teen films, named after the song. Still, in their early albums there were the kernels of the sound which would see them sell 25 million records – not that they knew what was in the offing. “In some senses, we knew we were growing towards it but at the same time, there’s a defining day where you walk in and it dawns on you that your band is not your band anymore, or it’s not just your band. That your band, rather than being part of an industry, has become an industry in itself, and I don’t think there’s any way you can prepare for that.”
At the same time as this explosion – Live Aid, The Breakfast Club, the huge success of 1985’s Once Upon A Time album – Kerr increasingly became a media presence, though he’s sanguine about the gossip columnists’ modus operandi. “I would complain,” he says, “but I’m not going to because first, it’d be pointless, and second, it’s part of the deal.”
As Simple Minds were working to become the biggest band in the world and using their platform to further political causes, a creative rot started to set in; their songs became vehicles for politics. But politics, says Kerr, has changed so much since then, Scottish politics particularly so. “That working class industrial culture in Scotland doesn’t exist anymore. Whatever has replaced it I don’t relate to,” he says. “And I have to say I’ve lost faith with the political process, in the sense that I think what a politician has to do, to even get voted in, negates the endgame. Any sort of idealism has to be beaten out of people.”
Of course, Kerr, a multimillionaire with property all over Glasgow and a nice house in Sicily, can say this without consequence. Until he starts thinking about it. “I was going to say that I can afford to run up to the hills and fucking forget about it, but I don’t know if I can. My family are there. My ma and da are getting old. My kids [two with Hynde, another son with Kensit] are growing up there. You might think that because you’ve got two bob in your pocket, you can escape, but you cannae.”
Politics, which was once “a party thing – you voted and whenever the conversation came up in the pub, you made it clear for whom” is now something bigger. “With globalisation, politics is what you have for your breakfast; if you have this coffee rather than that coffee, it can make a difference. “And if you buy a T-shirt from this place as opposed to that place… that’s something that’s worth far more consideration than some local skirmish.”
Kerr’s Scottishness, though, remains intact. “We’re Glasgow through and through,” he says, with a hint of defiance, “having said that I think it’s interesting that we’re one of that bands that have least played the Scottish card.” The clichéd perception of Glasgow’s past – the No Mean City of ill-repute – meant “journalists assumed that the band was a means of escaping”. In truth, says Kerr, “we enjoyed every minute of our upbringing in Glasgow. It’s a rock and roll city, and we loved that environment. But right from the early years, we realised there was a bigger world out there, and it wasn’t so much about conquering that world, but experiencing it.”
At 47, happy to plough his own furrow, rather than protest in public about how others should, Kerr seems restful. No longer the youthful idealist, but someone who has been there and done that, and recognises things for what they are.
Saturday August 19th 2006
‘Orange Ashton Court Festival’, Bristol 23rd July review > Don’t You Forget About Me Documentary > Top Ten Scottish Punk Singles > ‘Seven Magazine’ Article >
Orange Ashton Court Festival Review, Bristol Evening Post
Eighties Rock Icons Hold Their Own With Young Guns
Jim Kerr @ Bristol After two days that were dominated by the young guns of the local music scene it was left to a bloke in his late 40s to finish off the weekend and show the younger bands just how it is done. It may be some years since Jim Kerr and Simple Minds were filling massive stadiums and arenas, but they showed that they were still more than capable of putting on the big show.
And the adulation from the huge crowd was obvious. But Simple Minds didn’t go for the easy option. It wasn’t a set completely dominated by nostalgia for their 80s heyday. The Scottish band are experiencing something of a revival thanks to their current album, Black & White 050505, and a number of newer songs, including a powerful version of Home were given an airing. And a large section of the crowd knew all the words. But it was the classics that we had all come to hear.
And the gems from the past like Sanctify Yourself and a spellbinding version of Waterfront. Inevitably it was their big hit Don’t You (Forget About Me) that had the audience singing along with real enthusiasm. Kerr looked in good shape and still does all the dance moves and the full gambit of extravagant rock singer poses but his voice no longer has the full strength of the old days and it was sometimes difficult to hear him against Charlie Burchill’s big guitar riffs.
The set closed with Alive & Kicking and that summed it all up. Simple Minds may not be the big hitters that they once were but they are still very much alive and kicking. Keith Clark, Bristol Evening Post July 24th 2006 Don’t You Forget About Me Documentary Simple Minds will appear in “Don’t You Forget About Me” – a major new feature documentary about the rise and fall of the teenage movie.
The documentary pays tribute to director John Hughes’ coming-of-age teen movies, including 1985’s The Breakfast Club. The 90-minute feature documentary, is named after Simple Minds best selling US single Don’t You (Forget About Me) which topped the US Billboard Singles Chart in 1985. The original cast and director John Hughes will be interviewed for the release.
John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club During the eighties John Hughes was the quintessential teen movie director in Hollywood and scored a successive number of so-called “Brat-Pack” hit movies that were aimed at the teen market – The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink!, Ferris Buller’s Day Off and Sixteen Candles. Out of all of Hughes’s films, The Breakfast Club continues to represent a timeless voice to a new generation of teenagers as well as the original teens who were touched by the message of the movie 20 years ago.
“When we were asked to participate in the documentary, at first I was surprised the Breakfast Club movie had became such a cult since it was originally released 20 years ago,” says Jim Kerr, lead vocalist with Simple Minds. “The song has become our biggest hit in America, and when we heard the rest of the original cast from the movie agreed to be interviewed for the documentary, we felt it was only fitting to participate.”
Simple Minds will be filmed for the documentary when they play their final concert on their current world tour in at the T on the Fringe festival in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 28th. After the concert, the band will start writing material for their next album which will coincide with their 30th Anniversary in 2007.
In at number 5 it’s ‘Saints & Sinners’ by Johnny & The Self Abusers! Stylus Magazine recently published a Top Ten Scottish Punk Singles compiled by their own staff. Johnny & The Self Abusers’ ‘Saints & Sinners’ made it to number 5 and the following short article was penned by Ryan Foley. For the full Top 10 click here. Johnny & The Self Abusers05. Johnny & The Self Abusers – “Saints And Sinners” / “Dead Vandals” No Scottish punk act has ever achieved the same mythical status as Johnny & The Self Abusers.
A lead singer who went by the pseudonym Pripton Weird, band members decked out in Lou Reed-like mascara, a pint-glass-smashing and furniture-breaking gig (only their second) which became one of the seminal, early moments in Scottish punk—in early 1977, the band took conservative, punk-leery Glasgow by storm. However, as music journalist Billy Sloan declared, “The group’s legend far outweighed their musical ability.”
The six-piece outfit, which relied on a tiny clutch of cover songs during its short existence (including tunes by Doctors Of Madness and Brian Eno), cut just one single: the hyperinfectious “Saints and Sinners,” which was released in November of ‘77 on Chiswick Records.
In true punk fashion, the band called it quits the day of the single’s issue. One half of the defunct act formed the short-lived Cuban Heels, while the other half went on to achieve international success as… Simple Minds.
Ryan Foley, Stylus Magazine
Seven Magazine, Bristol Evening Post
Alive & Kicking
Simple Minds, who are headlining this year’s Orange Ashton Court Festival, have been on a year-long tour that has taken them across the world. And they are thoroughly enjoying being back on the road again, as frontman Jim Kerr told Keith Clark After a three-year hiatus, Simple Minds returned with their highly successful album Black And White 050505 last September, and it has been business as usual ever since.
For the Scottish band embarked on a year-long tour of the world’s arenas and festivals playing to massive crowds of devoted fans who showed that the band needn’t have worried when they sang Don’t You (Forget About Me) all those years ago. One of the gigs on this tour will see them headlining the Orange Ashton Court Festival this weekend and, special though this will be, we just can’t hope to compete with one of their recent shows – playing beneath Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in a concert to herald the start of the World Cup.
“We love playing anyway but to combine that with the football, and we are obviously huge football fans, made that something not to be missed once we were asked,” said frontman Jim Kerr. “It was kind of overwhelming because the stage was literally under the Brandenburg Gate. It brought back memories of the first time I went to Berlin in 1979 and going to the Brandenburg Gate and seeing the wall. We couldn’t have imagined then what was to be.
“This World Cup event was more a TV event than a rock ‘n’ roll event, it was like Top Of The Pops from the Brandenburg Gate, but it was something not to be missed.” Seven MagazineFor three decades – during which time they scored more than 20 Top 20 hits, including All The Things She Said and Alive And Kicking, sold 30 million records, had five number one albums, a number one single in America and three American Top 10 singles – Simple Minds have been major worldwide attractions, gaining them the accolade from Q magazine as “the world’s best live act”.
But despite relentless touring for so many years, Jim says he still enjoys being out on the road with the band. “Thankfully, I still enjoy touring; in fact I enjoy it immensely. I’m probably enjoying it more now. For a while, although we hadn’t actually quit, we had certainly stepped back from any real momentum and although we did occasional gigs here and there this has been a real bona fide tour, a year long and we will have played on almost every continent, and I think you can only do that if you enjoy it.
“It must be hell for the people I’ve come across who love playing but don’t love touring. Even if you work in a bank you can go home at the end of the day and get weekends off and holidays, but on a tour you have to wave goodbye to things like that. It is part of the deal.” Many bands will tell you that the worst part of touring is the hours they spend just waiting around with nothing to do, but Jim doesn’t see this as a problem.
“You do spend so much time hanging around waiting, but if you’ve got three hours to spare and you’re in, say, Amsterdam and you choose to spend it in your hotel room rather than visiting one of the museums around the corner then you’ve only got yourself to blame. Many people would kill to do that.” The latest album has a big, sweeping, multi-layered sound that recalls everything you ever liked about Simple Minds. However, despite the size of their sound, Jim says they always felt confident that they could translate this onto the live stage.
“We are a band who have toured a lot and, even if I say it myself, we’re pretty good at it, and we’ve always been pretty good at not only getting stuff translated onto stage but actually making it better, because inherently I think Simple Minds are a live band. “For this album the approach to the recordings was like the early days. It was band-like, with everyone in the same room as opposed to lots of computers, and because the album was recorded almost in a live way it meant that the translation was much more immediate.
“We then used the computers to enhance it and stuff, but fundamentally it was four or five guys in a room playing, and that is what it is live.” The Eighties was a time when so much new technology was introduced and the music world took it all on board, especially in the studio. The feeling was that because it was there it had to be used, sometimes to excess. Jim feels that Simple Minds went through a period when they were as guilty as any of them in relying too much on technology.
“The technology has been both a blessing and a curse for us. I suppose we embraced it at a point when we had got bored with the band, which was about eight or nine albums in. The technology came out and we went ‘wow’ and embraced it. But then you began to see after a while that there are gains and losses. “However, once we got to these songs and writing them they seemed to suggest that they should be approached in a live way.
“We got all excited and went ‘let’s do it as a band, just plug in and make it just sound like a band’. In a way it is easier said than done but I think the songs were really good to begin with and the dynamics were great and the band pulled it off with aplomb.” The result was some of the best reviews that Simple Minds have had for years; even some of the trendiest music papers, who in the past probably would have written off a band this well established, had to admit that, while it was classic Simple Minds, they had come up with something that is every bit as relevant as all the modern bands who have been influenced by them.
“Yes, I think we got a fair crack of the whip, people got behind it and said the kind of things we would have hoped they would say. “I think the net result of the album and the live tour, and the commitment by the band to both those aspects, has been that even our biggest critics would hesitate a wee bit before writing us off as some Eighties band that was just churning it out. For that reason alone, I have to be happy.” Keith Clark, Seven Magazine, Bristol Evening Post July 20th
Monday June 5th 2006
Orange Ashton Court Festival, Bristol > New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) DVD-Audio review >
Minds to headline Ashton Court FestivalAshton Court Festival Logo
Simple Minds are to headline the Orange Ashton Court Festival in Bristol on Sunday 23rd July.
Event organiser Steve Hunt said: “We have been incredibly lucky to book one of Britain’s biggest and most established rock acts to play at the festival this year. Simple Minds have been around for almost 30 years and have had some massive hits. Over the years, the festival has had some pretty big and diverse acts, and Simple Minds definitely rank alongside any others. We are very excited about an act this size playing at the festival.” Tickets can be purchased on the door for a mere £9 and if brought in advance are just £7. I will see you there! More details can be found at the offical Ashton Court
Carling Academy, Birmingham 9th February 2006 review
People remember disasters, not triumphs. Back in 1981, when Simple Minds played the Birmingham Odeon, Jim Kerr lost his voice. That memory is whispered from punter to punter tonight. They’ve forgotten the later success, the sold out nights at the NEC, the top ten hits, the glory years. They just remember feeling embarrassed for Kerr one warm September night some 25 years ago. They forget that this is a band that sold albums by the million. They forget that Simple Minds were the biggest Scottish band of their time. Don’t you forget about me? Sorry, gentlemen – there’s a few thousand Brummies having a memory blank tonight, sitting at home, watching Corrers.
It’s the success of that song which continues to hang round the band’s collective neck like an albatross. Played over and over on the radio, no wonder the youngsters think they’re sick of Simple Minds before they’ve tried to listen. That mid-80s hit, which had Molly Ringwald kicking up her heels in The Breakfast Club, wiped out all they did previously and overshadows all they’ve done since. Earlier gems such as ‘New Gold Dream’ and ‘Sons & Fascination’ are buried away in the lofts of James Blunt listening middle-aged fathers all over Britain. If they hadn’t played ‘Don’t You’ tonight, heads would have rolled, yet they manage to leave their biggest hit, ‘Belfast Child’, off the set and no one even raises an eyebrow.
Having released albums for the last four decades, Simple Minds have an abundance of other spine-tingling rock anthems to choose from, and the choices are good. Opening with ‘Sleeping Girl’ from their 2002 album, ‘Cry’, they’re soon alternating oldies such as ‘Love Song’, ‘East at Easter’, and ‘Big Sleep’, with new tunes such as ‘Home’, ‘Stay Visible’, and ‘A Life Shot in Black & White’. Kerr’s energy is infectious, his voice gruffer, grittier and fuller than in production. Charlie Burchill is a solid guitarist, nothing too fancy, nothing overlooked. The new tunes are delivered with true affection, the band obviously love the songs, and they want us to love them too. The climatic ‘Dolphins’ rounds off the set perfectly, and the crowd go mad for more. Encores include their latest release, ‘Stranger’, and the exquisite, never-aging ‘Seeing Out The Angel’ – a song which never saw a single release, but screams “hit” as much now as it did then.
The mainstream used to view Simple Minds as a “poor man’s U2”. A bit too teenyrock, a bit too attractive, a bit too light-hearted to compete with their Irish brothers. Now, whilst U2 are grossing over $250million for a tour, Simple Minds are playing the modest Carling Academy. A reflection of times and tastes, marketing and madness – Kerr proved himself as good a front man as Bono tonight, Burchill as competent as The Edge. The band are ‘Alive & Kicking’, getting better and better with age.
Tuesday May 30th 2006
BBC Breakfast News May 31st > New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) DVD-Audio review >
Jim Kerr to appear on BBC Breakfast News
Jim Kerr will be interviewed on BBC Breakfast News (BBC1) tomorrow morning between 8:35 and 9am. Jim will be special guest on the sports segment of the news programme, where he will be giving his predictions about the forthcoming World Cup, Jim will no doubt take the opportunity to yet again flirt with weathergirl Carol Kirkwood! It has now been confirmed that the Minds will be peforming three songs at the World Cup launch party in Berlin on June 7th. The three songs in question the band will perform at the Brandenburg Gate are: Home, Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking.
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) DVD-Audio review
Originating from a Glasgow punk band called Johnny and the Self-Abusers, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill formed Simple Minds in 1978 and moved into experimental avant-garde pop with progressive and Krautrock influences through early albums such as Reel to Real Cacophony (1979), Empires and Dance (1980) and Sons and Fascination (1981). By the time the band came to record New Gold Dream (1982), they had picked up the pop sensibilities of Giorgio Moroder’s Euro-dance rhythms and the sophisticated poise of Roxy Music, also being explored by the more experimental pop bands of the 80’s, Propaganda and Japan.
After New Gold Dream the band would go on to greater success, breaking in America with their single Don’t You Forget About Me from John Hughes’ film The Breakfast Club before going on to rival U2 and fill stadiums and with tediously drawn-out bombastic anthems recorded by the then in-vogue radio-friendly producers, Steve Lillywhite, Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain (see the review for the DVD-A of Once Upon A Time). Simple Minds are still active as a band with a new album Black & White due to be released in September 2005.
New Gold Dream however is the sound of a Simple Minds at their peak, their tendency towards excess restrained here under the lush, warm, sympathetic production of Peter Walsh, focussing the songs into tight arrangements, yet allowing them space to breathe, improvise and explore the soundscapes they operate within. New Gold Dream is remastered and remixed for 5.1 sound by Jeff Levison and released on DVD-A format, but has a number of other high-quality sound format options that will make it compatible with most DVD set ups, including DTS 5.1 and PCM Stereo. As I am not equipped to test out the DVD-A track, this review is based on the DTS mix. Each of the surround mixes is 24bit at a 96K sample rate, the PCM Stereo 16bit at 48K. The video aspect of the disc is in NTSC format and the DVD is not region encoded.
The DTS mix of Someone, Somewhere In Summertime lifts Charlie Burchill’s chugging, echoing guitar out more clearly in the mix, but the drums are almost completely submerged, losing the considerable impact they have on the song. The bass is similarly heavy and unclear. This muddiness of bass and drums in the mix is unfortunately prevalent throughout the album. Jim Kerr’s echoing vocals are reasonably distinct, at least as much as they ever where, making use of the rears alongside Michael MacNeill’s keyboard flourishes. The poor quality of the rhythm section aside however, this captures the character of the original song very well.
The bass is a little more solid in Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel, but as if Kerr’s vocal mannerisms and mumbled delivery weren’t already incoherent enough they are practically reduced to solfege here in another rather muddy mix. The springy keyboard riff of Promised You A Miracle holds the song’s structure together, but otherwise it’s a mess in 5.1 with no clear directional sounds, just echoing from the front speaker out and swamping everything in reverb. This is very disappointing.
In contrast to much that has gone before, Big Sleep’s vocal is clearer than I’ve ever heard it on album before, and with the keyboards pushed to the rear speakers it has much more room to breathe – at least until Derek Forbes indistinct bass arrives in. Burchill’s guitar however also benefits from the wider mix, the chiming, echoing chords flitting from rear speakers to front in between the Kerr’s chanted refrain. “Where did you go, immaculate friend?”. The brooding, ambient magnificence of the song is intact here on one of the best mixes on the DVD, although the crashing punch of the drums is sadly toned down.
Things continue to improve with the airy, floating dreamscapes of the instrumental Somebody Up There Likes You, Derek Forbes’ coming to the forefront with some Mick Karn-sounding fretless bass frills. Burchill’s guitar soars and chimes, coming through much clearer than on the stereo mix of the track.
This in turn sets the mood perfectly for what used to be the opening track on Side B of the vinyl version of the album, the title track New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84). A pulsing, rumbling track, this sounds quite different in 5.1 and there is perhaps too much going on for the mix to handle. Underlying layers of keyboards and occasional flourishes are practically swamped by the thumping, muffled bass, which even drowns out the punch of the drum and percussion tracks, while Burchill’s guitar echoes somewhere off in the distance. This sounds a complete mess, but… it pulls together somewhere around the “81, 82, 83, 84” mid-section and Kerr’s vocals sound better and clearer here than in any of the other tracks on the disc.
What the poor mix can’t disguise though is just how good this song still is – six minutes of sheer brilliance. What should be a driving, chunky bass rhythm on Glittering Prize is again lost in the mix. However, some angelic backing vocals (Sharon Campbell) that I hadn’t really detected before, are clearly audible here. Again the husk of a good song can be identified here, but it feels like the soul has somehow been taken out of it.
When left on its own, the bass opening to Hunter And The Hunted can sound strong enough, but anticipating the crash of Mel Gaynor’s drums, I was severely disappointed again by how weak they are presented here. All impact is completely lost. The mix plays around with Kerr’s layered vocals, his whispers and interjections thrown backward and forward across the speakers, but this is MacNeill’s chance to shine, swirling around lush swathes of backing keyboard rhythms for Herbie Hancock to deliver his wonderful jazzy solo.
King Is White And In The Crowd is the one track that appears most noticeably remixed. I didn’t recognise the intro, with its count-in brought to the forefront and the track stops abruptly with a “yeah, that’s the one”, which has never been on any mix of the song I have heard before. The underpinning rhythm moreover is completely flat when its metronomic precision should be the structure for the other instruments and voice to work within. I didn’t like this mix at all.
A previously unreleased track, In Every Heaven, has the clearest mix on the album – drums have impact and the bass has body and definition. I have never heard this track before and its pop-iness doesn’t have the same majestic quality as the rest of the album, but it clearly of the period and fits in well as a welcome extra.
As far as the album’s transfer to 5.1 goes, I can only hope that the DVD-Audio track, which I was unable to listen to, is better than the DTS mix. Either that or my equipment is somehow incompatibly calibrated with this particular album, but I have no reason to think so, as the PCM stereo mix is much more accurate, clearly defined, and faithful to the original mix with a fuller, rounded bass and stronger, solid drums. Saying that, it never sounds as good as my original vinyl copy of the album. There is certainly an attraction to having New Gold Dream mixed to 5.1, and for one or two moments,
when I really let the DTS mix boom out, it took me back like never before to the sixth-form discos at the King Arthur in Belfast in the summer of 1982, and made me want to go up and hassle the DJ to play the 12″ of ‘The American’. While it replicates the muddy bass of an 80’s disco, from a strictly audiophile viewpoint, the bass and drums on this DVD-Audio should really be much more solidly defined than they are here, and it would have made all the difference to this remix. For an album that relies on a strong rhythmic backbone, this weakness in the 5.1 mix is nothing less than criminal.
One other point to make is that evaluating an album in DVD-Audio is highly subjective and reliant on the particular strengths or weaknesses of individual audio setups. Personally, I got more accustomed to the 5.1 mix after a number of listens and found that my opinion on the mixing changed slightly depending on different external conditions. Things like the time of day and the room temperature also have a significant affect on the overall tone.
Lyrics are included for all songs except the instrumental Somebody Up There Likes You and the extra track In Every Heaven. Considering Kerr’s often mumbled delivery and obscure imagery, it is surprising that my understanding of the lyrics is pretty close with only some minor differences – what I always thought was “Eyes golden in great wondering” in Promised You A Miracle is actually “As golden days break wondering”. I think I prefer my own interpretation, although neither makes any great sense and working out your own meanings is part of the fun here.
A Discography presents cover images for other Simple Minds albums, without tracklistings. Videos are included for Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize, in 4:3, NTSC format with both DTS 5.1 and PCM Stereo mixes. The video quality is very good indeed. There is some slight shimmering of aliasing artefacts, but otherwise they are clear, spotless and colourful. Links are provided to relevant web-sites.
New Gold Dream isn’t a perfect album, at least not in terms of it being made up 100% of 9 perfect songs – some tend to drag and show less sparkle or imagination – but as whole this is a magnificent album, one of the defining albums of the whole 1980’s music scene, wonderfully coherent, influential and, most importantly, standing the test of time better than any other album from this period. This is one of the best albums ever recorded and, although for the most part the 5.1 mix is woefully inadequate, New Gold Dream still sounds as brilliant and timelessly fashionable as it did back in 1982.