AKA - Jim Kerr EXCLUSIVE Interview / Q&A
MADE YOU DECIDE TO INITIATE LOSTBOY! AKA?
I wanted to do something
that involved beginning again, going right back to
a new and fresh start and immersing myself in something
with no history whatsoever. A huge part of Simple
Minds is about revisiting the past. I am more than
fine with that in itself, grateful in fact. It comes
with the territory and it is something that is inherrent
to acts fortunate to have an audience that grew up
listening to their music for many decades. however
from another perspective, I was also craving a new
kind of excitement.
DO IT NOW?
Coincidences and the
timing of them played a huge part. I had never desired
to work out with SM previously and there was always
much still to do. That said, perhaps hitting the 30th
anniversary of the band did impress on me psychologically
more than I imagined. The idea occurred and the question
arose where I thought, “This is a really great
story to have helped create. But must there only be
one story? Only one act in life?” The answer
to that in my opinion is - not necessarily! If you
have the desire it is possible to expand, to venture
out from what some would decry as the comfort zone.
I believe I possess the previous, I know I do in fact,
and that made it difficult to suppress the notion
that I might after more than 30 years working solidly
with SM, now embark on a project of my own.
Timing also played its
part in convincing me to really go for it when over
a few months I met some exceptional writing partners
who subsequently have enabled me to come up with the
vision of what Lostboy! should sound like. Additionally,
for the first time I was also free of binding contracts
and that also worked as an incentive, as did the fact
that SM were due to take a break in their schedule.
That perhaps was the most important consideration
in the end, as I would not step away from obligations
with the band of course. It was about April last year
when I decided that - based on the excitement of a
number of demos of songs that had been created –
that I was going to invest my time, energy, and finance
into making Lostboy! AKA a reality.
WHO AND WHAT IS LOSTBOY! AKA?
To simplify, I recommend
for the sake of easiness that you think of Lostboy!
as a genuine alter ego of Jim Kerr (An alter ego (Latin,
“the other I”) is a second self,
a second personality or persona within a person.)
I really did not want
to form another group as I feel that I am already
in one of the best that there is? A straightforward
Jim Kerr solo album then? No, far too boring and very
It was not until I struck
on the idea that Lostboy! could and should in fact
be the music of a character that although is not me
in total, is nevertheless a fundamental part of me
all the same. I decided that perhaps I should try
writing from the perspective of a person until now
submerged within a person, or putting it plainer that
I should write and sing from the point of view of
an alter ego! Albeit an alter ego trapped within the
spirit of the kid I once was, particularly when I
first set out all those decades ago, believing that
I wanted to create a world of music that I could in
someway escape to. One that I could live inside and
invite others to enter.
It is ironic to think
that before I began my career that I spent night and
day fantasizing about the creation of what was to
become Simple Minds. That fantasy became a mesmerizing
reality. Now out of interest to me and hopefully many
others, I am turning it on it’s head, and here
I am 30 years later now part fantasizing about what
music the spirit of that kid I was back then would
now be making - had SM not taken over me. The answer
to that I believe is Lostboy! AKA
THAT MEAN THAT LOSTBOY, AS A CHARACTER IS SEPARATE
ENOUGH TO THE EXTENT THAT HE WOULD PERHAPS DO AND
SAY THINGS DIFFERENTLY FROM JIM KERR?
We have a very different
outlook in parts. As Jim Kerr I am what I am based
on my years and those experiences contained. Whatever
values I have or idealism also comes from those experiences,
the rights and wrongs, the magic and loss, the ignorance
and the wisdom. All of that and more made me now Jim
theme - that I tune into - is of a sort of arrested
development. Like JM Barrie’s original LOST
BOYS – he stayed young! Meaning among other
things that his heart beats faster than mine, as does
his music as it rattles al ong at a pace that is much
more rapid than I have been used to. Above this he
is, still hungry for recognition and screaming for
his vision to be embraced. Getting involved in music
in the manner that he did meant that he shut the door
on just about all else. He is therefore self-centered
with his goal of creating his own world through the
songs that in turn become dreams in which he determinedly
wants you and him to somehow live. In that sense,
there is little room for anything with him apart from
what is in his own head.
For instance he could
not tell you what year this is, never mind what state
the world. He is like an urban monk that set out deliberately
not to engage with life’s norms. Turning from
a “world gone mad” is a romantic / spiritual
decision that people have embraced through time. But
the challenge of succeeding with that involves immense
sacrice, and the crux involved is the basis of many
of the Lostboy! AKA songs.
In his defence, despite
his aim he is neither completely remote or an entirely
cold character, as is evident in the emotions behind
the music that he creates. He hurts and wants to be
understood as much as anyone, but in not knowing how,
he will not concede. Really, the character of Lostboy!
that I just described is not that dissimilar to who
I was from the ages of about 17 – 23 years old.
WELL DO YOU THINK LOSTBOY WILL BE RECIEVED?
Before anything has
a chance to be appreciated it needs to be known. I
don’t think there are too many shortcuts in
that challenge, least not if you want to do things
the right way.
But I think there is
a good audience out there for this music. It’s
the kind of record that people might unknowingly have
been waiting on. I don’t hear a lot of exciting
sounds out there at the moment and I definitely don’t
hear many great new tunes. This is an exciting sounding
debut and its full of striking tunes. What else can
I say? I am taking an honest road and I am also throwing
myself at it with all the conviction I can muster.
To do that I must really believe in the music and
the songs - that I do. I am convinced a great record
has been produced. But I also know that there is a
ton of mileage in terms of evolving further and that
is where things could very interesting. With the debut
album wrapped up I have spent the last fortnight kicking
over ideas for the follow up, and already they are
taking shape at an alarming pace. The plan is to record
this summer for a release very early next year, after
which all my effort will go into the new Minds album.
By that time and with hopefully two quality albums
to his name, and a fair amount of touring, Lostboy!
AKA can be rested until some point in the future hopefully!
HAS CHARLIE BURCHILL REACTED AND WAS IT STRANGE WORKING
Of course it was weird
initially and certainly there were times were I wanted
to call him up and get his input, but that’s
inevitable as we are so intrinsically linked in most
of what we do. He is also a best mate and it’s
normal with your best friends that you chat a lot
about what you are doing etc. However apart from telling
him ofcially that I was going to release a record
based on songs he knew I had been writing over the
last decade or so – we never discussed it beyond
me reassuring him that I would not let things get
in the way of SM.
Interestingly, I recall
in the mid 80’s encouraging both Mick Mac Neil
and Charlie to pursue recording instrumental music
under the name of Aurora Borealis. They seemed to
love the idea but somehow never got round to making
it happen. A pity really as they made stunning instrumental
tracks, some of which SM released of course. I felt
back then that venturing out would somehow result
in feeding the main body as opposed to depleting it.
I still believe this, Lostboy! AKA has been invigorating
for me and some of that new excitement has already
been channeled into Simple Minds. I do hope that this
is how it will work out in future where Lostboy! AKA
is expected to work in those cyclic periods when SM
are resting or in a lull.
Lostboy AKA! will try
to make its biggest impact by playing the most inspirational
shows. Like with SM, I know that many of these songs
can become “beasts” when they start getting
played live. They are songs that can draw an audience
in as well a sweep all away. It is a powerful and
intense set. But it will take time to realize full
potential! The only way to do that is step at a time
and that is why I want to start in the smallest clubs
and build it up. To coincide with album release I
will do around ten dates in UK and Europe. Depending
on the outcome I hope to do much more extensive touring
later on in the year, more in UK / Europe but overseas
as well hopefully!
LOSTBOY! AKA PLAY ANY SIMPLE MINDS SONGS LIVE?
It already seems that
many SM fans are willing to support LOSTBOY! AKA.
Being so I would acknowledge them and show appreciation
by perhaps playing a couple of very rare SM tracks.
Ones that they may have never heard live. That seems
just and fair to me should it happen!
AKA - Jim Kerr Q&A
(via Facebook & www.simpleminds.org.uk
Q: You did some stuff for/with other
artist (MIR, Jam & Spoon, Battiato). Which artist
would you like to work with on YOUR music if you had
A: I do not have a list of artists
that I would like to work with per se. I have sung
with Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bowie, Iggy Pop, and
of course Bono. Can it get much better than that?
Q: Will there be a single released
in the UK/Europe other! prior to the album release
A: There will be an EP from Lostboy!
AKA released a few weeks prior to the May release
of the debut album.
there a certain sound you have been striving for in
your musical career that you didnt feel you could
incorporate or fit into a Simple Minds record but
could with Lostboy?
A: Simple Minds have an amazingly broad
expanse in their sound, never was I ever frustrated.
However there are songs on Lostboy! that are different
in nature to where Simple Minds are currently. The
elements of Lostboy that might evoke Simple Minds,
are elements that might recall SM of a long time ago.
For one example, there is song called SOLOMAN SOLOHEAD
that reminds ofthe vibe on REAL TO REAL CACOPHONY.
Q: How will the fans be able to distinguish
the Lostboy Style and Sound from Simple Minds?
As you can imagine there is some crossover. My
voice fronts both projects so obviously there will
always be the instant connection. However this is
just the first step for Lostboy! AKA and I am sure
through time it will find a much greater individual
space, similar in a sense to how SM and other did
eventually over the first few records. The SM vision
is unique as is Lostboy! AKA. And on the subject of
uniqueness, Charlie Burchill dominates the sound of
SM of course wheras Jez Coad who plays guitar so inspiringly
on Lostboy! AKA puts an original stamp all over the
Q: This is your first solo venture,
what’s been the highlight of making the new
Lost Boy record?
For the last 30 years I have been part of a group
and I have adored it. But I also enjoyed calling all
my own shots on this one, moving at a pace I wanted
to move and doing things without thinking about what
the reaction might be. The highlight has been how
the songs have turned out.
Q: If you tour, which musicians will
I am working on that as we speak. The tour will
kick off with some club dates around the middle to
end of May!
Q: Just wondering if the fans are
going to get a chance to preview the album before
May release some short snip-its on the web-site at
the very least? Also I’m sure many will be interested
in hearing the planned tour scheudule will it still
be premiered as mooted in Glasgow? Exciting times
I for one can’t wait to hear it! :)
We are working on all these things that you mentioned
and hopefully a few good surprises as well for fans.
Expect a fully edged LOSTBOY! AKA site to go up around
the start of April. It will provide details to all
that you asked and more.
Q: Jim, you mentioned that there
will be a Japanese version of which I will try to
find and purchase and an iTunes version with an extra
track. I live in the USA and we cannot download songs
from theUK iTunes store. Will this iTunes version
be available to purchase in the US iTunes store?
I did not know that was the case Cindy. All will
be done to make sure that people can access the tracks
no matter where they live.
Q: I read some time ago on your tweets
that, at some time, you were recording demos with
Mac’s GarageBand software. Nowadays, when you
are about to record an idea that lives on your mind,
how do you proceed? Which instrument, software or
hardware do you use? Or you just rely on good musicians
who play your ideas and then let the song expand for
itself with their interpretation of it?
I work in tandem with musicians always, we discuss
a direction, an atmosphere, a concept for a song.
Or, sometimes they throw things at me that are completely
out the blue. With Andy Gillespie we had no idea what
we were going to do and yet over a ten day period
we wrote five complete songs that had us very excited.
Earlier this year I went on holiday with a lot of
instrumental ideas that various writers had supplied.
I spent three hours early each morning listening to
these ideas and was delighted to come home from the
holiday with a handful of new songs complete. I do
carry a small microphone that I use with GarageBand.
Q: I’m a fan of Simple Minds
and would like to organize a concert for LostBoy in
northern Italy in a castle, do you think that is possible?
Concert promotions are serious business. We are
only able to work with professionals who have long
standing reputations in the industry. Thanks for the
Q: Will there be any chance that
all of us adoring fans will get to see the “LostBoy”
on tour? It’s an excellent project.
Lostboy! AKA main promotional thrust will be live
shows and I hope to be given the opportunity to take
it all around the globe!
Q: Why is there a desire to go solo
after such a long time in a band and how different
will the songs be in comparison to Simple Minds?
I think I may have answered that previously!
What were the challenges working on your own all of
I really was not working on my own. I had a team,
albeit a different team from the usual situation.
I had a fantastic amount of help with the execution
of the vision behind Lostboy!
are the other bandmembers feelings about the project?
Andy and Mel contributed on having expressed a
lot of enthusiasm once they had heard the demos!
Will Simple Minds profit from the solo effort or even
Bands are a living entity and things are always
occurring that can affect things. We have seen members
come and go for example, but we go on always through
whatever is chucked our way. I would not do anything
that I felt could weaken Simple Minds. But SM is a
proud and sturdy beast with a history that lasts for
more than 3 decades after all. I reckon it will be
more than fine!
Who else would he like to see to go solo? Bono?
It’s not something I consider to be honest!
Q: Is Mick MacNeil going to participate
in your project? And if - will he be touring with
No. I was not aware that he was still making music
or playing even. That does not mean he is not of course!
In any case I don’t want to be going back to
the past. Lostboy! AKA Is about new happenings, new
situations, new relationships, new ideas!
Will there be any concerts in Denmark?
I have no definitive list of dates as yet!
Q: Why the name Lostboy! AKA??
Please see above!
On Facebook Lostboy AKA you say that during the last
18 months things are coming together. Is it because
you were a while in Glasgow, your home town? Did you
become aware of things you had forgotten? Did the
spirit and ceativity within you have to come out ....,
I don’t think I can attribute Lostboy! AKA
to spending time back home, however I usually do feel
energized when I am in Glasgow. Last time I spent
a couple of weeks in the city I ended up writing a
bunch of new songs with Andy Gillespie, some of which
could feature on the Lostboy! follow up.
I’m curious about the reason why you feel the
need to do this?
Please see above!
Q: Is Charlie going to be involved
in Lost Boy AKA !?
Charlie is not involved!
I’ve been wondering what kind of artwork would
be used for the cover of your new album and trying
to think of a Lostboy! AKA & Simple Minds connection.
I think the ideal image would be from the “Waterfront”
Video, at the start there’s a shot of a boy
looking lost walking across the stage..... What do
you think Jim??
The boy you mention is my brother Mark! The artwork
will be spectacular but in no way connected to Simple
Q: Does the music for Lostboy AKA
come from a different ‘place’ than the
music of Simple Minds?
The music for Simple Minds comes from Charlie
Burchill mostly. Lostboy! music comes from a few different
sources entirely. It has its own vision and its own
way of saying things.
Are you creating a different personality to perform
on stage when you sing live as Lostboy??
Well I wont walk on and say “let me see
your hands”, but as explained it is still me
on stage - albeit a different part of me - and therefore
probably with a different evolving emphasis.
Many thanks to everyone
that contributed questions via Facebook & www.simpleminds.org.uk
and of course to Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr for taking
time out from his busy schedule to participate.
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