Book Of Brilliant Things and Let It All Come Down made their first apperances of the tour in Manchester on Friday night. Speed Your Love To Me and Seeing Out The Angel were the unlucky songs to be dropped whilst Underneath The Ice replaced A Life Shot In Black & White. The total number of different songs that have been performed on the tour so far has now hit 30 and the set list was as follows:
17. Different World
20. Glittering Prize
'Back To Roars Of Approval', Carling Academy, Birmingham Review, Daily Telegraph 11th February 2006
Simple Minds have sold 20 million albums and scored numerous hits, but their enduring reputation as a flabby sub-U2 stadium band. Their lead singer, Jim Kerr, is a millionaire who lives happily away from modern celebrity in Sicily, his features are more tanned estate agent than rock star, but as he gallivanted about the stage, shirt open, face puce with passion, he had persuasive everyman energy. Unlike so many '80s acts doing the rounds, he looked interested.
And the crowd, mostly 40-ish, were devotees rather than nostalgia junkies, as appreciative of their recent records as they were of the classics. During Dolphins, a synth-swathed electro-rock ballad from their latest album, lead singer Jim Kerr applauded the swaying audience, his short sleeves flopping byronically from his jacket. The song had the slightly pompous ambience of Simple Minds' early 80's work, an echo of their pre-success days of hipness and youth, but the ageing faithful were lapping it up. Kerr looked very pleased.
And when the clanging chords and distinctive throbbing bassline of their 1983 breakthrough hit Waterfront started, they showed even louder approval.
Simple Minds' career, however, will forever be defined by a number from the brat-pack movie The Breakfast Club. Their hero Bryan Ferry turned down Don't You (Forget About Me), but it took them to number one in the States and sealed their reputation. Before playing it, they whipped the crowd into shape by preceding it with another hit, Speed Your Love. By the time the "la-la-la-laaah" chorus of their most famous song eventually kicked in, a football chant roar-along waas unstoppable, even after the band stopped playing. "We get this energy from you," said Kerr breathlessly, in apparent disbelief.
By playing large rather than gigantic venues, Simple Minds have not only ensured a completely sold-out UK tour, but also kept a certain cachet of credibility. The atmosphere is far greater in packed concert halls than half-empty arenas.
As they motored through second encore, it looked as if Stranger from last autumn's Black and White 050505 album would finish things, an acceptable but hardly euphoric conclusion. Instead, the final epic Alive and Kicking was another festival of audience "la-la-laaah"-ing. Tightly rehearsed and solid, rather than flying on wings of inspiration, Simple Minds were in sturdy shape.
Thomas H Green
'Did You Forget About Them?', Manchester Metro 9th February 2006
Jim Kerr recently stated that Manchester was home to the worst hotel he'd ever stayed in.
Although he was not naming and shaming the hostelry - mainly because it was so long ago he couldn't remember the name - he recalls being greeted by a hardened sock at the end of the bed.
As a man who claims to have been on tour almost constantly since the late 70s, he is someone who knows a thing or two about hotels, but his days of slumming it are behind him.
He has now left his home town of Glasgow to live in Sicily - a place he first fell in love with on a European tour two decades ago - and even owns a hotel there.
But as Simple Minds hit the road again, he doesn't see any contradiction between being in a band which will forever be associated with Scotland, and living on an Italian island.
"I don't miss Glasgow in the sense that I don't really remember leaving," he said. "I went on tour when I was 18 and I'm still very much on tour, but the umbilical chord is still attached. "I may be generalising greatly, but to me there's two kinds of Scotsmen. There's the kind of Scotsman who's very patriotic, whereas we were always the other kind - we wanted to get out and see the world, but we didn't feel we had to stop being Scottish.
"I'm still listening to Celtic matches on the radio but I'm fluent in Italian and I can discuss Sicilian politics."
The band are playing Manchester tonight (Friday) as part of their biggest tour in years, following the success of last year's Black And White.
The phrase "return to form" was used frequently by reviewers, who said it harked back to the days when they played to packed-out stadiums during the 80s.
"It's nice to have people say that - I presume they mean it's a return to good form," Jim said. "But I can understand it, because the album does achieve quite a tricky think in harking back to a classic Simple Minds sound, without just being some retro thing.
"We managed to go back to a sound that we had grown distant from years ago. For us to revisit that felt exciting and relevant again.
"But the trick was for us to do that without it seeming like gesture just for the sake of it. We wanted it to hark back but still seem contemporary."
Although the band were hugely successful throughout the 80s, playing the original Live Aid and scoring hits with singles like Don't You (Forget About Me) - famously used on brat pack film The Breakfast Club - Jim does not deny they hit the doldrums more recently. A series of unnoticed albums was followed by Our Secrets Are The Same, which became the subject of a lawsuit when EMI refused to release it in 1999.
"I'm fairly practical and little troubles me," he said. "I'm practical in the sense that we began in 1977 and until 1991 we worked non-stop, touring and putting out a hell of a lot of records.
"In the 90s we became a lot more sporadic, and it stands to reason that if that's when your body of work was made that's the period you'll be associated with.
"When you've had a long career like us, you've got certain reference points. Even people like Neil Young and Bob Dylan revisit periods from their past.
"Maybe in some ways there's a need or a desire to return to ground zero."
While he is keen for Simple Minds' return to form to be more than a retro exercise, he admits the sudden change in the band's fortune has coincided with a fashion for all things 80s.
"They've been talking about an 80s revival pretty much since the 80s ended, but it's been a much maligned decade," he said. "A lot of references to decades are just from shows that were on TV at the time, and it all depends which version of the 80s you're talking about.
"If you think of the 80s it wouldn't be The Smiths or The Cure, it'd be Kajagoogoo or Boy George, or even Maggie.
"I don't know where we fit into it all. With bands like The Killers or The Kaiser Chiefs I don't think of Simple Minds, but I can hear the 80s."
'Simple Minds Are Still Alive And Kicking', Carling Academy, Birmingham Review, Birmingham Mail 10th February 2006
THERE is something special about seeing a big name band in a small venue.
I have fond memories of Black Sabbath's charity gig for St Basil's at the Carling Academy and ZZ Top's one-off special at the same venue.
But it's even better when the band acts like it's still playing at a stadium or arena - and that's just what Simple Minds did.
Lavish lighting, superb sound and one of those perspex screens around the drums all contributed to the impression that this was a show that should still be gracing the NEC.
Frontman Jim Kerr was frustrated at not being able to bounce around the stage as much as he's used to but he put in a sterling performance.
It was the uptempo classics that really got the enthusiastic audience going like All The Things She Said, Waterfront and Don't You (Forget About Me).
Two encores closed the one hour and 45 minute gig, with the final song Alive and Kicking still a defiant statement from the band after more than two decades of hits.
(4 out of 5)
Jeweller To The Stars made a return at the Carling Academy in Birmingham on Thursday night. Jeweller To the Stars replaced Stranger which moved into the second encore at the expense of Underneath The Ice. The set list was as follows:
17. Different World
20. Glittering Prize
'Up Close And Personal With The Fans', Birmingham Mail 9th February 2006
Simple Minds' frontman Jim Kerr believes it's because he's still a music fan that he's continued writing, recording and performing for the past 25 years.
To prove his point he reveals that he waited outside a record shop for 20 minutes in order to buy the new Antony and the Johnsons' album. "There are periods when you feel nothing is happening in music - then there is a sudden glut of artists who are really inspiring," he says, adding that Arcade Fire and El Presidente are also among his current favourites.
"It really takes you by surprise and you rediscover the thrill of why you joined a band in the first place."
Jim, who now lives in Sicily, first saw Mercury Music Prize winners Antony and the Johnsons on a late night TV show.
"It was an arts programme and I switched on halfway through their performance. The next morning I went to the record store because I had to hear the album - but I was there too early so had to hang around for 20 minutes until opening time!"
Simple Minds are now back on the road promoting their latest album Black & White 050505.
The difference this time around is that they are playing smaller venues - in Birmingham's case, the Carling Academy tonight rather than the NEC Arena where they last performed in 2003.
"We did some promotion work in small European clubs last summer and really enjoyed it," Jim says. "It gives people the chance to see you up close. We see all venues as a different challenge and we have songs that can work in all environments, even if we have to change the arrangements."
The good news for Simple Minds' fans is that Jim can't stop writing new songs and already has a new batch ready for the next album.
"Five years ago I didn't know if I had another song in me," he reveals. "I felt so distant from the music it was like getting blood from a stone.
"But now I feel I could create a song every day. I put it down to my embarking on a new life in Sicily. It was a great move for me all round."
'Out Of The Stadium... But Same Old Crowd', Rock City, Nottingham 7th February 2006 Review, The Evening Post
From stadiums to clubs in the space of a decade or so.
Still, don't let your lower lip wobble for Jim Kerr and co.It's no mean feat selling out Rock City at an unprecedented £28.50 a ticket. That's down to the Simple Minds faithful, fortysomethings with the disposable income - they can afford it.
It's likely been a while since they last forked out for a gig.
And if I may, just one more... it was a hazard standing at the back, what with the lights bouncing off those hair-free heads.
They were here to relive their youth and Kerr knew it, resisting the urge to batter them with tunes from the latest Black & White album and delivering a set rich with the trademark bouncy anthems: Up On The Catwalk, All The Things She Said, Waterfront - which got them singing along, arms aloft, right to the back of the venue - Don't You (Forget About Me), Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) and Sanctify Yourself (!).
Kerr - shirt open and bling swinging - seemed to be at ease, swaying side-to-side with that lazy bullet-dodging dance of his.
Pity the venue didn't suit everyone. One bloke complained of not being able to see and said he wouldn't be back - though his blind date had gone AWOL, which may have had something to do it.
Then, on the way out a Geordie fella seemed to be itching for a fight, and was thrown out for crowd-surfing. Ah, those simple minds.
Sleeping Girl made a welcome return in Nottingham last night, the songs only previous appearance was during last weeks opening date in Dublin. The band gave All The Things She Said its first airing of the tour whilst Glittering Prize replaced Factory within the second encore. The set list was as follows:
17. Different World
20. Glittering Prize
'Jim Shows He's Simply The Best' ', Carling Academy, Glasgow 5th February 2006 Review, Glasgow Evening Times
The floodlight that turned its harsh focus on Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr during the band's monster hit Don't You Forget About Me last night, revealed a man drenched in sweet.
Back on the road with material from recent album Black & White 050505 to boost an already formidable back catalogue, the Glasgow rock legends had every right to exhibit a bit of perspiration and The Carling Academy crowd certainly enjoyed every moment.
In the 80s, Simple Minds were U2's main competitors in the "biggest band in the world" stakes. Listening to them now, the question lingers over who influenced who the most, although it must be said that Kerr looks like your average dad at B&Q than old Bono, the consumate rock star.
Despite that, he looked fit as a fiddle and succeeded in whipping the crowd - many of whom looked around the singer's own age - into a frenzy. This was a triumphant show that laid the Simple Minds story before all: a band who exemplified Scottish rock's love affair with America and went on to influence everyone from Primal Scream to Snow Patrol.
Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill have been playing together since the late 70s, despite other band members having come and gone.
First single from Black & White, Home, was a fabulous opener. It could, indeed, have been plucked from any of the band's early records, so reminiscent it seemed of that driving signature sound.
Most of the set which followed had the same energy: taut percussion, really cool guitar sounds (produced by Burchill on a variety of prized six-stringed specimens), and huge, powerful choruses. Andy Gillespie on keyboards, Mel Gaynor on drums and Eddie Duffy on bass proved a robust ensemble cast.
The two-hour performance was more of a celebration than anything else, with stand-out tracks including Stay Visible, East at Easter, City of Light (!), Up on the Catwalk, a breathtaking Speed Your Love To Me and a stomping on the Waterfront.
It is a blessing that Kerr still has the urge to write and perform. The former apprentice plumber and his band, one of Scotland's greatest musical exports, still retain what made them special at the height of their powers.
A pysched-up blast through Alive and Kicking brought things to a glorious conclusion. Kerr might be living in Sicily nowadays, but you better not forget about him.
'Simple But Effective', Carling Academy, Newcastle 6th February 2006 Review, The Evening Chronicle
He promised you a miracle back in 1982, and for some it may seem something of a miracle that Jim Kerr is still fronting 80s icons Simple Minds.
After all, he's made enough dosh over the years to sit back, put his feet up and enjoy the trappings of success - the Glittering Prize?
But that's not the case with 46-year-old Kerr who still relishes getting on stage in front of an audience and becoming a rocker again. Just as much as the fans who have stayed with him over the years enjoy watching him do it.
A packed Carling Academy stepped back in time for much of last night to reminisce of days gone by, when the Minds were one of the biggest acts in the world.
The majority of the audience were 35-plus, but that didn't stop a fair number of them forgetting their age and jumping up and down like there was no tomorrow.
The last time I saw Simple Minds was back in the early 1990s when they played Gateshead Stadium. This is a much, much smaller venue, and just as well, as Kerr's voice simply isn't as strong as it used to be.
Several times during the gig you struggled to hear his recognisable tones, and now and again you thought the vocal chords may even give up.
But the consummate professional, he persevered and at times the magic of old returned as thought it had never left.
Kerr, give him his due, was on stage for just under two hours, showing terrific stamina - though the beads of sweat were evident from just minutes into the concert. A great workout, though!
The gig mixed plenty of new material with a smattering of the old stuff. Waterfront was the first number to really get the crowd going, but Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), Up On The Catwalk, See The Lights and Love Song were equally well received.
Now and then the gig lost momentum when the pace slowed down with some of the newer material, and it took a good two minutes for the fans to get behind the anthemic Don't You (Forget About Me).
That said, the night ended on a high - after two, lengthy, encores - to the strains of Alive and Kicking. Something that Jim Kerr and the band obviously are very much still.
Carling Academy, Newcastle 6th February 2006 Set List
Stay Visible returned as the opening number in Newcastle last night after Home aptly opened the set in Glasgow on Sunday night. Hypnotised replaced Hunter & The Hunted whilst Stranger and Different World swapped places within the 22 song set, the set list was as follows:
Academy, Glasgow 5th February 2006 Review, The Herald
The fact Simple Minds are selling out such generously proportioned venues as the Academy, albeit in their home town, is a sure-fire sign that they're still doing something right. It's close to 30 years on from when Jim and Charlie were in short trousers riding the punk wave at the tender age of 16 apiece and, while looking much rougher around the gills these days, the band are still pulling in a diehard crowd of fans.
Simple Minds were born out of a love for music and playing to an audience; they were born to sing and perform live and the continued whistling and yelping from the trite horde of middle-aged movers, some even with their pre-teen kids in tow, only serves to solidify this love of the immediacy and spontaneity that their live shows produce.
With the denim uniform and microphone protruding on the end of an outstretched arm (an instantly recognisable signature stance) Jim Kerr hadn't even drawn breath before the cheers and clapping kick-started an already stirring crowd. His rendition of East of Easter proving hedonistically dangerous as the floor nearly gave way from the mob's stomping. I guess the old saying was never so aptly put upon such individuals, that you can take the men out of Glasgow, Kerr and Burchill now both reside in southern Italy, but the Glasgow boys are still in the soul, wreaking havoc among the lyrics and notes of the music.
Maybe it's the Scottish blood or an ideology instilled in them from the bad old days but what strikes you most when watching a band of this magnitude and force is how much hard graft these guys put in and how much they really, bloody love doing it. Here's to the next 30 years.
Carling Academy, Glasgow 5th February 2006 Set List
Home aptly opened the latest show in Glasgow last night in what proved to be a breathtaking performance. Hypnotised made way for the ever popular Love Song and once again the two encores swapped positions with Alive & Kicking ending the set. The set list was as follows:
17. Different World
'Don't You Forget About Me', Newcastle Journal 6th February 2006
After clocking up the best part of three decades in the music history books, Noel McLaughlin talks to Jim Kerr and finds out why it was wise never to forget about Simple Minds.
It is with some anticipation that I wait to interview Jim Kerr.
Simple Minds at one point in their 27-year history created some of the most other-worldly, powerful, yet delicate, music. From 1980 to 1984 Simple Minds were the coolest band on the planet with art school heroes Eno and Bowie among their most ardent fans.
Critics at the time described them in terms of musical colour: inventive, pulsating bass riffs, ethereal keyboards and soaring, experimental guitar. Less concerned with songs-as-stories, frontman Kerr threw out captivating, partly formed images of brittle grace - dreamers, landscapes, journeys, lost loves.
Simple Minds offered a colour palette akin to the best of French Impressionism - soft-focused, yet bold and inventive textures. They formed a worthy contrast to their darker industrial contemporaries Joy Division and Gang of Four. This dream-like and ethereal quality can be sampled on 1983's majestic: New Gold Dream.
My feelings are mixed, because in the mid 1980s Simple Minds morphed into a stadium rock band with all the associated bombast. The poetics replaced with a more "direct" approach, the impressionism with widescreen sloganeering. This incarnation of Simple Minds had more in common with mid 80s U2 and Springsteen.
They became regarded as having a dramatic "fall from grace". The fact that they had made some of the most important music of the decade was forgotten.
Their new record, Black and White 050505, is their best in years, sounding leaner and tighter. Live shows have been greeted by rave reviews, their finest work from the early 80s sitting alongside the new material. (It's something Tynesiders can review for themselves tonight as the band arrive at Newcastle Carling Academy).
I put it to Jim that a reassessment of the band is well overdue with many of today's groups - Bloc Party, Muse and Interpol - citing Simple Minds as a major influence..
"We were never any good at shouting about what we did from the rooftops," he says.
"We just quietly got on with it. Sometimes you just have to wait for your time to come around again and for people to acknowledge your place in the scheme of things. But it's flattering."
And what about the comparisons to U2 which were circling at one point.
"Yes. But U2 and Simple Minds have gone in reverse journeys. U2 went from stadium rock to art band and we went the other way."
Does he agree that the delicacy which was attached to the band's earlier records, was a quality difficult to attach to the stadium years?
"I listened to Empires and Dance recently. What an extraordinary record," Jim says."Its themes are relevant to today's world of ethnic infighting and changing borders and terrorist threats.
"Musically, we were drawing on all kinds of influences. Philip Glass É Joni Mitchell. If we had remained an art band we might be better remembered, but we might not be around now."
So who has influenced the new album?
"I hope this doesn't sound big-headed, but ourselves; reconnecting with what was good about us. I wanted to get away from the big sound. To make a record that was cinematic as opposed to bombastic. Wide screen pop rather than stadium rock. Most people know the stadium band, when there are several Simple Minds albums before then. We had to work our way up touring, playing clubs. I wanted to get back to that."
Sounds like a man inspired to me.
"Definitely. I am, primarily, a music fan. It has been great to rediscover the 'joy' in making music. This is our most consistent record in ages and I feel really good about it. Anyone coming to see us on this tour will be getting more that they bargained for. This is a band on fire."
'Best State Of Minds', Scottish Sunday Mail 5th February 2006
Simple Minds have played gigs in venues all over the world. But frontman Jim Kerr says fans who see them tonight at Glasgow Academy are in for a special treat. The singer reckons the current lineup of the band - formed in 1978 - is the best yet.
I joined the Minds as they kicked off a world tour in Dublin last week.
"It's only right to give respect to every previous Simple Minds line-up but in some ways I think this is the best we've ever been," Jim told me.
"It's guitarist Charlie Burchill's and my band. But now, it's our bass player Eddie Duffy who calls the shots on stage. His input is incredible.
"Mel Gaynor is one of the world's best drummers and keyboard player Mark Taylor is doing some amazing stuff.
"Even with years of experience, I still have moments of insecurity. The other night at rehearsals a bit of that insecurity reared its head.
"But I just stood back and thought, 'Wait a minute ... the drummer, bass player, guitarist and keyboard player are incredible. We can't go wrong'."
The Minds wowed 2500 fans at the Ambassador Theatre performing classic hits including Factory and Seeing Out The Angel.
Later at the plush Clarence Hotel - owned by U2 - Jim said:
"The show felt really good but we've had some terrible first nights over the years.
"In the early days, we were still learning our game. We went from clubs to venues, arenas to stadiums and it was a great learning curve.
"This set is a combination of hits and new album Black And White. A few songs are older than some members of the audience.
"It's a testament to the fact the band's imagination was bigger than our technical ability. Now when we go back to these really inventive songs we can execute them better."
The group will play gigs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Croatia, Poland and Russia for the first time.
"I've always wanted Simple Minds to have an international aspect. It feels great after all this time to go to places we've never played before," said Jim. The follow-up to Black And White is scheduled for next year. Jim said:
"We've still got a lt of new music to raise our game. You can get beaten up psychologically if you have a bad night.
"But we've always had a fighter's mentality in as much as if you come and see us we'll be on our game."
The Minds have been vibing up audiences by playing El Presidente's debut album over the PA system. Jim said:
"El Presidente have taken great influences and shaped them into something amazing of their own.
"You don't hear great melodies or hooks like that too often. They're gold nuggets.
"I saw the band play live on French TV recently. They were on a show with Robbie Williams, Richard Ashcroft and The Strokes - and wiped the floor with them."
'Mindwaves', Newcastle Sunday Sun 5th February 2006
Though his lengthy career as lead singer of Simple Minds doubtless made Jim Kerr a very wealthy man, he's never been one for living in an ivory tower or maintaining an enigmatic silence.
For many years, Kerr shared his thoughts with the public on the band's website.
These online diaries were so popular that many fans clamoured for their publication in book form.
Although he has recently taken a break from his internet musings, he has firm plans to start posting again in the not-too-distant future. He intends to write an in-depth diary covering Simple Minds' current tour, which brings them to Newcastle's Carling Academy tomorrow.
I talked to Jim as the band took a break from rehearsals in a studio complex in Brussels. He told me: "The journals were great for the fans when the band wasn't really doing anything . . . they filled a gap."
But don't hold your breath whilst waiting to attend a Jim Kerr signing session at your local bookshop.
He told me: " There's always talk of a book but unfortunately it's always only talk."
Although they're still perhaps best known for their huge global smash Don't You (Forget About Me) - which was propelled to multi-platinum status when it featured prominently in the seminal 80s teen-flick, The Breakfast Club - the Simple Minds list of achievements is an impressive one.
The band, once voted Best Live Act by Q magazine, have sold a staggering 30 million-plus albums and headlined on three occasions at the former Wembley Stadium.
They are also name-checked as being a major influence by currently hip artists such as Muse, The Killers and Bloc Party, many of whose members probably weren't even born when Simple Minds were in their 1980s heyday.
That's not bad for a Glaswegian band formerly known as Johnny and the Self-Abusers.
Their first album - after a wise change of name - was dismissed by most people who heard it as being a collection of dense, arty pop songs.
While we're on the subject of band names, I conducted this interview over the phone on my way to London in a somewhat cramped van with another band from Glasgow, who go by the genius name of Shitdisco.
Jim wished them all well and loudly proclaimed their moniker to be "brilliant", which just goes to show that old punks never change.
With Simple Minds' career fast approaching its third decade, Kerr attributes the band's longevity to knowing when to take their foot off the gas.
He said: "We worked non-stop for the first 16 or 17 years and, I'll be honest with you, creatively, towards the end of that period, it was like getting blood out of a stone.
"If you're going to have a long career in this business you've got to know when to step back and fill the tank back up again."
Readers with long memories might well remember some of Kerr's fashion faux pas in the 80s, the decade that style forgot.
As a final question, I couldn't resist asking him if he ever squeezes himself into those legendary, super-tight black leggings these days? Fortunately for me, he laughed uproariously before he replied.
"Only if I'm really drunk! Oh, and at Halloween, as well . . ."
'Simply Sharp As Ever' Music Hall, Aberdeen 3rd February 2006 Review, Aberdeen Press & Journal
Currently riding high on the back of a new album Simple Minds kicked off the Scottish leg of their world tour with a blistering show last night.
They haven't been around for some years but made up for that with a set that went down a storm in a sold-out Music Hall.
Singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill sounded just as sharp as they were in their halcyon days.
Old favourites were dusted down and given a kicking, alive and kicking, and were all greeted like old friends.
Kerr skipped around the stage like a boxer and prodded and punched his way through classics such as Sparkle In The Rain, New Gold Dream and a shimmering Someone, Somewhere In Summertime. "Let's lift the roof," cried Kerr to the opening thunder of Waterfront and damn me, we nearly did.
Two encores rounded off a great night with one of Scotland's premier bands. Knockout!
'Very Much Alive' Aberdeen Evening Express 2nd February 2006
Simple Minds are back, and singer Jim Kerr reckons they are better than ever. And when the 46-year-old takes to the stage for a sell-out gig at Aberdeen's Music Hall tomorrow he will be proving a point.
Kerr is annoyed that the band have been slated as 80s rock hasbeens. Dinosaurs from a forgotten age. But, with a new album, Black And White 050505, Kerr insists the Glasgow band are as relevant as when they emerged in the late 70s.
Kerr said: "Some people seem to have a very edited version of the Simple Minds story.
"They say we had it, then blew it. Really?
"Simple Minds wrote hundreds of songs, played thousands of gigs, sold millions of records. We lived like kings and enjoyed nearly every minute of it.
"If that's blowing it I would take it any time."
Released in September, Black And White 050505 is a return to the dramatic and atmospheric pop which made Simple Minds serious contenders for the mantle of one of the world's biggest bands in the 80s.
"Simple Minds have never really been away, because we toured in 2003," said Kerr.
"This time we wanted to make a contemporary sounding album which was recognisably Simple Minds.
"We felt that we needed an album that proved, as much to ourselves as anyone else, that the big, beating heart of Simple Minds was very much alive.
"The title came about because the engineer working on the album suggested 050505, as the last day we finished recording.
"The Black And White of the title also reflects the different moods and depths of the album.
"There's a darker and lighter side." Simple Minds were forerunners of the bombastic stadium rock sound along with bands like U2 and Queen. But now Kerr, who has relocated to Sicily, is content to play smaller venues like the Music Hall.
"The larger venues were pretty impersonal," he said.
"In a sense playing smaller venues now is a slight return to the days when we played pubs in Glasgow in the early 70s.
"It's important for a band to have a sense of perspective and be able to perform in different situations and with different challenges.
"Playing these venues brings us closer to our audience.
"I feel quite confident about playing the new album next to some of the old "classics", especially in front of a more intimate crowd.
"Sometimes it's not that easy to integrate the old and the new but I think we can do it more easily with this album.
"There are always new challenges."
Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill have been the driving force behind Simple Minds for the last 30 years. After a shared childhood in the tough Central Belt housing estate of Toryglen, the duo formed Simple Minds from the remains of short-lived Glasgow punk band, Johnny And The Self Abusers.
And after multi-million selling records and three decades in the business, Kerr admits his driving energy to produce music began to dwindle.
"Music used to be the only thing in my life, I was burning up with it," he said.
"Then you get the reward, the hit singles, money and other things come into play. Family and so on.
"After that, even on a good day, you've lost at least 50% of your energy.
"In the late 90s I was feeling really distant from music.
"It wasn't a crisis but I just needed to take a step back and put the music on the ice for a while.
"So now I have to really manage my time, I set aside three or four months where I'm doing nothing but write songs.
"The rest of the time," he shrugs, "I just live my life."
Kerr refused to be dragged into the hedonistic lifestyle which flooded the music business when the band hit their peak in the late 80s.
Two failed rock 'n' roll marriages- to Chrissie Hynde and Patsy Kensit, are the only fall-out from that decade.
"My mum didn't want me to be in a rock band because she thought it would expose me to drugs," he said.
"Yet it was ironic, because I have never even seen heroin, yet every day she was walking past junkies on her way to work in the bakers."
Kerr became inspired by Simple Minds again when the band toured to promote Cry in 2003. Although a relative flop in terms of commercial sales it rekindled the singer's passion for the band.
"That got us kick-started again," he said.
"We got enthusiastic about our song writing ability again.
"And now here we are with a new album."
Music Hall, Aberdeen 3rd February 2006 Set List
Simple Minds performed an unchanged set list for the first time on their 'Black & White' world tour. For the second time in two shows the first and second encores swapped places. The set list was as follows.
20. Different World
Home on Sky Sports
An instrumental version of Home was again used as background music during Sky Sports live coverage of the Scottish Cup match between Rangers and Hibernian yesterday, Hibs won the match 3-0.
Ambassador Theatre, Dublin 1st February 2006 Set List
A Life Shot In Black & White and Speed Your Love To Me made their first apperances of the tour at Dublin last night. Hypnotised and Dolphins both made welcome returns after being dropped for the Belfast show.
17. Different World
The Waterfront Hall, Belfast 31st January 2006 Set List
Simple Minds made three changes to their set list for the second show of the Black & White world tour in Belfast last night. East At Easter replaced Sleeping Girl for the opening number, Hypnotised made way for See The Lights and the superb Dolphins was replaced by Belfast Child.
20. Different World
Irish News Belfast Review 1st Febraury 2006
The Waterfront Hall, Belfast 31st January 2006
Simple Minds, at 25 years old, have been buffeted by the harsh tides of musical fashion. They began life in Glasgow in the late '70s as punk band Johnny & the Self Abusers prior to releasing their first album, Life in a Day in 1979.
Their high point was 1982's much-sampled New Gold Dream before the mid-80s turn towards the stadium rock genre.
Their fortunes have been mixed over the last decade but one thing is certain: 'on the ground', there hasn't been this much excitement, praise and anticipation about a Simple Minds tour for a long time.
It's 17 years since they last played Belfast. Then they had just had their only number one with Belfast Child, a song about Northern Ireland and the only chart topper with Belfast in the title.
Love it or loathe it, Belfast Child was a song evoking complex sentiments. It envisioned a pre-ceasefire city stricken by the demise of heavy industry, unemployment and emigration, but had an optimism at its heart: the dream of return and the possibility of better times ahead.
'The child', at least in contemporary regeneration babble has indeed sung again: Simple Minds played last night in The Waterfront Hall, Belfast's 'good room'. And this is a revitalised band: leaner, hungrier and tighter.
The bombast has been reigned in, the pile-driver drums pulled back. There is a newly rediscovered pop sensibility at work here: catchy choruses and spangling guitar chords abound.
Stay Visible rumbles along like Coldplay on steroids. Stranger, all uplifting chorus, has the audience strapped into singing along as if in an irresistible headlock.
The inclusions from the extensive Simple Minds' back catalogue are a dream for anyone who wants, or cares, to remember the band at the top of their game and shut out the pomp. The 1979 - 1983 'high period' predominate: Love Song, Seeing out the Angel, Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel, Hunter and The Hunted and Big Sleepsound fresh and are played with a combination of urgency and understatement.
This gig unfortunately hasn't crossed over to a younger audience as most of the folk are thirty and forty-somethings. This is a pity, as the band were fantastic.
Simple Minds, it appears have been allowed to capitalize on their legacy as one of the most original and distinctive groups of that important post-punk period and receive some of the acknowledgement they are due. A great performance to an enthusiastic, sell-out Belfast audience.
Jim Kerr '60 Second Interview', Metro 1st February 2006
Jim Kerr is frontman with rock group Simple Minds, famed for Alive And Kicking and their mega-hit, Don't You (Forget About Me). In the 1990s, Kerr spilt with two wives - first, Chrissie Hynde and then Patsy Kensit. Last year, Simple Minds released an album, Black & White 050505, and are currently touring Britain as part of a world tour.
Why did you decide to do this
Were you worried you'd never
write another song again?
You played Live Aid. What did
you make of the Live 8 effort?
You've commented about pop stars
sucking up to Tony Blair. Was there much of that in Live 8?
Do you still live in Sicily?
What was your most extravagant
purchase after you became famous?
When did you realise you were
Do you still listen to Vaughan
William's The Lark Ascending every morning?
Any other interesting habits? It's not an unusual habit but I do cook. People don't expect that.
Any specialities? It's not very exotic but I can do you a great prawn curry.
Is that why you bought a sushi restaurant? No, and I wasn't the cook, either. I'm not that nifty in the kitchen. I make my own olive oil here in Sicily, though - grow it and press it.
Have you been watching Emmerdale recently? I can honestly say I've never watched it. I've never liked soap operas. But I know why you asked me this [his ex-wife Patsy Kensit is in the show]. Last year, I happened to see it on TV when I was flicking through the channels. I thought 'Fuck me'. That's been my only experience of it.
Ambassador Theatre, Dublin 30th January 2006 Set List
Sleeping Girl, Colours Fly & Catherine Wheel, Hunter & The Hunted, Factory and Seeing Out The Angels were all surprising tracks performed at the opening show of the bands Black & White world tour in Dublin last night. The band also performed seven out of the nine tracks from their Black & White 050505 album. The highly impressive set list was as follows:
20. Different World
Billy Sloan Show, Clyde 1
Jim Kerr was interviewed on the Billy Sloan show on Clyde 1 last night. The interview mainly focused on the forthcoming world tour where it was confirmed that the band would re-visit South America later in the year, plans have also been put in place for shows in Hong Kong and Russia.
Sunday Telegraph 28th January 2006
An interview with Jim Kerr appeared in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph magazine. The full transcript of the article will be added to the Black & White reviews & articles section soon.
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 20th January 2006
Jim Kerr appeared in the 20th January edition of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the full interview can be found here.
Black & White Tour 2006
With the start of the Black & White World Tour just hours away the Crashing Beats & Fantasy tour page is now completely up to date. Set lists and photos from forthcoming shows will be included to the section once they become available, to access the tour page click on the banner at the top of the page or click here.
Tour Rehearsals Begin
Tour rehearsals for the forthcoming world tour will begin this week. Charlie Burchill, Mark Taylor and Andy Gillespie will meet in the next couple of days before the arrival of Jim Kerr, Mel Gaynor and Eddie Duffy, rehearsals are expected to last untill January 28th.
Home on Sky Sports
An instrumental version of Home was used as background music during Sky Sports live coverage of the Scottish Cup match between Clyde and Celtic last Sunday, Clyde won the match 2-1.
Black & White World Tour Dates
The Crashing Beats & Fantasy Black & White 2006 World Tour page is constantly being updated with added dates and news of sold out shows, for more information and full tour list click on the tour banner at the top of this page.
Charlie Burcill/Derek Forbes Guitar For Sale On ebay
An acoustic guitar owned by both Charlie Burchill and Derek Forbes is for sale on ebay. The guitar in question was originally owned by Charlie and was used on albums from Once Upon A Time through to Nèapolis before he passed it on to Derek Forbes who has owned it since. For a chance to own a great piece of Minds memorabilia click here, happy bidding!
Hannover 24th February 2006 After Show Party
Olli Lindner has organised his third Simple Minds after show party. The event which is supported by the German division of Sanctuary Records will take place at the Acanto Club, Hannover on the 24th of February, doors open at 10pm. All the best with your night Olli.
A Few Good Men Shows
A Few Good Men have announced two February shows, the band can be caught at:
22/02/06 Town Hall, PORTPATRICK (Scotland
Australian & New Zealand Tour Dates Announed
As expected Simple Minds will play shows in Australia and New Zealand for the first time since 1989 as part of the Black & White 2006 world tour. The dates are as follows:
03/05/06 Burswood Theatre, PERTH (Australia)
State Theatre, Sydney
Simple Minds vs Franz Ferdinand
A short article recently appeared on simpleminds.com relating to the continous reports appearing in Scottish newspapers concerning the supposed conflict between Simple Minds and Franz Ferdinand.
"Simple Minds wish to distance
themselves from some recent reports in Scottish tabloid newspapers.
Unfortunately over the past few weeks a number of wholly untrue reports
have appeared suggesting a conflict between Simple Minds and Franz Ferdinand."
The Brits 2006
Hopes of a deserved 'Life Time Contribution To Music' award at next years The Brits have been ended at the news that the yearly gong will instead be going to Paul Wellar, 2007 guys?
Crashing Beats & Fantasy 2006 World Tour Page
The Crashing Beats & Fantasy Black & White 2006 World Tour page is constantly being updated with added dates and news of sold out shows, for more information and full tour list click on the tour banner at the top of this page.
Stranger now available
Stranger is now finally available to download from iTunes and tunetribe.com. The Jez Coad London Mix can be downloaded from here for a mere 79p.
Extra Black & White French Date Added
Simple Minds have added yet another date for next years Black & White world tour. The band will play Micropolis, Besancon in France on Saturday March 25th, 2006.
The iTunes download release of Stranger has been put back to Monday 14th November. The Jez Coad remix which can only be obtained through iTunes could possibly be an offical release in early 2006.
Argentina December Festival Appearance
Simple Minds will perform in Argentina for the first time since 1995 next month. The band will appear in Buenos Aries on December 2nd for what is likely to be a 90 minute set along with such acts as Duran Duran and Macey Gray. Jim Kerr has also hinted that the band will perform in Brazil, Chile and Mexico at some stage next year as part of the Black & White world tour.
The second single to be taken from 'Black & White 050505' will be available as an iTunes online exclusive download single only from Tuesday November 1st. 'Stranger (London Mix)' was remixed in London by Jez Coad, and includes a different opening introduction, added keyboards and percussion, extra sequencing and backing vocals. For full details and a chance to hear a small clip of the new release visit Noble PR's website by clicking here.
Photo © 2005 Sarah Cresswell
'Black & White' World Tour 2006
Two more dates have been added to next year's world tour. The German dates are:
01/06/06 Museumsmeile, Bonn
More shows from the tour have now sold out and a handful of shows only have limited numbers of tickets available, they are as follows:
01/02/06 Ambassador Theatre, DUBLIN (Ireland)
13/02/06 Astoria, LONDON (England) (Around
70 tickets left)
'Black & White' World Tour 2006 Section
I recently received numerous emails concerning the possibility of including a 'Black & White' 2006 World Tour page within Crashing Beats & Fantasy. You can access the new page which at the moment carries the released tour dates by clicking the tour banner at the top of this page.
Stranger (London Mix) will be released as a download only single on Monday the 14th November. More details when they become available.
Charlie Burchill 'Guitar Buyer' Interview
Charlie Burchill appears in the November (Issue 51) issue of Guitar Buyer. The full transcript has been added to the Black & White 050505 Reviews/Articles section and can be found here.
"Simple Minds' majestic pop/rock hybrid made the band simply unstoppable during their mid-1980s peak. The Scottish foursome built their music on a grand scale, that relied more on carefully constructed dynamics and space than traditional rock histrionics - U2 were surely watching enviously as their Scottish rivals conquered the charts and the world's megastadia."
Radio Clyde 1 Annual Awards
Simple Minds picked up the 'Music Lifetime Achievement Award' at last week's Radio Clyde 1 annual awards, well done guys.
Charlie Burchill, Jim Kerr and Clyde
1's George Bowie
Melody Maker 19th September 1981
An interesting article which appeared in the 19th September issue of Melody Maker has been added to the Sons And Fascinations Reviews/Articles section. Steve Suntherland interviews Jim Kerr the day after the band produced a below-par performance in Edinburgh. A great article which highlights the band's insecurities at the time can be found here.
"Some while - four lagers (me), two cokes (jim) to be precise - later: "What about the intro to that new number? Was it? "Seeing Out The Angel"? That bass and drum beat building up unaccompanied. How'd you plan that at such a short notice?" "Oh, after 'Love Song' you mean? That was horrible. I looked around and Charlie and Michael were gone - they thought it was the end of the set as we always used to finish on that number. "I just said to Derek 'for Christ's sake play something'. They were already in the dressing room when they heard the bass and had to hurry back on. There's gonna be a real post-mortem later..." He laughs."
The Brits 2006?
simpleminds.com added an unexpected date to the band's 2006 world tour on it's tour page yesterday. The date, 15th February 2006, the venue, The Brits! The yearly awards bash receives huge national TV and Press coverage and features the cream of the music industry. The last award of the night is always for 'Life Time Contribution To Music' and has been recently awarded to Bob Geldof, Sting and Duran Duran. As soon as the 'Brit' tour date was published on simpleminds.com it was taken off, read in to that what you will, a mistake by 2fluid_creative? Watch these pages for further news but if the Minds are rewarded by the British Music Industry next February then all I can say is it's about bloody time!
Guitar Buyer Magazine
Charlie Burchill appears in the November (Issue 51) issue of Guitar Buyer. The magazine which is out now carries a four page interview with one of the most under-rated guitarists' in the business and a full transcript will appear on Crashing Beats & Fantasy soon.
Extra 'Black & White 050505' Tour Dates
More dates have been added to next years world tour, expect more dates to be added soon.
10/03/06 Elachalle, Winterthur (Switzerland)
Sanctuary Job Losses
Sanctuary Cuts a Quarter Of Staff
"UK music management business and record label Sanctuary is to cut its workforce by a quarter after a series of profit warnings following weak trading.
The firm, which has offices in London, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Berlin, is to cut 175 jobs but has not yet said where the axe will fall.
Sanctuary's stable of artists include Sir Elton John, The Manic Street Preachers, Morrissey and Iron Maiden.
The firm said it hoped the move would soon return it to profitability."
BBC Ceefax 10th October 2005
The Venue, London 12th September Download
A full download of the Minds' show at The Venue, London can now be viewed via the Capital Gold website. To view the concert click here and follow the on-screen instructions.
'Return Of The Conquering Heroes' Ibrox Stadium June '86 Review
A rare Ibrox Stadium review from Melody Maker has been added to the Once Upon A Time Reviews/Articles section, for the full transcript click here.
"Two minutes to eight and a sign of the times. With Simple Minds not due to go on until 8:15, the crowd on the pitch were reliving Scotland's better moments against the Danes when compere Billy Sloan came strolling onto the stage, confirmed the fact that we were running early and asked for a big welcome to a band who have played all over the world this year. Pandemonium."
'A Meeting Of Minds' icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk Article
Three more articles have been added to the Black & White 050505 Reviews/Articles section, click on the appropriate link for full transcripts.
"During the sessions, a lot of material was recorded but only 42 minutes-worth made the final cut. This was a delberate ploy. Rather than releasing a long and potentially flabby album, Simple Minds have delivered something that's taut, melodic and memorable."
Click here for full transcript.
"Achieving 'everything' isn't really what we were after. I mean, it's great selling lots of records and playing to thousands of people, but making music is also about the passion. It's not always so much that you like making music, but that you get a song in your head. It's the need for making music; the need to create that keeps us going."
Click here for full transcript.
'Return To Simple Life Was Always On Jim's Mind' www.newsletter.co.uk Article
"My voice... I can safely say I've never abused it... but I've probably abused most other parts of my body, now you come to mention it. But I'm a good boy, when it comes to my voice. I'm no much of a drinker, I don't smoke and I look after myself, especially on tour."
Click here for full transcript.
Audience Magazine/Black & White World Tour
Jim Kerr graces the front cover of this months Audience, a magazine for the music industry. The brief article mentions that next years world tour will take in the US, South Africa, Japan and Australia. The magazine is available through a yearly subscripton but individual copies can be purchased at www.audience.uk.com.
Very Much Alive and Kicking
With a new album, Black & White, to promote, Simple Minds are hitting the road in Europe next February for a tour that will build through the year.
"We're starting off in clubs and just keeping it going, so that the band will probably be on the road for about 10 months," says the band's manager Ged Malone of GMW Entertainment. "The plan is to start off small and steadily build up."
Agent John Giddings of UK based Solo couldn't be happier. "It's the first album in a long time where the band are entirely comfortable with it," says Giddings. "They're willingly doing a lot of promo and TV stuff and that's a surefire sign an artiste believes in their product.
"Starting in February they're playing 2,000 to 3,000 capacity rock venues around Europe, like London Astoria, Glasgow Academy and Amsterdam Paradiso. Then they're going to the US, South Africa, Japan and Australia, before returning for European festivals. I'm already taking arena offers for an autumn European tour."
The band's album is released on Sanctuary Records.
© 1999 - 2006 Shaun Edwards | site design and maintenance by: Shaun Edwards