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album #19

"So what do you do after months of pouring heart and soul into the recording of your latest album - now that the work is complete?

"The answer is - you get up early the following day and begin plotting and planning the next album.

"Or at least that is that the answer if you are Simple Minds, particularly so at this moment in time. Some will no doubt shrug and be thinking "Of course. With much of the world, and almost of Europe, still dealing with lockdown restrictions etc. What else can you do - but stay indoors and continue being creative? That is what artists mostly do after all?"

"All of which is true.

"There are others though, given their own experience, who will think. "Not at all! You should always take a break between different works. Give some space to mentally and emotionally clear out the work you have spent months on. Best to stand still. Stay dormant - wait for newer inspiration to hopefully visit during the weeks, months, entire year ahead. Relish the pause instead, read, enjoy some films! Learn how to make a really great minestrone maybe? Wallpaper the hall even? And what about the idea of converting the attic?"

"(A disclaimer: It is Charlie, not I, who fancies himself more as a 'handyman type.')

"Options? In past times I would always have chosen the latter. But these are no longer past times - and I'm not even considering COVID while saying that. No. I'm thinking about time itself. And how, now that we have entered what is our 44th year as Simple Minds. (Occasionally it feels more like 444th!) Quite obviously, we no longer have the time ahead of us that we once had.

"But that is not the only reason I'm keen on pushing ahead.

"Reality is that after you finish months of work writing and recording, the creative muscles. e.g. the ability to concentrate, improvise, think through problems etc., articulate clearly to the others involved - is so much stronger at the end - than at the beginning of the recording. Stands to reason, when you have been doing all of the aforementioned repeatedly day after day.

"In other words. Far from exhausted, you can feel more in form at the end of an album recording, therefore more fit mentally, for the next task whatever it should be. Even more beneficial. If you feel good about the work you have just completed? (I'm buzzing!)

"The result of that means that your confidence is strong.

"And who wouldn't want to jump into the 'next thing' while feeling like that?

16th November 2020

"In 1990, along with Stephen Lipson on bass and drum programming, Charlie and I rented a small basement room in Hilversum, Netherlands. Suddenly writing as a duo once again, much like we did when we wrote the songs that first established Simple Minds. Our task was to "not blink and keep rolling the ball uphill" by working on the follow up album to Street Fighting Years."

"Quite a challenge!"

"As I knew it would. The initial song worked on, (with its wondrous intro) became the album title - and that album was released thirty years ago this week."

"Today we find ourselves in another small room. Not a basement this time, it's a room with a view. We're still rolling that ball. And the new songs keep coming!"

2nd April 2021

"Meanwhile we continue writing and recording more Minds music - it is a 'well that seems to never run dry' and while the creativity keeps flowing the effect of that keeps our individual spirits buoyant."

"As do the colours of spring in this part of the world."

"Referring to the carpet of wildflowers - familiar to those who have ever visited the island as this time of year - locals say 'Aprili fa li ciuri e le biddizzi, l'onuri l'havi lu misi di maju' — April makes the flowers and the beauty, but May gets all the credit."

15th April 2021

"Well, here I am. Almost 45 years later. Still out touring with my pals and simultaneously preparing another new album release. Not enough? We are already fixing up studio dates for the end of this year with yet more new Simple Minds screaming out to be heard." - Jim, 16th July 2022

"I was reminded to go check the Jasmine planted last October. Situated under an old olive tree that stands just outside my door, I was startled at how it has grown. In keeping with the theme, I guess. That reminded me that I needed to check out an original song demo written and made six years ago with the working title Jasmine Revolution. Coincidence, or what? Jez Coad (producer of both Simple Minds albums Black And White 050505 and the follow up Graffiti Soul) had co-written that almost forgotten song with me, just about around the time I was thinking of a follow up to my Lostboy! AKA solo thing. However, that and quite a few other Jez tunes had been put on the "back burner" as Simple Minds touring schedule took priority and well, time just marches on relentlessly in the way it does. It is only one of very many ideas that I almost had forgotten about entirely. I suspect Jez had also. Both probably always meaning to get round to reappraising at some point in the future."

  • "But Simon Hayward, (another Lostboy! AKA cohort) had for some reason recently recommended that I should get Jez to dig it out for me, and that I should now give it a good listen with "fresh ears". And so I did just that, last night. And my impression going back and listening after so much time? Loved it!"

  • "But within a heartbeat, I now could also hear what was wrong with it as is, and how it could be much improved particularly in the vocal melody. At this point I have to say how much of a talent Jez Coad is. Many hardcore Minds fans who appreciate Stay Visible, A Life Shot In Black And White and Blood Type O will already know that. All of them being Jez's tunes. Additionally, Simple Minds will always owe so much to Jez for nurturing us through a tricky period in our history, one that nevertheless laid strong foundations. In turn leading to the current positive momentum. All thanks to Jez. And there you have it. Mere days after completing recording on our latest album - the 17th. I am already excited about getting round to revisiting Jasmine Revolution and what might well turn out to be the first song of our 18th release. But let's not get too ahead ourselves. Right? - Jim, 28th March 2017.

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