Dream Giver - Simple Minds Online Unofficially Some Sweet Day 1999

The following is a transcript of a radio interview between Todd Richards and Jim Kerr broadcast on the 3rd June, 1999. This transcription will also appear in Who's Doing The Dreaming Now? #9.

Many thanks to Todd for the transcript and the permission to post it here.

Todd Richards I am amazed at the way things happen. In the very same week as Some Sweet Day '99 there is a Kosovo Peace plan, and Nelson Mandela retires, not to mention the surprise line-up of Simple Minds. I found it pleasing to think that Simple Minds helped raise awareness for Mandela, and now again they are helping the refugees of Kosovo. At the top of each hour it was as if the hourly news was written with Simple Minds in mind.

The following is a transcript of Jim Kerr speaking to myself and co-host Aaron Burke during Some Sweet Day '99, June 6th of this year. He was in transit, and on his cell phone. This led to occasional pops and fuzzes in the conversation, but he was very kind to spend some time on our show.

Todd Richards: Greetings from Some Sweet Day '99! How are you sir?
Jim Kerr: Really well. We played the gig a couple of nights ago for the Kosovo refugees - and it was great to be playing again after a year away.

TR: We heard some interesting things about the set including some revamped versions of Don't You (Forget About Me) and the like. Is that what we can expect in the fall here?
JK: Who knows? We like to keep things flexible-spontanious. We'll get to that when we get to it. For now the thing that was important is that we still enjoyed playing.

TR: We're really looking forward to seeing you back here in the States. How's the new record coming along and when can we expect it to be released?
JK: Well it's coming along really good. I mean, about half way through I would say. As much the basic tracks are laid down, the bass and drums and some different things. Then in the next month or so Charlie and I will work on the vocals and the guitar and probably mix it. But in terms of when it will be released... Well, I mean, who knows? That's up to the record company.

TR: When you do come on tour here you'll have two records that a lot of people won't recognise. One being Néapolis, which wasn't released here in the States. Are there any plans to sell it at concerts or anything?
JK: Well I think we could look at that. I mean, it certainly annoyed us that was the case but we can't really afford to get bogged down in it because it would take your life away from the work. It's not easy now in terms of a getting record company backing in America. But that's to say never give up! It's great that people like yourself do the work for us and do the work that the record company won't do!

TR: We're happy to do it, especially after twenty plus years of your career. In a recent BBC interview I heard you talk about a production company that you wanted to start. How's that coming along and what's it going to be for?
JK: Well again, I love music and I love people who can make music. I am a fan of musicians and songwriters and such. I think gradually Charlie and I want to make some of their experience available, and I think it's coming along pretty good. Just now back in Glasgow talking to a lot of local artists there and such. For the moment we're obviously under the bubble with a new record and in particular - that's the top of our priorities.

TR: What's the new line-up for the band if you care to go into that?
JK: Who knows? I mean, I guess Simple Minds is a bit of a family as much as people come and go. Like families we love each other but we also have our fair amount of fights and break-ups - a pretty passionate lot. I want to play with people who are enthusiastic about playing and enthusiastic about touring. That's not always the case with some of the musicians. When you go on tour you've got to leave a lot behind. Just because it suits Chalie and I, it doesn't always suit the other guys. You can bet you life that whoever we play with - it'll be a great band because that's a criteria.

TR: You mentioned family...I understand your brother is playing drums for you now?
JK: [chuckles] Well he played the other night but it was more just a case of a...He played because he'd worked on a couple of tracks on the album - Only because he's across in the next room where we were working, and it was a case of 'need-drums-now-get-him-in'. He also played because he owed money, which as a Scotsman it's very important that he pays back! [laughs] He just wanted to play for the cause. He wanted to play for the charity.

TR: I'm excited about the future of the band in terms of a box set retrospective. Is that a possible outside of the "Themes" boxes?
JK: Definitely! Virgin have been talking about it - This year I went down to talk with them. They were talking about it and I asked them to hold off for another year or so. Or maybe it would be more appropriate to do it in our twenty-fifth year or something.

TR: One of the more popular questions here is about the Simple Minds Convention to be held this August in London. What do you think of that? Are you thinking of making a surprise appearence or anything?
JK: I think it's great that people are that dedicated, and that people are that involved with the band so much and with the music. It really depends on where we are and what we're doing. If we're still under the hood with the music in that part of the world, yeah it's possible. But when we go on a tour - that's a Simple Minds convention for us. A convention every night!

TR: You've recently started simpeminds.com. Is that effective in keeping in touch with your fans and for selling material from your catalogue?
JK: Yeah, I think in the next year or so we'll know a lot more in terms about where we stand with the record company in terms of their attitude towards the whole e-business. Until now they've really not been keen to take a progressive attitude. I think they're going to have to. In terms of us it's a godsend, the fact the technology exists. We want to make as much material available as possible. That's the whole reason we're a band: to let people hear what we do and make it as easy for them to have access to it as it can be.

TR: A friend wanted me to ask about the availability of your videos, such as Verona and the Glittering Prize 81/92 collection. With the new availability of DVD, could we see these being released in the states?
JK: Well it would be great but the unfortunate thing is we never owned any of that. It was always Virgin or Virgin Video. I think we'd have to buy it off them and try to sell it, and at this stage it's kind of complicated. I still think that [Verona] is a fantastic performance, and it's one of the best concert videos I've seen - because those things are hard to pull off.

TR: You've already mentioned how you like new talent. Are there any bands or artists that we should look for in the States? Who are you listening to?
JK: An album out right now, in fact I'm in the car listening to Travis, and an album that came out about six weeks ago by Moby. Both Charlie and I have been blown away by it. Those are the ones that come to mind.

TR: Again about the new record, is it more keyboard based like Néapolis, or is it back to a few instruments and a voice playing "what they believe in"?
JK: I would say it's 100% different from Néapolis, it's very rough and ready. It's not in that vein at all. It's a very joyful sound, it's very upbeat. I think the melodies are incredibly strong, and the music itself is quite sparse, like maybe bass, drums, guitar and voice playing. It's very beutiful for some reason.

TR: What would you like me to play for you today, any requests?
JK: Sons And Facinataion, maybe the title track.

Aaron Burke: Jim, what can we expect from the new album lyrically? Street Fighting Years had a worldly theme, then Real Life had more of a spiritual sense. Good News From The Next World was very personal, what can we expect from you in this regard?
JK: Well I'm still trying to work it out myself. The songs seem to be snapshots in a way. A lot of them are "character" songs. About characters, either a perception or based on. It's not a wimpy record!

TR: Mr. Kerr thanks for spending some time with us today and we look forward to the new album and tour this fall.

With that, our connection with Jim fell away, and Aaron and myself continued on playing great Simple Minds music. We ended up with 18 hours of rarities, B-sides, remixes and live tracks. Some sweet day indeed. The best part was getting to know fellow Simple Minds fans from around the world. Aaron and I look forward to speaking to, e-mailing and seeing you all soon. Until then, may all your New Gold Dreams come true.

Todd Richards

back to news