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Full details of the new single can be found here.

Sample Minds (the Simple Minds tribute band) will perform their final UK shows of 2006 in Cleckheaton and Crewe.

"We have a lot of songs to play," commented keyboard player Simon. "We anticipate performing two sets at the more 'intimate' Cleckheaton venue and then really going out with a bang the following night in Crewe. With The Kick Inside of Me, Oh Jungleland and Room in our sonic arsenal, there's sure to be many audio treats for fans!"

Further details can be found at:

Four Good Men are currently touring the USA. There have been one or two surprises already.

"The opening intro was to the bagpipes (by Yvonne McHugh who's Mick's niece). The pipes were a segue to the opening baseline of "Waterfront". The crowd immediately recognized the rif and most started to bounce. The eighty minute set was sprinkled with Simple Minds and Big Country tunes. The Simple Minds tunes comprised "Waterfront", "Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)", "Love Song", "Alive And Kicking" and "Don't You (Forget About Me)". Speaking to Mick after the gig, he disclosed that "Belfast Child" was supposed to be in the line-up, but "the squeezebox" (aka accordian) broke in transit. Hence the abbreviated encore, minus "Belfast Child"."

"The tour sampler CD did not make it to Toronto. Evidently, some production and shipping delays in New York City (thanks to the US Thanksgiving holiday) caused some issues. Those at the Toronto gig were advised to buy the CD from the FourGoodMen website in the next few days."

"All in all, a good gig. Good to see Derek in his kilt and Mick as his usual exuberant self." - Mike, Toronto

Robin Clark was going to be a speical guest at the New York gig, adding her vocal support to Alive And Kicking. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend (as she had to travel to Germany). However, another name from the past, Mike Ogletree attended the show (and you can check out his website at

The set-list at New York City was:
Look Away
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Kiss Cool
Dream To Sleep
Boys Keep Swinging
Love Song
Alive And Kicking
Heart of Wonder
In a Big Country
Belfast Child
Fields Of Fire
Don't You (Forget About Me)

See for tour pictures and further news.

The Different World single is now available.

Released as a 12" through Absolutely Records, this 4-track single is available from (USA) and other retailers. (I purchased mine from, and they're now not listing it, so copies must be limited. Keep checking on-line stores and DJ outlets - I'm sure should be getting stock in. If all else fails, there's eBay).

Simple Minds - Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Absolutely Records ABR 102
A1. Different World [Scumfrog Remix] (8:00)
A2. Different World [Benny & P.Ursin DJs vs Phunk Investigation Remix] (6:47)
B1. Different World [DJ Moussa Clarke] (6:54)
B2. Different World [Phunk Investigation Magma Remix] (7:44)

Scumfrog's remix is also available on his own album (Mega Scum! 01, Effin Records FNR 10202).

Check out FourGoodMen's website which has undergone a complete design. An online shop is also expected soon, which will stock all the tour merchandise and the forthcoming Heart Of Winter CD.

The first release by FourGoodMen will be available at the gigs and through their on-line shop. It's a mixture of covers and new material.

Heart Of Winter - FourGoodMen
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) [Live] (5:03)
Chance [Live] (4:58)
Dream To Sleep [Live] (3:50)
Starman [Live] (5:41)
Heart Of Wonder [Studio Demo] (4:23)
Kiss Cool [Alternative Studio Demo] (3:05)
Stars Will Fall [Studio Demo] (4:30)
Falling [Studio Demo] (3:20)
There will also be some "special guests" appearing at some of the gigs!

November 25: Opera House, Toronto, Canada
November 26: Club Soda, Montreal, Canada
November 27: Knitting Factory, New York, NYC, USA
November 28: Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA, USA
November 29: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ, USA (Special Guests of The Pretenders)
November 30: Paradise, Boston, MA, USA
December 2: Theodore's, Springfield, MA, USA
December 4: Knitting Factory, Hollywood, CA, USA
December 5: Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA, USA
December 6: Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale (Santa Cruz), CA, USA
December 7: 12 Galaxies, San Fransico, CA, USA

December 28: The Arches, Glasgow, UK

Keep an eye out for the Q Interactive DVD game.

The Q: The Essential Music Quiz Interactive DVD Game is coming out on 27 November. It features Simple Minds amongst other all-time favourite artists with more than 800 questions over 8 sections.

Definintely worth a look if you're a music fan.

Also see Noble PR for more information.

Sample Minds - Event Centre, Uden, Holland
(Friday 24th November 2006)

Sample Minds - the Simple Minds tribute band make their first Netherlands appearance this week at the Events Centre, Uden.

The night is an 80's showcase also featuring the amazing U2NL tribute - complete with multimedia show!!!

Sample Minds will be playing a full 90 minute set featuring all the hits and maybe a couple of 'Rockets from the Closet!!!'

Further details can be found at:
The new Simple Minds album is expected late 2007. We already know some of the potential songs which could be appearing on it. The full story (at the moment and subject to change) is here.

Virgin should also be releasing something to coincide with the band's 30th anniverary. What form that takes isn't known, but let's hope it'll be more interesting than the The Platinum Collection (hint to Virgin and the band's management: the early singles still desparately need sorting out!)

Drum roll for special guest

Simple Minds star gives pupils music masterclass

"The drummer from Simple Minds visited St Bede’s School, Ormskirk, to host a music masterclass.

Mel Gaynor, who was one of the founding members(sic) of the Scottish group, was asked along to the school by head of music Phil Taylor.

Simple Minds topped the charts in the 1990s(sic) with "Don’t You (Forget About Me)" from the teen movie The Breakfast Club.

Mr Taylor said he had been trying to set up the visit for two years through drum teacher Mark Howard, a personal friend of Mel’s.

He said: “We organised it as part of us getting arts college status.”

Also attending the masterclass were students from Our Lady Queen of Peace, Skelmersdale, Lathom High School, Glenburn Sports College, Skelmersdale and St Anne’s Primary School, Ormskirk."

Sarah Gaffney
Ormskirk Advertiser
9th November 2006

Recent newscuttings and fanzine excerpts (courtesy of have forced a reappraisal of Johnny And The Self Abusers and their tour dates.

It would seem the Abusers played their first gig on Easter Monday, 1977, and not February 1977 as official biographer Alfred Bos stated.

Furthermore the line-up included such characters as Alan Neetsheke, Charlie Argue, Johnnie Plague, Sid Syphilis, Tony Donald, Pripton Weird and Brian McGee. And whilst it's fairly easy to match some of the names up, we're still left with seven members, and not the six which I previously documented. Answers on a postcard please!.

As I was concentrating on The Abusers it made sense to bring their discography up-to-date. Despite splitting up on the day their single was released, the band have managed to attract the attention of two bootleggers, and have had their posthumerous album withdrawn. Check out the releases below:

Saints And Sinners 7" single First Rare Recordings " bootleg Pre Simple Minds " bootleg The Early Years 1977-1978

I'm often asked about various parts of the discography which have yet to be fully documented. Rather than send personal replies by e-mail, it makes sense to fully document releases on the website, and then publically announce them. Which is why I've updated the website to include:

The finalized tour dates for FourGoodMen's US tour are:

November 25: Opera House, Toronto, Canada
November 26: Club Soda, Montreal, Canada
November 27: Knitting Factory, New York, NYC, USA
November 28: Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA, USA
November 29: Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ, USA (Special Guests of The Pretenders)
November 30: Paradise, Boston, MA, USA
December 2: Theodore's, Springfield, MA, USA
December 4: Knitting Factory, Hollywood, CA, USA
December 5: Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA, USA
December 6: Brookdale Lodge, Brookdale (Santa Cruz), CA, USA
December 7: 12 Galaxies, San Fransico, CA, USA

(Picture of Derek: © Ash Corr)

Supergroup swagger on stage

I'm thoroughly enjoying the ultra cool chic rock sounds of FourGoodMen at the moment. They are musical buried treasure as they are as yet unsigned but are proving to be a hot ticket in the States with a series of live dates, including opening slots for Chrissie Hynde's Pretenders.

Now here's the deal, this is no ordinary band. This is a Scottish supergroup of epic proportions finely sculpted from the remnants of three classic bands who between them notched up almost 60 top 40 hits. The four good men in question are Derek Forbes and Michael McNeil who used to be in Simple Minds, Ian Donaldson (H20) and Bruce Watson of Big Country fame. Oh yes, we're talking quality here!

The band, pictured, have written some excellent new material and their current download Kiss Cool is a stonking rock 'n' roll affair with a relentless groove and a confident swagger that sounds like a cross between modern T Rex and Marylin Manson in a good mood. Another track, Falling, is a sparkling electro pop song that The Killers would kill for and has radio hit written all over it.

The quality of the musicianship is apparent straight away but the thing that strikes me most about htis band is the fact that although they've been around the block many times, they still have immense hunger and enthusiasm when it comes to creating cutting edge comptempory rock.

The bonus of course is that the band treat their audiences to some welcome renditions of some fabulous classic songs from the respective back catalogues. An example being Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) which in my opinion was Simple Minds' best song.

As the band don't have a record deal don't expect to see them plastered all over billboards and music magazines but the goalposts have shifted when it comes to releasing music and building up a fan base. The net challenged the major label stranglehold on musical taste long ago and now credible acts like FourGoodMen can proceed at their own pace and under their own terms. Seek out and enjoy!

John Kearns
The Irish News
6th October 2006

"We have a new gig coming up soon. It would be great if a few of you could make it.

Saturday 11th November 2006
Breightmet Club, Bolton, UK

The band will perform a full two hour set and we are rehearsing some new additions to the set, including "Oh Jungleland" and "The Kick Inside Of Me". Expect a few 'fan favourites'!

Also added to our website are a couple of new videos of us in action. I really like the New Gold Dreamers video. See for more details."

Simon Hayward

Night Of The Proms are releasing a Best Of DVD. Included are Simple Minds performing Belfast Child.

They also get a picture and second billing on the front cover.

The DVD is currently available from

Inspirational Bowie is currently being made by BBC Radio Two for broadcast on the 6th January 2007 at 9:00 PM.

Planned to tie in with David Bowie's 60th birthday, the show will include contributions from artists who've been influenced by him including New Order, Annie Lennox, Moby and ... Simple Minds.

Another teen movie? Another version of Don't You (Forget About Me)?


Accepted, which is showing in cinemas in the UK now, features Don't You (Forget About Me) by David Schommer and Lucy Woodward. Apparenty the film isn't that good, so you might want to skip this version.

Music's Secret Weapons

Everyone has their special album: the one nobody else has heard of, the one to bring out when you want to amaze people. We asked 49 musicians, producers and writers to tell us about their records to be reckoned with.

The Guardian
6th October 2006

Click here for an archival interview on Border Radio with Derek Forbes and Ian Donaldson of FourGoodMen (first broadcast 19th May, 2006).

An updated and expanded discography for Don't You (Forget About Me) has been added to Dream Giver Redux. From the earliest acetates through various promotional items to the commerical releases, all the formats have been covered. There's also a full breakdown of the extremely rare Breakfast Club box set.

Back in 1998, Jim e-mailed me some explanations and thoughts behind the songs on the newly released Neapolis. These were published in Who's Doing The Dreaming Now? #6, but with all the lyrics now moved to Dream Giver Redux, I thought it would be a good time to publish them on the Internet.

(Jim never sent any background on Tears Of A Guy, and I was too shy back in those days to ask him about them in reply!)

Here's one for the hardcore collectors: detals of two Sanctuary Studios CDs for the Home single.

Faithless' new single Bombs has a hint of the live version of Book Of Brilliant Things about it. It's not a sample, nor a direct copy of the melody, but's certainly worth checking out. But don't take my word for it: the radio edit version can be heard on Columbia Records' site.

There's been a big update to Dream Giver Redux: all the lyrics have been moved onto the new site, including transcriptions of the songs from Our Secrets Are The Same and Cry. A full list of the band's lyrics ordered alphabetically, by album and by single can be found here.

Hiya Friends on Dream Giver,

FourGoodMen (featuring former members of Simple Minds and Big Country) are running an exclusive contest for our MySpace Friends to be our Special Guests at our shows in North Amercia in November and December, and our Glasgow show at The Arches on Dec. 28!

To enter "Be On Our Guest List", send us an e-mail to

On the subject line of your e-mail please enter the "CITY" you are entering for (see our tour dates below or the dates at More dates to be added soon!.

You only need to send us one e-mail to enter the contest. Include in the text your name, address and e-mail address.

One winner will be choosen per city!

All winners receive 2 free tickets, backstage passes and a signed T-shirt from us! (Air fare is not included).

Contest ends October 31st.

We look forward to meeting you all and seeing you at our shows!

FOURGOODMEN North American Tour Dates (as of 10/03/06)

Nov. 25 Toronto - Opera House
Nov. 26 Montreal - Club Soda
Nov. 27 NYC - Knitting Factory
Nov. 28 Wash. DC - Venue TBA
Nov. 29 Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom (special guests with The Pretenders)
Nov. 30 Boston, MA - Paradise Lounge
Dec. 01 City TBA
Dec. 03 City TBA
Dec. 04 Los Angeles - Knitting Factory
Dec. 05 Solana Beach (San Diego) - Belly Up
Dec. 06 City TBA
Dec. 07 San Francisco, CA - 12 Galaxies
Dec. 28 Glasgow - The Arches

Given the sheer number of remixes of this track that Absolutely have commissioned, it looks like the Different World single will now be released as two 12" singles and a CD single.

(The remixes are the Moussa Clarke Remix, Matteo Esse & Sant Remix, Phunk Investigation Odissey Remix, Phunk Investigation Magma Mix, Scumfrog Remix, The BeatThiefs Remix and The Benny & Paulo Ursin DJ Remix).

SIMPLE MINDED, a new Simple Minds tribute band, is already starting to take shape. Along with a bass player called Martin Charles Burchill Valentine, Pete Simcoe and friends have already started to put demos together.

You can follow the progress of the band, and listen to the demos, via Pete's site at

If you're interested in joining, or helping out, then let Pete know.

I've finally finished transcribing the Black And White Generic Interview. The last few questions concern the background behind The Jeweller (Part Two), I Kiss The Ground, the album's title, and the plans the band had for the live shows.

If I ever find out what the questions were, then I'll put them up on the page.

Italian Radio 2 will broadcast a Simple Minds gig tonight (Monday 25th) at 21:30 local time.

Apparently it'll be the Milan concert from March 30th.

You can listen by going to their website and clicking Ascolta Live.

Apparently Early Gold will be available as a download today via EMI's website.

The album is also going to receive a US release shortly, as promos have been turning up on New York based Caroline Records.

"Due to huge demand in the States, we will have to postpone the football tournament and curry night till next year. We all want it to happen as soon as possible, but things are looking up for the band in America. We have just sent out new demos to our manager in New York, and he has had a magnificent response to the songs. Our tour finishes on the 8th of December, but we need to be ready for any business that arises there.

We will keep everyone posted through our new look website on Hope to see more of you at the Arches, Glasgow on the 28th of December. It promises to be a cracker... no pun intended."

Derek Dan yer Man Forbes

© Mark McKay 2006

Don't You (Forget About Me) is currently being used as the soundtrack for the new Fiat Punto advert on French television.

You can see the clip on their website (just click the play button on the top left button).

"We are having a Xmas football, Curry and intimate, unplugged gig around the 15th December, where we will hold a five a side tournament, with the winners picking up the trophy, made especially for the event. Afterwards, we will go to a venue , yet to be decided, have a curry and await the performance of fourgoodmen. We will play old favourites and more from our extensive catalogues of Minds, Propaganda, H20 and Big Country songs, not forgeting the brand new fourgoodmen songs. We will have just returned from our tour of America and Canada the week before, so we are fighting fit for the tourney. Mr Watson say's he will be in goal, as this is the only place he can have a fag...scary stuff. Anyone interested can register on the forum. At the moment, we are working on the £30 a head idea, which includes the football, curry and entertainment. We will be featuring the twin acoustic guitars 'Sheryl and Beryl', which are the pet names for my and Bruce's guitars, and know doubt the dexterous fingers of Mr MacNeil on the squeeze box...all to be accompanied by our three lovely ladies, and last but not least, the golden voice of Mr. Donaldson. Two weeks later we are playing our Xmas gig at the Arches in Midland Street, Glasgow, with the full band. This promises to be another wonderful night. Check for updates on a regular basis."

Derek Forbes

Simple Minds may have stopped touring for now, but sample MINDS have a number of dates lined up:

    Kulturrevier Radbod, Hamm, Germany 23-Sep-06
    "We'll be headlining the festival and will be onstage about 22:00. There is an indoor venue, which we played as Band For The Tribes in 2001, if the weather is bad."

  • Tennis/Events Centre Uden, Holland 18-11-06
    "This is a showcase gig for us and Dutch tribute band U2NL, with the possibility of further collaborations throughout Europe next year. It's the first time we'll play Holland, which I've wanted to do for a long time. Also I'm looking forward to this project with a U2 tribute band."

Plus there are two gigs in England, with a possibly of a third gig to come in November and December.

Check for further details.

Sparkle* Through The Years

is proud to announce you yet another Sparkle* Fanclub Day!

This Fanclub day will take place on Saturday, November 18th in Zaal Bart in Merksem (Antwerp), near the Sportpaleis. You are most welcome from 17.00 CET on!

Another chance to meetup with other Sparkle* members and other fellowminds!!!

Exclusive DVD footage will be shown......

LIVE Music by GIN TIME , an excellent pop &rock coverband from Geel (B) bringing a smashing 3 hours set with the best of the eighties (and seventies) - of course including Simple Minds!!

A warm up DJ set - before GIN TIME will head to the stage - by DJ MOON and introducing DJ KLAUSTROFOBIE(!)

And then... a smashing '80's PARTY !!
With: DJ DRAMATIS (D) who will play a set full of fantastisc EIGHTIES MUSIC, including some famous Belgian Club Hits by the likes of Luna Twist, Siglo XX, 2Belgen, etc..., , NEWWAVE, DARKWAVE, INDUSTRIAL..... AND.... of course..... SIMPLE MINDS !!!!!

17.00: DOORS
18.00 - 19.00: DVD footag
19.00 - 21.00: WarmUp by DJ MOON* & DJ KLAUSTROFOBIE*
21.00 - 23.00: GIN TIME (B) - Pop & Rock Covers
23.00 onwards: DJ DRAMATIS (D) - Minds, Eighties, New Wave, industrial, ...

Sparkle* members pay the small entrance fee of € 2,50
Non-members: € 5,00

Please DO bring some friends! :-)

Sparkle* is looking forward in seeing you!

For more information check out

The Review: Don't You Forget About Them

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 And 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 outfit 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 Eddie 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 And 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
Sunday Times
3rd September 2006

Simple Minds may have taken a break from recording for the best part of a decade byt they still have a huge Scots fanbase.

Fans old and new went wild for the first few notes of the biggest songs - none of which sounded dated. Best moments were Sanctify Yourself, Waterfront and Alive And Kicking.

David PollocK
Sunday Mail
3rd September 2006

"IS everybody doin' all right?" bellowed Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr as the Glaswegian stadium supremos reached the conclusion of yet another enormously proportioned pomp-rock epic. He needn't have asked.

Few bands do widescreen with as much verve, panache and enthusiasm as the Minds and their T on the Fringe curtain closer in Princes Street Gardens last night was an object lesson in giving the public exactly what they wanted.

Central to this effort was Kerr himself - the singer drawing deep from his box of crowd-pleasing tricks to keep the faithful hanging on his every word long after the sun had disappeared behind the Castle.

Never the greatest mover in the world, Kerr compensated for his shoddy dancing skills by mugging the life out of everything he did.

Pirouettes were pirouetted, messianic poses struck, mass-audience singalongs conducted, Kerr even found time (on several occasions) to display his middle-aged athleticism, or lack thereof, by doing a vaguely arthritic take on the splits.

All completely ridiculous of course, and drawn straight from the pages of the rock-god cliche handbook, but when you have paid 20-odd quid to see a show, you last thing you want to go and see is a plank of wood.

There's no point in putting yourself out on a limb, however, if the music can't back you up. Thankfully, a craftily-chosen set that mixed new material with a liberal smattering of well-loved oldies ensured that Kerr's posturing was imbued with plenty of substance.

Although they started out in the early Eighties as arty music press darlings, it is hard to imagine the band as anything other than died-in-the wool purveyors of arms-aloft anthems - it's what they have been doing for years, so why change the record?

Accordingly, a conveyor belt of impossibly gigantic-sounding tunes were trundled out to the mass appreciation of an audience that ran the gamut from diehard fans who mouthed every last syllable to young kids, who at least had Kerr's antics to marvel at when the music got a bit too much.

Classics such as All The Things She Said, Glittering Prize and Speed Your Love To Me - each one powered by the glacial riffs of guitarist Charlie Burchill and powerhouse drumming of Mel Gaynor - were all rapturously received by the crowd.

However, the biggest cheer of the night came as the distinctive driving bassline of Waterfront kicked-in, prompting more gymnastics from Kerr and a mass of punched-air salutes in the audience.

It wasn't all quite so successful. The group have never been awfully big on sonic variety and there were moments of samey tedium away from the thrill of the better known numbers.

Lyrical subtlety fared little better, many of Kerr's clunkier couplets would shame a sixth-form poet.

The minor gripes were quickly drowned in a wall of sound however, as the band launched into a closing salvo that took in Don't You (Forget About Me) and Sanctify Yourself.

Kerr was having far too good a time to leave it at that however, and a four-song encore that took in two more Minds' classics in the shape of Alive and Kicking and Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime) took the gig over the two hour mark and proved conclusively that if it's a band that gives good stadium you are after, then the Minds are your men.

Duncan Forgan
29th August 2006

You can also post your feedback about the gig on the article's page. There's been some negative comments, so it'd be good to bury them under positive responses.

A review of Santander (18th August 2006) can be found here (Spanish).

Stay Visible
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
See The Lights
Book Of Brilliant Things
Speed Your Love To Me
All The Things She Said
Ghostdancing - Gloria
Let There Be Love
The Jeweller (Part Two)
Glittering Prize
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Sanctify Yourself
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Alive And Kicking

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 things were 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 And 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 Gardens approaching, 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.”

These 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.

Leon McDermott
The Big Issue
25th August 2006


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 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!

Email me: with your demos / discussion / ideas.

I have some original demo material [no SM covers] at:

Pete Simcoe

Absolutely have released a new promotional 12" single of The Man Who Sold The World (Absolutely ABR096). Issued under the White Spaces name, it features a new, hardcore remix (The 'Electromaniacs mix') backed with a softer remix (White Spaces Main Mix) which has already turned up on Live And Rare.

These can be heard on Absolutely's website. (Click on discography and scroll to ABR096).

I don't have any information on how or where to purchase it yet.

The forthcoming T On The Fringe concert is generating lots of press interest. Recent interviews include:

Those in Scotland should check out the Edinburgh Evening News (which will include an interview with Jim) and the Scottish edition of The Big Issue which will include the band on the front cover.

A snippet of the BeatThiefs remix of Different World (TAORMINA.ME) can be found on their It sounds excellent.

Side-Line, the electronic music website in Brussels, has also reported on the documentary.

Jim should be appearing in the Evening Times (Glasgow) and Fringe Festival newspaper (Edinburgh) tomorrow (Tuesday). If anyone can grab a copy and scan it for me, then it would be very much appreciated.

An interview with Jim has just appeared in the Spanish paper Eldiario.

And more reaction to the documentary:

Undercover (Australia)
Daily Record (Scotland)

And for French fans, here's two reviews of the Binic festival: Binic #1, Binic #2

And, finally, an interview with Jim about the forthcoming concert in Edinburgh has been published in The Dundee Courier.

Here's some more reactions to the documentary:

Yahoo News (Australia) (UK)
Stereogum (USA) (UK)
AlbumVote (UK) (Global)
Muso's Guide (UK)
Sanctuary Records Home Page (UK)
Sanctuary Records Main Page (UK)

Please leave any comments on the documentary's official site - thanks!

For something a little different, check out the review of Kelly.

Simple Minds to appear in “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
A major new documentary about the rise and fall of teenage movies

Stay the Course Productions today announced the making of a feature documentary that follows a sociological and psychological tribute to director John Hughes’ coming-of-age teen movies, including 1985's The Breakfast Club.

The 90-minute feature film documentary, named after Simple Minds' best selling single Don’t You (Forget About Me) which topped the US Billboard Singles Chart.

During the eighties John Hughes was Hollywood's quintessential teen movie director and scored a successive number of “Brat-Pack” hit movies aimed at the teen market - The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink!, Ferris Buller’s Day Off, Weird Science 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.

“The films have been handed down to a new generation of inspired teenagers,” says director Matt Austin.

“People who went on their first date or discovered their first kiss, experienced it all when they first saw the movie when it originally came out in cinemas across North America. It was also one of the first movies to score a hit album soundtrack, and like Dirty Dancing and Grease, was also one of the first movies aimed at a teen audience that scored a No.1 best selling single in America.”

“When we were asked to participate in the documentary, at first I was surprised the Breakfast Club had became such a cult since it was originally released twenty 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. The band’s current studio album, Black And White 050505, is planned for North American release next year to coincide with the band’s 30th Anniversary.

Directed by Matt Austin, Produced by Kari Hollend, Michael Facciolo and Lenny Panzer, Don’t You (Forget About Me) will also include appearances by actors, directors, and others who had their hand in making these films or were touched by them.

Already interviewed is Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, film critic Roger Ebert, Kelly Le Brock (Weird Science), Mia Sara and Alan Ruck (Ferris Buller’s Day Off) along with many more.

Says director Matt Austin, “One of the reasons why we felt compelled to make this documentary 20 years after The Breakfast Club was originally released was because we suddenly came to the realization that the majority of today’s teenagers have enough trouble relating to the world than recognizing themselves on screen. A film from 20 years ago portrayed them more accurately then anything made for them today.”

Continues Austin, “Somewhere, somehow along the way, Hollywood forgot what ‘being a teenager’ is. What a teenager looks like, talks like and feels. This film is for them. Teenagers have a lot to say - this documentary gives them their voice. They need a ‘Hughes’. He hasn’t directed a film in more than a decade. Where did he go? Why? Without him, or someone like him, who is their hero?"

The Breakfast Club was no ordinary “popcorn” teen movie; it had many focal points that reached beyond traditional Hollywood scripts, actors and storyline. Music for example, was an integral part of John Hugh's films. It was always understated but present enough to almost become a character in itself. Songs like the Simple Minds Don't You Forget About Me symbolized the quintessential anthem of teen angst and rebellion. The Don’t You Forget About Me documentary looks at the inter-relationship of character building and music, and asks if it is symbiotic to Hugh's films, or was it simply down to the era and the songs themselves?

Adds Austin,” Making films about teenagers has interestingly enough become its own genre. The film hopes to explore what that means through our discussions with the people attached to it and most importantly teenagers today. The Don’t You Forget About Me feature website has already had over 1,500 hits on it with comments from people all over the world -

For further info contact Noble PR

Billboard have also covered the news here.

The pictures for this update were all taken at Gothenburg, the concert that almost never was. With Jim stuck at Heathrow due to terrorist threats, it looked unlikely he would be able to get to the gig - until the promoters chartered a private jet for him.

There were 20,000 - 25,000 people at the free show with even the newspaper journalists excited by the spirit and hardwork - and Jim's dash across Europe which saw him arriving at the venue with 45 minutes to go.

New concert: Simple Minds will be playing a free gig at the Rheinland-Pfalz Open-Air, Mainz, Germany on the 26th August. For further information see or

Jim rolls on with Stones

Rock star Jim Kerr of Simple Minds has been had an injection of inspiration for his band's appearance at T on the Fringe... from Mick Jagger.

The group headline Princes Street Gardens - in front of 6000 fans -on August 28.

They warmed up for the gig by opening for The Rolling Stones in Germany last week.

"That's got to be the toughest gig in the book but we went down a storm," Jim said.

"I watched the Stones and Jagger blew me away.

"It was inspiring watching him lead the group through some of the best songs ever written. It's the best I've seen them in years."

Meanwhile, Stones' guitarist Keith Richards is seeing the funny side of his brain surgery after he fell out of a tree in Fiji in April.

Bandmate Ronnie Wood said: "Keith has not calmed down, it's an act. Now he gets out of trouble by saying 'Well, I've got brain damage, you'll have to excuse me.'"

Keef says the band were happy to take a six week rest from the world tour while he recovered.

He said: "Mick told me it was a blessing in disguise."

Billy Sloan
Sunday Mail
13th August 2006

Eight days in July with the world’s greatest band

OK so he probably does it every time, but when Jim Kerr changes the ‘she’s my friend’ line in New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) to ‘you’re my friend’ – and makes a very deliberate show of pointing directly at you – then it’s difficult to remember that actually you’re not 36 now, you’re actually 13 again and your hero really did just do that didn’t he? Oh. My. God.!

London ‘Dock Rock’ was the fifth Simple Minds show for me in eight days – taking in Taormina, Palermo, Audley End and Bristol along the way. I warmed up for those with Denmark’s Nibe Festival (amazing setting) and Liverpool Summer Pops (containing for me the definitive rendition of All the Things She Said).

Once the Sicily gigs were announced I had to be there. I stayed at Villa Angela in September 2004 and was very lucky to meet Jim and Charlie and chat to them every day (and hear the demos of Home and Stranger before anyone else outside of the band according to Jim, but that’s another story!)

Couldn’t get into Villa Angela this time (wonder why?) but as Jim says in his tour diary, the Teatro Greco really is an amazing place to witness a gig. To say the band were on it would be something of an understatement – a minute into opener Stay Visible and Kerr has left the stage and made his way half way up the steps into the middle of the crowd. Cue total pandemonium which lasted to the end of an unforgettable night.

(It was at this point that I realised that I should have packed my shorts as well as the three T-shirts, 3 pairs of socks and pants that I did bring. It was hot as hell, even at midnight!)

There were lots of fellow travellers there. People really had come from all over. Disappointly there was no sign of support act Rodrigo And Gabriella (amazing), but we did have a Chinese flute player, who really was as beautiful and wonderful as our temporary surroundings. From my vantage point I could see Mount Etna quietly spewing lava in the distance, as it often does.

I wandered around the most beautiful town of Taormina the day after, wandering if I’d bump into any of the band. That almost happened when I spotted Charlie and his girlfriend across the street, but he was off in the other direction before I had a chance to go over and reintroduce myself.

It took me six of sightseeing in Palermo on Wednesday to notice that I had been bitten to pieces by something nasty on Tuesday night. My left arm came up in giant red blotches which are still visible a week later.

Palermo was interesting – full of really impressive old buildings and metropolitan pride, but basically a working town. The drive across Sicily held some amazing scenery. Nice hotel and the receptionist was a big Minds fan. Decided to drive to the gig, despite all the guidebooks saying don’t even attempt to drive in Palermo. The locals have an interesting approach to lane discipline – the main ring road was nominally two lanes and a bus lane, which of course means four lanes in reality. It’s like a collective madness that once you adjust to it it’s fine.

Got to the Teatro de Verdura really early, so I just wandered in through the backstage area and had a nosey around, including stopping to talk to some of the crew. The venue was outdoors and the stage framed by some very old looking Roman columns. There were also some very nice gardens where I sat down to read the remains of last Saturday’s newspaper. No-one tried to throw me out.

For the gig I was up in the cheap seats, where we were all having a great time, but it must be said the people down the front were way too cool for school. It took all of Kerr’s years of experience to shake them out of their lethargy and get them on their feet and motivated, but he got them by Waterfront when he repeated his trick of two nights earlier and ended up in the middle of the crowd. I also blagged the set list off the front of house sound guy, which made for a nice souvenir.

Before that I had a great meal at the trattoria opposite for not much more than a tenner, which was amazing.

So back to England for three shows in three days. It ended in London – ‘by the waterfront’ as Jim said, where I took up my usual spot at the front where Charlie stands – this time next to a lovely girl from Amsterdam called Francisca, who asked me to send her the set list as I seem to now be in the habit of recording them on my phone for no real reason whatsoever.

Great gig, but not as crazy as Bristol on Sunday, where I met another fellow traveller called John and the crowd of what looked like mainly every teenage hippy in a 50 mile radius really went for it. The band totally screwed up by starting All The Things She Said rather than See The Lights (which involves Charlie and Eddie using instruments in a different tuning) and Jim had to stop them and apologise. Never seen that before and it was genius – maybe they really are human after all!

We started at Audley End House on Saturday. I feared the worst after it had rained all day at home in Nottingham. But it was beautiful weather on the fringes of Essex, and everyone was there with their picnic gear, Pimms and kids, which was uncomfortable because it’s certainly not rock and roll. But once that now familiar intro music came on the crowd were really up for it.

We existed in a little bubble of wondrous weather until seconds after the last bar of Alive and Kicking – when the heavens opened with considerable vengeance. No-one seemed to mind.

So that’s five shows in eight days. That’s almost like being on tour properly, and it was fantastic. I wish I’d booked for Gothenburg last week when the flight tickets were £75, not £211 like they are now. I’ll be going anyway, one way or another, possibly involving Copenhagen and trains. And there’s Edinburgh of course – which will make 12 Simple Minds shows for me in 2006. It’s been a hell of a ride and I feel honoured to have been in the company of the world’s greatest band ever.

The only downside? The absolutely lousy quality of the retro New Gold Dream T-shirts on sale. The collar and bottom of mine frayed within hours of me putting it on, which was irritating. Nothing wrong with the rest of them though – I think I’ve spent the gross national product of several small republics on Simple Minds gear this year!

Keep it up guys – and thanks for all the memories.

Martin Charles Burchill Valentine (yes really)
July 25 2006

The Ambition To Do Something Glorious

The Trooper: Jim Kerr

Widescreen vision, crippling logistics and the rebirth of rock and roll politics - for the Simple Minds flag-waver there was "a level of individualism and imagination that was almost overwhelming."

Simple Minds briefly pulled ahead in their long-running rivalry with U2 when their Live Aid success propelled them on to the stadium circuit, and Don't You (Forget About Me) was used in the John Hughes movie The Breakfast Club and was one of hte first of a new vogue for soundtrack album hits. Their career became characteristed by Kerr's two high profile marriages - first to Chrissie Hynde, then Patsy Kensit - and their involvement in the Free Nelson Mandela concert in 1988. A total of 20 musicians have now served in the ranks of Simple Minds, who are still recording and touring and currently include three original members - the 47-year old Kerr, Charlie Burchill and Mel Gaynor. Kerr has two children (one by Chrissie Hynde and one by Patsy Kensit and lives in Taromina in Sicily.

"The amazing thing about people in the '80s was their ambition. Not so much ambition for riches and fame, that was too far down the road, but ambition to do something glorious. And whether that was our band or the spiky music like The Cure or Magazine or early Spandua Ballet and Duran - I mean, early Spandau wasn't Tony Hadley's chocolate box: from day one they were gonna take over the world! And they did. And all of them were quite maverick. To me, it wasn't so much any movement, it was more like, there weren't two or three bands like The Cure, there was The Cure. There weren't two or three bands like The Human League, like the Birthday Party, like The Smiths, there was one. A lot of real individualism and wonderful imagination to such a lvel that it was almost overwhelming.

It was an incredibly political decade, the Berlin Wall coming down, Mandela being freed, the Miner's Strikes, Poll Tax, Tiananmen Square: it certainly wasn't all shoulder-pads, Rambo and Filofaxes. I remember the Mandela concert, when they were calling out for the end of apartheid (the Free Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley Stadium, June 11, 1988). I don't know about revolutionary, but I can't think of anything liek that since then - even though if you look at it now you'll see Whitney Houston warbling away and think, "Where's the revolution?" I get cynical as much as anyone, but when Mandela was finally freed and he came to London, he was in the room with a bunch of artists and I'll always remember the thing he said: 'When there was no voice allowed, we always heard the voice of the artist. And it gave us great, great sustenance.' Now, I wouldn't confuse that with 'the artists freed Nelson Mandela, you finished apartheid,' aye, like Billy-o, but they tried. That Nelson Mandela could say, speaking on behalf of the oppressed, a line like that, I thought 'Wow.' I'll never forget that.

The '80s was a great time for dreamers. Whether it was Billy McKenzie, New Order, everything seemed possible and everything seemed up for grabs. Of course video changed everything, your video could travel to places you could never even imagine. But MTV did create a monster. Everyone was trying to be more outrageous than the other and look the part. You had stocky guys like me in eyeliner trying their best.

With Live Aid, apart from the politics of the charity behind it, it was the first time millions of people looked at a so-called stadium rock gig and thought 'I want to go to one of them,' that communal thing. And after Live Aid everyone was in stadiums or trying to be in stadiums. Who would've thought Depeche Mode plink-plonking away would play in stadiums? Things got very big and when they do, there's a moment when you realise your band is no longer your band, that it's an industry itself. There are so many people depending on it. The record company's whole year is waiting on your record coming out at Christmas and you're handing it over knowning deep inside that it isn't finished. You're in Berne in Switzerland and backstage there are long faces because the size of the production means you need 45,000 people to break even and there's only 42,000 htere. What a bummer! You're thinking, 'Is that no good?' And you think, 'Time to take a rest.'

What lessons have I learned from the '80s? [Colossal pause] You don't have to marry them, you can go out with them."

Sylvia Patterson
Word Magazine
September 2006

Glaswegian Jim thinks Princes Street is magic

There are few bands with the sort of massive sound which does justice to big open-air events.

However Scots supergroup Simple Minds know exactly how to project their anthems to build the maximum amount of atmosphere. So when they take to the special stage in Princes Street Gardens, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, for a spectacular T in the Fringe show on August 28, anyone in earshot will be in for a treat. I caught up with frontman and singer Jim Kerr when he made a trip to London for some painful dental work. “I guess it’s the result of years of a bad Glasgow diet,” he laughed.

Jim is feeling inspired at the moment, as he and the band have spent most of the year playing to adoring crowds around the world and promoting their most recent album, Black And White 050505, which gained some of their best reviews in more than a decade.

He says he’s particularly looking forward to the Edinburgh show - the last date of an exhausting world tour. “It’s a magical location. We’ve been lucky enough to play in some unique places, but I’m very fond of Edinburgh. When we first formed there was a shortage of venues in Glasgow, so we did a lot of shows there. “We’ll be filming the show and it’ll look great with the castle lit behind. Mind you, there’s always a chance the elements will play a part in the event - you wouldn’t want to bet on it being dry!” he laughed.

One reason for recording the show for posterity is because the band have their 30th anniversary coming up. “It’s a tricky one,” Jim admitted. “Firstly, we thought ‘Let’s just ignore it’, but then I thought ‘Hang on, why not do something special?’ ” Then the next problem emerged - they aren’t quite sure exactly what to count as their actual anniversary! “It could be taken from when we first formed, or we might wait a couple of years and do it on the anniversary of our first album being released,” Jim explained. “Whatever, I think we’ve proved to ourselves we can carry on and that we’re not finished just yet. One of the reasons we’re bringing the touring to an end this time round is we want to work on new songs.”

Filling a set with material isn’t a problem for a band with a back catalogue like theirs. It’s harder to know what to leave out, as so many of their songs are perfect for big outdoor occasions.

“It’s a great problem to have,” said Jim. “When we started out, there wasn’t the vogue for big outdoor events, particularly in the UK. It’s not every type of music that works when you’re standing in a field with 40,000 people. Even some great artists, like Elvis Costello and Van Morrison, don’t really go down too well there. We started to write songs like Waterfront and build them so they would work in a situation like that.

“I remember when U2 first played Wembley Stadium and we were going to be playing it later. I talked to them and they said they thought a place that size was a bridge too far. But then we got on stage and started doing Waterfront. It worked perfectly and I just thought to myself ‘This is a piece of cake!’” he laughed.

Jim also finds playing big festivals interesting because he gets to meet up with other acts. “Sometimes I’d love to be part of the audience and watch other acts, but doing the shows just leaves me knackered. Basically, at a show like Edinburgh the audience are the stars. We’ve had other acts watch us and be incredibly complimentary. I think it’s because we attack every single gig with absolute relish. The desire we still have sometimes shakes people, especially when there are groups who are considered veterans after two years,” he said proudly.

The bedrock of the band’s success and continued longevity is the creative relationship between Jim and guitarist Charlie Burchill, which is still grounded in deep friendship after so many years. “Sometimes Charlie and I can be driving to a gig sitting beside each other in the back of a car and it’s hard not to be sentimental. Sometimes it’s felt like it’s me and him against the world, even though we have very different lifestyles now,” Jim laughed.

The fact that the band seems to have been reborn of late means the future seems very bright indeed for Jim. “We’ve been touring for almost a year, so we feel on the last lap now. But we crave to write new songs and we feel really energised. Six years ago it was like getting blood out of a stone - nothing was working. In fact, six years ago I would have said we wouldn’t last another six weeks and the most worrying thing was that I felt OK about that. But these things are cyclical - sometimes it’s effortless and sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. All I know is that we’ve been blessed so far and everything feels really good at the moment.”

It looks as though Simple Minds’ return to Edinburgh could be a fitting celebration and a launch pad for their fourth decade of music-making.

Kevin Bridges
The Sunday Post
August 6th 2006

All had gone quiet on the Different World single until now.

It appears that more remixes have been commissioned. The Beat Thiefs and Moussa Clarke have been working on the track with the latter working for Absolutely Records.

In the meantime, Greek Radio have added another remix to their playlist and a short sample of Matteo ESSE & Sant Remix can be heard via their website.

So, it looks like the next single will probably be a couple of 12-inches via Absolutely Records.

STV have just broadcast a great interview with Jim. Along with lots of clips of archive promo videos, Verona footage, Jim's bid to purchase Celtic, he's interviewed about the band, his support of Celtic and the forthcoming Edinburgh concert.

The video was broadcast on the 2nd August and was filmed in London on July 22nd.

Check out tribute band Remind. A cover band of U2, The Sweet, Queen, Talking Heads and, of course, Simple Minds, they have audio files of their versions of Love Song and Don't You (Forget About Me) on their site. (Click on Latlista).

Hearts And Minds

One of the few 1980s bands that have not had to ride the 'nostalgia wave' in order to sell albums and fill concert halls, Simple Minds visited Singapore as part of their world tour. Raymond Boey reports.

Having started life as Johnny And The Self Abusers in 1978, Simple Minds meandered through a post-punk, new wave world earning legions of fans in the UK with anthems such as Love Song and The American. After slowly building their reputation on the touring circuit, the band took the short cut to international fame with the albums New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) (1982), Sparkle In The Rain (1984) and Once Upon A Time. Probably best known for their 1985 number one hit Don't You (Forget About Me) from the film The Breakfast Club, Simple Minds have retained their loyal fan base and continue to play all sizes of venues, from the intimate to the intimidating. Having kicked off their current tour in Dublin at the end of January 2006 to coincide with the release of the album, Black And White 050505 and single Home the band have earned plaudits for their 'astounding return to form'. The venues on the current tour are predominatly one-nighters with quick load-ins/load-outs dictating a flexible and easily programmed sound system to be taken on the road.

The band were unlucky with the timing of this particular date in Singapore as it was on the eve of the May Day general election, when most Singaporeans were drawn to live election rallies. One of these involved a free concert at Padang in front of Government House, within a kilometer of Fort Canning Park, where the Scottish quintet was playing. However, an almost sell-out crowd of mainly expatriates turned up to see the band play. Their passion for fresh, live performance is reflected in the choice of equipment and provider - local rental company Audio Resources. On stage, they still feel they have plenty to give. To this end, lead vocalist Jim Kerr can often be found FOH (Front Of House) keeping everyone on their toes, conferring with FOH engineer Patrick Demoustier and fine-tuning the audio.

Belgian rental company EML Productions supported Simple Minds on the European leg of their tour, having supplied the band since 1997 - establishing the close relationship with engineer Demoustier. For each date on the Asia tour, he had done his homework and sent an equipment rider well in advance to all the rental company suppliers - he knows better than most that Simple Minds does not necessarily equal simple sounds. "The band is well known for its imaginative soundscapes and effects," he commented during set-up. "On tour, they expect to sound as true to their original recordings as possible. This demands plenty of pre-programming for each song, which means I need a quick and easily programmable digital console. To manage that on an analogue desk would be impossible, but to set it up on the DiGiCo D1 is easy."

In addition to the console's sound quality, Mr Demoustier claims that the 56-channel D1 has helped cut down on outboard by over 59 per cent. "Some people say digital is very expensive, but, if you take into account the time it saves in setting up, the space it saves in the truck and the time saving in servicing the outboard equipment, you'll find this just isn't so," he comments.

Once a die-hard Midas XL4 user, Mr Demoustier now insists on a DiGiCo console as he is at home with its intuitive controls. Having acquired one of hte first models off the production line, he took delivery without an instruction manual. "I didn't need one, because it really is very simple," he smiles.

The main PA erected by Audio Resources consisted of 12 Martin Audio W8LC cabinets augmented by eight ground-stacked Ar-Custom DRS18-2 subwoofers on eitehr side of the stage. Four Renkus-Heinz CE153 three-way active cabinets supported by four DRS18-1 subwoofers were used as sidefills. Prowered by a rack of Lab.gruppen fP 3400 amplifiers, loudspeaker management and processing was entrusted to four XTA Electronics DP226 crossovers controlled via a PC tablet using XTA's proprietary AudioCore software and Walkabout Wireless kit. "We have found the XTA kit offers plenty of scope with EQ and boost and the internal headroom is more than adequate for our needs," says Mr. Demoustier. Depsite the fact that the D1 Live console has reduced the demands for outboard equipment, Lexicon PCM91 and Yamaha SPX-990 reverb units were used together with an Avalon SP747 compressor/preamp and a dbx 160SL compressor/limiter at front of house. In addition, guitarist Charlie Burchill relies on a TC Electronic 2290 delay and M2000 multi-effects unit to get his trademark sound.

On stage, another 56-channel DiGiCo D1 console was employed for the monitors, where six sleek Radian MicroWedge 15s powered by a rack of QSC Powerlight 4.0 amplifiers assisted the band. The Minds prefer to use a Shure PSM700 wireless personal monitor system, where the monitor eningeers have come to rely on the 'locate and lock' feature that finds the clearest channel frequency, prevents distortion and minimises the number of antennae required. Together with a Lexicon PCM80 reverb, a TC Electronic 2290 delay and M1 multi-effects units were used on the monitors.

It was the first occasion that Mr. Demoustier and the band had used the services of Audio Resources, and the Belgian FOH engineer felt vindicated in his choice of selection: "They're a very friendly team," he commented. "It's always a little worrying when you assign a team upon recommendation, but that you havent' worked with personally before. You never know exactly what you're getting. Luckily, this crew has been fantasic - Richard Ong and his team have been very professional."

The band played a relatively short set of 90 minutes from the opening salvo of Stay Visible to the closing encores. With the expection of a mid-set lull when many in the crowd chose to sit down, the Glaswegians had rocked the Park. Looking more like a glistening than a glittering prize, singer Jim Kerr was clearnly suffering from the evening's heat and humidity and was soaked in perspiration.

For a band in their 40s, they still retain high energy levels and, although they may not be as athletic as they were in their heyday, the crowd had been served a piece of the finest 1980s rock that a S$70 ticket can buy - down by the waterfront.

Raymond Boey
Pro Audio Asia
July-August 2006

Herts And Essex News have published a rave review of the Audley End gig.

Simple Minds will be playing for ninety minutes when they open for the Rolling Stones in Stuttgart. Normally the Stones opening acts get forty-five minutes.

Simple Minds Prove They are Still Alive And Kicking

Thousands of peple danced the night away in historic Audley End Park to the music of 80s popstars Simple Minds.

And the threatening rain storms held off until the last note had been played.

As the band left the stage and the fireworks started, the heavens opened and the crowds waded out of the grounds in one of the heaviest downpours this summer.

Best known for their 1985 number one hit, Don't You (Forget About Me), the Scottish stalwards thrilled the audience as they helted it out one more time.

Jim Kerr and company's performance also included Alive And Kicking, Waterfront and Promised You A Mircale (sic).

The night ended with a spectacular firework display.

Pam Jenner
Cambridge Evening News
24th July 2006

These pictures of Malcolm Foster playing with the band in Auckland were published on the 19th June. But I've now linked them to larger versions of the pictures - so click on the images below to see a bigger version.

Music Review: Simple Minds/Liverpool Summer Pops

"You people are so lucky," yelled Jim Kerr, flamboyant singer with Glasgow rockers, Simple Minds.

"The home of music, the home of football - does anyone here like Celtic - but above all there's all these beautiful women in Liverpool."

Simple Minds love playing on Merseyside - it's their third gig at the Summer Pops.

The group has tinkered with varying styles over the eyars, from post-punk rock to avant garde and electro, but it was their link with U2 producer Steve Lillywhite in the mid-1980s that signposted the direction they wanted to follow.

And for a fleeting spell they were the kings of stadium rock in an era that produced punch-the-air anthems like Waterfront, Sanctify Yourself and movie soundtrack Don't You (Forget ABout Me). It was also two decades ago.

So the five-piece band fronted by two "originals" in singer Kerr, and guitar player Charlie Burchill, could perhaps be forgiven for embarking on a nostalgia trip.

Thankfully the creative juices have far from run dry and for much of last night's show the audience was mesmerised by a blend of old and new.

There were the classics like See The Lights, All The Things She Said and Ghostdancing, which morphed into Van Morrison's 60s hit Gloria, and songs like the emotive Underneath The Ice from last autumn's album Black And White 050505.

Kerr was relentless throughout, working the stage like an old pro - he was 46 on Sunday - dancing constantly.

It seemed the show would never end and after a run of encores that kicked off with Book Of Brilliant Things and ended with Alive And Kicking, the band finally left the stage. It's a safe bet they will be back again.

Mike Torpey
Liverpool Sunday Times
16th July 2006


To Jamie Sinclair and Emma on the birth of their daughter Jennifer on the 26th July.
All are doing well.

For those who missed Some Sweet Day 06, here's the running order of the show. As you'll see, no part of Simple Minds' thirty year history is left untouched. Thanks to Todd and Aaron for a great show.

7 AM
Spaceface, When Spirits Rise, Waterfront, Book Of Brilliant Things [Live 85], Woman, One Step Closer [Promo Mix], Take A Step Back, Songs For The Tribes, The American, I Wish You Were Here

8 AM
Ghostdancing [Live], See The Lights, Sweat In Bullet, This Time, Home, Sugar, This Is Your Land, Hello I Love You, Hello, Life In A Day

9 AM
Real Life, New Sunshine Morning, Sleeping Girl, Let There Be Love [Edit], Love Song, Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), Glitterball, Cry, Let It All Come Down

10 AM
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) [5:1 Surround Sound Mix], Once Upon A Time [5:1 Surround Sound Mix], For Your Pleasure, Speed Your Love To Me, Disconnected, All The Things She Said, Chelsea Girl [Live], Hunter And The Hunted [Session], War Babies

11 AM
Sanctify Yourself, Hypnotised, Sleeping Girl [Live], Home [Live], Mighty Joe Moon, Up On The Catwalk, Belfast Child, The Jeweller (Part Two), A Life Shot In Black And White, Bird On A Wire

12 PM
Interview with Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes, Someone Somewhere In Summertime [Live] by Four Good Men, Falling by Four Good Men, Kiss Cool by Four Good Men, The Kick Inside Of Me [Session], Promised You A Miracle, Stay Visible [Live], East At Easter [Live]

1 PM
She's A River, The Deep Blue Sea by Mir, White Hot Day, Up On The Catwalk [Live], Love Song [Live], 7 Deadly Sins, Kiss The Ground, Factory, Saturday Girl

2 PM
Soul Crying Out [Live], New Sunrise, Garden Of Hate, The Garden, Lead The Blind, I Travel [Demo], In Every Heaven, See The Lights [Live], Big Sleep [Live]

3 PM
Criminal World, Glittering Prize, Love Song [Demo], Different World (Taormina.ME), Don't You (Forget About Me) [Humate Remix], Colors Fly And Catherine Wheel, All the Things She Said [Live], Homosapian [Malcom Duffy Mix], Kick It In [Unauthorized Mix], Ghostdancing [Extended]

4 PM
Don't You (Forget About Me) [Live], And The Band Played On [Live]/Real Life [Live], Mandela Day, C'Moon Cry Like A Baby, Waterfront [Live], Underneath The Ice [Live], Sign O' The Times, Stand By Love

5 PM
Stranger, White Light White Heat, Oh Jungleland, For What It's Worth, Changeling, Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) [Live], Speed Your Love To Me [Live], If I Had Wings, Home, Street Hassle

6 PM
Interview with Eddie Duffy, The Man Who Sold The World [Remix], She's A River [Duo Mix], Underneath The Ice, Rivers Of Ice

7 PM
Alive And Kicking, Dancing Barefood, Wall Of Love, Hunter And The Hunted, Different World (TAORMINA.ME), Seeing Out The Angel, Sanctify Yourself, War Babies [Bascome Mix], Belfast Child [Live]

8 PM
Aaron's Mega Mix.

9 PM
See The Lights [Extended], Waterfront, Glittering Prize [Live], Great Leap Forward, New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) [Live], Factory [Live], King Is White And In The Crowd [5:1 Surround Sound Mix], The American, Banging On The Door

10 PM
Stranger [London Mix], Traveling Man [Live], Too Much Television, Space, Don't You (Forget About Me) [Rehersal], Let There Be Love [Live], Film Theme, Up On The Catwalk [Live], #4

11 PM
Interview with Eddie Duffy, Glittering Prize, Alive And Kicking, New Warm Skin [Demo], Come a Long Way [5:1 Surround Sound Mix], 30 Frames A Second, New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) by the Utah Saints, Night Music, C Moon Cry Like A Baby

12 AM
See The Lights [Live], Ghostdancing [Extended Remix], I Travel, Waterfront [89 Remix], Home, The Real Life by Raven Maize, Love Will Tear Us Apart, The Kick Inside Of Me, All The Things She Said [Live], Dolphins

Jim was on Capital Gold this morning from 11:15 to 11:45am where he was chatting with Kid Jensen. Did anyone grab a copy? He's still featured on the front page of their website but I can't find an archive of the show. Keep an eye on Kid Jensen's pages - he may put up a recording of the interview.

Simple Minds are coming to the UK to perform four outdoor summer concerts in July and August. The band, who recently headlined the World Cup launch in Berlin on June 7th, originally started their Black And White 050505 World Tour in Dublin on January 30th. They've toured Europe, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and played their first Australian tour in 17 years to sold-out venues and rave reviews.

The band are set to perform the following UK summer shows:

  • Sat July 22: Audley End House / Saffron Walden, Essex
  • Sun July 23: Orange Ashton Court Festival, Bristol
  • Mon July 24: Dock Rock, ExCel Centre / Docklands, London
  • Mon Aug 28: T on the Fringe / Princes Gardens, Edinburgh

Simple Minds' final date on the world tour, 'T on the Fringe', will be filmed for a forthcoming live music DVD release.

To access details of the UK summer concerts, please click on the following web link:

For review tickets, photo passes and interview opportunities please contact:
Peter Noble and Noble PR

Here's a transcription of Eddie's interview with Todd from Some Sweet Day 06:

ED: Just relaxing after the show. So can spend a few minutes for Some Sweet Day.
TR: You're about four or five shows away from being finished with this part of the tour. How's it feel?
ED: It feels great. Everyone's looking forward to a short break. But at the same time we're sad that it's coming to an end for this period. We've been doing this for seven months - eight if you count January and rehearsing and stuff. Mixed feelings about it.

TR: You're having a good tour, the band sounds better.
ED: Yes, absolutely. As the tour goes on, the band gets tighter, more together. It's just a pleasure to do. As you go along you experiment with different things - it's a lot of fun.

TR: You rehearsed a lot of songs for this tour.
ED: A couple of tours back, we had around 85 songs marked and then we brought it down to a possible 65. And ever since then we've been adding to it - about five or six songs per tour. We did do a hell of a lot when we rehearsed in January. A hell of a back catalogue to chose from. So we're lucky in that sense.

TR: You are technically a new guy in the band, even though you've been there six years. You're a generation below them, and grew up watching them. How does it feel to play a song you watched them play.
ED: Yes, certainly in the beginning it was very strange. I grew up in the same street as Jim and Charlie and used to see them going to gigs or going on tour or whatever. And at the age of 10, 11 or 12 was listening to a lot of the early Minds' stuff. And loving it. So I'm one of the ones who really pushes for those early tracks because it was one of the bands I was brought up on. So it's a pleasure bringing those to the table and trying them as a band, and hearing them as a band and then eventually go out and play them to thousands of people.

TR: What's the most difficult Simple Minds song to play?
ED: I guess tracks like Real Life and Banging On The Door. There's a lot going on and a lot to memorize. And a lot of the tracks from that period were played on a five-string bass, and I only play a four. So there's a lot of fiddling and detuning going on. But nothing too difficult - just a case of getting my head around this stuff. It's not so much difficult - it's just a pleasure to play. Some of them have been rolling around my head since I was ten years old. It's kind of second nature now.

TR: I was going to ask what's your favourite song but that would be totally unfair.
ED: It's totally unfair and totally impossible to answer [Laughs] It changes all the time. When we play them live it changes all the time because you'll play something for three or four tours and you'll think its getting staid and want to put it to one side. And then you'll start rehearsing for the next tour and you'll pull it out and you'll rework it, revamp it and all of a sudden it'll be your favourite song again. We're looking forward to doing that during this break, having a chance and having the time to getting about some of the arrangements. Some of the arrangements we've been doing for two or three tours - we want to get them up-to-date, and spruce them up.

TR: Some of Jim's blogs mention writing in hotel rooms. Are you part of that?
ED: There's has been a lot of private, hotel room people doing little ideas here, there and everywhere. And at times, we'd get together at the back of the bus, set up the computers and get some ideas. But that's why there's a definitive end to the tour at the Edinburgh Fringe gig at the end of August because we could've carried on through September and October. It's really difficult to find the time for any collaboration because we've been so busy touring. So it'll be really good to get a couple of weeks break and then we'll be itching to get back into it and back into the songs again. Kind of the way we did the last album - there would be ideas here, there and everywhere. Pull them together and get together as a band and start stripping them back, find out what's good, what's not and start recording them as a band. So I think there's about fourteen or fifteen ideas to get started on. But I'm sure that'll double before the final selection is made.

TR: I'm excited that you're working together whilst recording. You can tell on parts of Black And White 050505 that some parts are live in a room.
ED: My favourite Simple Minds stuff is stuff in the past that has been written like that. And I think, maybe for a while Jim and Charlie went away on their own and worked in a different way. For the last record it was the first time, for a long time, that the band went in as a band and recorded it that way and worked on it that way, thought it out, pulled it apart and got it done. And it was a success. So I'm sure that we will approach the next album the same way.

TR: You mentioned the tour is ending with the T-At-The-Fringe gig and in addition to it being the last show, you're filming it for DVD.
ED: Yeah, there has been talk about it. I know Jim mentioned it in his interview with Billy Sloan, it was on the Simple Minds site as well [see Sunday Mail below]. We'll just have to wait and see. It would certainly be a great end to a great tour. There would be no better time to do it. As you were saying the band are on top form, very tight - should be after seven or eight months! - But we'll see what happens. To be honest, I'm not 100% on that if it's going to be or not. It'll be a pleasant surprise if it does come off. Looking forward to it.

TR: Some time ago there was mention of US dates, but obviously that's not going to happen.
ED: The reason we didn't tour [there], was as I was saying earlier, there was talk of American dates, there was talk of South American dates, there was talk of Canadian dates - I was really looking forward to touring the States because I live there now. And everytime I go back there, a lot of people go "You're in this ... [cuts out]" and I was looking forward to doing that. But everybody was hungry to get about this new album. So there had to be an end. There had to be a stop date. And at the end of August, at that point, those were the dates that had come in. And there was talk of the States, South America but it was a case of "We can do that next time. We can do that anytime. Let's get another record done here and get out and tour the whole thing again". That was the decision that was taken.

TR: Very interesting. Something I'm going to bring up, and I'm not expecting a definitive answer to, is about a box set of early Simple Minds singles that EMI are going to bring out. I wondered if you'd heard anything?
ED: To be honest I haven't heard too much about that so I can't really comment about it. I guess Jim would be the one to talk to about that. I haven't heard anything about it.

And then the tour manager then whisked Eddie away.

We're Alive And Kicking 30 Years On

Simple Minds' Jim Kerr tells how they'll prepare for their 30th anniversary by playing Edinburgh's Princess Street Gardens on August 28th for T On The Fringe

What appealed about playing T on the Fringe?
At first, there was talk about us doing T in the Park. That put the idea of a Scottish festival appearance in our heads. We've never done one before.
THe vibe of T on the Fringe is really special and the amazing location really appealed to us. Thre's also a feeling of coming full circle becuase this will probably be the final date of our year-long world tour.

Wasn't it tempting to do T in the Park instead?
Our new album Black And White 050505 not only did a great job in letting people know Simple Minds are still very much alive, it also reinforced we have a music vitality again.
I'd like to do another album before we stepped on stage at T in the Park. I don't want to go there as a museum act.
With the Black And White 050505 album, even our biggest critics would have to hesitate before writing us off as an 80s stadium band.

Have you been to a gig at Princes Street Gardens?
No, but it's a place I love from my time living in Edinburgh. I'm probably one of the few Scots who's lived in Glasgow and the capital. I love both cities. We go around the world playing great venues - but few have such a spectacular backdrop as Edinburgh Castle.

Is is true you'll be filming the show?
We're planning a live DVD and have been filming as we go along on this world tour. We've got footage from Russia, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe.
Next year will be our 30th anniversary and we want to do something to mark that. So we've been stockpiling on-stage material - everything from sweaty little clubs to beautiful, historic amphitheatres.

Are you surprised Simple Minds have lasted 30 years?
When we formed the group in 1977 we lived for the moment... you were only thinking as far as your next gig. Nothing else seemed more important. I'm well aware we've got a great history but I still can't believe it's 30 years.
Best thing of all though is that everything about the band - from the songs, gigs and our involvement on the Internet - it still feels fresh. We're far from exhausted... where maybe we should be.

What are the highlights of 30 years?
I always single out the Nelson Mandela tribute concerts. It was probably us at our best. Another was our first gig at Satellite City in Glasgow in 1977. We played songs such as Chelsea Girl and Pleasantly Disturbed.
Even then, guitarist Charlie Burchill and myself knew we were going places. Hitting No. 1 in America with Don't You (Forget About Me) was great, too. Very few bands from our neck of the woods achieve that.

Are you writing for a new album?
Things in the band are really buoyant so you tend to float into the next project. We've got another album which has grown out of Black And White... and it wasn't a bunch of leftover songs.
I reckon we've got the foundations for a great new record.

Billy Sloan

Simple Minds frontman 'overwhelmed'

Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr says he's "overwhelmed" that the band is still rocking, nearly 30 years after they formed.

Kerr said the Glasgow rock group have "more energy now" than when they started playing together in 1977, despite going through hard times.

His comments come as the band prepares for four summer gigs in the UK, starting with three outdoor concerts this weekend in Essex, Bristol and London.

Simple Minds return to Scotland for T on the Fringe in Edinburgh on July 28. The gig will be filmed for a forthcoming live music DVD to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary.

Kerr said: "We've got quite a history and quite a story, but three decades seems overwhelming. We could never have imagined when we started the band we were going to go on and on."

The band, who headlined the World Cup launch in Berlin on June 7th, have played to sold-out venues on their Black and White 050505 World Tour, which began in January.

The singer said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing to festival crowds and winning new fans.

Kerr, whose marriage to Emmerdale star Patsy Kensit ended in 1996, said playing at T on the Fringe would make a "special" end to the tour.

"It will have an added dimension, because it's the last date on our tour.

"It will feel like crossing the finishing line of a marathon," he said.


Jim Kerr

Jim Kerr was born in Glasgow. He is the lead singer of the band Simple Minds. When he's not touring, he lives in Sicily.

If I'm in Sicily, I get up at a ridiculously early time, especially for a rock 'n' roller. I usually wake at five. It gradually worked out this way. By midday in Sicily it's boiling hot, so if you want to make the best of the day, it's better to get up early.

Also, I live in a little medieval town, and if you go beyond it, you're into the most beautiful countryside. It's like going back in time. I love to start the day getting up early and going up into the hills. I've alreadys been a walker, or trekker, or hiker, whatever you want to call it. I love it because I get the chance to think. There are no phones, nothing going on. Even work-wise, although you're in the middle of nowhere, you're getting stuff done - mulling over some practical problem or musical idea. Invarialbly, I come out have solved it. But that apart, I'm ecstatic in those kinds of places. The light is wonderful, and last month I was going through these meadows where you canna move for butterflies. It was pretty trippy.

I come back and have about a pint of coffee and eat a mountain of fruit. You get everything here - berries, peaches, plums, all grown here, and there are different fruits for each season.

When you look out on the terrace, there's a fantastic panorama; the centrepiece is obviously Mount Etna, and the sunrise makes it glow pink in the morning. But the best bit is that I have been coming here for 20 years, and... No matter where you live, you usually get that another-day-in-paradise syndrome, when you get bored by it. I've never taken it for granted. I was first captivated with Sicily 20 years ago; now I live here, and I still think it's wonderful.

You'd think that you couldn't but be healthy here, but you can be bloody unhealthy here. You just get on your Vespa and go down to the local bakery and get inot that marzipan and then the croissants, and before you know it, it's pasta time. You could end up Fatty Arbuckle, but you want to be able to wear your new Guicci shirt. Although the Italians don't mind a bit of fat. They pull it off with great aplomb.

A huge part of my life in Sicily is taken up by this hotel in Taormina - me and my business partner built it and opened it two years ago. It's like a villa house-hotel; it's not that big and took about four years to build. My people in Edinburgh - my accountant and others - all told me I was mad, that Sicily was the worst place to invest in and Sicily the worst place in Italy and that I should stop talking rubbish. I listened to them, but decided to ignore them. Now it's doing great. Once I realised that Sicily was becoming home, I wanted to get involved in things.

I usually go to the hotel every day. There's always something to discuss, and then it'll be lunchtime. Even if I say so myself, we've got a really good chef, and because Sicily is an island, the seafood is fantastic. I might have something really simple, like spaghetti with clams or a typically Sicilian fish like swordfish, so yeah, I'm ruined.

I thin siestas are a fantastic idea. It's good to take a couple of hours where the world can go to pot and you can do whatever you want to do. When I get up, usually my afternoons are about music. We recorded our last album here. When I ask the band members to come down here, they enjoy their free time and then in the afternoon we got through ideas. We're always being creative.

We never gave up, but htere was a period when we definintely stepped back. It was like getting blood out of a stone.

If you're going to have a career - ours is nearly 30 years, and in a way that's not a career but a life - you're going to have other things going on. Although I've been blessed to have a life that's been so positive, things aren't always adding up; you're not always on top of your game. You get bored, with yourself and certainly as a band as well. I think we had the dignity and class to know when it wasn't happening and pull back. Now we're touring and enjoying it again. There's pressure involved, but it's a pressure that no only we can handle, but it's in our hands. We're delighted to take it on. That phrase "comeback" doesn't ring true, because that's for people who either packed it up or retired, and we never did. But it's a comeback in terms of the commitment you need to do this well. We shit the door and threw ourselves into it, to record our album. Somebody said to me recently that Simple Minds had a touch of the George Best - you could have had it all. I said, "Hang on a minute - we could have had it all? We sold 30 million records. It wasn't like 'I could have been a condender'. We were one of the bands of our generation.

I suppose Sicily has rubbed off on me quite a bit. I say this because my kds are always saying it to me. (They're grown up and doing their own things in London.) It might be something that I wear that's a wee bit flamboyant and maybe the odd button is a wee bit more open than it would be in Glasgow, a bit of the ol' Engelbert Humperdinck.

It doesn't seem such a big deal down in Sicily, but when I get of the plane in Heathrow, my daughter is mortified. Also, in Sicily, there's a lot of 'When are we going to eat?' We all sit down to eat and we get dressed up to eat, but if you were to do that in Ireland or Scotland, it'd be a pain in the ass.

Little things are big things in Sicily and I think I've come to appreciate it. Anything can be the biggest fucking drama, like whether the pasta is al dente or not, and I'm getting to be the same. I've got the balls to argue with them about the right ingredients for pasta. I say "Fuck off - I'm a Sicilian." I think I'm more passionate about Sicily than the Sicilians. They get a real kick out of the fact that not only do I speak Italian, but by all accoutns I speak it with a very thick Sicilian accent. I'll say something and they'll roll around the floor laughting. Because, I've been herer for such a long time, I think they see me as one of their own. The great thing about here is that, in the evenings, you can sit outside in the cheapest little resturant and have a plate of spaghetti and it's wonderful.

I can't remember my dreams at night. I dream during the day. Although one time, I woke up and I'd been dreaming in Italian.

Ciara Dwyer
Sunday Independent
16th July 2006

Simple Minds go on tour at Audley End

Following a three-year break from touring (sic), Scottish super-band Simple Minds are back and they are coming to Audley End House in July.

The legendary rockers, who have sold more than 30 million albums, are opening the first night of the Music on a Summer Evening concerts, on Saturday July 22.

Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr spoke to The Reporter about touring and the future of the band.

Asked if it felt good to be back on the road playing tracks from the latest album Black And White 050505 after a long break Mr Kerr said: "We'ver early enjoyed touring again. It's just as well really, as this has been a very intensive tour."

"It's been great fun, really satisfying to see people still enjoying our music, and the summer shows are always great."

With the massive world-wide success of the band - they recently returned from a sell-out tour of Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. But having performed in so many countires, just which were their favourite gigs?

"This tour's had a really wide range of venues - we've played everywhere from sweaty rock 'n' roll clubs to in front of the Brandenburg Gate. I enjoy them all - they're obviously all different, but whether you're playing to 10 people or 10,000, you just get up there and do your thing."

Simple Minds' best-known track is probably Don't You (Forget About Me), which topped the charts in the US in 1985.

But does Mr. Kerr enjoy performing the song, 21 years and countless renditions later.

"We've never felt like we're sick of that song," he said. "Sometimes, you see a song in rehearsal and think 'no, I can't do it', but when it comes to playing live, you just get one with it.

"When we play, we don't play for ourselves, we play for the audience, and we kind of hear what we're playing through their ears - experience the gig through them. It doesn't matter to them if we've played the song half-a-million times before, or that we played it somewhere else the previous night - for them, tonight's the night, and we give it all we've got."

British music has moved on a lot in the three decades that Mr Kerr has been playing and I asked him what he thought of the current scene.

He said: "I'm a bit of a traditionalist - I like live bands, people who tour, and in the last year or so, there's been a lot of good stuff about. Anthony and The Johnsons are really good, as are Arcade Fire. Bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Arctic Monkeys have done great things for British music.

Simple Minds' latest album, Black And White 050505 was the band's first release since 2002 and the frontman hinted there would be more to follow.

He said: "I've got a pretty good feeling that we'll be carrying on for a while yet. Sometimes when you finish an album you just feel exhausted, but this one has been really refreshing. I think you'll be hearing more from us."

Saffron Walden Reporter
June 22nd 2006

Here are a few images of Audley End taken last night:

Alive And 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."

For 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
Bristol Evening Post
20th July 2006

This article can also be found the Evening Post's website where you can leave a comment.

Christian Sinn has a pile of Simple Minds goodies for sale. You can view his list (Microsoft Excel format) and/or get in touch with him. (

Thanks to Todd and Aaron for an excellent Some Sweet Day 2006. Guests exclusively interviewed this year were Eddie Duffy, Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes.

And in addition to the 18 solid hours of Simple Minds, Some Sweet Day wouldn't be Some Sweet Day without some digging up some exclusives:

  • The Edinburgh gig will be the last show of the Black And White 050505 tour.
  • The band will return to the studio to work on the new album. Reports vary on the work done so far, ranging from 15 strong ideas, to an almost completed album. It's expected in 2007.
  • There will be no US tour. The band hope to kick off a new tour, next year, in the USA and South America.
  • In the meantime, Four Good Men hope to be touring the USA for a couple of weeks in November.

I missed Eddie's interview but here's a rough transcription of Todd talking with Mick and Derek:

TR: The band Four Good Men sounds like it had organic foundations, with someone talking to someone else and so on.
DF: I had an idea at Christmas, a year and half ago. I met with Ian Donaldson at King Tuts after a gig. The original idea was to put a band together to do a Christmas show, made up of people who weren't gigging at the time. It would pay for our Christmas presents! It spiraled on from there. We seem to be doing lots of big festivals at the moment.

TR: You have a huge back discography to choose from.
DF: We do Someone Somewhere (In Summertime), Waterfront, Belfast Child, Love Song and whatever we feel like. We will be adding more.

TR: You have some new songs. Kiss Cool and Falling. Did they come from jamming together or individual work?
DF: We had a Monday club when we'd write and record. We got about twenty two ideas in about two weeks. We have another two songs which will be coming out in the next month. It's a question of finding studio time between gigging at the moment.

TR: Thanks to the Internet and technology you can just record, announce and release new songs.
DF: We've had about 1500 people a day hitting one of our sites. Loads of people. People are now starting to register - mostly after every gig.
MM: It's cut out the middle men, marketing, advertising costs etc. I think it's fantastic.

Audio: Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) [Live] by Four Good Men.

TR: Mick, you have your own studio, you've recorded some solo work, your studio is where Four Good Men are working. Are you becoming a studio person?
MM: No! The production and recording is independent. We just focus on recording our parts. I just like dealing with the keywords and let someone else produce and engineer.
TR: Rumour has it that'll you'll come to the States for a tour.
DF: Hopefully around the 20th November. We'll do a short tour of two weeks: the east coast, Canada, and then probably three gigs on the west coast.

Audio: Falling by Four Good Men

TR: Derek, you weaved in and out of Simple Minds over the years: both with the Black And White 050505 demos and Neapolis.
DF: It's really nothing to do with me! They ask me to do something then don't tell me when I'm not needed anymore. Neapolis had some really interesting bass lines, really intricate, but they were lost it in the mix - Pete Walsh said Charlie turned them down. [Both laugh]
TR: I saw you on video for the first time during the Neapolis concerts. You look really intense when playing live.
DF: That's me. You believe in what you're doing. Simple Minds was my life at that point, and that was my spirit. Mick's the same.
TR: What lead you to bass?
DF: I started with acoustic guitar, then got a tax rebate when working as an apprentice, so bought an electric guitar. I played lead guitar for years. It was stolen when I was standing in for Simple Minds.
DF: I started playing bass whilst in Spain [in 1977] because the bass player couldn't sing and play bass at the same time. As soon as it was stolen whilst bass playing with Simple Minds, I said "I'll do this then." It was a twist of fate.
TR: Are you the guitar player in Four Good Men?
DF: I play guitar and piano. So I come up with stuff for both. As I did for Propaganda. I play guitar for Four Good Men when recording in the studio.
TR: What are the plans for Four Good Men? Is there an album planned?
DF: I would think so. That would be great.

Audio: Kiss Cool by Four Good Men.

TR: How does you guy demo or practice - is it entirely a jam?
MM: At the moment, we all have other commitments. It's difficult getting everyone together. We exchange files and work like that. We haven't been in a position where we can all jam together yet. Hopefully we can get together and do that.
TR: You were putting up old demos on your website of Mix projects and Simple Minds? Is that still happening?
MM: Yes, I think so, there may be some legal problems which need sorting out. I've got to watch it in case we end up in jail [Both laugh]. I think the "Sons Of Dan" project was interesting - we should grab Brian McGee and write some stuff based on what we did with Steve Hillage and Sons And Fascination - there was a lot of instrumental stuff done there which would still be in sync with what's going on now.
TR: Derek, did you like the box set [Silver Box]?
DF: I haven't heard it. Maybe they'll send me one!
TR: Silver Box is not a chronology - it's has more to do with the live work of the band. The Kick Inside Out Me version was phenomenal.
DF: During the recording [for Sparkle In The Rain], I was slapping the bass with my thumb. My thumb burst and there was blood everywhere. But I just kept on going. Paul McGuinness, U2's manager, was amazed that I just kept on playing.

Audio: Kick In Side Of Me [Session]

TR: Speaking of Sparkle In The Rain and that period what were your memories of New Gold Dream?
DF: We met someone at one of our gigs who was where we wrote Promised You A Miracle and New Gold Dream. In Fife.
MM: Although we can't remember it. We were walking about with chickens and being told we were doing Top Of The Pops. Which sadly has just been given the axe. We want T-shirts saying "We were there. We did Top Of The Pops". And we were quite proud to say we were on Top Of The Pops with Promised You A Miracle.
DF: There are some good stories about New Gold Dream. Not sure you can broadcast them. [Laughs] There was a cook there and we'd ask "What are we having for dinner?" "Chicken with mushrooms" and it was very nice. The next day it was something else with mushrooms. And then tea with mushrooms... they were THOSE mushrooms, use your imagination [Laughs]. So that album was our Sgt. Pepper.

Audio: Promised You A Miracle

TR: I'm told you help out the band when they come back to Scotland. Would you be open for that.
MM: Yeah! I'll help out, different aspects, if they ask me. Don't hold any grudges against the old boys. [Laughs]
DF: No, problems with me. I've helped them out in the past. Absolutely no problems. I was working with them just before the new album.

Greetings fellow fans of the Minds,

Just a quick hello to catch you all up on Thursday's Simple Minds Marathon....

As in years past , I along with Aaron Burke host 18 hours of Simple Minds music, we're looking forward to exclusive talks with Derek and Mick about Four Good Men, and rare tracks you never hear on the radio.

So much more - but you have to tune a great prep to the free show in Italy - you can tune in via realaudio from the station site -

Also, check out the online flyer at

See you on the airwaves and keep dreaming new gold dreams.

Todd R.
Co-Host SSD06


"SIMPLE MINDS are planning a boxset of CD singles which is expected to be part of EMI's singles box series which has already released similar sets from DURAN DURAN and MADNESS. The set will contain a number of individual CD singles, each one containing the original single tracks, b-sides, 12" mixes and bonus tracks. The set is expected to be released by the end of the year."

I haven't been able to verify this box-set yet. Hopefully it'll start right at the beginning with Saints And Sinners and finally sort out the woeful situation with the old Zoom and Arista singles which have yet to be reissued in any form.

Online stream
Online Flyer
Online Marathon Site

The annual Some Sweet Day takes place this Thursday (20th July). Todd's got some great interviews lined up, plus 18 hours of Simple Minds music back-to-back. Don't miss it!

Simple Minds have just announced that they will be playing a free concert at Mostra D'oltremare in Naples, Italy on Thursday July 20th.
The band will take to the stage at 10pm.
A review of the Liverpool show can be found here.


"Chichester is not exactly the place you expect to go to find a major summer festival concert, however the Chichester Rajf have laid on brilliant facilities for this show, the setting is a major hospitality style building set in the middle of a grassy park with bar, food facility and a huge stage with fantastic lighting.

First on was Hugh Cornwell formerly of The Stranglers, most of the audience was of the age to remember them. Hugh's band consisted of drummer Chris Bell and a highly attractive female bass player Caz Campbell. The set consisted of tracks from Hugh's latest album "Beyond Elysian Fields." After many shouts from the crowd for Stranglers songs Hugh gave the audience what they wanted with brilliant versions of "Peaches" and "No More Heroes" which even an included an added line about the recent incident in the world cup final involving Zinedine Zidane. After about an hour Hugh and the band left the stage with the audience begging for more, however due to time restrictions they could not return, which was a great shame as they had provided excellent entertainment.

The lights dimmed the crowd surged forward and Simple Minds hit the stage. They opened with 3 tracks from their latest album "Stay Visible", "Home" and "Different World". Jim Kerr has been in the music business a very long time and really knows how to deal with an audience. Within a few minutes of hitting the stage Jim had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands. "Let me see your hands" cried Jim and the whole of the Chichester crowd had their hands above their heads clapping to the rhythm to the music.

As the show went on it seemed to step up a pace with Simple Minds playing some of their older and more well known tracks. During 1986 single "Ghostdancing" Jim proceeded to add classic Van Morrison track "Gloria" and getting the audience chanting G-l-o-r-i-a. The highlight of the show must have been the further audience participation during "Don't you (Forget about Me)", every person in the room was singing along to their biggest hit, the atmosphere was amazing, Jim stood on the stage holding out his microphone begging the crowd to sing along, which of course they did with pleasure.

Classic Simple Minds' tracks "Book of Brilliant Things" , "New Gold Dream" and "Alive and Kicking" were played during the encores, they sounded as fresh as they did when they were first released. The show all too quickly came to a close with all the band coming to the front of the stage to take their bows, a very impressive and emotional night from an amazing live band who really know how to please."

Dave Chinery

Pictures from the Bospop festival can be found here.

I've been talking with Todd and Some Sweet Day 2006 will be as good as previous years. He's got an excellent line-up of guests to talk to, so in addition to 18 hours of Simple Minds, you'll get several exclusive interviews as well.

Promos for the event will be on-line soon.

Live tracks from the current tour
Rare tracks not heard on radio!
Exclusive interviews
18 hours!
Todd! Aaron!
And so much more.
requests - 440-826-7846 (day of show) or
The Deep Blue Sea by Mir featuring Jim Kerr was released in The Netherlands on the 16th June. Copies can be purchased from on-line shops in Europe (e.g. through, Esprit or eBay (although copies are fetching high prices on the auction site).

The two track CD in a picture card sleeve features the full song and an instrumental version of the track.

The song can also be downloaded from Greenpeace's website for €1,50 (all proceeds will go to Greenpeace)

See Mir's site for further information.

With the appearance of Live Bundle #5 last week, the whole of the Ancienne Belgique concert is now available for download. This is an historic first for Simple Minds: the first time an entire gig has been released.

With the additions of bonus interview footage, these bundles are well worth downloading, and I look forward to seeing, and hearing, what will be in future packages.

The full download discography is here.

The video of Four Good Men performing Kiss Cool (which I believe is their first single) can be seen here.

Mix Records has just released its new Music Downloads section where several tracks can be purchased for as little as 0.79p (or equivalent in all other currencies worldwide). This includes first release singles of Scottish Supergroup Four Good Men and full albums / singles from the current Mix Records shop.

Mix will soon be releasing downloadable Music Ringtones direct to both your computer and mobile.

Best wishes for summer and thank you for your continued support,
The Mix Records Team

More answers have been transcribed from the mysterious Black And White 050505 Interview CD: Where is home and why Jim chose to live in Sicily.

It turned out that the archive performance (see 24th June below) was from 1997, not 1982. This was a mistake printed in the TV schedule guide. Still, it was definintely worth watching.

German digital TV channel "Eins Festival" will broadcast a "Rockpalast" concert of a Simple Minds concert from the 6th June 1982 which was filmed at Cologne. It starts tonight at 11:50PM German time. The show is about 90 minutes in length.

Simple Minds will be supporting The Rolling Stones at their Stuttgart gig on the 3rd August.

Confirmation can be found on the Rolling Stones' official website. Tickets are available from

In a review published last month Close Up: Simple Minds Return To NZ hearlded the band's return to New Zealand.

It was at that gig in Auckland, that Malcolm Foster joined the band on stage. Malcolm was Simple Minds bass player from 1989 through to 1995, and rejoined the group for a rendition of Book Of Brilliant Things. These photos below show him on stage:

Fans in Australia should keep an eye on the "World Cup Footy Show Spectacular" tomorrow night (18th June). Being broadcast at 8:30pm WAST on WIN Television Western Australia, the show is going to feature Simple Minds. (This will probably be the ZDF footage but worth checking out).

The Liverpool Echo interview has been published. Click here to read how Jim's supporting England for the World Cup, the background behind Don't You (Forget About Me) and playing at Liverpool.

Mir's The Deep Blue Sea which features Jim was released yesterday. The full video can be watched on Mir's site.

No information yet about a CD release, but I suspect it'll only be available in The Netherlands.

One for fans in Liverpool: apparently the "Liverpool Echo" are featuring an 'exclusive' Simple Minds interview tomorrow (16/6/6).

Worth checking out.

Not sure if it'll be on their website: (but again worth checking).

I was doing a bit of web surfing and found your Simple Minds website. After seeing their Sydney concert at the State Theatre two weeks ago, I wanted to take this opportunity to relay my thoughts (if I may) about their gig.

It was a truly memorable show and the venue was just perfect to see them perform up close and personal. Like myself, it was evident these were ardent fans who grew up with the band since the late 70s - when the music started, the atmosphere seemed and felt like a reunion between old friends, comfortable in each other's company and eager to remember days gone and yet eager to understand where we have been since.

When the band entered the stage, Jim Kerr's genuine from-the-heart words about being back in Sydney was sent as if he was talking personally to each person in the audience. It was a sincere prelude to a most thrilling performance. Their music maintains a resonance and relevance since their heyday that visibly stirs emotions for the way love and peace should be pursued.

I would like to thank Simple Minds for coming to Sydney after such a long time and creating a lasting memory that I will always treasure. I just hope and pray that I may again see my old friends.

Robin DeZilva
Simple Minds Life Fan
Sydney, Australia

Big update on Dream Giver Redux: Sparkle In The Rain: album, singles, videos, family tree, lyrics and more.

Jim was in yesterday's The Observer talking about travel. The on-line version of the interview can be found here.

The Four Good Men website now features live videos of the guys in rehearsal and a link to the new recordings.

Sample Minds playing at THE WORLD CUP!
Roncalli Platz, Cologne - Friday 30th June 2006

Sample Minds (the Simple Minds tribute band) are delighted to announce a new gig to be held as part of the World Cup Quarter Final celebrations in Cologne.

"One day we'll play in this square!" said Steve as the band spent an afternoon chilling in the beautiful city of Cologne during 2003.

Well, the prophesy has come true. The Roncalli Platz is hosting live broadcasts of the two World Cup quarter finals - with Sample Minds playing for an hour and a half in the middle. (this set could be cut shorter if the 1st quarter final goes into extra time).

So if all goes to plan, the band will be on stage from 19:15 to 21:00.

This is a massive gig for Sample Minds (they are still debating whether the promoters think they've booked the 'real' Simple Minds!).

The only questions (apart from if there'll be enough toilet paper in the dressing room) is: Will Pele be there? And is he is a big 'Waterfront' fan?!

Legendary Scots rockers Simple Minds are set to perform a rare outdoor concert in Edinburgh on Monday August 28 at this year's T On The Fringe festival. Set at the foot of the stunning Edinburgh Castle in Princess Street Gardens, the concert marks the return of one of Scotland's biggest music exports.

Tickets go on sale Friday June 9th at 9am i.e. TODAY

Online announcement:

The T On The Fringe concert follows hot on the heels of the bands' headline performance at the World Cup Launch at last night's Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, two days before the first big match.

Simple Minds have also announced two more UK summer concerts; Chichester RAJF Festival (West Sussex, July 12), and the Orange Ashton Court Festival (Somerset, July 23).

For further info, contact Peter Noble

Simple Minds Have Still Got It

Simple Minds are currently touring Australia in support of their latest, (and greatest for a while) album, Black And White 050505.

They hit Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on Friday night to a packed out crowd who were standing and dancing before the band had even walked on stage.

Opening with 050505 opener Stay Visible, the band launched into a two hour extravaganza of hits and… well to be honest… a few misses.

Not surprisingly Don’t You (Forget About Me) earned the band a wild reaction and despite the band’s almost deafening volume the audience could still clearly be heard singing over the top.

There was the odd cringe-worthy moment, like Ghostdancing blending into Gloria, but moments like the grand finale (after two encores) Alive And Kicking made up for any wrong doing in the set.

Jim Kerr’s voice is still as powerful as ever, and while at times he looked like a drunken dad singing karaoke to the disdain of his horrified children, he can put on quite a show for someone who turns 47 this year.

This was one of the most energetic shows the Palais theatre would have ever seen and despite the frightening ticket prices, and the occasional “wtf?” moment Simple Minds are one of the hottest pop bands around today.

Tim Cashmere
15th May 2006

The band's gig in Bonn was recently reviewed in the German paper Bonner General-Anzeiger. Click on the image for a full sized legible version of the article.

Simple Minds will be playing the Ashton Court Festival, Bristol, UK on the 23rd July (with The Go! Team as support). Check out for more details.

And here's Reuters take on Simple Minds' playing the opening party tomorrow.

Recorded a month ago before the Australian leg of the tour, ABC's website features an interview between Jim and 720 Afternoon's Bernadette Young.

© Bob Thacker 2006

It's official - Simple Minds are set to kick-off the World Cup at a massive party in Berlin. The Scots rockers will headline at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on June 7th - two days before the first match. The German capital is throwing a party to start a month-long cultural festival that runs alongside the World Cup.

For the full online press release click here: "Simple Minds are football mad, so this will be the best gig in the world for them," says a spokesperson for the band. "It comes at a great time in the band's career - they will also be performing a series of outdoor music festivals all over Europe this summer." The band will perform their classic song Don't You (Forget About Me), as well as Home, from last year's critically acclaimed album Black And White 050505.

Simple Minds' play the following UK outdoor concerts: Dock Rock, Liverpool Summer Pops & Audley End House:

The party will be broadcast on German television, ZDF. The program, called "Die grosse Fan-Party", will be aired between 21:00 and 22:45 German time. It's a World Championship special.

Please could someone record it and stream it online. This is an official request.

This praising review of Simple Minds' older material was published in The Sunday Times (4th June).

Get on Down: Simple Minds

Before visions of stadium-filling stardom filled their heads and swallowed them whole, Jim Kerr and co produced wonderful, angular Euro synth-rock; their 1979-82 albums are classics of the genre. The band kick off the World Cup with a show in Berlin on June 7, and play three British festivals in July.

  1. The American Popping bass, chattering synth, wailing guitar, daft Kerr lyric: unalloyed pleasure.
  2. Seeing out the Angel Starkly monochromatic, a dark Teutonic beauty from Sons and Fascination.
  3. Glittering Prize Their second Top 20 hit, from the great New Gold Dream.
  4. I Travel The Empires and Dance standout, Kerr as the detached, nomadic observer.
  5. Theme for Great Cities A Low/Heroes-indebted instrumental, steel-and-glass cities flashing by on the autobahn.
  6. Life in a Day Their debut’s title track sets out their electro stall.
  7. 70 Cities as Love Brings the Fall Always with the cities: what’s wrong with the countryside?
  8. Promised You a Miracle Their biggest pre-bombast hit, before the bludgeon took over.
  9. Sweat in Bullet Dotty title, classic electro-funk song, so sharp you could cut yourself on it.
  10. Don’t You (Forget About Me) Oh all right, then. All together now: “Heh, heh, heh, haaay!”

Dan Cairns
Sunday Times
4th June 2006

The issues with the download of the excellent Live Bundle #3 have now been resolved:

Dear TuneTribe Customer,

Recently we have had a technical problem with our site's sales to the Netherlands and Belgium territories.

If you have experienced difficulties in purchasing the Simple Minds live exclusive bundle 03, then you will be pleased to hear that this has now been fixed and you should have no more problems purchasing it.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Kind Regards,
The TuneTribe Team

The Deep Blue Sea by Mir duetting with Jim will be released to radio at the end of May. The single is expected in the shops for the second week of June, with her album released in July.

Alive And Kicking in Berlin

Simple Minds are set to kick-off the World Cup at a massive party in Berlin.

The Scots rockers have been booked to headline at the Brandenburg Gate on June 7 - two days before the first match.

The German capital is throwing a party to start a month-long cultural festival that runs alongside the World Cup.

Irish heartthrob Ronan Keating and Canadian pop star Nelly Furtado will also perform.

The band were last night returning from 10 days in Australia and New Zealand.

But a spokesman said: "They are all football daft, so this will be the best gig in the world for them."

"It comes at a great time for them as they are already due in Europe for a series of concerts."

"They have remained popular but you could never anticipate something as stratospheric as this happening."

Simple Minds were stadium rockers in the 1980s and still play to crowds of 10,000 on the continent.

Their short set will include classic track Don't You (Forget About Me), as well as Home, from last year's album Black And White 050505.

In January, FIFA cancelled a gala that had been scheduled for June 7, at the Olympic Stadium, citing potential problems in readying the pitch for the opening game.

Simple Minds are playing a FIFA gig in Gelsenkirchen on June 8.

The band, featuring original members, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, recently hired German producer DJ and remixer Mousse T to work with them.

Mark McGivern
Daily Record
18th May 2006

The gig at Den Atelier, Luxembourg, originally scheduled for the 7th June, has been moved to the 9th June.

Live Bundle #3 has just been released and includes double the number of live tracks and interviews than the previous bundles.

Some people are experiencing problems purchasing this bundle. Hopefully these technical issues will be sorted out soon.

Check out its page in the discography for more information.

To download it directly, click here.

Latest appearances in the papers:

© Bob Thacker 2006

Two more questions have been transcribed from the Black And White Promo Interview including the background behind Stay Visible.

The single track promos of The Jeweller (Part Two) are as rare as hens' teeth. However, Clif has managed to track down several copies, and is offering them up for swaps. Do you have any of the following?

  • Alive And Kicking tour AAA laminated pass.
  • Glitterball Canadian promotional CD (DPRO-1967).
  • War Babies promotional video with custom colour sleeve.
  • Killing Andy Warhol Polish postcard set of the entire Neapolis album
  • Neapolis promotional grey fleece jacket with green embroidered Simple Minds logo.

If you can help out, contact Clif and you could get yourself an ultra-rare Jeweller (Part Two) promo.

And no definite news about the Different World [TAORMINA.ME] single yet. With remixes by Mousse-T and So Phat! in the bag and single track promos circulating, it should be soon. The record company says the summer - which makes sense if they decide to tie it in with the World Cup appearance.

Burswood Theatre

It is a tricky line for a band to dance on. Do you bombard your audience with new material because you have a captive audience or concentrate on the songs which made you famous and probably brought them to the show in the first place?

Glaswegians Simple Minds understand the concept very well. The opening of their first Australian tour for 16 years made it clear that they knew what pleases a crowd. And, in turn, it was their radio classics which gave a frisson to the show.

Singer Jim Kerr is scarily limber – from the moment the lights went up he gave it 110 per cent, as if to make up for lost time. He had a confident and assured band behind him, the four of whom rarely took the spotlight, leaving Kerr to be the sole focus. A commensurate showman, Kerr never stopped moving and dancing. He played to the devoted room like it was a packed Subiaco oval. Admittedly, while the whole lassoing thing might have worked as a great signature move in the 80s, these days it belongs more in a mardi gras. But it was a perfect snapshot of rock days past.

And the largely older crowd of punters not often seen at rock shows partied hard. They cheered from the beginning, danced all through the set, sang along at the top of their lungs and threw their hands in the air at the right moments.

The electro-rock set kicked off with Stay Visible and Home but really hit its stride with Love Song. Waterfront was a cool highlight as was Sanctify Yourself when a huge wave of synths rolled over the crowd creating some intense moments. At the same time, the pop nature of the songs just makes you want to bop along. Let There Be Love showed off a groove, She’s A River proved to be quite muscular and they didn’t miss out on All The Things She Said, See The Lights or Someone Somewhere (in Summertime).

All these songs are testament to the infiltration Simple Minds have had on pop culture – they are still being flogged on commercial radio. Songs become classics for a reason and at the time of their greatest success Simple Minds were certainly one of the bands writing perfect pop songs combining great melodies with lyrics that never leave you.

So it came as no surprise that the most amazing and satisfying song of the night was the undeniable classic Don’t You (Forget About Me) – the theme to the classis 80s movie, The Breakfast Club. The crowd lapped it up, sang along in the chorus and were unwilling to let it finish, revelling in one of pops sexiest four minutes.

When the set finished with the exquisite Belfast Child, it didn’t feel like there was anywhere to go for the encores. But there are always a few songs you forget about and in the two encores, they included Glittering Prize and the high energy and almost raved-out New Gold Dream. The final song Alive and Kicking, left the audience in no doubt that Simple Minds are doing just that. The audience went home satisfied – maybe even sanctified.

Ara Jansen
The Western Australian
3rd May 2006

The set-list has been changing slightly. Now more of a greatest hits package, Ghostdancing has now appeared. But the second night at Sydney brought back The Jeweller (Part Two), Speed Your Love To Me and Hypnotised so it seems the song are being cycled more.

Set-lists are being added to the tour page.

They've also been getting rave reviews from the Australian press. The Sydney Morning Herald wrote a rave review of the State Theatre gig of the 7th. Perth similarly got an excellent review in the respected The Australian.

More dates have been added to the tour:

  • Chichester RAJF, Chicester, UK on the 12th July. Tickets are available through the event's website.
  • Galway Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland on the 26th July. Tickets went on sale today through
  • And other trip to Spain: Plaza De Toros, Estepona, Malaga, Spain for the 17th August.

No Hard Feelings

"Five or six years ago," Jim Kerr says, "I was doubtful whether we had another song in us." After all, by that time, '80s music was only ever mentioned with a sneer, and Simple Minds, the band Kerr had founded with Glasgow school-mate Charlie Burchill, seemed like ancient history.

And then, slowly, people remembered there was more to the '80s than horrid hair and even worse video clips on MTV.

Kerr couldn't help but notice, especially since his band had sold 30 million records and was at the top of the tree in that decade.

"The last couple of years there have been half a dozen new bands that have gained a lot of prominence and they haven't been afraid to be fans of the '80s," Kerr says, talking through a tropical rainstorm on a Bali stopover. "Let's face it, it's a much-maligned decade." No hard feelings. He's chuckling as he says it.

"Whenever anyone spoke about the '80s it would usually be some TV retrospective, and they wouldn't show The Joshua Tree, wouldn't mention The Police or great albums by Bruce Springsteen. They would show Bananarama or A Flock of Seagulls, the hair and the make-up.

"And that was the '80s for some people. But in truth, people will always write great songs, and the generation that comes after is always going to take an axe to it because they want their own moment in time."

With other survivors like New Order and Echo and the Bunnymen showing themselves in rude good health in the studio, Kerr and Burchill set themselves a clear challenge. Get writing, get playing and get back to the studio with the kind of vigour they applied to hit albums such as New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain.

It worked. It's all there on their latest, Black and White 050505, which arrives with all the old drama and tension in place and the kind of reviews which shows it really is all right to be Simple Minds again. The band continued through the '90s, but the grand scale of their music just didn't seem to fit with the times. "We were starting to implode, and Michael McNeil, who was a founder member, no longer wanted the lifestyle," Kerr says. "That was a huge loss and it really knocked us."

But Kerr and Burchill are resilient characters. They've been friends since they were eight. "We're passionate types," Kerr says. "It's interesting that in many ways we are so alike. We're from the same street, same school, same religion, same values, were born at the same time, yet we're very different people. "It creates a nice friction. Sometimes the friction can be a pain, quite frankly, but it's nice in the sense that it's rarely dull and bland. "We can be arguing to the point where we are just about to kill each other. Then some outsider will throw in their penny and Charlie and I will say simultaneously, 'What's it got to do with you?' "

One thing certain to fire them up is asking, "Why bother?"

"I spoke to someone this morning .I've just done a three-month tour but he sounded much more tired than I am. He said, 'You've got all this money, why wouldn't you want to sit on the beach and drink champagne?' "I said, 'I cannae get your point? Why does a shark swim?' This is what we do. If we've been rewarded along the way, thanks very much, but that's not what it's about. Sitting on the beach is for lottery winners. I can't retire as long as I've got a song in my head and new ones popping up."

And after so many years of swimming against the tide, they are enjoying swimming with it again. Take a look at the tour diary in their website and see how many sold-out shows they have played this year.

"It just feels good, we're up for it. And now we're not working with that over-riding pressure that you have when you are the big shot. But it's pressure enough that every night we feel like we are fighting for our reputation. "We don't want people to come along and go, 'It's good to see them but it's not what it was'. We want them to go, 'Jesus Christ, that's a hell of a band!"

Noel Mengel
Brisbane Courier Mail
6th May 2006

And another one for the collectors: full details of the extremely rare Different World [TAROMINA.ME] promo CDs which are circulating.

Dream Giver Redux has been updated with the single's discography from New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

The rather surreal process of transcribing just Jim's answers to several questions continues with the generic Black And White interview

A FEW GOOD MEN now fourgoodmen

Another triumphant gig on Sunday 30th of April 06 for the newly re-named fourgoodmen at Big In Falkirk Scotland’s National Street Arts Festival, it proved a massive hit as crowds in excess of 100,000 people flocked to Callendar Park, Falkirk for the two-day Festival.

The new website is now up and running with loads of videos and music going to be added in the next few weeks its well worth checking out. And don’t forget to join in on the message board where you can discuss the music or anything you want with the band!!!

For more info on the name change, the new songs, gigs and more log on to

Simple Minds had made a triumphant return to the far east and Australia. After playing Hong Kong and Singapore, the band have started their string of dates across Australia - the first for almost 15 years.

The set-list has changed slightly with the emphasis moving towards their mainstream hits; Let There Be Love and Sanctify Yourself have now appeared for the first time.

(Not that anyone's worried about that. The Australian fans are over the moon that the band are back!).

© Bob Thacker 2006

Live Bundle #2 is now available for download and includes three live songs (All The Things She Said, Underneath The Ice and Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel) along with two video interviews where the band discuss their first band's they saw, and the reasons they picked up instruments in the first place.

One for the collectors: full details of the extremely rare The Jeweller (Part Two) promo CDs which are circulating.

And after a brief break the tour continues with the band playing Hong Kong, Singapore and, finally, after years of waiting, Australia. Please send in any reviews, cuttings, set-lists and/or photos. Thanks!

I've also been bringing the tour page up-to-date. The concerts in Greece were changed at the last moment due to public demand: instead of playing two nights at Club 22 in Athens, they played one night at the Athens Arena instead. Theme For Great Cities made a welcome return to the set-list, and the crowd at the Principles Club were so enthusiastic that Glittering Prize was added to the encores at the last minute, so the band played seven extra tracks instead of six.

Does anyone have the set-lists for the following gigs: Saku Arena, Tallinn, Estonia (4th April); Zetra Arena, Zetra, Sarajevo (10th April) and Skopje, Macedonia (12th April)?

It's on! The Simple Minds marathon Some Sweet Day 06 hosted by Todd Richards and Aaron Burke will be broadcast on 20th July 2006.

More details about the forthcoming Different World (TAORMINA.ME) single are starting to surface. Along with the remix by Mousse-T will be two remixes by So Phat!. One is described as a "Trance/80s/Disco" (read 'Classic 80s') whilst the other is targetted at the clubs (read 'contemporary').

Different World (TAORMINA.ME) was not the first choice for the third single. Promos for The Jeweller (Part Two) are circulating. They feature the album and edit of the track with unique artwork (Sanctuary SANPX 484). One for the hardcore collectors.

The next two questions from the generic Black And White interview have been transcribed: Jim talks about the Cry album and what it meant for the band, and details how they approached Black And White 050505.

The Live Bundle #1 has quietly changed: the Home live video has been replaced with another interview with the band. This time everyone's been asked where they enjoy playing live the most, backed by a live version of New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

Those who've already obtained the bundle should be able to download this new version at no extra charge.

It isn't known if the live version of Home will be made available again.

The Tracks who recently recorded their album at Mick MacNeil's studios are launching their new album at Oran Mor (in Glasgow's West End) on the 5th May.

Mick contribued to the album by adding his "Hammond magic" to some of the songs. He's also asked if he can play with the band on the launch night. So Mick will be there.

Tickets cost £10 and details are available from If you mention Dream Giver in your mail, you'll be reserved tickets on the door at at half price!

Doors open at 7:30 PM, and the band will be on stage before 9:00 PM.

The Tracks who recently recorded their album at Mick MacNeil's studios are launching their new album at Oran Mor (in Glasgow's West End) on the 5th May.

Mick contribued to the album by adding his "Hammond magic" to some of the songs. He's also asked if he can play with the band on the launch night. So Mick will be there.

Tickets cost £10 - (and I'm going to find out where you can get them from!)

Italian tribute band The Blowup are back and are playing in the next couple of days:

  • 21st April "Notti di plenilunio" (Rutigliano - Italy) Starting 22.00 - admission 5€
  • 23rd April "City-Park" (Capurso - Italy). Starting 11.00 (!!!) - free entrance

The band will also have a new website online soon, have been working on their own new original material (some of which will be played live at these new gigs) and expect to release their debut album of all new, original songs this December.

I've been pressing on with the generic Black And White interview with Jim and I've now transcribed the next two questions.

Black And White Live Bundle #1 was released yesterday, the first official live recordings of the band released since 1995 (those being the live B-side of Hynpotised, although there were archival releases on Live And Rare and Silver Box).

For this reason alone, they're definitely worth purchasing, and represent great value for money. It's fantastic that Simple Minds are now releasing new material this way.

However, would it be possible to let us know where these recordings came from? Thanks!

(We know the live video of Home was shot at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium but that was only because the venue could be identified).

Other points about the download:
1. You can get it directly from
2. You'll need a credit card or PayPal account.
3. The download is 47.79MB - so you'll definitely need broadband.

"I was to the concert yesterday In St Petersburg. A lot of people made the road - as I did - from Moscow. The concert hall was pretty packed. As usual in Russia, the crowd was quiet at the beginning but Jim made everything he could to make people stand up and dancing."

"I was right in the front row and Jim was excellent. People reacted then better during the second part of the gig. I am pretty sure that 80% of the public came just because of the name of Simple Minds. Most of them had listen maybe two or three songs before. Anyway, Jim even went down into the crowd. Good recation of the public."

"They made the show shorter than the offical track list (see photo). They didn't play "Seeing Out The Angel", nor "Glittering Prize". I was a bit frustrated. But not for long : Jim and Charlie met the real fans at the exit and we had a 10 minutes chat. Jim confirmed me that the next album is on progress and is going to be in the same vein as "Black And White 050505", but stronger, more powerful. Charlie confirmed they should get into the studio in November for recording. As I was the craziest fan yestreday (I guess) and standing right in front of him, Jim asked me after the concert "So you know all the songs?". First time I was talking to him. Really a nice guy." - Sebastien

As the tour continues, the set-list has settled down and the combinations and permutations of songs has now become apparent. But there are still surprises: She's A River has returned, whilst Dolphins and Belfast Child vie for position as the closing number of the main set.

Particularly grueling were the consecutive nights at Finland, Russia, Estonia and Lithuania. To protect Jim's voice, the encores were kept short on those nights, which is why Seeing Out The Angel and Glittering Prize disappeared from the running order.

The group will shortly have a break from the tour with their last European show in Greece. After twelve days, the tour will continue in Hong Kong.

© Bob Thacker 2006

Despite being a charity single, and despite hardly any promotion whatsoever, Tribute To Jinky climbed to 28 in the UK singles chart.

Simon Reynold's excellent post-punk history Rip It Up And Start Again has now been published in America. Check out this edition of the book on

Four Good Men are currently recording their debut single with Brian McGee guesting on drums. And Kenny Hyslop turned up as well. A picture of Derek with Simple Minds' first and second drummers can be found on his blog site.

The new single Different World [Taormina.Me] will shortly be released in Germany and Italy. It is expected that a Mousse-T remix of the title track will be included in the release.

One track promos are already starting to circulate.

A generic interview with Jim has just turned up which includes information about the band and the recording of Black And White 050505. I've started to transcribe it here with the answer to the first question.

Simple Minds recently played Stranger on a 'retro' German TV show. It's now available on-line, but you'll have to register with RTL to download it.

To register with RTL use "Neu anmelden" at the bottom of the menus on the left hand side of the page.

After registration, click on "Musik", then on the photo with the "Beste Rockstars" caption, click on the same photo on the next page, and then scroll down where there will be a link to the video.

Or, if you've already registered, this is a direct link.

I spoke to Brian McGee today. I asked if he would like to contribute to the new recordings, possibly on our first single. He said yes. Ian, Bruce, Mick and I are delighted. It will be a 'cameo role' without the codpiece. Three original Simple Minds on our first record can't be a bad thing. Smiley has already recorded his parts and Malc Button is primed and ready for his contribution. We may see guest appearances by H2o and Big Country members sometime in the future. We have had live recordings mastered by Tony Butler, at his mastering studio in the South of England. Sounds killer.!!!!

Derek Forbes

It's been reported on Main-Rheiner that Simple Minds will be opening the Jazz And Joy festival in Worms, Germany on the 14th July.

A translation of part of the article reads: "Yesterday evening the organization team presented the program. They laid it upon the successful mixture of big musical personalities and the special atmosphere of historical venues. The Scottish cult band Simple Minds will play the big stage in front of the city hall on Friday, July 14, to kick off the event. They scored big hits with songs as "Don’t You (Forget About Me)" and "Belfast Child". Jim Kerr and his band present their new album, “Black and White 050505”, which they are currently on tour with. Ticket sale for the extra show starts today."

"The art director of "Jazz & Joy", Stefan Traub, sounds enthusiastic: "Simple Minds are to play in their original line-up, and that makes the concert so special. They’ll present their typical sound of anthemic rock and pop elements. The successful mixture of songs from their new album and their hits will electrify old and new fans."

(Although I wouldn't believe the comment about the 'original line-up').

Also in Germany, another gig has been announced, this time the Braunschweig, Feldschlößchen Bühne, on August 25th. Tickets are already on sale.

And a treat for those in Sweden: Simple Minds will be playing a free concert in Gotaplatsen, Gothenburg on the 10th August.

© Bob Thacker 2006

sample MINDS (the Simple Minds tribute band) are delighted to announce their first live date of 2006.


Doors Open at 20:30
Admission is 10 Euros in advance and 13 Euros on the door.
Tickets can be ordered on-line at:

More details about the venue can be found at:
Sonic Club
Nvtten-Br|der-Wallstr. 21
D-59494 Soest

Naturally, the band are very excited about this gig and have begun rehearsing a collection of 20+ songs. Included in the set selection are all the hits and a few songs that the band have not attempted live before - including selections from Simple Minds' stunning new album, Black And White 050505.


After the tragic death of Jimmy Johnstone, a charity single is being released on the 27th March (this Monday).

It features Simple Minds performing Dirty Old Town with Jimmy and Jim sharing lyrics. It was recorded during the filming of Lord of the Wing, a biographical film documentary about the Scottish footballing great.

The second track on the CD, entitled Lord Of The Wing, is performed by John McLaughlin, the Scots songwriter who has written lyrics for Westlife and formed the boy band Busted.

The third track, entitled Commeroration (Jinky's Farewell), is performed by Beannacht, written by Laura McGhee in honour of Jimmy Johnstone, after the news of his passing.

All the artists involved offered their services for free to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. All proceeds of the single will go to the Jimmy Johnstone Tribute Fund.

The single will be available through HMV and Virgin in Scotland and major cities in the UK. It will also be available through the official website

"So little is known about this dreadful disease and what causes it, so I wanted to raise money for care and research into MND, and to help raise awareness" - Jimmy Johnstone

Italian paper Corriere Della Sera published this review/history of Simple Minds on the 21st March 2006. Click on the image above to view the legible copy (in Italian).

(I have no idea why Derek's in the picture on the right).

Simple Minds will be playing Cantanhede, Portugal on the 29th July. Information about the event is expected on its website soon.

The following is an excellent review of the Verona concert. The ticket and set-list are from the Pordenone show the next night

Simple Minds: Heart And Nostalgia

An intense performance from the Scottish band at Palasport, Verona. Among the tracks from the eighties and those from Black And white 050505, this was an event where the audience seemed to represent the past while Kerr and co. seem to be projected towards the future. Two hours of music were followed by a double series of encores

The stage was small, too small for them and the audience (of 3000) which was a quarter of that which saw them in the Arena in 1989. The commitment of Simple Minds, and Jim Kerr’s heart are still however great, with a hint of tears coming to the eyes of nostalgic souls in the audience. Cynics might say any dampness around the eyes was sweat from the heat n Verona’s Palazzo Dello Sport that was the venue for the Scottish band’s concert.

As promised by Kerr, the evening’s numbers included almost the whole of the new album, Black And white 050505, leaving out only the song that gives the album and the tour its title and Kiss The Ground. On the other hand, Simple Minds’ back catalogue, from April 1979 to today includes dozens of albums and any number of songs to pick from, put together a quality and moving concert. Apart from any elements of nostalgia it has to be said that yesterday’s concert was that of a band with global intent, including a new albums (Kerr et al. are already recording a new CD) and future tours.

At the end of the day, apart from some of the legendary songs of the eighties, this was in no way an exercise in nostalgia. Apart, of course, from the men and women themselves below the stage, mostly couples around 40, very few adolescents (who usually make up the greater part of the audience here in rock and pop concerts) and no kids. Simple Minds’ music is stuff for grown ups. To some extent this is understandable, but in other ways it is ironic. That is because today’s youngsters’ bands (like The Killers, The Bravery...) would kill to have such scintillating synthesiser chords like those on Waterfront. Franz Ferdinand, loved by those in their twenties, are still to write something danceable and sophisticated like Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime). None of the present crop of British groups has succeeded in publishing a single world-wide smash like Don't You (Forget About Me). Simple Minds perhaps lack the courage to pick up, perhaps with irony, those sounds of the eighties that many bands are now riding on the backs of. It may be, though, that having reached their present state of creative and contractual freedom, they are no longer interested in going back into the circus of the charts and the dog eat dog disc market.

Even live, yesterday, after the apotheosis of Don't You (Forget About Me), they played the slow atmospheric track entitled Dolphins, close to the repertoire of David Sylvian. A show of class and also of their independence of market rules. Instead of the usual couple of encore numbers, they gave the audience another six songs, almost a third of the concert. The band’s heart and muscles have plenty to spare.

In one of the front rows a Scottish flag waved in honour of the origins of much of the group. The audience members were like football fans eager to follow their team even to away matches or in a lesser competition, with undiminished passion and dedication. The public that Kerr and his companions brought together in Verona yesterday was a hard core of fans who will stick with the band forever. We believe that even if Simple Minds were to cut a masterpiece like Violator or The Joshua Tree (to name a couple of bands emerging triumphant from the eighties, Depeche Mode and U2), here in Verona only 3,000 would notice. But they would enjoy it.

Giulio Brusati
Translated by Marco Casarola
23rd March 2006

Simple Minds will be performing at ExCEL, London Docklands, UK on the 24th July 2006. Tickets go on sale on the 23rd March from

Jimmy Johnstone

1944 - 2006

Footballing legend Jimmy Johnstone died last Monday (13th March 2006). He was 61 and had been suffering from motor neurone disease.

See his official site for numerous obituaries from the BBC, Sunday Times and others.

My condolences to his friends and family.

It was reported in The Sunday Mail that Dirty Old Town, the charity single featuring Simple Minds and Jimmy Johnstone would be re-released on the 27th March. All proceeds will go towards Motor Neurone Disease research (the Jimmy Johnstone Tribute Fund).

For more information about the The Legends Fort Canning Park, including a ticket number, check out the National Parks Board website.

Tickets can be purchased directly from

Eldo Radio in Luxembourg recently made two radio commercials for Simple Minds' three sold out gigs in Luxembourg.

You can hear them here:

Promo One | Promo One

© Bob Thacker 2006

Fan Alex Vidal recently reviewed the Barcelona gig on his blog site in Spanish. Also included is a selection of shots taken at the gig.

The Spanish paper La Vanguardia also reviewed the gig (registration required).

A try for nostalgia by Simple Minds

Even though the Simple Minds concert was sold out within a few minutes, we have to conclude: Old love, it does rust.

By the end of the eighties Simple Minds were the definition of a great stadium band, and could with ease fill large arenas over half the globe. Fifteen-twenty years ago they would easily have sold out Spektrum.

Me, I even ditched school for several days to see them play live at a football stadium in Stockholm in their heyday. Simple Minds were masters of the stadium format, and they had the audience within the palm of their hand in well over two hours at a time. With that in mind it is a bit strange to see them live at the “small” Rockefeller, sold out or not.

Even though Simple Minds have released several records since their slip from grace after Street Fighting Years in 1989, it was evident that the audience were not there to hear the bands latest material.

Simple Minds released their latest album Black And White 050505 just before Christmas last year, but it seems that only a handful of the evenings crowd lifted an eyelid when hearing these songs – and that is a bit of a paradox.

The audience had definitely come for the old songs, and that is something Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill seems to know only so well.

We get the first highlight in the form of a soulful version of East At Easter. During the show we also get treated to Up On The Catwalk, All The Things She Said, Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel, Waterfront and Someone, Somewhere (In Summerime) among others.

It sounds pretty tight, it does. But even though Simple Minds have moments of brilliance, we don’t see any sparks, like in the old days.

Not even during their greatest hit that contributed to so much of their success, and the song that are the reason why so many still remember them: Don´t You (Forget About Me). In the old days they could have kept that song going for ten minutes without loosing any momentum, but now they only managed to raise the mood a notch or two, before it all faded out in a clumsy ending.

The extras included classics like New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and Glittering Prize, and the show was ended with Alive And Kicking. Even though the latter suffered from the lack of a magnificent female backup-voice, this finally got the crowd in frenzy.

Why couldn’t they have afforded themselves a couple of backup-singers with mighty voices, even though they have left the stadiums? You can’t really perform grandiose, pompous rock whilst saving the pennies.

Martin Thronsen
TV2 Nettavisen
Translated by Morten Blixrud
20th February 2006

Jim was recently interviewed by Andrea Ioime for the Italian newspaper Il Friuli. The article, which was published on March 17th, is reproduced above (click on the image for a legible version - Italian only).

The Black And White 050505 discography continues to grow. I've recently added several interesting non-UK versions of the album to the site.

A new Eddie Duffy site has launched, and it includes a biography, gallery and more. Check it out. The launch of this site makes Eddie the most popular band member amongst fans, as he now has two unofficial sites.

The promo teaser from the 9th March confused many. It's not Simple Minds related, but the newly reformed Cars.

After 17 years the eighties rock'n'roll band The Cars reunited on the 14th March as The New Cars at 10am in Los Angeles at The House of Blues and announced a brand new live album entitled The New Cars: It's Alive. The album also features three new studio recordings written by original Cars band members Elliot Easton (guitar) and Greg Hawkes (keyboards) and new lead singer and guitarist, Todd Rundgren (the latter has produced albums for the New York Dolls, Meatloaf, Patti Smith, Hall and Oats). One of the new studio recordings, Not Tonight will be released as the first single.

The album was recorded live in LA earlier this year. The press conference will reveal details of the new album (released in the UK in mid May), and the band's co-headline tour of the US with Blondie. In the next few weeks, the band will be announcing details of their UK and European tour dates.

Originally signed to Elektra Records, The Cars were one of the biggest rock and roll bands in the eighties who scored top ten hits with Best Friend's Girl, Drive, You Might Think, Shake It Up, Just What I Needed, Let's Go, etc. The Cars first came to world acclaim with their 1978 debut album produced by Roy Thomas Baker (the same guy who produced Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody). The band were one of the first subversive rock groups to ride the New Wave movement from 1978 throughout most of the 1980s, but were also one of the few to generate massive commercial success since they last performed live together in 1989. One of the original lead singers and bassist, Ben Orr, died from cancer in 2000.

For further information about what will be announced at today's press conference in LA, please click on the following links -

The New Cars - Road Rage Tour

The New Cars: It's Alive

The New Cars: Biography

The New Cars / Blondie Flashcard

For further information contact Peter Noble at Noble PR
020 7272 772,
Noble PR Ltd, Central Ignition, 1 Mercers Mews, London, England, N19 4PL.

This Friday, Que Fem which is the supplement magazine of Barcelonian newspaper La Vanguardia, featured Simple Minds on the cover. A full colour 6-pages article was published, covering the recent history band. It was published in Catalan.

Click on the thumbs for full-sized images.

Simple Minds will be playing the Zetra Arena in Sarajevo on the 10th April. Check this website for more information.

A review of the Belgrade concert can be found on Whilst a review of Vienna allows fans to post their own comments.

For a review of the Hannover gig (in German), click the thumbnail above.

According to this french website, the band were recently at a French football match.

Posters for the forthcoming St. Petersburg gig have started appearing around the city (right).

Tickets cost 3,300 Rubles which is equivalent to 99 Euros! Obviously being a tour promoter in Russia is good business.

German musician and remixer Mousse T visited Simple Minds whilst they were recently in Hannover. It's expected that the two will collaborate on a future project (probably the new album).

(Mousse T has just put together a great new remix of The Dandy Warhols).

See the news on the German version of his website for the announcement (it isn't on the English version).

Simple Minds are playing Audley End, Essex on the 22nd July. Tickets went on sale this morning and are available either through or Ticketmaster.

Four Good Men have added four songs to their website including their version of Someone Somewhere (In Summertime).

It's been 17 years since one of the biggest eighties bands in the world last toured.

Watch the trailer

Look out for a major announcement on Tuesday 14th March 2006.

(Let the Good Times roll. . . . Again).

Reviews of Simple Minds gig at the Vega, Copenhagen were pretty mixed:

"...Jim Kerr and his band performed a nostalgic "Sing-A-Long" show in Copenhagen... But his voice is not as good as it used to be..." - Berlingske Tidende (2/6)

"...A sold out concert and a nostalic return..." - BT (4/6)

Whilst the best review can be found on where the band received 5/6.

Pictures from the gig can be found on Vega's website.

A recent Belgian TV interview with Jim can be found on

© Bob Thacker 2006

Total Music Magazine published this rave review of The Astoria Gig

Dutch singer Mir is launching her new album this month. It features the song The Deep Blue Sea on which she duets with Jim.

(Mir also sang on the demo version of Dolphins).

Simple Minds, Heineken Music Hall Amsterdam

Simple Minds Between Pity And Respect

A feeling wavering somewhere between pity and respect comes over you in the Amsterdamse Heineken Music Hall.

You see a band literally pulling out all the stops to inject new life into their old glory. And you see an audience, mainly over-35's, willing to support the band in everything they do and determined to make it a night to remember.

And yet the performance seemed like a struggle at times. Of course, obvious Simple Minds-hits like Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking can count on massive approval and sing-a-longs in the hall.

But at other times, when songs from last year's Black And White 050505 album are being aired, it becomes painfully obvious that the band from Glasgow have included quite a number of mediocre songs in their considerable body of work. And that the old Simple Minds ‘wall of sound’ at times sounds like the musical equivalent of a plasterboard partition.

Even so, singer Jim Kerr especially deserves respect. For years his band was reviled by critics, portrayed like the feeble-minded sibling of U2, but he is still out there doing his thing. Over 25 years in the business, shirt half unbuttoned, ready for battle, in fine voice and full of enthusiasm. The songs dating from the period before the band grew to stadium proportions remain particularly convincing. Waterfront is one of those early ones, bombastic in a good way. And the tightly-played version of oldie New Gold Dream is one of the highlights of the night. Which made it a semi-successful evening of wallowing in nostalgia after all.

Mark Roos
AD Magazine
Translated by Anita and Maaike
18th February 2006

A review of the Cirkus gig can be found on Svenska Dagbladet's site (review in Swedish).

There was a chorus of adulation from the Academy crowd as a sprightly, demin-clad Jim Kerr walked on stage.

It has, after all, been 30 years since Simple Minds first inspired a generation with brilliant songwriting and musicianship.

And, while the group may have shied away from climbing to the dizzying heights of one-time contemporaries U2, hey are still as relevant as they ever were. A two-hour set brimming with old and new tracks proved that. Opening track, Sleeping Girl, was thrust on the crowd by Kerr, guitarist Charlie Burchill, long-time drummer Mel Gaynor and bassist Eddie Duffy with determined energy.

Clearly, those looking forward to an evening drenched in 80s nostalgia were in for a big surprise. This was more than a trip down memory lane.

The backbone of the set was provided by classic tracks: early Simple Minds fans being treated to gems such as Love Song, East At Easter, Up On The Catwalk, See The Lights and Don't You (Forget About Me).

A deafening roar exploded as Kerr began calling card, Waterfront. More impressive, however, was that songs from the recent Black And White 050505 album provoked the crowd just as much.

And while the soaring electro surge of title track Black And White 050505 echoed vintage Simple Minds, Dolphins enveloped the room with a more experimental edge. Kerr simply grinned.

The crowd grinned back, acknowledging what is something of a spiritual time in the careers of the Glaswegian veterans.

It was necessary, then, to end with Alive And Kicking. And whil not wanted to play on such an obvious pun, that is exactly what Simple Minds still are.

Belinda Hanks
Manchester Evening News
13th February 2006

And a review of the Rockefellar gig in Oslo can be found here (review in Norwegian).

I have so often been accused of Simple Minds fundamentalism that I have to remind myself of that it's okay to believe in something, as Jim so soulfully sings in Different World ( Well, it's not Simple Minds I believe in, but the humanity their music so magically expresses. My fundamentalism is all about mind-bombs, we need those.

Simple Minds are on the road again, and they are, against what many would believe possible, actually moving forwards. Before I left home I read two Swedish reviews of the Stockholm concert. Both papers sent ignorant journalists who complained that Jim was too sweaty and that Simple Minds don't have enough good songs to play for two hours. Don't hate Sweden, all Swedes are not daft. But to get a really good feel I always go to Germany to see Simple Minds.

Pier 2 is an old warehouse in the Bremen harbour. I like those places, it helps toughen things up, and so they are tonight. And the light show on this tour is most of the time as subtle as a test site for traffic lights. Well, that means more focus on the music.

Sleeping Girl is the first song. I haven't understood how good it is until now, it's a strike of genius to save it from obscurity this way. Then they play Home and Stay Visible from the fabulous new album Black And White 050505, their best since Real Life, in my humble opinion. Good songs, but we are still warming up.

The concert then goes into a long section of old songs, like See The Lights and Big Sleep. On the last tour, in 2003, I was so taken by Mel's drumming, that it inspired me to buy a drumkit and start a band of my own. I stare at Mel for the whole duration of Big Sleep, because the song is a real test of any drummer. It requires extreme sensitivity. Mel spends the whole concert behind plexi-glass. Why? It can't be about the sound, no way. Maybe the glass-cage has a built-in cooling system. In my imagination I see the whole thing being flooded with water. Fish swim around Mel's body.

The audience just love Waterfront. No short version like in 2002, but a really long one, so sexy and optimistic. Jim is very comfortable on stage tonight. He obviously has fun.

Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel is next. A real rarity these days. then it's back to the new album with Underneath The Ice. I think it's not a good song, and I am almost bored when they play it.

A few older songs again, and then they play Dolphins. I hope people understand how good it is. Here they actually make something of the light show, not just a few blinking spotlights.

When the band is back for the extras, it's more new songs, Different World ( and Stranger get the most appreciating reaction from the audience that new Simple Minds songs have gotten for a long time. And the band have such a great time playing them.

The biggest surprise of the night is Seeing Out The Angel. Mark Taylor relies quite a lot on programmed pieces on his synths, and the sounds they make here are rather odd. Eddie's bass is also too brutal, but Jim and Charlie play subtly and with love for this old piece which most certainly must be billed as religious.

The night ends with Glittering Prize and Alive And Kicking. There is something so matter-of-factly about the way they play Glittering Prize tonight. It's sad and triumphant at the same time. I just stand there, full of thought.

What is so interesting is that so many old standards, like Belfast Child, were left out, and that the band had the courage to play no less than six new songs instead. I think that Simple Minds are shaking off the ghosts of the past, and that they feel very confident about the strength of their creativity these days. After the show I buy the tour programme, and enjoy the depth and insight in Jim's words there: "The desire that was borne out of our early fixed goal continues to buzz throughout our collective nervous system every single time we are set to put foot on stage"

Hans-Olof Andersson
23rd February 2006

I've been sent the following reviews and interviews from the Eastern European leg of the tour. I don't know anyone who can translate them, but if you click on the thumbnail below, you'll get the fullsized image.

Interview with Jim by Ramunas Zilnys
Lietuvos Rytas newspaper (Lithuanian)
1st March, 2006

Interview with Jim by Nikolai Nortov
Vesti newspaper (Estonian)
3rd March, 2006

Interview with Jim by Triin Thalheim
SLÕhtuleht newspaper (Estonian)
25th February, 2006

Can you do me a favour...?

Can you go to the website and vote for picture one of the Murderdolls?

(Dream Giver will benefit in return. Thanks!).

Billy Worton

Roadcrew manager and sound engineer Billy Worton died suddenly last Sunday at his home. He was 53.

Billy was brought in as Simple Minds' roadcrew manager by Arista for the Life In A Day tour. He took over their sound during the subsequent Real To Real Cacophony gigs, a position he held until the Sons And Fascination tour.

He subsequently worked with Runrig as their sound engineer.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Simple Minds, Carling Academy, Birmingham

They were one of the icons of the 1980s but Simple Minds have proved they are still very much alive and kicking.

A packed audience at Birmingham's Carling Academy took a trip down memory lane for much of last night's show as one of Scotland's finest bands performed their hits from the good old days.

But as well as delighting fans with a set of classic numbers from their back catalogue, Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill and co provided the crowd with a selection of their new material, including tracks from their latest album Black And White 050505.

The mix of old and new went down a storm with the crowd, but they really got going with Up on The Catwalk, All The Things and Waterfront.

And by the time Kerr belted out Don't You (Forget About Me) the crowd was well and truly captivated.

Most of the audience were 30 and 40 somethings - yours truly included - but it didn't stop them from turning the clock back and jumping up and down with their arms in the air as if they were teenagers.

Full credit to Kerr, who was on stage for almost two hours with a monster set of more than 20 tracks.

He certainly has some stamina - and he sounded as sharp as he did in his heyday.

Maria Cusine
Express And Star
11th February 2006

Look out for a double page spread on The Scottish Highlands in the Sunday Times travel supplement this Sunday, as Jim Kerr is interviewed in the feature about his favourite spots in the highlands.

Continuing the theme of tour posters, these were recently spotted advertising the Barcelona gig:

Alex G of the Book of Brilliant Things Simple Minds Fan Site, today posted his fascinating video interpretation of the Simple Minds song Dolphins, the closing song from the band's current Black And White 050505 album.

Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes and John Taylor have compiled a compilation album Only After Dark in an attempt to recapture the pioneering musical spirit of the late seventies and early eighties when they started Duran Duran from Birmingham's Rumrunner club and Dj-ed at the club at the same time. "By putting together this album our intention is to introduce songs by artists who influenced us,’ explains Rhodes. Artists featured include Ultravox, The Human League, Psychedlic Furs, Simple Minds and Kraftwerk. The release, on May 1st, will be accompanied by a new Duran Duran book Duran Duran Unseen.

Simple Minds are represented by Changeling.

See for more information and a full track listing.

Virgins' new Platinum Collection, set for sale on March 17th, is an updated version of 2001's Best Of. Including most of the singles from Life In A Day through to War Babies, this 3CD set also includes many extended and live versions, so should be good for those wanting an introduction to the band.

CD 1
Belfast Child
Mandela Day
This Is Your Land
Kick It In
Let It All Come Down
Let There Be Love
See The Lights [7" Version]
Stand By Love
Real Life
She's A River Hypnotised
War Babies [Bascombe Mix]

CD 2
Don't You (Forget About Me) [Extended]
Speed Your Love To Me [Extended Mix]
Up On The Catwalk [Extended Mix]
Alive And Kicking Sanctify Yourself [Extended Mix]
All The Things She Said [Extended Mix]
Ghostdancing [Extended Mix]
Oh Jungleland [Extended Mix]
Big Sleep [Live]
Once Upon A Time [Live]
Book Of Brilliant Things [Live]
East At Easter [Live]

CD 3
Life In A Day
Chelsea Girl
I Travel
The American
Love Song
Sweat In Bullet [Remix]
Promised You A Miracle
Glittering Prize [Club Mix]
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) [German 12" Mix]
Hunter And The Hunted

Capitol, Hannover, Germany
24th February 2006
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking

Glasgow 2006 taken by Angel Carrera Perez

With the New Gold Dream T-shirt doing well on the current Simple Minds tour, we are keen to add a few other retro T-shirts to the official SM website.

We've searched the Internet for old designs but have found nothing. If you have old Simple Minds T-shirts and you can send me photos of the shirts in jpeg format, please email me the photos of the shirts as soon as possible.

There was a woman wearing a cool Waterfront T-shirt at the Amsterdam gig, but this is only one example of what's out there.

Please let me know if you have any Simple Minds T-shirts in your collections.

Thank you.

Peter Noble

Jim's set-list from Copenhagen muddied with his footprints.

Some of the tour merchandise from this year's tour is now available for purchase on-line. The clothing is the best since 1995, which has been recognised by punters because it's shifting fast from the stalls at concerts.

New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) classic T-shirts and skinny fit Home T-shirts are two choice items available from

Store Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
21st February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Kiss The Ground
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking

And with the playing of Kiss The Ground, every song from Black And White 050505 has been played live on the tour, as Jim originally promised.

A review of the Cirkus gig at Stockholm can be found on (and it's all in Swedish). Whilst a review of the show in Amsterdam can be found via (an English translation will be sent to me soon).

Simple But Effective

Simple Minds returned to the Toon last night to make their Carling Academy debut. Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr was there.

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.

Gordon Barr
Newcastle Evening Chronical
7th February 2006

Due to the sheer amount of information going up on the site, I'm getting behind on my e-mail. I'll try and clear the backlog this weekend, but I will get around to you if you've sent me something.

According to various on-line retailers, the Stranger single is being released in Germany today. It's a great way to pick up all the UK iTunes exclusives on CD (Too Much Television and Stranger [London Mix]), so search it out.

Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
16th February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
All The Things She Said
Underneath The Ice
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking


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 albumsand 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 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 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 known 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."

Raeders 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..."

Ettrick Scott
Sunday Sun (Newcastle)
5th February 2006

Did You Forget About Them?

Scots rockers Simple Minds play Manchester tonight after their latest album was hailed by many as a return to form

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 050505.

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."

Conrad Astley
Manchester Metro News
10th February 2006

Reviews - First Night

"There's nothing worse than when you go to see your favourite band and they play nine new songs," says Jim Kerr. "There's a skill to plotting and planning a set - you want to show steps of the whole journey. And we know how to do that."

Best known for their song Don't You (Forget About Me), a number one hit and the theme to Brat Pack movie The Breakfast Club, Simple Minds were, for a time in the late Eighties, globe-stradding rock stars on a level with U2. Building on Kerr's emotionally-charged vocals and the soaring guitar work of Charlie Burchill, they made grand, sweeping, lighter-fuel draining pop-rock. Meanwhile Kerr's high-profile marriages - to Patsy Kensit and Chrissie Hynde did nothing to harm their celebrity status.

In 1989, however, the uncompromisingly political Street Fighting Years met with disappointing sales despite critical acclaim. And while Bono went on to save the world - or at least make a big show of doing so - Kerr led his band through a series of uninspiring albums and started pressing his own olive oil in Sicily.

"Five or six years ago, to be quite frank, it felt like getting blood out of a stone", says Kerr of his band's music, not the oil. "When you move to a new place and get into the language and the mentality, it takes a lot of time."

"Fast forward to now, where it feels like we could write a song every day, and I'm really up for the commitment again. I guess making music is in our blood and eventually that's going to bring up back to it."

With members spread across Italy, Germany and America, band meetings cannot, the singer notes, "be arranged in ten minutes." But last year they came together, re-engergised and refocused , with the intention of making "an album that was full of dramatic and atmospheric pop" to prove that "the big beating heart of Simple Minds" was back in business. The result, Black And White 050505, has been hailed as their best since 1982's classic New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

"I think the commitment we put into it is written across this album," says Kerr. "If you do good work it seems to make the past fresh again. Let's be honest, we stopped making music and when you stop the world goes on."

"But still, whenever we turn up and play, thousands of people come."

Bella Todd
The Argus
11th February 2006

Just a line, but I am sure they get loads, I went last night to Brighton Dome to see them for the first time live, although I used to play a few of their tracks in a cover band I was in I was never really into the majority of the music and went last night really to keep a mate of mine company.

I work as a front of house sound engineer and am also play guitar, drums, keys and anything else as long as you don't blow in it so I tend not to look at gigs the same way the normal billys do. First I have to say that the support band were shockingly bad, the guitarist guitar made one of the most horific noises I have heard outside of a youth club rehearsal room for years, however, if this ever gets to the support or Jim and the boys from Simple Minds then read on... The support do have the makings of something that could be special they need to sort out their dire stage performance, they are boring to watch, there is nothing to engage the eye. The guitar sound needs to be improved it has no real definition, chords are sloppily played and some changes and progression in the songs are too blatantly obvious. Backing vocals are not the greatest, drummer had reasonable pitch and control but the bass player needs some serious work on his. I just felt that with the obvious good foundations on the songs they failed to deliver through a lack of immagination. One throw of a dice away from being good, just need some production.

Still thats the support out of the way.

I have to say that when Simple Minds came on I was monumentally impressed with the sound quality, their energy on stage and the fact that they were without doubt, including taking into account those I have PA'd and those I have just been to watch, the most awesomely tight band I have ever seen live. The drumming was on a par with the best I have seen from the likes of Mark Brzezicki from Big Country, although better to watch because unlike Mark it did seem to be effortless. I heard one single wobble in one song where the band as a whole seemed to falter, all at once.

Jim Kerr's performance was quite something I have not yet seen someone young or old command an audience or hold such presence on stage.

The only thing that I thought could have been improved was lighting, but that is personal taste, I personally would have blown more budget on that aspect as I felt that it needed it. And the only other thing was that I really wished they had opened the last encore with Promised You A Miracle because I think the way the song starts can be handled in spectacular fashion from a blacked out stage with pyros and immaginative lighting.

Still, that got that off my chest, will definitely go and see them again somewhere, working on the road crew would be best but that 'aint likely as that jobs jobbed! If I hear anything back all well and good, if the band or support ever read this even better.

Cheers, a cracking nights live music.


(The lighting was intentionally played down on this tour. It is a back to basics tour, no big light show or pyro stuff, it is all about the music and the performance, the energy and the dynamics.)

Astoria, London, 13 February 2006

Rather like Jim Kerr's beloved Celtic did in the late 1990s, Simple Minds have undergone something of a career renaissance.

Rising from the fallow ground of their less impressive turn of the century albums, they have made a much more coherent piece of work in the recent record Black And White 050505.

It's a point demonstrated by the integration of the new material into the band's live set, which of course contained a good number of the old classics.

Importantly the whole band looked fired up for the challenge of a solid two hour set, and their instruments were certainly built to sustain the impact. Kerr's voice continues to move, retaining its anthemic qualities, and he was quickly into his element, although noticeably more than happy to let the crowd take over for Don't You (Forget About Me) - perhaps something to do with the fact that it's not his favourite song.

The imperious Charlie Burchill delivered the group's trademark rousing guitar lines with evident relish, while bassist Eddie Duffy provided solid support at both ends of the musical scale, some quality backing vocals heightening a resilient Alive And Kicking.

Drummer Mel Gaynor made a late appearance to those on the ground floor, due mostly to the fact that he had spent the entire gig encased in a Perspex vault, rather like one of those smokers consoles at a British airport, with his huge kit and giant dinner-plate cymbals for company. Mark Taylor, too, went big with no fewer than four keyboards to choose from, while Burchill sported a large white Gibson guitar.

In this setting, even the less convincing album tracks acquitted themselves extremely well, the previously awkward Underneath The Ice now securing more gravitas, while a brave choice found Dolphins closing the set proper, the stage bathed in aqua blue. The programming was odd at times, with the lesser known album tracks sandwiching the big hits, but by and large it worked.

As you'd expect the old classics got the biggest crowd reaction - a magisterial Waterfront, a pumped-up See The Lights, and a joyously warm rendition of Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime). A real highlight was the appearance of New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) in the first of two encores, a wonderful performance with much finger pointing from the lead singer, by now bathed in sweat.

Any doubts about the venue's suitability were quelled, the band affirming their status once again with a formidable quantity of anthems and a fine light show. Not only that, but musically they had provided strong evidence in their new material that the creative fires were burning strongly once again.

Ben Hogwood
14 February 2006

Other online reviews:

A Few Good Men
(soon to be known as Four Good Men)

Mick MacNeil (Simple Minds, Keyboards)
Derek Forbes (Simple Minds, Bass Guitar)
Ian Donaldson (H20, Vocals)
Bruce Watson (Big Country, Guitar)

Plus special guests:
Drums - Smiley (Steve Bernard, who's played with Robbie Williams / Spear Of Destiny / Joe Strummers Mescalleros etc)
Guitar - Steve Harris (who's played with Gary Numan / Spear Of Destiny etc)
Vocals - Jane Button
Bagpipes - Carrie MacNeil

Next week see's the 'farewell' shows from A Few Good Men.

Don't panic! By this I mean the band is simply changing their name slightly, and as of next month they will be known as Four Good Men

Three gigs next week, if you can, come along and see them:

Tuesday 21st February 2006, McLaren High School
Mollands Rd, Callander, Perthshire FK17 8JH
Tickets: £10 adults, £8 under 16's (pay on the door)
Charity event fund raiser for Port Of Menteith Primary School.

Wednesday 22nd February 2006 at PortpatrickTown Hall
45 Main Street, Portpatrick, Near Stranraer, DG9 8JW
Tickets: £12 (subject to booking fee) available from Tickets Scotland 0141 204 5151, or call 0770 791 0843
Band onstage 10pm. There will be big screen in venue showing the Rangers v Villareal game. Band will take stage after game finished.

Thursday 23rd February 2006 at Belfast Spring & Airbrake
Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, BT2 8HD
Tickets: £12 (subject to booking fee) available from venue, & by phone 028 9032 5942
More info at

Reviews - First Night

In Italy Simple Minds still sell enough records to keep a tribute band in business. In Britain they remain stadium rockers who ran out of steam towards the end of the Eighties. So the kids in the crowd sang in sexy foreign accents, while the locals were the blokes fighting hair loss.

Yet a comeback here could be on the cards. Buoyed by upbeat reviews of their current album, Black And White 050505, their first positive press in more than a decade, the Scots took to the road on a mission to regain old ground and seem to be succeeding. By last week all remaining tour dates had sold out and if some festival slots come their way this summer, they may even attract British fans too young to believe that the band were once as big as U2.

Keen to be seen as more than a revival act, Simple Minds started the show with a trio of new tracks, the best of which, Home, a single last autumn, mixed menacing electronics with their trademark chiming guitars and fabulous vocals from frontman Jim Kerr. Even Sleeping Girl, from their flop 2002 album Cry, was a decent stab at anthemic rock that had the crowd punching the air in awe of a powerful sound that few modern rock acts can match.

What hadn’t changed in two decades was Kerr’s flamboyant dancing. The singer could start his own exercise class with a few of his moves — the legs-apart crouch, hips rolling from side to side, the slow, steady foot-to-foot skip or the truly bizarre, one-knee-in-the-air, arms-aloft hop.

In fact, Kerr’s sideline these days is an upmarket Sicilian hotel and, despite temptation, he had managed to retain a figure svelte enough to carry off jeans and a tight, tweedy jacket that exposed the top of his bare chest. He might have wished he had worn a vest though. Half an hour in, sweat stains were spreading like wildfire.

An atmospheric East at Easter marked the start of a run of classic tracks that had, mostly, stood the test of time. Love Song, a slow-building See the Lights taken over by fans and a spellbinding Waterfront that brought the house down competed to be the night’s highlight. Sadly, they were pipped at the post by Don’t You (Forget About Me), the band’s biggest hit, but a song even Kerr admits to disliking. Still, when the singer conducted the crowd through a five-minute outro of la, la, las it was hard not to leave singing. After two encores, Simple Minds closed a riotous two-hour show with Factory, an Eastern-tinged track from before they were famous. Twenty-seven years on, Simple Minds may be long past picking up Grammys, but shorn of the pomp that paved their downfall, they can hold their own against their old adversaries.

Lisa Verrico
The Times
15th February 2006

A slight delay with the updates on the site because I was in Brighton for the weekend... and then I saw Simple Minds on Sunday night.

Those in the UK should look out for the tour posters, which aren't of thin and tearable paper, but are mounted on thick card and are surprisingly durable. Copies have been offered for sale after gigs, and I... erm... stole... some from a Brighton bus shelter. However, my theft was after the gig, but it did confuse all those waiting for a bus at the time.

One reason that posters are rare is the fact that all the UK dates sold out. That said, the poster was advertising the album and single as well.

The tour merchandise is extremely popular this year; probably due to it being far better than anything offered over the last couple of tours. A mug has been added to the range of items for sale; and for the absolutely completists, there's also an Alan Cassidy T-shirt. Be warned: they are selling out at the end of the gig, so you might want to make sure you've got everything you want beforehand.

Or, alternatively, roam the steets and steal Simple Minds memorabilia. You're doing the local street cleaning crews a favour!

Academy, Manchester, England
10th February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
The Jeweller (Part Two)
Underneath The Ice
Book Of Brilliant Things
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Let It All Come Down
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking

A review of the Brighton gig is expected on The Argus Live Music page - but nothing's appeared yet. Keep checking.

It was certainly their Critic's Choice for the weekend.

Excellent. Some top comments concerning the rather lax reporting of the Nottingham gig. Over 40 comments so far, which not only raise a smile, but punch the point home.

Back To Roars Of Approval

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
Daily Telegraph
11th February 2006

Simple Minds have always been Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill but add in Mel Gaynor on drums, Eddie Duffy on bass, Mark Taylor on keyboards and 30 years on, they still sell out tours.

They treated fans to classics Speed Your Love To Me, New Gold Dream, Waterfront and a cracking rendition of East At Easter. And it was good to see an outing for the excellent Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel.

Newer songs A Life Shot In Black And White and Stay Visible showed they can still craft a decent tune but on the night it was the older songs that hit the mark.

Linda McLean
Sunday Mail
12th February 2006

Dome, Brighton, England
12th February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
The Jeweller (Part Two)
Underneath The Ice
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking

After the success of leaving comments about the Nottingham show, you can leave your views on the Aberdeen Show here. Although you can be much kinder - the author wrote a much better review.

Getting Up Close And Personal With The Fans

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 And 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.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."

Andy Coleman
Birmingham Mail
9th February 2006

Alive And Kicking

After 300 shows, Pat "Duim" Demoustier still still reproducing Simple Minds' tracks for the world stage

Simple Minds' 2006 world tour marks a long-term collaboratio between the band and their in-house engineer Patrick Demoustier.

Demoustier, aged 42, first met the band in 1997 on the occasion of the Night Of The Proms concerts and has since been behind the FOH desk for over 300 concerts.

It was the use of in-ear monitoring (Shure PSM 600 plus standard E1 moulds) that persuaded the band's Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill to start working with Demousteir. "Playing with an orchestra like with the Proms demands different solutions for sound reinforcement," explains Demoustier, "and we suggested the artists to use in-ears to perform their songs. The problem was that Simple Minds always used very loud onstage monitoring, and despite that, Jim had problems hearing himself. The implemntation of in-ears brought an expectional change in sound quality - Stan Tippens, the band's long-time tour manager was impressed and has since then been making use of our services."

For Demoustier, the challenge was to reproduce the sound of Simple Minds' record work on stage: the group is a powerful rock band with lots of drums, guitars and keyboards plus some pre-recorded loops (taken from over 20 years' worth of tracks, and not all with normalised levels, EQ and panning) "It was my task to get as close as possible to the band's album sound - every song needed accurate programming, all effects like the original track," he says. "Each musician's personal presets and the individual submixes from (drummer) Mel Gaynor, Charlie's digital guitar amplification, the complete keyboard set and monitor mix are controlled through a line drive system from the FOH desk so that the band is allowed to focus on playing their music and needn't bother with patches and program changes. So, you could say, I am, in fact, handling the band's playlist," Demoustier laughs.

The 2006 tour sees Simple Minds playing on DiGiCo D1 consoles for both monitor and FOH mixing (on earlier tours they used Midas XL4 at FOH and Midas H3000 for monitoring) allowing Demoustier to make completely different mixes for each and every song.

"With digital desks we handle a lot of dynamics and outboard gear through the internal effects and dynamics. However, the most complicated channels need analogue preamps and EQs like the Manley Voxbox on lead vocal and Manley Massive Passive EQ... I also use tube channel strips for accurate EQ," he explains, adding that for guitars and keyboards, he is also using the new D-Tube DiGiCo 8-channel module. "For external effects, we prefer a TC M5000 on drums, a PCM 91 Lexicon and TC D2 for vocals. The whole final mix is then routed through a Manley Massive Passive EQ," concludes Demoustier.

Belgian sound and light company EML is supplying the equipment for most of the gigs in the Simple Minds tour - the company has scheduled a basic inventory of 16 Adamson Y18 line array sets, catering for most of the venues on the tour. If necessary, extra Adamson gear will be rented with local dry hire partners. "The Adamson is one of the few 'line source' line array systems, with patented sound chambers to create a flat wave front. Each Simple Minds' show is a 'wall of sound', but not the agressive way, just like being in the middle of the music and that's important," Demoustier advocates.

A new element in the Simple Minds tour audio gear are the EML318 custom-made subs - they were developed by Demoustier to cater for the all-important low-end. The twelve cabinets (each containing 3 JBL 2242H 18-inch speakers) have a huge amount of headroom on a small footprint - together with the compact size of the Y18s, this will help EML to save on truck space without having to compromise on output.

Both the main FOH system as well as the six EML wedge monitors are powered by Lab.gruppen 6400 and 3400 amps and controlled by Apex Intelli-X processors.

Simple Minds will undertake a major 40-plus date 2006 European Tour that kicked off in Dublin on 30th January 2006, backing the album release of their new album Black And White 050505.

Marc Maes
Pro Sounds
February 2006

Academy, Birmingham, England
9th February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
The Jeweller (Part Two)
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Alive And Kicking

  • Birmingham Mail
    Up close and personal with the fans, an interview with Jim by Andy Coleman

Make sure to check out the new tour list on Noble PR's website.

Central TV broadcast an interview with Jim yesterday. Although Jim didn't say anything new, the announcer stated that the band would be back later in the year... adding fuel to the rumour that they'll be playing bigger venues in the UK at the end of 2006.

The review in the Nottingham Evening Post (above) caused a few comments. Not only did the reviewer suggest they played Sanctify Yourself (which they didn't), he also suggested the band didn't play much from the new album.

Perhaps you'd like to leave a message on the page suggesting, as several have already, that the reviewer should've actually gone to the gig.

Jim shows he's simply the best

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 sweat.

Back on the road with material from recent album B (sic) 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 more like your average dad at B&Q than old Bono, the consummate rock star.

Despite that, he looked fit as a fiddle and succeeded in whipping the crowd - many of who looked around the singer's own age - into a frenzy. This was a trumphant 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 And 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 that same energy: taut percussion, really cool guitar sounds (produced by Burchill on a variety of prized six-strings specimens), and a huge, powerful choruses. Andy Gillespie (sic) on keyboards, Mel Gaynor on drums and Eddie Duffy on bass proved a roubst 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 (sic), Up On The Catwalk, a breathtaking Speed Your Love To Me and a stomping On The Waterfront (sic).

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 music exports, still retain what made them special at the height of their powers.

A psyched-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.

Kenny Hodgarth
Glasgow Evening Times
6th February 2006

I'm so glad my children didn't forget about me

Jim Kerr used to agonise over how he would get on with his children after breaking up with their mothers.

But he needn't have worried - his realtionship with both Yasmin, 21, and 13-year-old James is in extremely good shape.

Yasmin, who has starred in Channel 4's A Bear's Tale, was born to Pretenders star Chrissie Hynde, while James' mother is Emmerdale star Patsy Kensit.

"There were periods after I split up with their mums when I'd wonder what sort of relationship I'd have with them when they were older," says Torygen lad Jim from his house in Italy.

"But out of what could have been chaos has come order, and it's really, really good. You have to work at it, though. But I think all turned out fantastically well."

Yasmin flew to Italy to see him over Christmas - "she's a great girl and fantastic company," he says with genuine warmth.

Yasmin, in turn, is complimentary about him. "Dad and I get on so well," she says.

"He's the funniest person I know. He fathered me when he was only 24, and I think it was hard from him as a young guy to come to London to see me. How could he entertain a little girl?"

"But I have these really sweet memories of us walking the streets looking for things to do together."

Yasmin is now acting, and pllaning to develop her own musical interests.

James, who still lives with Patsy, is an Arsenal fan who doesn't think twice about winding up dad whenever his own favourites, Celtic, get a bad result.

"It was ra really funny moment when he 'confessed' to be that he was an Arsenal fanatic," say Jim. "But he's his own man. And we really are a family."

It seems that these days, just about every aspect of Jim's life is perfect.

The former apprentice plumber lives in Sicily, in the medieval village of Taormina, where he owns a hotel.

Over the phone, he describes the "wonderful snow-capped Mount Etna" and "the incredibly beautiful and calm Ionian Sea."

But he's not cut off from the world he grew up in. He reads the Evening Times online every day to catch up with the latest news and football gossip in Glasgow, and at night he tunes in to the football debates on Radio Clyde via the Internet.

Now the 46-year-old is about to pack his Louis Vuitton suitcases and go out on theroad with Simple Minds for the best part of a year.Yasmin and James again.

Given that it's almost 30 years since Jim first took to the stage, there are those who reckon that to give up his very good life to become an itinerant rocker and endure the gruelling months of touring again suggests aman who is a couple of tracks short of an LP.

Jim, however, disputes this. "I think I've come to realise I actually do have to go out and perform," he says.

"It must be in my DNA or something, but I do know that it gives me a real sense of purpose, and so much pleasure.

"Getting an audience behind you is the greatest thing."

"We played a one-off festival in Buenos Aires at Christmas and I remember standing in the wings and hearing the sheer excitment of anticipation in the crowd. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck."

"Don't get me wrong. Living in a nice place like Sicily is wonderful, but making music has always been THE dream for me. After 30 years on stage I realise it's not a hobby."

It's all very well having a portfolio of business interests or being able to zip around the island to watch the local football teams he sponsors but Jim Kerr clearly needs more. In Argentina, for example, he was up at the crack of dawn - "Not very rock'n'roll" - to watch people go to work.

"It's fantastic to see a city at that time. It gives you the essence of a place. And I get a great reward from seeing the heart of Kyoto or Johannesburgh. I never get jaded with that."

"Half the band never get up before three and can't understand why I do it. But it's their loss."

"ANd there are the people you meet on the road. On a promo tour in Melbourne last year, I popped in to a local barbers for a haircut. The barber turned out to be Sicilian, and we had a great chat. So much so he called in his two Aussie sons and gave them hell because a bloke from Glasgow could speak better Sicilian than them."

There's a world out there that Jim Kerr wants to discover. So keen is Jim to improve on his language skills for instance, he stopped all his close pals in Italy from speaking English.

Now he and guitarist Charlie Burchill, who is also fluent in Italian, can have 'sneaky' conversations about the rest of the band.

"Scots have walked into a room to hear me and Charlie going at in Italian and thought "This is surreal!" But I'm also learning Spanish. On tour I'll be listening to language CDs and whatever.

Former guitarist(sic) Mick MacNeil and bass player Derek Forbes are no longer with the outfit, largely because they didn't get the same out of Simple Minds as the frontman.

"Those guys were great for the band. We still play songs they created. But Mick's story is a case in hand. The lifestyle wasn't for him."

"But who knows what will happen? Could we all get together again? Nothing would surprise me. But in the interim we're doing out best work and we have to live in the moment."

The rocker with the world vision appreciates there are those who will accuse him of abandoning his home country.

"Even friends will say to me with an accusing voice 'Don't you miss Glasgow?' and I look out the window at the clear blue skies and think 'No, not really.' But I don't feel in a sense that I've left Glasgow. No removal truck ever turned up and took my stuff away. I just went on tour one day - and I'm still on it."

"And with technology you can almost be at home. I'm always tuned in to what's happening."

There are minuses however associated with boarding the music carousel for a year.

"Experience has taught me that when a tour kicks in it's hard to maintain a relationship. I was going out with a local girl but currently I'm focusing on the work. It saves all manner of disappointments."

Jim is also working on getting fit for the tour.

"I have a good discipline," he says with a smile. "And I want to walk on stage and feel and look right."

"I can't remember the words to some of our old songs," he laughs. "I'm burning tracks onto my laptop so I can relearn them."

Jim is also aware there's an added responsibility to a new generation of fans. Simple Minds are regarded as musical icons by many of today's biggest bands, including Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol.

"I'm not going to bitch about the little things that can go wrong on this tour," says Jim. "I'm going to go out there and enjoy every second of it."

"And I'm going to prove to every audience every night that we're the real deal."

"Five years ago I became a bit disillusioned with the business, coming to think it's the record industry that acutally owns your band."

"But I've put that aside and I've realised I love this life - it's fantastic to get the chance to do what I do."

"I'm going to make the most of it."

Brian Beacom
Glasgow Evening Times
4th February 2006

Simple Minds will be playing Tourhout/Werchter Classic 8 on the 8th July at the festival ground at Werchter. Other names on the bill are Bryan Adams, Simply Red, Sting, Roxy Music and Arsenal. Tickets will cost 60 Euros.

Of course, this is the same date as their Bospop appearance. So it looks like they'll be doing two festivals in one day?

Minds Over Matter At Music Hall

The Philadelphia Bowl may bear little resemblance to Aberdeen's Music Hall, but to Jim Kerr, Charlie Burhcill and co the venue does not matter.

Tens of thousands in a stadium and millions more watching on television at Live Aid, or hundreds on a cold Friday in the north-east of Scotland - it's all the same to Simple Minds. After more than 25 years in the business, live remains what they enjoy most and do best.

Kerr retains the energy of a man half his age. It might have something to do with the Mediterranean lifestyle he has adopted in Sicily, and the homemade olive oil he produces from trees in his garden. I would like to think it is nothing more than his unswerving appetite for performing.

The band is back in the limelight and back on the road, and as Simple Minds rolled back the years, the audience, mainly made of 30 and 40 somethings, greeted the set with youthful enthusiasm which belied their advancing years.

They certainly felt younger than they looked.

This was a band who were up there with the biggest and best, and the Aberdeen show proved they have lost noth of their raw power and emotion.

In a career which has spawned over 20 top 20 hits, they have sold over 30 million records, have five number one albums, a number one single in America - plus three American top 10 singles - and been voted Q Magazines world's best live act.

Songs from the critically acclaimed Black And White 050505 album were interspersed with classics from the 1980s, and while we appreciated the genuine quality of the new material, it was the old stuff most had come to hear.

Highlights of the night included a haunting version of Big Sleep where the entire audience could feel their hearts beat as one in time to the music.

Classic 1980s tunes such as Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) drew the biggest applause and the most enthusiastic response of the night.

"Don't you forget about me," sang Jim. As long as he and the band are still Alive And Kicking the answer to that question is quite simple: to do so we would be out of our minds.

Aberdeen Press And Journal
4th February 2006

Rock City, Nottingham, England
7th February 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
All The Things She Said
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Glittering Prize
Underneath The Ice
Alive And Kicking

April 28 Hong Kong
April 30 Singapore
May 4 Perth
May 13 Sydney
June 16 Kiel
August 8 Monaco

Academy, Glasgow, Scotland
5th February 2006
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Hunter and The Hunted
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Underneath The Ice
Alive And Kicking

Simple Minds, Carling Acedemy, Glasgow

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.

Louisa McEwan
The Herald
6th February 2006

Best State Of Minds

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 lot 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."

Billy Sloan
Sunday Mail
5th February 2006

Don't you forget about me

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 GlassJoni 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."

Noel Mclaughlin
Newcastle Evening Chronicle
7th February 2006

Academy, Newcastle, England
6th February 2006
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Underneath The Ice
Alive And Kicking

Two new interview with Jim:

  • Aberdeen Evening Express.
    A short review of the gig, some background information, and some great new quotes from Jim.

  • Sunday Mail
    Billy Sloan's latest write-up where Jim says Eddie Duffy calls the shots on stage, talks about the background about the tour, and talks about El Presidente being played over the PA before gigs.

Russian media has started talking about a Russian concert in Saint-Petersburg on the 3rd April. Given Jim's recent comments about visiting Russia then this seems likely to be true.

Simple Minds, the Scottish band who once rivalled U2 as a stadium act in the 80s, are returning for two shows. The band will play Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre on Monday May 15 and Auckland's Aotea Centre ASB Theatre on Wednesday May 17. Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 10 - New Zealand Herald

Music Hall, Aberdeen, Scotland
3rd February 2006
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Hunter and The Hunted
A Life Shot In Black And White
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Speed Your Love To Me
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Underneath The Ice
Alive And Kicking

Simple Minds

You gotta love Simple Minds. The spangly suits and '80s feather cuts may have gone - along with the massive sold out arenas - but they can still cut the mustard. Their latest album Black And White 050505 won praise from the critics, but don't worry, they will still do Don't You (Forget About Me). How could we?

Alun Palmer
Daily Mirror
3rd February 2006

So far there's been little sign of adverts or posters for this leg of the tour, but considering most of the venues have sold out, then perhaps they weren't required.

However, posters have recently sprung up all over Pordenone in Italy, as these pictures from Paola show.

Not So Simple Minds

They have scored over twenty top 20 hits and sold over thirty million records in a career spanning nearly three decades. Now, with a new album under their belt, heralding a return to form, Rosalind Sack talked to lead singer Jim Kerr on the eve of their appearance in Birmingham

"To conjure up old ghosts is one thing, but to avoid being some retro 80s thing is another," said Jim Kerr of their latest album. Fortunately the Glasgow band has struck the right chord, returning to the big dramatic pop songs they were famed for in their heyday. So much so that Black And White 050505 has been dubbed their best CD since New Gold Dream.

"Although it's been hailed a return to form, our career is a journey that has never really stopped," continued Kerr. "It's more of a return to a feeling of that same commitment we used to have." And after a three year hiatus, and despite their status as one of Scotland's most successful, generation-defying bands, Jim admits that it hasn't all been plain sailing.

"There were times when it was like getting blood out of a stone - personally I'd grown distant from what I was doing and I couldn't imagine feeling as committed as I feel right now. Some people say that they find their creative spark when they're feeling down, but for me it's when you are feeling good that you want to get out of bed and be creative."

And it's not just issues of motivation that have struck down the Simple Minds front man over the years, admitting that he suffered from nerves for a long time. "I used to suffer badly - I would get nervous about things that could go wrong, or worry that I wouldn't be good enough. It was quite miserable. But you learn your trade over time and you know that it's just going to work onstage, so I get excited now rather than nervous."

It is perhaps tinged with irony that the song the band are best known for - the number one hit Don't You (Forget About Me) from the film The Breakfast Club - was very nearly rejected on the basis of the lyrics, which Kerr regarded as formulaic. Originally offered to Bryan Ferry, who turned it down, the song later became an international hit for Simple Minds.

Follow that with the likes of Alive And Kicking, Glittering Prize, Sanctify Yourself and All The Things She Said, among hundreds more, and you have a back catalogue guaranteed to turn anyone green with envy.

The band's reluctance to shun the bigger issues and their growing politicization, saw them appear in the hallowed Live Aid concert in 1986 whilst later single Belfast Child talked of growing troubles in Northern Ireland, and in 1988, Simple Minds was a major inspiration behind the concert celebrating Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. The band also leant their support to the charity Amnesty International, to whom they donated the proceeds from several dates.

"We were number one and we became aware that everyone was asking our opinions and we had access to the biggest audiences, but we were thinking, 'well do we have anything to say?'" says Kerr. "So I would talk to Amnesty International - my father was a bit of an activist so I was carrying on where he left off. I think that idealism is still in us as musicians."

For Kerr, that idealism translates into a desire to be fantastic performers. "When we started Simple Minds, our ultimate target was to be a great live band and then every time you go on stage that challenge is there. It only takes one bad gig and you have let down so many people, but that's a challenge that is pleasing and gives us great satisfaction. The greatest thing about writing a song is that validation when someone else embraces it."

No matter how far through your career, some things never change, despite the changes in every other area of Kerr's life over the years. Most recently he traded in his home turf of Glasgow for the sunshine of Sicily, relocating to the Mediterranean Island.

"The move to Sicily wasn't just about buying a holiday home in the sun, I learnt the language and got the mentality and the spirit of the place. It has energised me and led to a new energy within the music. Our latest album manages to go back, but it feels incredibly fresh."

Rosalind Sack
Birmingham Independent
26th January 2006

The digital camera lost yesterday was thankfully handed in, so I drove down to Stanstead this evening to pick it up. All the pictures of the band were taken at the first night at Dublin.

Anyway, as promised, here's the merchandise for sale at the gigs. Prices here are in Euros.

60 Second Interview

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 split with two wives - first, Chrissie Hynde and then Patsy Kensit. Last year, Simple Minds released an album, Black And White 050505, and are currently touring Britain as part of their world tour.

Why did you decide to do this new album?
After a long period of inactivity, we felt like making music again. Six years ago, writing songs for me was like getting blood out of stone. We never really quit but suddenly I was energised to go back to it again. We've been making music for almost 30 years and, for most of that time, it was pretty consistent. But everyone - even the greats such as Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and John Lennon - had times when they stepped back from it.

Were you worried you'd never write another song again?
The worrying thing was that I wasn't worried. It made me realise it's not on tap, though. I feel quite fulfilled with my life and career, so not writing wasn't a worry. I just thought maybe it was time to do something else. I wouldn't have imagined back then that I'd be writing a new song practically every day, which is what's happening now.

You played at Live Aid. What did you make of the Live 8 effort?
What surprised me was that it couldn't make the same impact as it did the first time round. I was in Italy so didn't see much of the event but, of course, we'd have liked to have played. It just seemed to come and go. Live Aid was the first time there'd been a global concert event and a generation of people remembered the day. This time, it seemed that a week later, it was all over and everyone had forgotten about it. But maybe that's just the modern world.

You've commented about pop stars sucking up to Tony Blair. Was there much of that in Live 8?
I think Bob Geldof and Bono are really genuine. You might not always agree with how people go about things but it's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticise. It's all down to whether politicians give a toss. Raising money for a charity that takes food to starving children is easier to understand than 'this concert's going to put pressure on people sitting around a table who are making decisions that will have repercussions in ten years' time'. By the time you even get to the end of that sentence, you think: 'Whatever'.

Do you still live in Sicily?
Yes, I love the place. I'm passionate about it. I'm still a Scot through and through but there are so many things I love about Sicily. I wake up every morning and feel energised. It's great.

What was your most extravagant purchase after you became famous?
A dodgy sports car, which was pretty extravagant considering I didn't have a driver's licence at the time.

When did you realise you were enormously famous?
It wasn't like that. It grew organically over four or five years. We started in 1978 and our sales peaked in 1986. When you're in a live band and get a good reaction, every night it feels like a victory. That was enough.

Do you still listen to Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending every morning?
I don't play it every morning but I love it. I can't believe I told anyone that. What a prat. It is fantastic, though. Lots of people listen to classical music when they get up.

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 [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.

Andrew Williams
1st February 2006

Simple Minds: The Ambassador, Dublin

Released in October, Simple Minds' Black And White 050505 is intermittently reministent of their glory years, the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the Glasgow act were dark, seductive and experimental. Alas, the album marks only a skeletal renaissance. Simple Minds are still i thrall to the anthemic pomp and over-aching sincerity of their late 1980s heyday - to the detriment of this show.

Frontman Jim Kerr was onstage barely 20 seconds before instructing the audience: "Let me see your hands." TRhe fans duly obliged. But that sort of automaton response is never pretty at gigs - bands should win over a crowd.

Kerr was fighting fit, frisking around the stage, routinely getting down on bended knee. The music itself was similarly extroverted. Few guitarists have the guile of Burchill, but is versatility is waylaid by eye-catching glass, as are the band's trademark synths. And yet - populist anthems aside - there were many moments when Simple Minds caught real fire.

No less than six tracks from their 1982 masterpiece New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) were raided - including sumptuous runs through Big Sleep and Hunter And The Hunted. Of the new songs, Home and Dolphins was striking, while rediscovered oldies Factory and Seeing Out The Angel sparkled. In an alternative universe somewhere, Simple Minds are still kings.

Padraic Killeen
The Irish Examiner
1st February 2006

Simple Minds: Waterfront Hall, Belfast

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 And 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 (81,82,83,84) 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 Sleep sound 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.

Noel McLaughlin
Irish News, Northern Ireland
1st February 2006

It's Simple - Minds still put on a great show

Sixteen years after their last Belfast gig, Simple Minds give their faithful following a taste of what they had been missing.

After almost 30 years of making music, the band proved last night they still know how to put on a show.

Their records may not be flying off the shelves and the world's biggest venues won't be included in their 2006 tour diary but htere is no evidence of their passion for playing live disappearing.

There was no eighties musical revival on offer at the Waterfront Hall, simply a flashback to the dreams of two 16-year-olds, singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill whose sole ambition was not commercial success but simply to be part of a graet live band.

A funky version of East At Easter kicked off a set which lasted just under two hours and included a healthy mixture of new material from their Black And White 050505 album and old classics.

The highlight of the night was Waterfront, with Eddie Duffy's bass kicking in as Kerr reminded his audience it as Waterfront on the Lagan.

Belfast Child, a reworking of the folk song She Moved Through The Fair was alsway going to be a real emotional test for the band by Kerr said he was thrilled to perfrom the song, for probably the only time in the tour, in a "proud and prosperous Belfast."

The band hav recorded such a wealth of material it was impossible to please everyone byt 2006 versions of gems such as Glittering Prize, Don't You (Forget About Me), Alive And Kicking and New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) suggested that although energy levels may have dipped, the Minds' heartbeat remains as strong as ever.

Graham Luney
Belfast Telegraph
1st February 2006

Ambassador Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
1st February 2006
Stay Visible
East At Easter
Up On The Catwalk
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Hunter and The Hunted
A Life Shot In Black And White
Glittering Prize
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
Underneath The Ice
Alive And Kicking

Ambassador Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
30th January 2006
Sleeping Girl
Stay Visible
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Hunter and The Hunted
Underneath The Ice
The Jeweller (Part Two)
Glittering Prize
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Alive And Kicking
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

Dublin Review

As I surveyed the merchandise, it struck me as odd that both Black And White 050505 and New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) T-shirts were on sale. This question was swiftly answered over the next two hours as Simple Minds propelled themselves through a twenty-two song cycle that almost fully embraced both albums and left enough elbow room to include many old favourites and more than several surprises.

Kicking off with the electro-pop of Cry’s Sleeping Girl wrong-footed casual and hardcore fans alike; and the opening elation continued with Home and Stay Visible which the vast majority in Dublin’s packed Ambassadors’ Theatre simply cheered along. Then from these most recent songs, it was an abrupt back turn, as they belted through the classics of Up On The Catwalk and Love Song.

The tempo dropped abruptly for the next collection of songs, with a triple from New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) being the most well known. Then followed a musical rollercoaster as the band alternated the roof raising, fist thumping cloud pleasers with the more sedate, slower songs from the set; it certainly took guts to jump from the height of Don’t You (Forget About Me) straight into the depths of Dolphins and leave the audience hanging and waiting for the encores.

The encores were equally engrossing, combining the absolute best (Stranger, Alive And Kicking and New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)) with some long lost classics from the vaults. Fans have long debated whether Simple Minds ever played Seeing Out The Angel live – well they did last night.

The light show wasn’t as dramatic as previous years and the stage was less cluttered. But the new lean Simple Minds delivered, first night glitches and problems largely absent, the long rehearsal period paying off. All the band looked fit and ready to take on the next year. And the statuesque Mark Taylor, now returning full time for this tour, reaped the benefits of these rehearsals, now the sounds of Simple Minds in the new millennium and not the keyboard player of the early 1990s.

Simple Minds 2006 stand on the two pinnacles of New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and Black And White 050505 and cast their nets wide, reeling in all manner of wonderful catches. Whether the haul will change dramatically on other evenings remains to be seen. But I now had a new dilemma: which T-shirt should I purchase? Simple Minds did full justice to both albums.

Simon Cornwell
31st January 2006

And now, the stuff for the die-hards.

  • The band are using new intro, which I’ve never heard before and which is rather short. But is a great, distinctive introduction.
  • Most of the songs are very close to their album versions, although Factory has gained a new instrumental start.
  • They started with Sleeping Girl. How great is that?!
  • Mark Taylor sounds great. Forget those 1990s gigs.
  • The band have a new tour manager.
  • A range of T-shirts (New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) sleeve, Black And White sleeve, Home sleeve, Black And White bullet design), fleece hoodie (with small text design), Black And White 050505 CD album and tour programme are available. The tour programme is graphically modelled on the CD booklet and looks much better than previous programmes. Inside, Jim offers various thoughts on the band, gigs and how to survive the great madness of touring.
  • Pictures of the gig and merchandise were left on flight FR 206 (Dublin to Stanstead) by my girlfriend. RyanAir have probably blown them up by now. Sorry.

Daily Express
28th January 2006

Popmatters Review

The ‘80s are back. A result of nostalgia and commercialism, the musical revival is now in full swing. Bands like Duran Duran have re-formed and are touring to the delight of thirty-something moms and their teenage daughters. The New new wave is pounding the surf with bands like The Killers and Muse wearing their influences on their sleeves. So, it is time to count Simple Minds among those veterans renewing their lease on shelf life, but cynics beware: this is not a band cashing in and checking out, or a band trying to recapture any past cultural significance; it’s a band that still has something to say and a beautiful way of saying it.

The cover of Black And White 050505 (named for the day recording was completed, 05 May 2005) is deceptively captivating and somehow puts the listener into the perfect frame of mind for the contents within: It’s a black and white photo of two hands forming a heart, with their wrists bound to other’s arms. This visually poetic variation seems a perfect combination of an update on the Claddagh symbol the band has long been identified with, and the aborted cover art for 2003’s second attempt at releasing the mishandled Our Secrets Are The Same album (which pictured hands lashed behind the person’s back).

Black And White 050505 clocks in at just over 40 minutes, but never leaves the listener feeling shortchanged as Jim Kerr and company have excised any filler from the set. The atmospheric build of Stay Visible leads off this tight collection of nine songs. The opening piano mixed with a quietly bubbling synthesizer lends a cinematic feel to the track, so that the listener is appropriately blown away when co-founder Charlie Burchill’s guitar kicks in almost a full minute later. The first single, Home, which Kerr has described as “a pop song with a spiritual heart, taking us on a secret journey through the thoughts of someone who is desperately seeking out their own inner crusade,” seems to accurately reflect the epic feel of the band’s work and remind the listener that quality pop music is still being made.

Jeweller To The Stars, from the botched Our Secrets Are The Same album (which eventually saw the light of day as the fifth disc in the Silver Box set) reappears here slightly retooled as The Jeweller (Part 2). A song like this showcases what one hopes for from a band that’s been making music for almost 30 years: the dramatic work of Burchill, and the soaring lyrics delivered in Kerr’s distinct voice. Legendary mixer Bob Clearmountain (INXS’ Kick, Simple Minds’ Once Upon a Time, Pretenders’ Get Close) seems to run the whole affair backwards and forwards repeatedly through the time machine, resulting in a sound that is instantly recognizable as Simple Minds, but undoubtedly a product of today.

Like The Jeweller (Part 2), Stranger and Different World are songs with a barely containable urgency that allows long-time drummer Mel Gaynor and bassist Eddie Duffy to rock out. And the moody opening of Kiss the Ground kicks it up when the hook takes hold. These are the kinds of big emotional songs that will reverberate from your stereo, in your head, and throughout concert halls.

With an appropriately glacial feel, Underneath The Ice allows the band to play to their understated theatrics even more, submerging the listener in an ice floe of electro-pop. The sober title track is a soaring electro ballad with a classic Simple Minds’ feel. And the experimental Dolphins takes the languid soundscape to a room-filling level, as Kerr sings of “an ocean right there in front of you” where “dolphins circle ‘round” and “the world juts in”. This gentle album closer is a daring move for a band with such a well-known sound and voice.

This is not a retread of a band trying to recapture its glory days so much as the sound of a band making itself relevant again by simply doing what they do well. Much in the same way U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind was touted as a return to form with a new millennial update, Black & White 050505 sounds like a Simple Minds album appropriately made in the here and now. Unlike U2, however, Simple Minds have not heaped undue pressure on themselves by trying to jockey for position as the world’s greatest or most relevant rock band. They play like they have nothing to lose, ending up with an exceptional collection of songs that may well be the best release of 2005 by a member of New Wave’s old guard.

Adam Besenyodi
27th January 2006

In Dublin
26th January 2006

And whilst seeing Simple Minds was number 5 of a list of things to do in Dublin, Simple Minds made number one in the Evening Times list of things to do in Glasgow:

Simple Minds, Carling Academy, Sunday

"Comeback kings Simple Minds start the year as they mean to go on with a sold-out night at the Academy. New material from album Black And White 050505 vies for supremacy over the old favourites such as Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself and Don't You (Forget About Me)"

Maureen Ellis
Evening Times
January 30th 2006

Waterfront, Belfast, Northern Ireland
31st January 2006
East At Easter
Stay Visible
Up On The Catwalk
Love Song
See The Lights
Big Sleep
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Hunter and The Hunted
Underneath The Ice
The Jeweller (Part Two)
Glittering Prize
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Alive And Kicking
Different World (TAORMINA.ME)
Seeing Out The Angel
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

East At Easter and See The Lights appeared in the set-list for the first time. As did Belfast Child with Jim introducing the song and stating they would only play it this night only.

Undercover in Australia has just posted their recent interview with Jim Kerr filmed when he undertook a promotional visit to Australia during December 2005.

The video can be viewed as just one stream from Alternatively it can be viewed in seven parts:

  • Part One: Why is Black And White 050505 seen as a mainstream album?
  • Part Three: What does your son think of the album?
  • Part Four: What's the story behind Don't You (Forget About Me)?
  • Part Five: Have you had to keep up with all the changes of the last 20 years?
  • Part Six: Does it matter who else is in the band?
  • Part Seven: What are your memories of Live Aid?

Note that each part streams into the next, part two is missing and the interviewer is cheekily wearing a U2 shirt.

Out of sight but never far from our minds

They never went away, you know. Simple Minds explain to Neil McKay how they've stayed in the loop for nearly 30 years, and why Belfast has a special place in their affections

Simple Minds have had a long and happy association with Belfast.

Their only British No 1 single was named after the ciy, as Glaswegians they have a natural affinity with their fellow Celts, and they have only happy memories of gigs there.

ALl of which renders guitarist Charlie Burchill virtually speechless when he is told that it is 16 years since the band last played in the city. "You're joking me... you can't be serious?... is it really that long?" spluttered Burchill who, along with singer Jim Kerr, is the sole remaining original member.

"I can't believe it's been that long. You know, now that you've told me, I feel a bit guilty that we haven't been back in such a long time."

"Why has it taken so long? I don't honestly know. It's probably been an agent or promoter thing because I don't think we've ever turned down a Belfast show."

"We absolutely love Belfast, and it's amazing that we haven't played there for 16 years. We've always have a real soft spot for the place, from the first time we went there we've loved the people."

"Belfast for us is so similar to Glasgow - it's amazing how close it is to Glasgow in so many ways. And you always get fantastic audiences in Belfast, they're always amazing."

"Even during the worst of the Troubles we always had a great time in Belfast, we never had any bother at all - in fact, the thing I remember most is that we always had a great laugh."

The band end the 16 years of hurt for their faithful fans when they finally return to the city for a Waterfront Hall gig at the end of the month. Burchill added: "Jim had been over doing some press and radio last year when our Black And White 050505 album came out and people kept asking him when we were coming back to play again. So we got on to our agent and told him "you have to get us a show in Belfast". Then we went one stage further and decided to start the tour there."

Of course, the band will forever be associated with the city because of Belfast Child,the 1989 hit that was to prove their high watermark commercially. "Belfast Child was a massive song for us, and it has always been very special to us," said Burchill. "It was an old traditional song, and we sort of made it a Simple Minds song."

"Growing up in Glasgow we were aware of the same sectarian differences and, although you could say it was naive, we wanted to show a more positive side of Belfast, that if you left it to the people without all the politicking going on, you could see that there was real hope there. We just wanted to give a positive message, and show that it could all be different one day."

"It's a song that we don't always include in our live set - sometimes with a track like that Jim feels that the drama in the song is almost too big for the venue, so sometimes we don't play it - but we all love the song and I think we'll absolutely have to do it in Belfast."

The band's fortunes tapered off gently from the start of the 1990s, so much so that the Black And White album was hailed as a comeback in some quaters. Not so, says Burchill.

"It's hard for us to know how people perceive the band these days. In the 1990s we were still selling relatively huge amounts of records and had a real hardcore following, but there was so much going on, so many new bands coming up, that we slipped out of the mainstream."

"And because of that peole think 'what happened to them?' But we've never stopped recording and touring, we've never even had any major hiatus. There might have been two or three years between albums but, in those years, we were always writing or staying busy."

"It's always been a bit of a surprise for us that people thought we had stopped, and that they think this album and tour is a comeback, but it's really not the case."

Indeed, after nearly 30 years together, there is a realisation that just being a going concern is some cause for celebration. "I can remember that after we made our Empires And Dance album we were dropped by our label - we had done three albums and we thoguht that was the end of our career. Fortunately, we were picked up by Virgin, and the first album we did for them was a double album, and not only was it a double album but it was incredible obscure."

"At that thime, we couldn't believe that Virgin were going to let us go ahead and do it - it was unheard of. Young bands today wouldn't be allowed to do something like that - Radiohead could do it, but they had to have huge success before they went off and did something more abstract. Bands today have one album, one shot, and if it doesn't work then they're dropped."

Neil McKay
Belfast Evening Telegraph
20th January 2006

For the collectors, there are two incredibly rare promos from the last couple of years which have just turned up:

Jim Kerr remembers living it up on tour with Simple Minds, 1984

"I can almost pinpoint this moment to early 1984 because I recognise the T-shirt. The girl who gave it to me was French, and worked as a promoter. At the time, we were touring non-stop, and one of the pressures was finding a new T-shirt to wear each day, or at least a clean one, so it was a welcome gift.

This was the period when the band was beginning to be recognised, and we were about to hit the big league. The picture captures one of the last moments when Simple Minds was still "our band" because the downside of becoming successful was that it felt as though the band became an industry unto itself - the record company looking to us to release a record for Christmas, for example. Looking back now, it was a big load on young shoulders.

Later that year, Simple Minds toured Australia and New Zealand with The Pretenders, Talking Heads and the Eurythmics. It was a great few weeks, and it was while I was on tour with The Pretenders that I met Chrissie Hynde, and my life changed dramatically. A few months later we were married and I had a child (Chrissie's one-year-old daughter, Natalie whose father is Ray Davies). I was 24 and getting married was completely unexpected.

When the band was on tour, we'd grasp whatever opportunity we could to explore the cities where we played. I would end up in a coffee shop in the Bronx at four o'clock in the morning with someone I'd met only an hour before. I found visiting Kyoto particularly exhilarating - it was so exotic. I mean, I'm from a housing scheme in Glasgow. I often came close to missing the tour bus the next morning because I was lost or drunk. Once in about 1981, I did miss the bus to Berlin. At that time you had to drive through East Germany and cross the wall, so if you missed the bus, you were stuck. Perhaps everyone had got fed up with waiting and left without me. I didn't have my passport, or even an itinerary, and I didn't know where we were playing. In the end I managed to speak to my manager on the phone and caught a train to Berlin, though my memories of how I got there are pretty hazy now. Things like that happened all the time. People would get lost between a soundcheck and a gig.

Touring was so intensive. Certainly the lifestyle suited us, particularly the band's guitarist, Charlie Burchill. I have known Charlie since we used to play together aged eight. We grew up together in Glasgow, and when we were 14 we started to see bands. In six weeks we saw David Bowie, Roxy Music, Lou Reed, Bob Marley and The Who. It was incredibly exciting. I would look at the road crew putting up the stage and think "God, to be a part of even that would be amazing." Seeing those bands gave me the idea that there were things outside of the world that I'd been born into. Glasgow wasn't the trendy city as it is now, it was a city on it's knees, a big industrial city at the end of the industrial age.

I think the reason that my partnership with Charlie has worked for so long is that we know how to give each other space. he's very much a 24-hour rock'n'roll type, whereas I like to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning, so we pass each other in the hallway. But we haave both ended up living in different regions of southern Italy and we share a passion for making music, so we do have a lot in common too."

Isabel Albiston
Daily Telegraph Magazine
28th January 2006

The album is being released in Brazil in February by Sony BMG. Online ordering is available through

RockAndMetal.Com (USA) has just published the following news story on Simple Minds' 2006 tour dates:

Alas! No mention of the US tour dates yet.

Simple Minds have finished their three week rehearsals for the forthcoming Black And White 050505 tour by giving a short secret gig to a select audience.

The secret rehearsals took place at Buggenhout, Belgium, where the band rehearsed for the small club gigs of last year. Staying in a hotel near Antwerp, they were ferried by anonymous cars every day to Buggenhout.

Yesterday, they played to a small audience of 25 locals who were chosen by lottery. The band put on a small show of their best known songs for about half an hour.

Simple Minds will be playing the Drazen Petrovic hall in Zagreb, Croatia on the 9th April 2006. Tickets are already on pre-sale and can be purchased from (search for Simple Minds).

Jim's appeared on Virgin Radio yesterday for a humourous phone-in interview.

Items discussed were the tour rider, TV detectives and cover versions (with Jim suggesting Brimful Of Asha as a great song to cover live. Which is the second time he's mentioned this track - see the The Newcastle Chronical interview below).

Simple Minds are pleased to announce the support acts for their Irish, UK and European leg of their highly anticipated Black And White 050505 2006 tour dates.

Scottish singer/songwriter Alan Cassidy (right) is confirmed as the support act on all Irish and UK concerts.

The Dutch based band Born is confirmed as the support act fop selected Simple Minds European dates. See the tour list for the exact dates.

Simple Minds were once on a par with U2 as one of the stadium bands of the 80s. Next month they play Rock City. It's about getting back to basics Jim Kerr tells Simon Wilson...

So, Rock City this time around?
We've got to prove that we can do it in those places. The Royal Concert Hall is nice but some people said they found it a little conservative. It was the same in Glasgow. So we thought, let's go at it at another angle and see what happens.

It should be a little more rock'n'roll?
Yeah. That goes with the band-iness of the record (latest album Black And White 050505).

You've always stayed in touch with fans but should the band explode with success again can they expect the same access?
I think we always have. I would rather give up rather than alter your life drastically. We only really have security guys to make sure we're on the bus or we don't get lost or that everyone is fighting fit and ready for the next day. The people we have met over the years by and large have been as decent as can be and it's the least you can do to sign an autograph or something.

You utilise the website to keep fans in touch, I notice?
It's good during periods of downtime when you're not on tour or putting out records and people think nothing's going on, but you're usually writing and working on the next stuff, in that time the website it's really good for keeping the heartbeat going.

You live in Italy and run a hotel there - how's business?
Really good. People seem to really like it.

Have fans stayed there?
I guess so, yeah, but in a relaxed, low-key way. I haven't been there that much, to be honest, but my best friend and business partner will say to me 'someone left this to be signed...' or whatever.

You and Charlie (Burchill, guitarist) are the heart of Simple Minds but would you ever re-form the original line-up?
Nothing's out of the question. Maybe there's a time and a place but we love the way things are going now. The thing about re-forming is where do you go after that? I mean there are guys who were there from the start who brought a lot to the music but we haven't played together for 18 years.

Which current bands do you like?
I think Antony And The Johnsons are brilliant. I know it's a love-hate thing but I love it.

Just The Facts
  • Simple Minds are: Jim Kerr (vocals), Charlie Burchill (guitar), Mel Gaynor (drums) and Eddie Duffy (bass).
  • They've had more than twenty UK Top 20 hits and sold more than twenty million records, including five number one albums, a No. 1 single in the US and were once voted Q Magazine's World's Best Live Act.
  • Bloc Party, Muse, Moby, Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics acknowledge the influence of Simple Minds on their music.
  • Their 1985 number one hit Don't You (Forget About Me) was used on the film The Breakfast Club, a Brat Pack movie starring a very young Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald. Bryan Ferry had previously turned the song down.
  • Kerr and Burchill first teamed up in Glasgow for punk band Johnny and the Self-Abusers.
  • Kerr has a daughter with former wife Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. He was also once married to Patsy Kensit.

Simon Wilson
Nottingham Evening Post
13th January 2006
Article online

Simple Minds: The Platinum Collection (Virgin SIMCDX15), a 3 CD box set, is due for release on the 20th March.

Platinum Collections have been compiled for Roxy Music and David Bowie; whilst a Mike Oldfield set is expected in March. Both the Roxy Music and Mike Oldfiend sets encompass the entire career of the artists, but the Bowie set omits his later albums.

As such, it's difficult to know what to expect from this set. Best Of (2001) and Early Gold (2003) have repackaged and regrouped the band's output, so do we need another permuation on this theme? If it encompases the band's entire career then perhaps so.

(Incidentally, this isn't to be confused with the so called Platinum album from several years ago, which was a bootlegged piece of rubbish.)

No tracklisting yet.

Simple Minds are heading for the Carling Academy Newcastle. Young reviewer David Wilkie met up with frontman Jim Kerr.

With his distinctive Glaswegian accent, Jim Kerr, lead singer of Simple Minds, is a man who still values his roots.

His band may have sold millions of records, played some of the world's biggest venues with hits like Don't You (Forget About Me), but his easy demeanour shines through when he talks fondly of his past.

The group are hitting the road again, playing Newcastle's Carling Academy on February 6, on the back of their latest album, Black and White 050505.

An obvious question then, what decided the album title? "With that piece (Black and White, also a track on the album), it felt like the album title, but it was hardly original," explains Jim.

"We needed something to pre-empt it or add on. It came to the last day of recording and we still hadn't decided on the album title. We noticed the sound engineer had put down the date, and we thought, that's extraordinary. It's almost like saying, this is Simple Minds now."

Jim believes the band has taken on a new-found energy, but this hasn't always been the case. "Everything has changed," he says. "Twenty years ago we were lads. If you'd said to me even three or four years ago that we would have the energy and the music in us that we currently have, then I would have been very surprised."

Perhaps Sicily, where Jim now spends most of his time, has mellowed his outlook on life? "If you've found a place where life is good, then it's bound to influence you in the fundamental sense and bound to influence your music.

And so to the tour. Are Jim and the band looking forward to the prospect of the Toon gig? "We always do. I've got a lot of friends in Newcastle.

"How could we think of Newcastle and not think about The Tube and what that gave to Simple Minds? My parents took me to Whitley Bay too, so I have a very good feeling about the place."

Simple Minds are at the Carling Academy Newcastle on February 6.

David Wilkie
The Newcastle Chronical
20th January 2006

New dates:

Den Atelier, Luxembourg
7th June 2006
Last tickets from available from

Heitere Open Air Festival, Zöffingen, Switzerland
11th August 2006
More details

Home has been getting airplay on WEQX FM in Manchester, Vermont, USA for the last couple of months and made their year-end list at number 58. The full list can be found on their website.

Stranger is being released in Germany on the 17th February.

Still no news of a UK date yet.

Jim is featured in this week's edition of Time Out magazine.

Ask A Silly Question

Jim Kerr formed Simple Minds in 1978. A Tory MP once called him 'left-wing-scum' when he led a Nelson Mandela tribute at Wembley Stadium in 1988. He was rather proud of that. Simple Minds' album Black And White 050505 is out now. They play the Astoria on Feb 13 and 14.

What's your facourite city in the world?
Probably Sydney. I went there 20 years ago and thought: What is there not to like about this place? The weather is superb, the people and food are lovely.

Best thing you can cook?
Aye, you know, I'm not bad at cooking. If I were trying to impress you, I'd probably do a mean prawn curry. With the full works - coconut milk, tomatoes - served with basmati rice and coriander.

First gig you went to?
I always tell people it was David Bowie, but actuall the week before it was Genesis. I usually keep quiet about that, but they were great too! THis was proper Genesis, you know, with Peter Gabriel. A mate worked at Green's Playhouse in Glasgow and used to get us in for free. Both Gabriel and Bowie looked like they were from another planet. Then again, I had grown up in Glasgow. Anyone with an English accent was exotic.

What's the best ever single?
You know, I was just listening to Brimful Of Asha by Cornershop. It's just amazing and rather underrated.

What's the best hangover cure?
Never drink again! I'm that rarity, a teetotal Scot. I used to get atrocious hangovers, so I gave up. I left the rest of the band to do the hellraising.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
My dad was a builder but he used to read a lot. I think he'd like to have been a writer if he had an education. I probably have wanted to do that too as a kid. Maybe a journalist, at a time that they had a wee bit of respect!

George Galloway. Discuss
I've met him a few times at Celtic games and I find him a riveting character, but I wouldn't trust any politician further than I could throw them. But Galloway's a fascinating guy, this socialist in a white Havana suit puffing on a cigar and telling us how much he loves Castro and the Kennedys. The biggest gangsters you can think of!

Do you believe in God?
Not in the patriach with a beard. But I suppose it's hard to imagine nothingness. Perhaps I'm hedging my bets - I'm just afraid of the bleakness!

Did you vote at the last electon?
No, I'm ashamed to say I've lost faith in the whole fucking process, although I know there's nothing to take its place. It's prbably because I live in Sicily, which is ten times more corrupt than Britain.

Last time you used public transport?
It would have been last year. My son, for his sins, is a mad Arsenal fan. I took the tube to Highbury with him.

Would that have been the last football match you went to?
Proper football? It would have been Celtic against Dundee United last October.

How did you hear about Celtic's Cup defeat to lowly Clyde?
You know, I was watching it live on satellite telly. I took a lot of LSD in my teens but nothing compares to how surreal that was. Clyde had the ball in the net five times, missed a penalty and hit the post. They murdered us!

Have you had much stick yet?
I was going to cancel our tour after that result. As far as I'm concerned that game didn't exist. We haven't kicked off yet! We're still in the Cup!

Do you have a team in Italy
No, I don't want to commit myself. I like to stick it to everyone else. It's pathetic, isn't it? I was watching the Rangers v Inter Milan game on TV last year; I've got mates at home who are Ranger fans and mates in Italy who are Inter fans - I was sitting there with my mobile phone in my hand, waiting for someone to score so I could ring a fan of the other side to take the piss out of them. And I thought: Fucking hell, aren't I a bit old for this.

Have you seen that 'Rab C Nesbitt' episode when he goes to Italia '90?
Aye, when he sees the Italian version of himself. I love the bit where Scotland get tonked by Costa Rica and he's standing by the tunnel shouting 'Ye bastards! Go back to Africa!'

Ever sung karaoke?
Hell no! It's terrifying. I've got a mate in Glasgow who takes it really seriously. People who get into it are spooky, but I like watching them do it. It's fascinating.

Who's the most famous person you have met?
Maradona? Mandela? Springsteen? I get a wee bit starstruck myself sometimes.

What's the worst thing a critic has said about you?
Oh, I don't know. That I've got a huge nob?

That has been reported on more than one occasion...
Aye, and it's a hard one to live up to!

Interview: John Lewis

Mark Spoon, one half of Jam And Spoon, died of a suspected heart attack on the 11th January 2006. He was 41.

His obituary was published in The Times on the 14th January.

Jam And Spoon remixed Don't You (Forget About Me) for the Neapolis remixes in 1998, but it's their collaboration with Jim on the superb single Cynical Heart that's remembered most by Minds fans.

Those wishing to send a message can sign the condolences book on

The promos for the Stranger single featured in this month's Record Collector. Listed in their Most Wanted section, the one track CD was optimistically listed at £10. In another section, the iTunes release was also listed.

The band are also featured in the February issue of Good Housekeeping. Apparently seeing the band live that month is number 2 in their Ten Best To Do listing.

From Derek's blog site:

Hey y'all,

I've just put this acoustic guitar on eBay. The guitar belonged to Charlie Burchill and may have been used on albums from Once Upon a Time to Neapolis. I had an identical guitar and I gave it to Derek McInnes ex-Rangers and Dundee United player as he was learning. So, Charlie knew I would need another one, and gave me his. Fantastic gesture. I have had my eyes on an old Washburn guitar in Crewe, ever since the Spear Of Destiny Westworld weekend at the Limelight Club. The guitar is just over 100 years old, and is one of the best and loudest acoustics I've ever heard. So listen out for it on the album and see it live, if I can get it.

See you all at Port Patrick and hello to all our potential fans in good old Belfast.

Derek Forbes

Its eBay listing is here. Good luck!
Further details and images have been added to the discography about the Stranger single.

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The Sample Minds site has been updated with the gig from Pivo Pivo, Glasgow. There are a couple of sound bites from the gig in the journal and complete downloads of new re-worked instrumentals of 30 Frames A Second and Dolphins.

With the tour starting at the end of this month, Peter Noble PR are pushing their tour page. Check it out by clicking on the links below:

The Stranger single is already available in Europe being released on the 12th December. Copies are now for sale in Holland and can be purchased from

Simple Minds will be playing the Tivoli Hall, Ljubljana in Slovenija on the 8th April. Tickets are now on sale.

The two shots above were taken at A Few Good Men's gig at Sotteriano in Glasgow on the 31st December.

Two new dates have been announced for 2006:

Portpatrick—Town Hall 22 February 2006
Near Stranraer, Scotland, 07718128448

Belfast—Spring & Airbrake 23 February 2006
Ormeau Avenue, Belfast Tel: 02890 325942

Tickets £12.00 (subject to booking fee)
0141 204 5151

Jim is interviewed in the February edition of Mojo recalling Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album and seeing him live at the Glasgow Playhouse.

The next aftershow party will be held at Acanto on the 24th February 2006 after the gig in Hannover. Officially supported by Sanctuary Germany, Simple Minds' merchandise will be up for grabs.

Simple Minds made #23 with Home as part of Russian Radio Monte Carlo's Top 100 of the year. For a band not that well known in Russia, this is an excellent result.

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