The reissue campaign by Demon Records continues as Big Music Live is due to be
released on 180g white vinyl on the 24th May. The release of live material from Big Music Tour
has an interesting history: it was first released as a double CD in November 2015; before
being picked up by Demon Records and released for Record Store Day 2016
on limited edition red-vinyl. This new release increases the
number of colour options, being pressed up on white vinyl.
"Recorded during 2015's highly acclaimed 'Big Music' Live Tour,
the recordings features blistering versions of many of the Simple Minds' classic hits from across the decades -
Don't You Forget About Me,
Alive And Kicking,
New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84),
Waterfront - alongside some of the best songs from the band's then
most-recent hit album Big Music. "The set list of the Big Music Tour was gloriously
ambitious. Almost theatrical in the way that it was put together. So many varying styles of music and atmospheres feature, and
yet it is always inherently Simple Minds live. Simply put, it was a real pleasure to be involved." - Jim
The confusion surrounding the Acoustic Promo CDs have now been resolved. There are four
promos for the album: a simple watermarked version of the standard album; a similar watermarked version but in a digipak with sleeve notes;
a version with the bonus tracks; and finally a version with just the three extra tracks.
The so-called "International" version was just the promo with the digipak with "International" stamp. This was intended for overseas
journalists and reviewers; it wasn't a separate pressing.
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Mick MacNeil is now hosting a weekly radio show. The Mix Records Show broadcasts every
Thursday from 9PM to 11PM on indylive.radio.
A limited edition of Graffiti Soul will be released for Record Store Day 2019. Pressed
on 180g yellow and blue vinyl, this double LP also marks the 10th anniversary of the original album's release.
It also presents the entire album and its bonus tracks on coloured vinyls, as only the main album was released in last year's
Rejuvenation LP Box Set.
Only 2000 copies will be pressed.
The first Simple Minds release in 2019, and perhaps the most unexpected, was
This time, the package included seven CDs and one DVD, moping up all the albums, B-sides, bonus tracks, videos and
EPKs released from Neon Lights through to
Jim's sleeve notes from the original LP box set are included, and he's
written extra album-by-album notes exclusively for this package.
The addition of the EPKs required a certain amount of archive research. And one of the most surprising discoveries
was the discovery of the Neon Lights EPK which was never actually
released in 2001.
The set is released at the end of March.
Remember Play One? They were mentioned in the news section back on the 20th March. They were collaborating with
producer Andy Wright on new versions of twleve Simple Minds classics.
Remixes often divide opinion but I really like these - they've given a modern twist to this 80s classic.
80s Symphonic was released on the 9th November and collected together some of the most iconic tracks of the 1980s,
all rearranged for a 50-piece orchestra.
Simple Minds were well represented by a new orchestral version of the classic
Alive And Kicking which was digitally released as a teaster on the first
day of the month.
Other artists given the orchestral treatment included David Bowie, a-Ha and Ultravox.
In addition to the 80s reference, there were several other Simple Minds connections with this release.
Most of the tracks were produced by Andy Wright working with
Gavin Goldberg, the team who produced Big Music,
Walk Between Worlds. The arrangements were by Sam Swallow who'd
also arranged the orchestral backings on Walk Between Worlds.
And, in another Simple Minds connection, the sleeve was designed by Stuart Crouch of Peacock
and Stuart Crouch Creative. He'd been working on Simple Minds' artwork since
Celebrate: The Greatest Hits.
Collectors will be kept busy searching out the one-track promos which
were also released on the 1st November.
Trevor was interviewed by Billy Sloan where
he talked about how the project came together, how he asked Simple Minds to be involved, and how it lead to the involvement
of Mick MacNeil.
BS:It's a real pleasure to welcome to BBC Radio ScotlandTrevor Horn. How are you?" TH: I'm fine thanks. A bit cold - because I was in LA last week - but I'm getting used to it.
BS:The brand new album's called 'Reimagines The 80s'. It's a collection of your favourite songs from that period
performed by some of your favourite artists. What was the catalyst for putting the record together? TH: My manager came up with the idea. He's an A&R man really - or that was his first job. And its like an A&R's man's idea
if you think about it. It's one of those things where you might as well play to your strengths. It's slightly difficult as one
gets older... I've done so many different kinds of records and I like playing live, so to find some sort of vehicle that is some
way where I can enjoy myself. And this one seemed a really good way because the songs are good. A good song you can do in any
number of different ways.
BS:Did you inevitably start off with 200 possible songs and have 50 artists of choice and have to narrow it down
to the top twelve? TH: It sounds like it would be easy and fun to some degree, but it is quite daunting when you start. We did about ten,
fifteen tracks to start off with. And we did guide vocals on them ourselves. And you listen to them for a while and think "Now who would
do this really well?" And we gradually whittled it down - this is where we ended up after a year of working on it – with these
twelve tracks. BS:Because it almost seems that you've deconstructed each song, rebuilt it and carefully orchestrated it. Was that always
the idea? TH: Yes, that was the idea. We were always going to do that. Most of the songs started out without drums and drums come in,
maybe, on some of them as they go along, but I wanted to try and get the orchestra to take as much of the weight as it possibility could.
Because it's interesting - orchestras are wonderful things.
BS:Some of the songs on the record are songs you've had a hand in. There's a great version of 'Slave To The Rhythm' by
Rumour; Matt Cardle tackles 'The Power of Love'; and, of course, you revisit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' yourself. Did it
put any additional pressure on you revisiting songs that you were so much originally a part of? TH: In the case of 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' it didn't really because Julian [Hinton] did the first part of the arrangement to see if
I liked it. If it would work. And I liked his string arrangements so much... and then I started messing around with the time
signature and sending it back to him and saying "Put two 3/4 bars, and a 4/4 bar in that bit there." I was doing the guide vocals. So
I guess I got used to the idea of me singing a few of the songs. BS: "And 'Slave To The Rhythm', originally by Grace Jones, was the title track of the album you worked on with her.
As performed brilliantly this time by Rumour. Going back to that, did it feel you were messing with the crown jewels to an extent?" TH: I didn't feel even remotely like that because it's so different. And it has no rhythm in it. I couldn't possibly do a
better rhythm track for that song than the original one that we did. You know Steve Lipson's
a brilliant engineer and the way he put that rhythm track together was something else. Rumour's voice has such a feeling of
stillness to it. I really enjoyed doing that track because it was so different to the original.
BS:Track number seven on the album sees you reunited with Simple Minds. Of course in 1989 you worked with
Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill when the band
were making the Street Fighting Years album. Why did you want to work with them again
and how did the choice of song come about because they do a great version of the title track of the Dire Straits' album
from 1985 Brothers In Arms? TH: Well, I'll tell you how that came about. I'd been playing in a band called Dire Straits Legacy. Dire Straits Legacy
is five of the guys from Dire Straits – all brilliant musicians. So I’d been playing
Brothers In Arms and I never listened to
Brothers In Arms much in the 1980s but when I had to learn it – because I was
playing the bass part – I thought what a good tune it was, what a great song. And it sounded like an old folk song. And so I put it
into 3/4, because I thought a 6/8 tempo for it... from the way it originally is in 4/4. BS:And you actually came to Glasgow to record it with the guys? TH: Yeah, I did. We did the backing track first. And it was while I was doing the backing track that I thought of
Jim. It just hit me, I didn’t think of it straight away. And I thought
"Jim. Of course." And it worked. And they liked it. BS:And half way through the session you suddenly decided you needed an accordion on the song. And you thought "Who
can we phone?" And you picked up the phone and reunited another member of the band, didn't you? TH: Yeah, it was Mick MacNeil. We originally had a fake accordion. It was
Charlie who suggested Mick. I always liked
Mick – he left the band a long time ago. And
Mick showed up and boy was he in good shape. He had the accordion part down – pretty
complicated parts – and he had two takes. And we were there with it.
TH:Jim, you and I haven’t worked together since 1988 when we did
Street Fighting Years. JK: Of course the big success was when we did a track called Belfast Child
which was a traditional Irish folk song based on the air She Moved Through The Fair.
And we had played around with it, but we were never in a million years going to do it, because we were
Simple Minds. We didn't do folk stuff. We were a big rock band, we were electro, and we were all that stuff... And yet you
wouldn't let it go. You were 'You have to do this. You've got to do it.' And lo and behold, the song that was never meant to
happen, goes on and becomes a number one. And it was our only number one ever in the UK; and in some places in Europe. But
it became this epic.
JK: But of course, when you asked us to get involved in the project, Charlie and
I in a heartbeat wanted to do it. Even though, I never thought of Simple Minds ever covering a Dire Straits song,
when you sent up the [great] demo of you singing it, and when I heard the little pipe, and the accordion and stuff, I thought
it was from the same cake as Belfast Child. So this was going to be good. TH: And, of course, you got Mick to play the accordion part. I hadn't realised that
you hadn't played with Mick for twenty years. JK: Well, he's a champion accordion player since when he was a kid. I mean he's the real deal. And I knew you really liked
Mick as well. TH: Yes, I always loved Mick's keyboard playing. JK: I would presume many Simple Minds fans, when they hear that they're working on this track, and that
Mick MacNeil has come back to work on this track, is quite an event.
One of the highlights of the tours were the welcome return of the tour diaries. Shot by Cherisse,
the tour diaries contentrated on activities behind the scenes, documented a particular tour, or concentrated on a particular band member.
Multi-instrumentalist Gordy Goudie was the subject of the tour diary posted during the
Grandslam Tour. He talked about his introduction to music and the first gigs he attended
(one of which was by an early Simple Minds. It's also worth watching for acoustic versions of Sanctify Yourself and
The emphasis shifted for the next diary which concentrated on the
Grandslam tour. This included interviews with co-headerliners
K T Tunstall and Chrissie Hynde.
The final diary was an interview with Jim, shot during a break between tours, on the banks
of a Loch. It was ompulsory viewing as it also featured interviews with Jim's father Jimmy.
Plus it also included an acoustic version of She's A River.
Cherisse also wrote a piece for
Modern Drummer in
which she talks about her touring experiences, helping to craft the
Acoustic album, touring with Simple Minds and her
gear and electronics setup.
And congratulations to Cherisse who was voted Number One
in the '12 Best Live Session Drummers' In The World by Rhythm Magazine
"Brit sensation Cherisse took the number three slot in this
category in 2017. She's clearly delivered
the goods this year and rightfully earned the top spot for 2018. So how did she do it? Simple Minds headed back
on the road in support of new album Walk Between Worlds (on which
Cherisse also contributed some drums and percussion).
Cherisse had been handling percussion duties on the
band's previous acoustic tour, so it was a no-brainer that she
should take up residence behind the kit for the Scottish pop legends.
CherisseCherisse brings grace, style and pocket to the kit and the latest
shows have been extra special as a result."
The last Simple Minds release in 2018, and perhaps the most unexpected, was
This was the second vinyl box-set released by the band and it covers the years 2001 through to 2014 when Simple Minds
gradually regained momentum and critical appraisal through a series of albums and tours.
Extra gravitas was given to the set by its coloured vinyl, impressive box design and exclusive notes by
Work is progressing on the second Dark Flowers album.
The album has now been recorded and is currently being mixed by
Paul Statham. One of the contributions from Jim
is a new song called The Dominant Colour Is Rust, which has changed from its original demo to darker Loenard Cohen
Jim have changed Night Is The New Day for the new album and
Catherine A.D has worked on a track called To England. This
has also undergone a radical re-working from the original.
Paul is also working on two more tracks with Jim
called The Lie That Tells The Truth and Grace. It's still unsure how they will fit on the rest of the album.
Thanks to Stuart Holland for the info.
Jim was interviewed during the US Tour
by Jim Ryan for the classic Forbes Magazine.
Most will be familiar with the band's first BBC'sIn Concert broadcast from 1979, as it's been heavily bootlegged over
the years, with three tracks eventually being formally released on Silver Box.
(Recorded at the Paris Theatre on the 8th August 1979.)
But I was interested to hear the full original broadcast. Available on the
Past Daily website,
this recording features the opening preamble from the presenter, his closing comments and finally the performance from
second-artists-on-the-bill The Pretenders. It's well worth listening to the perfomance in context.
One of the songs mentioned around the LostBoy! period from eight years ago has been released.
Jim wrote extensively about the many ideas and songs which were
floating around at the time (2010-11), and which were destined for
the second LostBoy! album, one of
which was Love Is A Four Letter Word.
The song has now been recorded by Jim with Phunk Investigation - who were behind some
of the the Simple Minds remixes between 2001 and 2009 - and released as Phunk Investigation Featuring Jim Kerr.
Snippets of various remixes first appeared on Soundcloud
in November 2018; before a Spotify exclusive on the 25th January 2019, and the full digital release on the 1st February 2019.
It was packaged as two separate releases: the House Remixes included the
Original Radio Mix, Lino Di Meglio Dub Remix and the Lino Di Meglio Remix. The Techno Remixes, which
were more hardcore, included the Engi Remix, Diezel Remix, Vanity Crime Remix and
the Vanity Crime Overseas Dub Remix.
"I found myself at the cinema today watching Bumblebee, the Transformers prequel. Don't judge me! It was not my choice...
It was set in the late 1980s and had a predictable Minds link via the robot learning to communicate via watching
The Breakfast Club and consuming the language. Dont You (Forget About Me) emerged
in a car chase as you can guess, but there was a cooler thread where the young lead girl was a big Smiths fan. Anyhow,
nerd that I am, I thought you might like to know that she was filmed in front of her dead dad's vinyl collection and there was
Life in a Day front and centre." - Anon.