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Breaking Out

Item Added: 10-10-2011Breaking Out

Was only a matter of weeks ago that we were winding up our summer tour and yet here we go again gathering ourselves and getting ready to shuttle down to the opposite end of the world for one final date for this year.

As mentioned by myself on many occasions, Australia plays a big part in the history of Simple Minds, particularly so in the way it gave us our initial glimmer of album success way back in 1981 when it awarded us our first ever gold disc for the sales of SONS AND FASCINATION. Those tours of OZ (and NZ) back in the formative years still live with us vividly and what excitement we experienced as a young band desperate to make our mark internationally as well as at home in the UK. The audiences we came across never gave less than overwhelming reactions and as a result I am sure that I can even now recall the then prevailing notion that we were literally growing in stature as well as popularity on a daily basis. Oh happy days!

Funnily enough and far from it being all glorious with each and every step, it must be said that we made one of the biggest gaffes in our career in Australia - while performing at the country’s huge Narara Festival in February ’84. Hindsight in a wonderful thing of course, but how were we to know that we might be stretching the patience of a festival audience a little too much by playing a headlining set that was composed mostly of as yet unreleased material. Duh? Silly or what?

But in truth we wanted to do something a bit special, and it just seemed a brave and bold thing to do. I guess we somehow figured –  quite wrongly – that the Narara audience would really appreciate the chance of a full preview of the soon to be released songs from Simple Minds “Sparkle In The Rain” album.

The reality was somewhat different however, and we trundled off stage to a good enough reaction it has to be said. But definitely muted in comparison to what we had come to expect. In any case, it was a quiet old dressing room afterwards, this I can tell you. Not because we felt that our “brave” decision had backfired. More because we suddenly felt like the dumbest band on the planet that night – and we were!

The fault was all ours after all. People who had come to hear the songs they knew and loved were left a tad bewildered, as we dumped past favourites for too many “newbies”. And all in all it was definitely a case of too much too soon. Had for example, the event occurred a couple of months later even. I can confidently guess that songs like Waterfront, Catwalk, and Speed Your Love would have gone over devastatingly well with the huge crowd, as they did just about everywhere else in the globe. We undoubtedly would have known how to play them much better by then also and that was also a huge problem at Narara in that we were wildly under rehearsed for a set of new songs that were built on pretty complex sounds and arrangements. ( I cannot remember why that should be, I just recall that is how it was!)

Ah well! Mistakes as we all know are valuable, but only if you learn from them, and I know that we were constantly learning and improving back then.In fact, I seriously hope that all these years later we are still learning and improving.

I certainly know that we are trying to push Simple Minds on positively and progressively in every way possible, and the current new sounds that I am hearing in the studio convince me that all is turning out as well as we have hoped.

Meanwhile, I cannot deny that it will be great to break out of the boxy, claustrophobic, bunker room that we are now working in and have been over the last month or so.

And for no better reason other than to head down to Australia’s Gold Coast - and give all we have to give - on Saturday 22nd of October.

I can’t wait!

Jim Kerr


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