05 Feb, 2006 Mindwaves
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 albums and 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 probably 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 phone on my 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 knowing 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.”
Readers 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…”
By Ettrick Scott, The Sunday Sun.