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The Neil Drysdale Interview: Jim Kerr's Big Music love

The Neil Drysdale Interview: Jim Kerr's Big Music love

Jim Kerr is part of rock music royalty.

After all, when you've sold as many millions of records as Simple Minds have done through the last 30 years, you are entitled to your place in the pop pantheon.

Yet Kerr will be as thrilled as anybody else when he joins the crowd at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow this Thursday to watch Prince parade his talents.

The star who turned into a squiggle for a long time hasn't been in Britain that often. But Kerr knows what an electrifying entertainer the little man can be.

"I love watching live bands who really know how to rock and he is right up there with the best of them," said Kerr, with the enthusiasm of a new kid on the block.

And that enthusiasm explains why he is loving his life in the spotlight again.

Mikey Watterloony

Given the gamut of unforgettable hits Simple Minds created - songs such as Promised You A Miracle, Waterfront and Mandela Day - one might imagine that Kerr and his colleagues could afford to rest on their laurels.

Instead, though, they have just finished recording a new album, which is entitled Big Music and will come out in October.

According to Kerr, it has lots of power and passion. Urgency and momentum.

Even after all these years at the summit, he is still striving for fresh hooks and infectious melodies, which will propel the band back into the charts.

Will they succeed? Well, there was once an American gambler who summed up why he was so addicted to risk.

He was straight to the point: "The most exciting thing in life is winning. And the second most exciting thing is losing."

  (Paul Cox)
via STV via STV

These words were echoed by Kerr when he talked about the new CD.

As he told STV: "You want it to be a classic, and you want to both keep your fans happy and find a new audience, but that can't be manufactured.

"We have people around us who we trust and they have been very positive. They're not telling us what we want to hear - what would be the point of that?

"It [Big Music] is energetic, it's got a raw power and a lot of vitality.

"We've played a lot of live gigs recently and thrived on the audience feedback.

"And I honestly feel we have taken that attitude into the studio with us."


Simple Bands gained plenty of coverage when they performed in Stonehaven in Hogmanay. At first glance, it was rather like The Rolling Stones playing Dibley.

But, according to Kerr, it's exactly these sort of forays away from giant arenas with their soulless interiors which has helped galvanise the group.

"It was maybe a wee bit of a stretch for them [the organisers], but the gig was fantastic," said Kerr, who arrived for a pre-concert spot of PR at Dunnottar Castle.

"You had fireworks, you had a sell-out crowd, loads of goodwill, New Year spirit in the air... what more could you want?

"Life never grows humdrum when you are in these situations.

"I can't believe we're heading towards the summer. Where does the time go? It only seems as if it was a few days since we were in Stonehaven."

STV News

Kerr has played at a few castles on his peripatetic tour of duty. But Simple Minds have also signed up to appear at "Party at the Palace" in Linlithgow in August, where they will be joined by Deacon Blue, Hue & Cry and many others.

It's an eagerly-anticipated event (details here) and another new location for Kerr.

"It's a stunning location and we heard that Karl Lagerfeld used it for one of his winter fashion photo-shoots, and you can't ask for more than that."

He is also savouring the chance to reconnect with some old friends.

"I remember the last time we played with Deacon Blue, they were on before us.

"They were brilliant. The whole place was buzzing and they really put on a show.

"I guess it was only a matter of time before the palace was used as a concert venue. And we always like the opportunity to perform in new settings."


The days have gone when Kerr used to be a regular visitor to Parkhead. These days, he follows his beloved Celtic via the wonders of satellite television.

But he is hoping to be in his native city when it stages the Commonwealth Games in July.

"I have the feeling it's going to be great and something we never forget," said Kerr.

"I'm optimistic both Glasgow - and Scotland - pull it off with pizzazz and aplomb. I know there is plenty of anticipation, because I've got it as much as anybody."

He wouldn't be drawn on whether Simple Minds might feature in the opening or closing ceremonies of the Games.

But surely Promised You A Miracle has to be better than blowing up some flats?

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