“RockField – The Studio On The Farm” Documentary To Air On BBC Channels!

The documentary on the famous Monmouthshire recording studio is set to air simultaneously on BBC Two Wales and BBC Four on Saturday, July 18th at 9pm BST.

Below is a trailer on the documentary – with a tiny snippet of Jim discussing Simple Minds’ meeting with David Bowie and Iggy Pop while the band were there recording second album Real To Real Cacophony in 1979.

I have been hoping this would be getting a UK airing at some point. Really looking forward to this one.

Minds Music Monday – The Ones I Miss

I use Spotify for the majority of my music listening. I still order and buy hard copy formats of artists! I buy vinyl, CDs, digital downloads too. I also buy merch and go to gigs. I support the artists I love!

But yes, because I listen to music mostly through the night and I can’t be arsed to deal with the torture that is iTunes to rip and store copies of my music catalogue on my devices, I use Spotify.

And it’s a bane, because things come and go. And when they disappear, I miss them because they end up not being heard by me.

High on the  list of things I am missing from Spotify at the moment are these. They are all on the 5×5 box set which was taken off Spotify some time back. I miss hearing them! I really miss hearing them.

To be honest – even on YouTube, Garden Of Hate is not available as a good sounding track. The best is this, a live radio session version, which is damn good too.

 

Special View I find really sensual. Don’t know why. Just always have.

 

This is just synthpop perfection for me. Mick doesn’t get enough kudos for this song, and not many Simple Minds fans even talk about it or reference it but I love it! I had a bit of a smug moment one time when Jim was talking about Lostboy! and talked about Nail Thru My Heart and how it referenced an old SM track and like a shot I was like “YES! New Warm Skin!” and was commended for my knowledge from his Sirness of Kerrness. Teacher’s pet that I am. Lol

 

I miss these three tracks on Spotify. I wish that 5×5 was still on there. Never mind.

I Wish Life Could Be Swedish Magazines…

The line from Iggy Pop’s Five Foot One could not be a more appropriate title because, right now, I DO wish “life could be Swedish magazines”. Well, newspapers might be more accurate.

Anyway, that’s semantics.

This morning on the Simple Minds Official Group (or should that now just be “Simple Minds Group”?), a Swedish fan shared a few images from local newspapers featuring SM.

I commented saying how awesome they were and gave a thanks for sharing. He replied to me, telling me that the Swedish National Library’s archive is open to the public during April and he’d be searching the archive and found some things.

And there is SO MUCH MORE than he shared on SMOG! A veritable treasure trove of previously unseen photos, articles and gig reviews, etc. It’s a pain in the bum to go through on a Smartphone or tablet/mobile device, so I’ll fire up the laptop tomorrow and see what I can find and try and get a better copy of the things I’ve seen so far – and more.

But for now…here is a small rough sample of the treasures in the Swedish Newspaper archive. The first pic is a very early one from 1979, all the rest are from 1981-1982.

If you are wanting to, you can search through the archive HERE. A huge thanks to Micke for posting about this today.

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Am I dreaming this or is Jim wearing ANIMAL PRINT LEG WARMERS???!!!

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Kenny or Jim? The tussle is real. Erm…THREESOME?! I WISH! Then again, Kenny’s troosers are worryingly high. Lol. Jim’s are not much lower to be fair…

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Weekend WhirliGIG – BBC Radio 1 – 1979

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The return of the weekend whirligig sees us revisiting SM performing a set for BBC Radio One “in concert”.

Contains cracking versions of White Light/White Heat, original Kerr lyrics to Scar and a great Pleasantly Disturbed, marred only by having lines of my least favourite David Bowie song – the truly turgid Memory Of  A Free Festival – within it.

 

40 Essential Tracks Of The (New Romantics) Scene – Changeling

I was looking through the new Classic Pop special on the New Romantics movement and wondering if Simple Minds would even get a mention anywhere. Of course they wouldn’t describe themselves as New Romantics…but they were certainly on the fringes of the scene, if not directly involved in it. And certainly their music fitted in with the sound of the period.

In particular, I had hoped to see them be mentioned in the feature of the magazine called “40 Essential Tracks of The Scene”, because if nothing else their sound was right in the frame (as far as I am concerned) for the period. I started to get a bit disgruntled as I turned the pages. I mean, if Duran Duran’s Planet Earth is there, how the fuck could I Travel NOT be?

Finally…and right next to Iggy Pop’s Nightclubbing (at a lowly 39! Fucking hell. I wonder about some of these music mags sometimes…) – was this (see below). I am actually finding Changeling a curious choice given what else is in the Simple Minds canon at the time of the New Romantics movement. I mean…HELLO! I Travel, anyone? Celebrate? Love Song?

But having said that, great that they chose a bit more of a curveball and highlighted Real To Real Cacophony right on its anniversary. I’ll give them that.

Mangled Magazine Interview With Jim

A quick interview with Jim from 1979. I feel vindicated about my thoughts on cassettes. Lol

See…I don’t get the comparisons to Magazine, either. But I’d have died to have seen one of those gigs now!

As for the “Secondhand Simplicity” review title? A lazy alliteration…that’s all it was. I seem to remember it was a pretty good review otherwise. I’m sure I have it posted here on the blog somewhere.

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Why I Love…Changeling

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The dancefloor. Frigging hell! Did Simple Minds know how to fill it back in the day. I guess they still do to be fair.

But let us rewind back to 1979. Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside. Five young men from Glasgow are in the studio making the followup to their debut album. An album that really couldn’t be more different to the first. They are still just babies, with the average age of them being just 20. They are still very much learning their craft. Recording in the studio next door are none other than Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Could life get any sweeter?

Yes it could. These five young men band together and make one of the best dance tracks of the late 1970’s as you are ever likely to hear.

OKAY! I’ll be the first to admit that…given all the changes in lyrics that Jim Kerr has made in SM songs over the years…esp. early on (he would rewrite songs entirely from demo to album recording), it’s quite a thing that there wasn’t a change made to the opening line to Changeling. I suppose that was the curse of there being no demos for Real To Real Cacophony. They went straight into recording.

The sticking point, lyrically, is that horrible propensity for snidey shits to take the mickey out of the opening line and continue to sing along to Wombling Free, which I’ve got to say…I don’t know what it does to Jim…but to me, it fucking pisses me off no end!

Perhaps we should concentrate on the musical structure of the song for now? Synths and bass opening with an instant dance hook. Drum grooves quickly follow and then a simplistic yet fab guitar riff. Industrial dance grooves. Fuck these boys were good at them! There’s nothing quite like this on Life In A Day. They hadn’t made a sound quite like this, yet…but boy does it signal the start of a very identifiable early “Simple Minds” signature sound. An aural “watermark”, if you will.

I really don’t know anyone who could listen to this track and not tap their feet or their hands and just get hooked in by the groove.

In spite of what the Arista execs hear at the UK HQ with Real To Real Cacophony in which they appear utterly dumbfounded, they do seem to make the right choice in having Changeling as the lead (but unfortunately subsequently ONLY) single off the album. How they didn’t then follow it up with Factory and Premonition is anyone’s guess. One can only assume they were already becoming concerned that SM was going to leak money hand over fist.

Changeling has no chart success, so one assumes that is why there are no other singles released from the Real To Real Cacophony album.

The failure of the single to chart can’t be down to it being deemed “not good enough” by the music consumer of the time? Just listen to it! Was it just overlooked from a then pretty flooded market? Singles at this point sold in their THOUSANDS every week. Albums had their importance then too, but the single was still king at this point. To the point where single picture sleeves were at their height. A single was packaged with as much of a visual selling point as an album was at this point in time. Every Simple Minds single released so far had been in a picture sleeve…Changeling being no exception. Did the picture sleeve “sell” the single? Hmmm…I’m unsure it did much. Life In A Day was certainly simplistic in its design, but it made an impact nonetheless. As for Chelsea Girl? She was on the mark. Jim was on the mark for wanting that Jean Shrimpton painting as the cover.

But for Changeling…I don’t know what a greyscale image of some hosepipe really tells you about the song. There’s a kind of industrial look to the cover, yes…but where I think the texture and simplicity of the Real To Real Cacophony album cover works to sell it (luring you in wondering what the hell this album is about as the cover actually gives NOTHING away by design) – that same simplistic approach falls flat for the Changeling single.

Back to the song itself. Let’s get back to those lyrics. Young Mr Kerr, what you on about, boy? Lol. For me, I gotta say that Changeling is a very rare beast in that it is all about the tune, the groove and not much about The Boy’s songwriting…for a change. I still love the words…but they mean fuck all. Lol. But hey….some of my absolute favourite Bowie songs are pure gobbledegook. The Burroughs technique has a lot to answer for, sometimes. I couldn’t write a song that means SOMETHING…let alone one that doesn’t really mean anything at all but sounds like it does anyway. And to me…that’s master craftsmanship.

In summary? In the simplest terms, it’s a dancefloor filler. Possibly Simple Minds’ first. At least one of the first, blazing a trail for more killers that follow…I Travel, Celebrate, This Fear Of Gods, Love Song, The American…the list goes on (and on and on 😜).

And that is why I love Changeling.

(PS: Jim can’t mime to save his life….but I bloody love him anyway!)

Lodger At 40

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of the Lodger album by David Bowie. A rather jumbled up travelogue of an album. The travel theme running heavily through side A of the album with: Fantastic Voyage, African Night Flight, Move On, Yassassin (Turkish for Long Live) and Red Sails.

Side B’s theme alters and shifts back to menial points of life, work, home, family…death, mental illness, domestic violence – the only slight thorn in the side is Boys Keep Swinging as it seems more tongue-in-cheek with its theme. Well, DJ is to a degree too. But there are darker themes explored in Look Back In Anger (mental illness/death) and Repetition (domestic violence).

It sadly ends with a rather inferior version of Iggy Pop’s sublime Sister Midnight in Red Money. Compared to Sister Midnight, Red Money feels derivative. I never used to mind it much. I wasn’t aware and got into Iggy until after I heavily got into David. As the years have passed, I am always far more appreciative of Iggy’s side of the Bowie/Pop collaborations, it somewhat pains me to say.

Although seen as being part of the “Berlin trilogy”, it was actually recorded in Montreux, Switzerland and mixed in New York. I always found it curious it was put in a trio with Low and Heroes. I have always felt the trio SHOULD be, at least more musically, Station To Station-Low-Heroes.

Here’s to Lodger! “The hinterland. The hinterland. We’re gonna sail to the hinterland!”

Staring At (Photos Of) The Rude Boys – New Ruts Photobook

There’s a new Hanging Around book release featuring the photography of Virginia Turbett. The book in question features photos of The Ruts (aka Ruts DC – as they are known these days).

The book called “South Of Babylon: The Ruts 1978-1979” is available to pre-order through the Hanging Around Books site and is released on May 27th. Click here to order your copy.

Really looking forward to this one.

We Jumped The Gun – Again – Still Not LIAD Anniversary, YET!

Yesterday I was out-anoraked.

Jim had posted about it being the anniversary of Life In A Day and smuggins here felt a little bit pleased with herself that he was acknowledging the correct date of release. Well, so I had deluded myself. (And obviously he had thought so too…)

The holy bible that is Dream Giver Redux had a Zoom press release from the time showing that the album had been set for release for April 13th. Well, obviously Bruce and Brian had done what I did months back investing in my Mott The Hoople ticket, and neglected to take in that it was Easter weekend.

And as my anorak friend had pointed out on SMO FB, it was indeed Easter weekend on April 13th, 1979. He had said in his comment that in the New Gold Dream tour program it showed the release date to be 20/4/1979. I admit to looking at my scanned copy of my signed version of the program, and there it was! He also said he had seen a subsequent Zoom press release showing the revised date.

I am happy to declare I have been well and truly outdone in the anorak stakes. Lol