Rock Secrets – Jim Kerr and Billy MacKenzie

This book was produced by Virgin Records in 1982, and asked rock and pop stars of the time a standard Q and A. About 40 of them were printed in the book, including one “mystery star” who if you could name and send in a postcard to Virgin with your answer, you could win a cash prize.

I couldn’t work out who it was. I’ll share the relevant pages in the days to come, so you can have a go at solving the puzzle.

I had seen the one of Jim shared on Twitter some months back and I had genuinely thought I’d posted about it here but seemingly hadn’t.

I certainly remember the “lips, hips and quick wit” turn-ons making an impact and me thinking “well, I’ve got one out of three”. Lol. The only thing I have ever liked about myself are my lips.

I think he should have specified that the “hips” need to be slim and not child-bearing.

Quick wit? Yeah, I fucking wish! Yeah, he’s seen how “quick-witted” I am in front of him. Lol. More like “fuck-witted”. Nope! I’m the kind of person who thinks of a great come-back or put down HOURS after the event…or even the next day. No “quick wit” here.

So…decent lips, hips the size of a house and a slow, dumb fuck. Catch of the century! Lol

Oh…those boots! We agree on them, Jim.

“The cafes of Europe”! Hark at you! Mr Glasgow! Lol. I do love the inverted snobbery you’d sometimes exude. oh, why the hell not! Who could blame you? I’d be doing the same.

I would dream of a couple of hours in a tearoom with you. Sipping lapsang souchong and eating finger pieces and the loveliest, airiest scones – seeing as you don’t “do” dairy – what’s in place of the clotted cream, Mr Kerr? I’m having clotted cream on mine…with the most delicious wild Scottish raspberry jam. Cream first!

Yes. I still have such daydreams. My subconscious certainly wouldn’t allow me to have such wonderful imaginings during my sleep. I never dream about you now. Even in my sleep, too much “reality” creeps in.

Anyway…Stuart Holland posted Jim’s Q and A on SMOG and reminded me of it. I then went back to Twitter to hunt down exactly where this thing came from and found the source. Amazingly, someone was actually selling a copy on eBay, so I grabbed it.

I might share one or two others some time, but for now, here are Jim’s and Billy MacKenzie’s…

When The Other Side Of Midnight Calls, Remind Me It’s … Minds Music Monday

And seeing as it IS now long after the “other side of midnight” and there isn’t much need to remind me “I’m glad to be here” or that it’s Minds Music Monday then…

Let us hark back to BEFORE midnight, when it was still Valentine’s Day. Jim mentioned in his post yesterday a few Simple Minds tracks that could be chosen for Valentine’s Day – 70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall being one of them.

Firstly, I have ALWAYS loved that title. It’s so long winded. But what the hell does it even mean, or allude to? Secondly, who doesn’t love a guitar riff with an effect on it that makes it sound like a mooing coo*? (*cow) Last but not least, it contains – already quite overtly alluded to already! – one of my most favourite lines Jim has ever written – “when the other side of midnight calls, remind me I’m glad to be here”.

I have always been wonderfully puzzled by the song. It’s glorious in its rather enigmatic nature. And it makes it wonderful. I have loved hearing it being performed live in the recent bootlegs shared. Performed TWICE in one night in Tiffany’s in the summer of 1982! Geez.

But this version below is more refined than in the summer and Jim just sounds superb on this. And, it may be a day late and I *MAY* sound like a fool but, fuck I love you, Kerr! ❤️

Happy MMM, and belated Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr Beautiful 😊❤️

New Treasures On Kerrsday

I know I showed these in the video yesterday but…

What little I know of both of them – the Harry Goodwin, as far as I know was taken when SM were recording an episode of Top Of The Pops. I might have that wrong. It certainly seems to date from 1982. Certainly is Jim’s look of the time and he was wearing that Nefertiti shirt around then. The David Corio was taken at The Venue, I think, in early 1980, and has been a long time favourite of mine. I love the atmosphere of it.

Mel’s The Master In “Fundee” Dundee – 17/12/1982

I started listening to this one last night. And even compared to Aberdeen – which they played the following night – WOW! Jesus! This gig is just BRAW! Mel is just playing like a demon!

I had been lamenting some, over what was Mike’s last gig with them a few weeks prior (Nov. 7th in Toronto), having listened to it a short while ago…but then you hear Mel again and it all makes sense. I can very much hear from this gig why Jim would say stuff like “with Mel behind me, I feel 10 feet tall”.

The band are tight, Jim is just so impassioned and “up”! I think the version of I Travel on this bootleg is the best (in terms of band performance and Jim’s vocal delivery – rather than of sound quality) I’ve ever heard. Certainly of the ones I’ve heard from the New Gold Dream tour of ‘82/‘83 at least. A real braw version of Celebrate too.

But the thing that really got hold of me most was Mel’s drumming. I mean, yes, in some ways. esp compared to Mike or Brian, Mel is quite a showman in terms of licks and fills – but it is those very licks and fills that are making this gig sound so frigging amazing! And I can hear from that…from the attitude and bombast and level of musicianship he brought in at that time why Jim’s confidence seemed to soar as a consequence. I don’t think it’s any accident that connection between Mel’s coming into the band full time, his playing and Jim’s growing level of confidence and strengthening connection with the crowd.

I listened up to the end of Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel and then stopped. I wanted to savour the rest for tonight – as tempted as I was to have Hunter And The Hunted play. I was starting to drift off into sleep and I didn’t want to miss parts of the gig.

It is a strange kind of thing to be laying in bed, listening to a gig that’s nearly 40 years old and just quietly cheering and silently mouthing “this is fucking AWESOME! Listen to them! Oh, Jim! You are just so frigging HOT AF! God, I adore you!” And then I stop listening and lay there waiting for sleep to envelop me, chanting “please let me dream of him, please let me dream of him!”

I rarely ever do. And if I do…it’s never of me in the crowd at a gig in 1982. I wish I could have lucid dreams! Or actually could control or pilot what I dream about! I’d be in 1982 – or even 1981 – every night of the week! Lol. Hanging out backstage, being a wallflower, praying Jim would take even a modicum of notice of me, only to see him make his escape with some Amazonian brunette on his arm and wish for all the world that I was taller, slimmer and much more beautiful than I am.

Anyway…”to be or not to be” – the rest of the gig awaits the night.

Maudlin In Melbourne – Bootleg 1/10/1982

I started listening to a new bootleg last night (new to me, at least!) of Simple Minds in Melbourne on the New Gold Dream tour of 1982. It’s their second night in Melbourne (having performed the previous night at the Latrobe University campus) and their fourth night on the Australian leg of the tour.

It seemed to start out well enough. They started (or at least the bootleg started) out with Love Song. They then went into Colours Fly. Jim was trying to keep his voice real low but would give up and would end up screeching. He sounded a bit off and was delivering bum notes here and there.

Given the subject matter of his latest post, I feel a bit pernickety for bringing up his vocal performance – esp. from a gig that’s nearly 40 years old. But…just humour me. I wasn’t around for these things the first time and even though it’s a retrospective critique, these gigs are heard with fresh ears – my fresh ears! I never really took a HUGE amount of interest in bootlegs, (just as a side note, WHY ARE bootlegs called “bootlegs”? I must look that up!) I could never understand why anyone bothered with them because they invariably sounded shit. Either the recording was shit, or the band was crap…or both.

Perhaps it is purely through the now almost completely dead live music scene do I find myself now exploring these recordings more? A combination of that, and of “newer” unearthed gigs being shared on YouTube for our collective listening pleasure that has resulted in this.

Anyways, back to the gig. Jim intros the next song in the usual way he did then “from New Gold Dream, this is called Hunter And The Hunted” – even his intro sounded lacklustre. But he had a propensity of sounding like that back then – the only time his nerves and the stage fright were detectable and audible was when he spoke.

As I listened intently, I couldn’t tell whether he was delivering it more impassioned than usual, or more despondently. His vocal was again off kilter. Not in a way it normally would be! You know, he’s diving around that stage like a whirling dervish. Taking lunges and leaps and skulking about like a panther. Somehow both balletic and yet acrobatic at the same time. More fluid in his moves than the robotic, stilted jerky movements he’d make a couple of years previous. He was at that point very athletic physically in his stage performance. Yet despite that, his vocal performance rarely faltered. Yes, he’d get breathless at times but what came across most was the passion in his performance. He rarely ever seemed to give a bum note.

It seemed about half-way through the song that…he just wasn’t feeling it. Or at least I detected more pain in his voice than passion. He seemed to not really be “in the moment”. It was feeling like he didn’t want to be there. Or at least that, it was getting hard to be there and be “on”. He was still trying to deliver impassioned performance. “Only with you life moves so fucking fast!”

At the end of the song and after the “thank you” he says rather forlorn “everything’s so fast”. It sounded so down! I winced when he said it and was just thinking “aaawww, Jim! What was happening to you that night, beautiful man?”

The gig was starting to sound flat. I couldn’t tell whether it was being projected through Jim, or whether the band were starting to sound flat and then that was having a knock-on effect on Jim, vice versa, or if it was just what I was feeling listening to it.

It’s hard to get a full idea of things. Without the visuals to get any visual indicators of how he was feeling it is all down to interpreting how he was feeling and his performance via voice alone. The crowd are still very responsive. They seem receptive enough.

To me, compared to the other gigs I’ve listened to lately – something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe he was just cold? Lol (I’m being flippant.)

As he intros Someone Somewhere In Summertime he says “will soon be warm here”. Sleep then got the better of me. Me drifting off while laying on my left side, looking at my wall of Kerrs inwardly thinking, “What was up, Jim? What was going on with you that night? Just…not feeling it? Geez, you’re beautiful…” and then …. *lights out*

I’m not sure I want to listen to the rest. But as an object in full retrospective critique, I guess it would be prudent to do so.

Let me know what you guys think. Is it just me? (Most likely. Lol. It usually always is “just me”…)

Thanks again to Stuart Greaves for uploading the audio.

Rewind To Oz – New Gold Discs, 1982

This photo was shared by Bruce Findlay on Twitter a few days back. It’s of Simple Minds (and Bruce) receiving gold discs for New Gold Dream in Australia in 1982.

Pictured are Jim Kerr, Derek Forbes (behind Jim), Mike Ogletree, Mick MacNeil and Bruce.

The photo was sent to Bruce by former Roadrunner magazine founder and publisher, Donald Robertson. You can read more about him and the magazine at roadrunnertwice.com.au

Of course, it was Roadrunner magazine that has one of my favourite magazine covers of all time – and one I tried in vain to get a copy of early on in my fandom – the one of Jim with Iva Davies on the cover. There is a section of Mr Robertson’s blog in which you can view a digital copy of every issue of the magazine that was produced.

I love seeing photos like these. They allow you in to a little bit of history that you missed.

I think I should think about renaming my blog “The Vicarious Mind”. Lol