It was NEVER fun!
It was NEVER fun!
One of the biggest names in the Australian music industry has passed away. Michael Gudinski created one of the biggest record labels in Australia – Mushroom, and it had on its books just about every Australian music artist or band you’d ever wish to name.
From Skyhooks to Split Enz to Kylie Minogue, many a musical act has at some point either been on the Mushroom label, or had some dealing or other with Mr Gudinski.
He also set up Frontier Touring, one of Australia’s largest tour promoters and was responsible for getting a wealth of worldwide acts to make the long-haul flights Down Under to tour the country and play live.
The Australian music industry owes a lot to him. He will be very sadly missed.
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.
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
Today Billy Sloan on his show page for BBC Radio Scotland was asking which gig that you’ve been to in the past would you want to go back and experience again.
Not sure I would want to go to any specific ones, really. Probably just any Simple Minds one.
But…oh, the chance to see them in the past with gigs I have never been to in the first place? PLLLEEEEAAAAASSSSSSEEE! ALL OF 5X5 LIVE! Every single gig it is possible to go to – just to start.
1982 Jim – there’s MY Alasdair Gray follow-up to Lanark – 1982 JIM – sod Janine! Lol
Just…from this distance and passage of time, looking back at him at that time, I am transfixed. I can only imagine what I’d be like IN FRONT OF HIM at that time.
Yes, I am feeling it bad today because…I am very down on myself. Very disappointed and upset with myself. As a consequence it is just…I’m just seeking comfort in the things that…yeah.
ANY gig from 1982. Anywhere in Europe in the spring and early summer. Cologne. Anything while they were in Oz in 1982. The Friars, Aylesbury – then off to Oz. Oh, imagine it! New Gold Dream has only just come out and Jim looks fucking breathtaking. I don’t even care. I’m not even gonna apologise! Don’t believe me? Check that Sheila Rock pic from the other day. Someone said to me from me sharing it on my FB feed a few days back (a few comments had been left by that point) “oh, you ladies aren’t talking about his ‘package’ – you’ve disappointed me.” I replied saying “I covet his tits more than his junk.” Lol
Such brazen objectification. But it is true! I know the topic comes up for discussion, but honestly…I don’t feel I’m obsessed with his…”appendage”. There is sssoooo much more about Sir Kerr I am into than…that! His brain…just for a start. Not the other thing most men think with! Lol
ANYWAY! Gigs! Dream gigs. I don’t want to go back to a gig I’ve already experienced. Been there, done that…right? So! I want time travel. I want a gig I never got to experience by actually being there.
I watch some of the things from 1982…I watch him and think about how I feel when I am at gigs now – standing in front of him, watching him…thinking “Oh, you intoxicating, delicious…just…ggrrrr” then put that to how I’d be feeling being there in 1982. I think I’d end up catatonic. Lol. I’m sure. Probably end up in hospital or something. Lol
This is why I am so stunned that I am not finding my wall of Kerrnessnessnessness a distraction at the kit. But I genuinely am motivated by those pictures. Thank god I am! I need to be. Because so much else is bringing me down right now. Me! In every other way. I am a fucking c***, basically. I really, really hate myself right now.
I’m going to leave you with Jim. Well…Simple Minds actually. But…Jim.
A wonderful friend of mine in Oz – Wendy – has done these amazing rock paintings for me.
When she showed me the progress of the New Gold Dream themed one a few days back, I cried my eyes out. I knew she was working on a silhouette of Jim but I wasn’t expecting that amazing NGD cover background on the rock. I was overwhelmed.
Today she shared photos of both completed rocks with me and I absolutely adore them both.
They will take several weeks to get to me all the way from sunny Queensland, but they will find the most loving home here when they arrive in not-quite-so-sunny Glasgow.
Here is a selection of the things that were on the Oz TV SM DVD that arrived the other day. I put them up on YouTube to save space on my blog.
And the interview from yesterday – minus the bit of Prince Charles I snuck into it yesterday.
I absolutely LOVED Graham Kennedy. Known as “The King” in Australia, he wasn’t without his controversy. He particularly enjoyed performing impressions of Australian crows (which are actually ravens – just putting that ornithological fact out there for you) – which can sound like they are swearing rather painfully if you’ve ever heard them?
Anyway….I have no recollection of this, but I can bet I was watching the show that night. I was always watching Coast To Coast – it was essential viewing for me.
Finding this clip on the DVD had me tickled pink, it really did.
More little snippets of clips to come…
This arrived in the post today…of particular interest for this Aussie SM fan. I need to cast my professional ogling eye over it and see what’s what.
Some things I have seen before, others not. I am hoping for a surprise or two. We’ll see.
I hope there’ll be something good to share. It’s Kerrsday after all. Fingers crossed!