Who would have thought there were only six degrees of separation between Harrogate and Simple Mind, fewer, possibly?
The band’s co-founder member, Charlie Burchill is talking about a long-ago gig he played with Jim Kerr and his early dressed-in-black bandmates at a town hall in an industrial town in Scotland.
“I remember it vividly. We’d written a song that we never put on an album called Cocteau Twins.
“Liz Frazer and Robin Guthrie were at the gig and took it for the name of the band. They were so strange and weird but we loved that band.”
This Harrogate Advertiser writer was at the same gig , too, in December 1978 and Liz and Robin were a year or two above me at the local high school.
A lot has changed since then for all of us, particularly Simple Minds who will shortly headline a far bigger event at Millennium Square in Leeds on Saturday, August 11 with support from KT Tunstall..
Charlie said: “There’s been 37 people in total in Simple Minds but there’s always been me and Jim there from the beginning. We’ve never stopped.
“If there’s one thing I’m proud of is that we’ve changed from album to album. We’ve never wanted to be formulaic.
“We never wanted to be part of a heritage-type tour. We’ve had great success with both our last two albums.”
Just back from playing Spain and Italy, Charlie says the band poured everything into both Walk Between the Worlds (2018) and Big Music (2014).
Although happy to play setlist essentials such as Alive and Kicking, Promised You A Miracle and Don’t You Forget About Me, Charlie’s own personal Simple Minds favourite is a bit of a connissoeur’s choice, however, Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call, the daringly synth heavy album they released in 1981 just before they made it big,
But, as the lead guitarist/songwriter in a band that’s enjoyed a 40-year career packed with worldwide hits, number one albums, and forgetting a famous appearance in Live Aid, this energised 58-year-old can’t afford to neglect any part of such a classic back catalogue.
Charlie said: “People come to gigs to hear certain songs but I’ve been a bit rough on Don’t You Forget Me over the years.
“It wasn’t written by us but it was written for us and we changed it quite a bit to make it a Simple Minds track.I think it sound great. I get it now.”
Glasgow born and in a Glasgow band, Simple Minds have always reflected that city’s mix of strong emotions and toughness with a penchant for a certain artiness and style.
Partly for that reason, Charlie is right behind moves to rebuild Glasgow School of Art which was hit recently by its second crippling blaze in four years.
He said: “It was devastating to see it like that it. They have to rebuild it. It would be criminal to just leave it. It’s too much of an iconic building.”
There’s little chance of this classic Scottish band collapsing any time soon, partly because Charlie and Jim are usually in the process of rebuilding it.
Constantly revising their setlist to keep it fresh as much for the band as the fans, Charlie’s own highlights of Simple Minds’distinguished career as those little moments.
“Live Aid was amazing. We played the Philadelphia slot. A mad day..
“I’ve been asked about it a lot over the years and the thing I always mention is jamming with Bo Diddley.
“He was a legend to me. He just said to me “plug in and play”, so I did.”
Contrary to the press information the Harrogate Advertiser received earlier, Grandslam 2018 with Simple Minds will take place at Millennium Square in Leeds on Saturday Friday, 11 with KT Tunstall. not August 3.
Furthermore, The Pretenders are not due to perform.
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