Simple Minds are very much alive and kicking

Simple Minds
Simple Minds
Portsmouth Philharmonia players following their concert to raise funds for Hayling Island Community Centre

STUART REED: Players pull out all the stops at charity concert

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Everyone from The Horrors to the Manics and Radiohead to King Creosote have lauded Simple Minds in recent years.

Now the band led by Jim Kerr are out on the road to plug their 16th (count them) studio album, Big Music, and play at Portsmouth Guildhall on Wednesday.

The band have always had an epic sound, so is that why they’ve gone for Big Music as a title?

‘You’re right about the sound of the band,’ says Jim, ‘but it wasn’t quite as deliberate as that.

‘The song, Big Music, is about what music means to us, it’s brought us so many things. It’s about the emotions of it, the mystery and value of working on it, the effect it has.

‘So, it was more about all of those things than saying we’ve got a big sound.’

This is who we are, this is what we’ve done with our lives since we were 13 or 14. It’s intrinsic to us

Jim Kerr

And after nearly four decades of Simple Minds, Jim says that it’s much more than just a job to them.

‘This is who we are, this is what we’ve done with our lives since we were 13 or 14. It’s intrinsic to us.

‘Some people see music like a sport of some kind.

‘They’ll say: “You’ve climbed Everest, what’s next?” I say the Everest is inside us. It’s not like “oh we’ve had a few hits” so we should give up.

‘This is who we are, this is what we do, we know nothing else. And we’re very satisfied with what we do because we’re no good at anything else.

‘Also, there’s always something new and interesting to appeal to your imagination.’

There have also been plenty of highlights along the way: ‘You can look at things like Live Aid or the Mandela concert, the first time you play a particular arena, hearing yourself on the radio, but it’s mostly been good.

‘It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs – but mostly ups. We feel incredibly fortunate to have had this life. It’s impossible to pick out a single part as the best.’

‘We do two sets every night and in total we play about 26 songs. There are 14 or 15 we play every night and the rest are all pulled from about 80 songs that we’ve rehearsed, and we chop and change to keep it interesting for us and the audience.

‘Of course there will still be people who say “oh they never played the fourth track off the second album”, but what can you do?

‘One thing is that with social networks, if people make enough noise, we’ll play it. We try to please people.’

Doors open 7pm. Tickets cost from £43.45. Go to portsmouthguildhall.org.uk
BARRY RUTTER