Rapido, dutifully reporting on some modern musical collection rising up uncertainly from the merry mists of Manchester and this week is going to be no different, lovely viewer. Well, it is but it is only in the sense that the Mancunian group James are actually very talented indeed. In fact, James have been going in various forms and line-ups since the early eighties. Back then, they had a mutual appreciation society going with The Smiths and recorded for Rough Trade. Now with an enlarged line up and singer Tim Booth very much at the helm, they’ve enjoyed major league chart success. Their style has won the hearts of Britain’s young and alive due to the fact it’s based on songs and substance rather than the usual mix of deranged cobal and meaningless lyrics we’ve come to expect from certain other sections of the Manchester community. James. Right here. Right now. On Rapido.
Currently perched high in the charts with Sit Down, James aren’t exactly an overnight success with eight years of making records behind them. We asked singer Tim Booth and bassist Jim Glennie where they suddenly went right.
Jim : I don’t think there’s been any conscious change by us. I think it’s always been a movement. James has been a direction that the songs have been changing, the music’s always been changing and the audience has been growing around that, selling more records. Yeah, there’s been a big jump in the last year. For a lot of people James are quite new in a lot of respects. It’s the first time they’ve come across us. But for us, it’s not been like from nothing to fame.
Over the years, James have expanded to a seven-piece replacing the drummer and adding keyboards and trumpet. Their latest album Gold Mother, released last year, shows off their new range.
Tim : Come Home is probably the most representative song in terms of the power on record that we’ve caught so far. I think Gold Mother is probably the rawest we’ve got, but we still feel we’ve got, that’s the area we can improve in a lot.
A Manchester rather than a Madchester band, James don’t see themselves as belonging to the baggy dance tradition of the Happy Mondays or the Stone Roses.
Tim : I mean we’ve had some really support from Manchester. We had some really difficult years and it was the support in Manchester that kept us going so we’ve got a great relationship with Manchester, with our audience there, and the concerts there are a complete celebration, absolutely wild, and that’s wonderful. That’s it, it’s more the people than the city. I mean, what’s a city? A place of pollution.
Manchester was like left alone for years. All the music industry in Britain is in London so they didn’t take any notice of what was happening in Manchester. So The Stone Roses had been going five or six years, the Mondays six years, and suddenly people turned round and said there were some good bands there. They’d had time to develop themselves by that time.
Despite protest songs like Sit Down and Government Walls, James don’t particularly want to be known as a political band.
Tim : I felt Live Aid and the way Bob Geldof was a spokesperson for that, not taking particular sides, speaking for that, I felt that was the only way it could be done because otherwise you just end up in one camp or the other and it becomes us against them. Divisive. And as soon as you get into that, we’re better than you and our beliefs are better than yours, it’s a joke.