DJ : Tim Booth from James and Jim’s here as well. You’ve done so well in the States and you’ve sold out a tour and you’re selling millions of albums. You’re taking America by storm. So I suppose that this means inevitably, you’ll abandon us and take American citizenship and never return.
Tim : Change our names as well. Jim Bob
DJ : But you’re never here now
Tim : That’s not true actually. We’ve only been, we’ve only played in America this year in nine years and everyone says “Why didn’t you go to America before?” and we’ve only been there for a few weeks. It’s just that..
DJ : It has taken off though, hasn’t it?
Tim : Yeah, it’s doing so at the moment
DJ : The sell out tour business. It must be very alluring as much as anything.
Tim : Yeah it’s exciting going to another country so foreign as America because we’re kind of used to Europe just from holidays if nothing else. You get used to Europe but America is just like another planet and within the whole of America there’s like seven different countries at least. And you kind of, like Larry says, get on a bus in the morning and it’s kind of snowing and minus ten and you sleep and by the time you wake up it’s 80 degrees and kind of subtropical. It’s bizarre how the landscape changes so quickly.
DJ : Talking about America, forgetting the landscape for a minute, they like to be able to put people in a box. Do you have an identity that they’ve imposed on you?
Jim : Not yet. There’s not been sufficient press yet, I think, to actually build up some kind of identity for us over there yet. I know what type of….
Tim : That’s the music thing. It’s hard to talk about music. Journalists, you can’t talk to about notes and tempos and so journalists tend to say “oh, they’re like so and so” or they hope you’re going to give them a photograph where there’s an easily discernible image.
DJ : Which is something you’re not keen on it, is it?
Tim : No, we’re all sloppy dressers, so and there’s seven of us and it’s chaos. I mean we couldn’t coordinate a look, we can’t coordinate a sound so this idea of coordinating a look, it’s crazy. The trumpet player wears a dress, what are you going to do with the rest of us?
DJ : Does that cause a problem?
Tim : We’re quite happy with it. We play games in America, like we have a dice game where we roll the dice to see who wears the dress each night and then you have to carry it off on stage. We play games like that with each other.
DJ : All the same size?
Tim : Yeah, well the drummer has trouble because he’s about six foot four.
Jim : Miniskirt
Tim : He looks cute
DJ : Sexy? Yeah. You’re playing this enormous gig at Alton Towers. You talked earlier this week, last week it was, maybe the week before with Philip Schofield. You’ve got Alton Towers which is not exactly your backyard. Why?
Tim : We’ve been looking to play Manchester for a year or so, because the last gigs we did in Manchester were really special to us. It was like a homecoming. It was just when we were breaking and it was a huge celebration and we filmed it and we didn’t know how to top it. We’d been looking for a good gig to play in Manchester and we hadn’t got council permission. We tried aerodromes etc and this seemed it. It’s about an hour and a half from Manchester so it seems like a great idea. They can pay a little extra and do free fair rides in the afternoon. And it’s like a festival but you have real toilets.
Jim : They’re setting the stage up actually in the lake, on the edge of the lake where the grass slopes down so we’ll get a great view as well. With the houses in the background.
Tim : And we’ll have a big kind of firework display at the end of the night
DJ : Sounds great. Just while we’re talking about performing. One of my obesssions is about encores because I’ve been to two gigs this week and the encores have been longer than the gigs. You have this ritual that bands are starting to go through now where you know they’re going to do 4, 5, maybe 6 song encores and an hour after they actually start doing the gig, then they’re into the encores and the encores take another ninety minutes or so. Do you plan yours?
Tim : What we do is put down a pool of a few songs we might play if we’re asked back and we don’t always go back.
Jim : That’s why it takes us so long to come back because we argue backstage “I don’t want to play that one, let’s play this one. We have huge rows.”
DJ : So are they real encores?
Tim : We write down a pool of six songs we know we can play as encores if we need to but we don’t always go back. The last concert we played we had a huge row. We went off stage. Half the band wanted to play one song, half the band another. So two went on stage and started to play the song they wanted to play and we were really angry because we didn’t want to play that song. So I went on and I started attacking Larry in a mock humour way. But he got really angry because he was trying to play guitar and I was shaking him so much he was out of tune. So he picked up his guitar and threw it at me and he stormed off and we played the song without him and he came back half way through and carried on playing and we were OK then.
DJ : That’s good to hear
Tim : It’s that kind of chaos where you don’t know what’s going to happen.
DJ : It must be a nightmare for management.
Tim : No, Martine likes that
Jim : She’s got used to it. The eyebrows shoot up
Tim : She comes on stage with us and sings some nights. She’s been with us eight years. She’s part of the band.
DJ : Tim and Jim, thanks very much indeed for coming in. Thanks James.