Int : I’m MTV’s Lewis Largent. I’m here with Tim Booth and Jim Glennie, two of the founding members of the band James. We’ve just seen a bit of Sit Down. People go crazy when they see you, when you play that in your native England. Can you explain what happens when you play that song?
Jim : Everyone sits down basically
Int : They do not
Jim : They do
Int : They do not
Jim : They do
Int : They rise to their feet and have their lighters out. And sway back and forth.
Tim : That old chestnut. It kind of varies actually. First of all they used to invade the stage, they felt that was the song they could get on the stage and sit down and after a couple of incidents where we had a couple of hundred people on stage and the stage gave way, we decided to stop that and they sat down in process. The first night it happened, playing to about 4,000, they tried to storm the stage you know and failed and sat down in protest. 4,000 people and we were visibly shaken and it kind of went on from there. Now we never quite know what’s going to happen.
Int : Do you still get like , I’ve seen you when you play that song, shocked when you play that song. I’ve seen people in the audience get moved like that
Tim : It varies, doesn’t it? When you feel like it’s an automatic response, like getting out the lighters, it doesn’t get you. When you feel you’ve really played well, you’ve really touched people and then you play Sit Down and they want to communicate something to you, like an expression of solidarity, you can feel it. You can feel when it’s real. Then you get really hit.
Jim : You don’t want to be sort of “Come on, join in the chorus” You know. It’s really crass
Tim : We stopped playing it, we didn’t want that
Int : Let’s talk about your new album, Laid. Your fifth album? In like ten years of existence. I get feelings from reading articles from when you were preparing to make that album that this was time to reinvent yourself. Like Seven had closed a chapter and it was time to open a new chapter. Is that a correct assumption?
Jim : Whenever we record an album we always look for a new area to write in and to our ears all the albums are very different. And there were a few factors, it wasn’t really a conscious thing, in we were going to pull it off in another direction. There were some pretty big factors at the time making it happen. One was touring with Neil Young acoustically which kind of broke everything down again. So even when we were back in the studio to record electrically, it just changed the way we approached the songs. And the second thing was working with Eno. He didn’t let us overcook the songs. He kept them quite simple, quite straightforward. It was fun and the album came out pretty different. Not a “Hey,we have to play in a new direction” type of thing.
Tim : Our trumpet player left as well. After Seven, he kind of got bored of touring and missed his girlfriend so he left. It was all this combination of things meant that we ended up with a more laid-back calmer record
Int : Laidback
Tim : Laidback
Int : We’re about to watch the song and video for Laid which I had an advance cassette of. Was it originally called Raid?
Tim : A lot of the songs change names. Many of the songs that we did with Eno were written at the time. We had a six-week period where we wrote fifty songs. There’s another double LP from the same period. And so loads of them were changing names and we couldn’t remember what they were called. Sometimes is sometimes called Lester Piggott. Which is the name of a famous jockey in England because it has a racing beat. That’s how we remembered it. We should have changed it to Willi Schuhmacher over here.
Int : Or William Burroughs
Tim : Or William Burroughs, the famous jockey.
Int : I thought you said famous junkie.
Tim : Where are the lawyers?
Int : You guys are humongous stars in England. You play soccer stadiums to 50,000 people.
Tim : Humongous
Int : Large, enormous, yet here you have a smaller following. What do you think the reason is?
Tim : We’ve only been coming here for the last few years as I’ve just been told, reliably informed.
Int : Why did you decide, you’ve been a band since 1983, why did you wait nine years?
Tim : It’s been a long journey. You know, we walked it. No, we built up our following in Britain and Europe through touring constantly. And there wasn’t really time to get over here. And money. We had a lot of record company fights and couldn’t raise the ferry crossing.
Int : The record company people who are with you are going “Ha”
Tim : We joined Sire a couple of years ago. No, Sire were the first, we joined Mercury a couple of years ago.