JAMES have been coming together with Jacques Villeneuve. The Formula 1 racing driver bought tickets for the band’s gig at the London Shepherds Bush Empire on March 21 and declared himself a major fan when he was introduced to them backstage.
The following weekend, on Sunday, March 30, Villeneuve was told just before his race in San Paulo, Brazil, that a package had arrived for him from James-a fact which clearly put him in a spin, since he lost his lone on the first corner and shot across the grass! After a restart, he won the race.
The friendship between James and Jacques began after his press officer contacted the band’s representatives. She said that Villeneuve had bought tickets for the Empire show and would really love to meet the group.
“He’s a massive James fan,” said Jayne Houghton, spokeswoman for the band. “He came backstage to say hello, and for someone who drives round a racetrack at 200 miles an hour, he was so nervous, really shy. He was a very, very nice bloke. He charmed everybody.
“The band were so chuffed to meet him. It was like a mutual appreciation society. They signed things for each other.
“Afterwards, I got Jacques a package of limited-edition James stuff, and the first thing he said to his PR when he was about to start this race in Brazil was, ‘Did Jayne send me the limited edition records?'”
Villeneuve has returned James’ favour at the Empire by inviting the band to Silverstone at the end of May. There, he will be testing the car for the British Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, James have announced the release of a new single, “Tomorrow,” on Fontana on April 21.Written by James and Brian Eno, this is a reworked version of the “Whiplash” album track.
There will be three separate CDs. The first offers three new songs, “Gone Too Far” (also co-written with Brian Eno), “Honest Pleasure” and “All One To Me.”
The second features live versions of “Lost A Friend,” “Come Home” and “Greenpeace,” recorded especially for the Mark Radcliffe show.
The third features remixes of “Tomorrow” by Fila Brazillia, Archive and Dirty Beatnik.
James go off to the States at the end of April for a sell-out tour, returning in time for their date at Silverstone and a series of outdoor appearances at V97, Glastonbury Festival and T In The Park.