James have recovered after a serious incident of whiplash for frontman Tim Booth that almost left him paralysed, and to prove it they’re back with a new single Destiny Calling and a Greatest Hits album as well.
Saul : When bands release a Greatest Hits or Best Of or whatever, it can quite easily be perceived as a weak cowing down to the business in many ways. But for me, it’s quite an aggressive thing for us to do. It’s a very deliberate statement of intent about the future of James. It says “Here are our 16 Top 40 records” This is about stating our case. This is a great band.
Tim : Well, Sit Down was actually written years before it was released. We wrote it and we wrote it in about twenty minutes and then fell about laughing, we couldn’t play it anymore because we were laughing so much. The first time we knew it was really special was Liverpool Royal Court. We took the song down quiet and the audience started singing the song back to us and so we took it down quieter and then we stopped and they sang to us for about five minutes and I mean we were in tears. We were very shocked.
Saul : The power of ten thousand, twelve thousand shouting this back at you was quite something.
I saw a really good interview the other day, I think on this show with Richard Ashcroft of the Verve and he said that when he split the band up in 95, he reformed the band two years later because he knew they had something to say. What he was really saying was regardless of what’s happening around you, you are doing this for a very good, the only valid reason, the only really strong reason, that you feel that you’ve got something to say.
Tim : And then we went and did Lollapolooza which was a disaster in America. Not in terms of what it’s done for us. It was just so hard to get through. We’d go on and deal with heckling every night which we quite enjoyed. We found novel ways of dealing with it. We were playing with other bands such as Korn, who had songs like, can you beep stuff, songs like Kill Your Father, F**k Your Mother. After about 2 or 3 weeks I was walking off stage, I’d walk off stage to go and sing in the audience and I found that if I went up to the hecklers they couldn’t handle 10,000 people watching them, and the first time I did it, there was this huge guy, screaming abuse and I’d go up and sing to him and after 30 seconds he said “Will you give me a hug?”
Saul : We actually said beforehand to Mercury about the video that we’re not doing it if you put us in a great big freezing shed on the outskirts of London and we got in these big cars and we ended up in, let me see, this great big freezing shed on the outskirts of London. We started the video and the whole day went by like a flash.
Tim : I was really open to our ideas and said. I was naked. Did you suggest we be naked?
Saul : Yes
Tim : I think you did. Like and he said “Let’s all go naked”