Tim Booth’s in love and he’s got it bad. The lead singer with top indie band James has just returned after visiting his fiancee Kate, who works in fashion photography in America, and the couple are hoping to fix a wedding date soon.
“We’re going to have one wedding on the beach at Big Sur – one of my favourite spots in the world – and another here in England” he reveals. “I met Kate a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and we got engaged six months later. I’ve met the woman I love and if I’m meant to be with anyone, it’s her”
Things are looking good for Tim, 38, and the Manchester band. They’ve had 14 hit singles – Sit Down and Come Home the most memorable – over the last 16 years.
With their recent Best Of album having just spent a month in the Top 10 and a new single and album on the way, now’s no time to call it a day.
“If we split up, I’d probably last for about a year. James has some big overheads and a lot of the money I earned got ploughed back into the band,” says Tim, who admits to being financially naive in the early years.
“I didn’t fritter it away on fast cars as such, more like fast women. When you’re young, you don’t know how to save and think it’s going to last forever. But I’m wiser now and over the last few years have been careful to save and invest.”
He’s also keen to move into other areas, particularly acting. He reveals that having trod the boards in the controversial ’60s play Saved in Bolton recently – for which he earned £250 a week – he’s been offered a series of TV films and has even considered a number of Hollywood scripts.
“I’ve really got the bug from doing Saved,” he says. “And now I’ve done Bolton, it’s ‘tomorrow, the world.’ James will come first but I’ll make space for any decent roles.”
It’s not his first contact with acting – he studied drama at Manchester University with Ben Elton and Rik Mayall (he met the band James in his final year there). But his renewed interest began by chance when he was offered the part of Tommy on Broadway three years ago. He turned it down but later decided to get an acting coach and moved to Los Angeles where he met his fiancee.
After a chance meeting with a Hollywood film mogul, a series of scripts came his way and he auditioned for the part of Nicholas Cage’s brother in the hit film Face/Off.
“I was at a record company party when I was taken aside and told ‘Tim Booth, I want you to meet Tim Robbins’ and all I could say was ‘Hey, you’re huge’ because he’s 6ft 4in”
Tim recalls “I started talking to this guy next to Tim Robbins and he asked me what I did. So like a lunatice I sang out our latest record to him. I don’t know why I did it. It’s so unlike me to do that. But we got on really well and when I told him I was interested in acting, he gave me his card – he was head of Polygram Films.
“If I had the choice, I’d love to act in the X Files or go into space with Star Trek. The Jean-Luc Picard character was the best.”
One place the Leeds-born singer’s going back to on a more permanent basis is Brighton where he’s just bought a house. This will allow him more time with his nine year old son Ben from his first marriage to Martine McDonagh, the band’s former manager.
“He’s going to live with me occasionally, which is great,” he says. “I also get on well with Martine still. She’s going through my new flat advising me on what kind of paint to use.”
But the move spells the end of an era for a man who’s live in Manchester for two decades.
“It’s sad, but I’ve hardly been there in the last four years,” he says. “The thing that strikes me these days is the violence – all these gangland shootings.
“My Saab 900’s been broken into four times in the last two years and that’s just ridiculous.”