The original members of alternative folk-pop group James met at Manchester university, forming the band in 1982 with singer Tim Booth, guitarist Paul Gilbertson, bassist Jim Glennie and Gavan Whelan on drums.
The band played local club circuits before releasing 2 EP’s in ’83 and ’85 then signing to Sire Records in the summer of 1985. The debut album, Stutter, was released in 1986 and featured new guitarist Larry Gott. Stripmine followed in 1988, establishing James’ sound as Booth’s falsetto leaps rose above the underlying Gaelic feel of their music.
After being released penniless by their record company, the band convinced their bank manager to load them the money to release a live album on their own record label, proving their viability to him at one of their shows. One Man Clapping was released in 1989 and went to number 1 in the UK indie album chart.
By 1990 the band had increased their sound, adding keyboardist Mark Hunter, trumpeter Andy Diagram and violinist Saul Davies, with Whelan being replaced by David Baynton-Powell on drums. The third album, Gold Mother, was released on Fontana Records in the same year, becoming the breakthrough record for the band as a re-recorded version of the single Sit Down went to number 2 in the UK chart.
Often overlooked, Seven was released in 1992, followed by the US popular album Laid. Brian Eno’s production of the 1993 album changed the direction of the band, steering them towards the darker musical corners of their career. During the Laid session, Eno co-wrote and performed tracks with the band that became the 1994 LP Wah Wah. The album contained 23 songs and was the last album release before the band returned in early ’97 with Whiplash.
Millionaires is released October 1999, as high expectations have been building up around the transcendent sounding band’s new album.