BETWEEN FOUR LETTER OUTBURSTS, JAMES TELL US ABOUT THEIR NEW NO SELL-OUT STYLE
“Remember this when you read the reviews slagging us off” Tim Booth yells at the end of James set, as hordes of happy fans walk slowly away from the stage. Remember, we think he means, that in this particular set on Staffordshire’s V Stage they played none of their best-known hits and none of the singles from last year’s “Millionaires” album and it was still a minor bombshell of a performance.
And, after this outburst, when we go backstage to try and find out what’s eating James, we find them in defiant mood. Tim is calm and friendly, but prepared to state his case. Bassist Jim Glennie wants to explain exactly why James get a raw deal. But guitarist/violinist Saul Davies, eyes bulging, swearing for Britain, is just about ready to explode.
“I just feel like James gets f**king hammered,” he snaps. “We take far more risks than Paul Weller would, or Cypress Hill would take or f**king anybody at this festival. We’ll play new songs that nobody’s even heard of that we don’t even know! Then people go ‘You’re bollocks because you didn’t play Sit Down'”
“There are all these c**ts who are playing around us on the bill – and we’re always the ones who get shit for being corporate f**kers,” he gasps. “We’re here with our f**king balls in our hands going ‘Come on then! Let’s f**king do it!’ We’re not corporate whores, we like to challenge our audience.”
From this you might assume that James new direction involves art-concept Sonic Youthery. At least one new single previewed at V2000 – a frothy pop tune called “Coffee And Toast” – suggests not.
“It’s what I call a scientific love song,” Tim laughs. “It’s about this guy who tries to impress a girl with all this scientific stuff about black holes, when he just wants to get her back home. He wants her to come back home and have coffee and toast, but you know what he’s really after! I find the scientific chat up line works every time, but only with a certain type of girl. There’s another new song called “Everyone’s A Junkie” which is much darker. You know, we’re James, we don’t have one direction. We fire a shotgun and maybe some of the pellets will hit.”
So far, the band have taken this scattergun approach to recording, having demoed 25 tracks, from which they’ll compile their new album in March (working title “We Want Our Money Back”). They’ll also be going back to their roots touring University venues in October. But don’t expect them to play “Sit Down.” Unless it includes a 30-minute jazz odyssey mid-section. Nice.