Carl: Welcome to our on-line chat with Tim Booth from James. This conference is moderated, which means that you can’t join in with the chat. However you can ask Tim questions at any time during the event.
To ask a question look towards the top of the chat window, then click the ‘ASK QUESTION’ button, type in your question and click ASK; your question will then be entered into the queue.
Welcome, Tim, to CompuServe’s Music Forum.
We have got lots of questions from the members today.
I’ll kick off by asking: are you an Internet fan?
Tim Booth: Sounds like ‘are you a football fan?’. Yes, I am as long as it remains fairly free and I’m not referring to the dark side. I mean as long as the corporations don’t strangle it.
Carl: Do you know how the new single, ‘Getting Away With It’, has been doing this week?
Tim Booth: Not as badly as we thought it might, but I don’t want to count my chickens as the big bad fox might come and sweep them away.
Carl: You also have a new album out called ‘Pleased To Meet You’; can you tell us what we can expect?
Tim Booth: No, I haven’t heard it yet!
Fishknives Girl: Tim, is it true you started off in the band as the dancer? Can you please teach me how to dance?
Tim Booth: Yes I can in virtual time. I actually teach classes of ecstatic dance in Brighton and around the country. Last year we took a group to the Canary Islands with the Dolphin Connection Experience.
Jimmy: What is Alaskan Pipeline about, Tim?
Tim Booth: I think it’s about a boy’s relationship with his mother. It was one of those songs I wrote fairly unconsciously, which for me is always the best way. So I’m never totally sure what the songs are about, because for me it feels like I’m tuning in.
James O’Carroll: How important was Manchester as a city in the formation of James?
Tim Booth: I don’t know what we’d be like if you took away Manchester, but you can see in the string of bands that come from that city that there must be something in the water. We definitely got our bloody-minded arrogance from that place – believing in ourselves to ridiculous heights that you can see is in all of the other Manchester bands.
Derkaryian: Hello from another countryman displaced in the States. Will you be touring the States ’roundabout September 1, so we can put back a couple while watching the big game?
Tim Booth: Not sure… think we may be in the States in September – in Mexico and New York, but nothing is confirmed yet.
Sandstorm: Tim, can you play ‘Scratchcard’ at the Liverpool gig?
Tim Booth: No – ‘Scratchcard’ turned into something else and will probably end up as a B-side. You must have seen it at Christmas when we were road-testing the new songs. Some of them never left the pitstop! ‘Scratchcard’ was one of them.
Kazzy: It’s clear from those present that there is an international mix of people here in UK Music; have you ever recorded in a language other than English and how difficult do you think you would find learning the lyrics?
Tim Booth: Great idea. No, I’ve only muttered a few words in French and Spanish. Once, when we were improvising a song, I put on a fake German accent and pretended I was singing in German because I hadn’t got any lyrics. It worked well in Liverpool.
Guest 23: On tour last year, the current single was called ‘Saving Grace’; why did you change the name?
Tim Booth: Record company pressure – they figured that ‘you lot’ would never buy the single if we called it that. I love ‘Saving Grace’, but it does connect it too strongly to the film of the same name.
Guest 55: Hi Tim, just booked my tickets for the Brighton concert – can’t wait. Just wanted to ask: I was at Exeter concert last year and there were some real ****holes in the crowd – how do you cope when people are like that?
Tim Booth: We’re not playing Brighton, you’ve been ripped off! I tend to like arseholes – they make a concert more interesting. On the Lollapalooza tour, I would walk off stage into the audience to hecklers and sing to them. They would invariably offer me drugs or crack up in front of the cameras projecting the scene onto the screen.
Fishknives Girl: What are you talking about in “Fishknives”?
Tim Booth: Someone else asked me about this rare, obscure B-side already today. Is it you again?! I can hardly remember the lyrics. I think it was about finding out who you are and not just repeating the past that your ancestors relate to, but that sounds like pretentious selective memory.
Matt: Why is James having such trouble releasing material in the US when they are the greatest band around?
Tim Booth: Let’s say that after the ‘Laid’ album did very well in the States a new head of the American company took over, who hated James and that was it really. There’s a longer story but I might get sued!
Hippy Home: What made you opt for Manchester to study drama?
Tim Booth: I’d seen Iggy Pop and Patti Smith play at the Manchester Apollo and they burned a big crater in my soul and made me believe the place to be hip and happening. I chose drama simply because I didn’t know who I was, so learning how to control when you were acting and when you were being real, seemed like a good idea at the time.
Guest 60: Tim, when are James next performing in Wales or nearest please?
Tim Booth: I don’t know – I’d have to get a map and I’m lousy on our own tour dates. I just turn up on the day and sing.
Guest 51: Do you have any plans for any more acting or solo work? Is there anybody that you would particularly like to work with, outside of James?
Tim Booth: I’d love to work with Angelo again and I do have other plans, but plans are best kept secret. Acting, again, something is in the Alaskan Pipeline, but I’m counting chickens again.
Guest 23: I saw you live in the late/mid 80s at Liverpool Poly, supported by the Happy Mondays. Who is the best band you have been supported by, and whom you have supported?
Tim Booth: The band of Holy Joy, Radiohead and the Mondays were probably my favourite three. Neil Young was our favourite support slot across the States, playing in beautiful outdoor arenas overlooking canyons and deserts, accompanied by the sound of crickets and chicadas.
Guest 29: Tim, what music are you listening to at the moment and what type of music do your dance groups dance to?
Tim Booth: Right now I’m listening to the beat of the air conditioning and a projector. I love the new Grandaddy CD, Nick Cave, Travis, Coldplay. To dance to we use very different music, only rarely overlapping my own personal taste, because it’s chosen to help people go into trance states.
Ben: Hi Tim! I’m not James, but i’m ‘Pleased to Meet You’. 🙂 During recent interviews, we have seen you angry at many people in the industry; how confident are you that you will find another record deal after this?
Tim Booth: Heh heh. Pretty confident. I’m no longer so angry as I tend to expect the worst and I’m seldom disappointed.
Laurie: First off that’s the record company’s loss!!! Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
Tim Booth: Spiritual person? That’s a loaded term. It usually infers some superiority, but I’m interested in spirit (which is another loaded term.) There’s very little language you can use to talk about this that hasn’t been bastardised by somebody’s church.
Guest 53: Hi, Tim. Just wondering, can you play any musical instruments (off-stage, I mean)?
Tim Booth: The kazoo.
Fishknives Girl: Is December a good month for you? Everytime I have seen you live, it’s that month! Oh and do you think you can play ‘Greenpeace’ live more often please?
Tim Booth: We seem to have got into this annual habit of touring in December and it’s working out great – an antidote to winter blues. Don’t think we know how to play Greenpeace anymore. We’ve moved on.
Guest 34: What is ‘Senorita’ about Tim? And do you ever think you will ever have a number 1 single? I think it’s a travesty that you haven’t had one!!
Tim Booth: I doubt whether we’ll ever have a number 1 – we don’t know how to write singles – it’s just a complete fluke. We write thirty songs and then ask somebody to tell us if any of them are singles as we haven’t got a clue. ‘Senorita’ is about a man who sees a woman, who he knows will be very dangerous for him. But he’s instantly shot in the wherewithals and is unable to resist. A common male malay!
Guest 7: Why are you only doing a few gigs this winter? When will you be playing the smaller venues again like Southampton and Poole?
Tim Booth: We like big gigs! They seem, ironically enough, more intimate to us. There are seven of us and we don’t fit on small stages. We play better when we can hear each other with great clarity and therefore on the bigger stages we play better.
Derkaryian: Any plans for Southern California, or shall I plan to travel?
Tim Booth: The Californian festival fell through. Pack a bag!
Guest 33: Tim, any advice for someone that is too shy to dance?
Tim Booth: Put a bag over your head then you won’t know anyone is looking. Just joking! Come to one of my classes, there’s a room full of shy dancers.
Guest 55: Any news on who will be supporting you in this year’s tour? I loved Shea Seger last year.
Tim Booth: Not confirmed yet.
Only :-P): Tim, this is your number one Belfast fan – who would you be pleased to meet?
Tim Booth: Nelson Mandela, Muhammed Ali, James Joyce, but he’s dead.
Guest 51: Do you read much? What type of literature do you enjoy? Who are your favourite authors?
Tim Booth: Doris Lessing is probably one of my favourites. I wrote ‘Sit Down’ as a thank you to her and Patti Smith. I also enjoy Robert Anton Wilson. Janet Fitch has written a fabulous book called White Oleander – too many to mention.
Guest 53: Do you remember the ‘So Many Ways’ video? You looked so happy and carefree, falling over repeatedly. Anyway, why was the new single released alongside the new Hear’Say single? Surely that’s a bit stupid.
Tim Booth: I don’t feel we’re in competition. We exist in completely separate realms and ne’er the twain shall meet.
Guest 50: Are you planning to release any live video material over the coming months? The ‘Come Home’ Video is fantastic… pure class.
Tim Booth: Thank you. That was one of the highlights of our musical life getting a great magical live concert on video. I would love to do another one.
Guest 23: Have you ever written songs for other people/bands? If so, how well did they do?
Tim Booth: As in a race, did they come first or second? I haven’t really. I’ve done a few incognito, which have to remain so for legal reasons, i.e. they may have come out on other record labels that I’m not allowed to write for! And they were very fine, thank you very much.
Carl: Unfortunately that is all we have time for tonight. Thanks, Tim, for coming in and thanks to all the Members and guests for joining us. Tim would you like to say anything to the room?
Tim Booth: We must meet like this more often. You’re much more attractive in virtual space than you are in reality. Much love, Tim
Guest 18: Wow!
Guest 35: That was so much fun!!
Guest 62: Booth & the fellas neeeeeeeeeeeed to come to the US, Boston needs James!