When James singer Tim Booth presented their producer Brian Eno with a Special Award (don’t ask) at the Q Awards, there was no hint that he had any big announcement to make.
Yet, when PS spotted Tim at the buffet afterwards, he casually announced that – after 20 years and one of the best-selling Hits albums ever – he had quit.
Why is Tim calling it a day? And why does he see himself with a future in James Bond movies?
Tim Booth says he decided to leave James over the summer but denies the band being dropped by Mercury Records influenced his decision.
“I’d already made my mind up by then” says Tim. “When I finished our last album, I had time to reflect.
“I wanted to go out on a high. I didn’t want to carry on if I wasn’t enjoying it, getting bitter about young bands taking our place. We’ve had 20 years, that’s a wonderful milestone.”
Pleased To Meet You got quite a few pannings, but Tim Booth was unaware of the critics response when he decided to leave James.
“I don’t read reviews, so it certainly couldn’t have influenced me,” he grins.
“I’d like to reassure people that I was 100% committed to the album when I made it. I stand by Pleased To Meet You, I think it’s a fantastic record. I can’t envisage a stronger album for me to call it a day on, to be honest.”
Although he’s walked out on his bandmates, Tim Booth says the departure was entirely amicable.
“The decision is about me, not them” says Tim. “They’re talking about what to do, but if they want to carry on as James – then they have my complete blessing.
“I’ll be doing our farewell tour over Christmas. We’re getting a lot of old bandmates back for that, so I’ll be extremely emotional by the end.”
Tim Booth hopes to have some new music out in April, and is keen to again work with Angelo Badalamenti – the Twin Peaks and Pet Shop Boys composer – with whom he made the Booth and the Bad Angel album.
“I’m also involved in music workshops, I’m keen to help people get into performing music who otherwise might not get the chance,” says Tim.
“Leaving James has freed me up to do those things I’ve always wanted – I’m halfway through writing a screenplay.”
Along with writing a screenplay, Tim Booth is using his extra time since leaving James to try and get an acting career off the ground.
“I’ve a few things on the go, but I can’t say what in case they go wrong and people call me a liar,” he laughs.
“But my ideal role would be a villain, someone horrible, dark and downright twisted, I can see myself stroking a cat, planning world domination and cackling at the hero. I can’t wait!”