As an example of good timing, James are hard to beat. Their Pleased To Meet You album is performing well and their current tour, which stops at the SECC next Sunday, is almost a sell out, and spirits are high.
The perfect time, in other words, to leave the band, is it not?
“I simply woke up one morning and thought ‘right, it’s time for me to leave James'” explains frontman Tim Booth.
“I’ve been here for 20 years. I wanted to make this decision on our terms, not when it was forced, and I felt that it was inevitable.
“It feels scary, but it also feels right. The rest of the guys are fine and totally behind me.”
In some ways, it’s typical of Booth throwing conventional pop wisdom to the wind.
When the band was crying out for publicity, the group remained shy of the press. When everyone went Britpop mad, James continued to chart their own course, paying little or no attention to passing fads.
While the music industry remains a sea of hedonistic behaviour, Tim is feeling run down from being surrounded by heavy smokers at their recent Spanish gigs. He really is a bit of a contradiction in the pop world.
“I think our fans have responded to that during the years,” he told me.
“We worked hard, often with no money, but continued to do things our way. I think they have respected us for that.”
The fans not only respect the band, but they are incredibily loyal too.
When news first broke of Tim’s decision to leave, ticket sales soared, fans bombarded the record companies and tears were shed.
Their shows in Athens, Portugal and Spain have resulted in tears from the crowds and from the band – it really is the end of an era.
“At the end of our show in Portugal, I was in tears,” says Booth. “The crowd were carried away on the emotion of it all and it affected me.
“These last few shows are about a celebration, but it’s still tinged with a beautiful sadness.”
Even though the sense of loss is great, there’s an excitement about the future, from Tim as well as the remaining members of the band. For bassist Jim Glennie – along with Tim, the last of the original songwriters – the future remains bright.
“We’ve been through many crises. If James couldn’t come through then Darwinism would have weeded us out by now,” explains an upbeat Glennie.
“None of the band want these gigs to become a dirge. It has to remain positive, as James and Tim will continue.”
What both will do remains to be seen. The remaining members of James might collaborate with a guest vocalist next year, according to Glennie, but not to do old covers.
Instead, it might be very nice to try different things.
What will appear, though, is a collection of James b-sides.
“We wanted to release an album called The Greatest B-Sides Album Ever, but we weren’t allowed to,” says Tim.
“Due to copyright reasons, we’re having to call it B-Sides Ultra. Same songs – but the name isn’t so good!”
B-sides apart, Tim has his eye on a few things. Being tied to one creative entity for so long has absorbed his energy, but now he feels ready to try other projects. A screenplay has been toyed with, as have a few new songs of his own. When the time is right, he’ll consider releasing them.
“Things can change, so I can’t describe them properly just now,” he admits.
What he is doing is continuing to teach music workshops, something he has been working on secretly for years.
“It’s one of those things that I’ve done for a few hours on a Saturday, where I’ve helped people unleash their creativity, encouraged them to sing.”
In April, he’s set to take the workshops across the country.
What he won’t be doing is settling down in this country, unlike other band members Saul, Jim and Michael.
The three of them have settled in Scotland. Jim lives outside Inverness, while Saul is in Tillicoultry and Michael is just outside Glasgow.
“I won’t be doing that!” says Booth. “The band all love it there, but I’m happy where I am. It’s ironic that we’re still perceived as a Manchester band, when not one of us has lived there for three or four years.”