As the band announced their first tour in six years, Xfm caught up with James frontman Tim Booth to talk about their upcoming dates and why now seemed to be the right time to reform.
So Tim, what on earth have you been up to for the past five years then?
“I did quite a lot of acting training, then a bit of acting, then I did my new album and now I have been writing a new album”
So was that the main reason for the split that you wanted to concentrate on other things?
“I just figured, at that point in time, that James had peaked. The timing just felt right. I wanted some time out to write. I wrote a couple of screenplays that had been sitting in my head for a few years. They got optioned but never made in the end.
So why did you choose now to make your comeback with James?
“I don’t really know. If you had asked me in the summer would James get back together I would have said absolutely not, not a chance”
What’s it been like all coming together and playing together again?
“Me, Larry and Jimmy had been together for seven or eight years before we had any success. We used to jam five days a week, six hours a day, making a racket in a room with our drummer Gavin. And that level of improvisation just doesn’t leave you. We can make up a song in a very short space of time just through reading each other’s minds, knowing where to change and all that kind of stuff. It was fantastic, we got back into it very quickly.
“Within a few days we had lots of song ideas. Not complete songs as such, but lots of song ideas. Then we met again and it was just as great. It was really good coming back into the relationship. Six, seven years on everyone had changed. We were a lot more mature and we were a lot better at communicating. You know, some of us didn’t communicate very well towards the end of James.”
Was there any animosity when you started playing together again?
“Larry was also a really good balance in the band in the old days. Together the three of us were very able to make decisions and when he left in ’93 we lost that. We also lost one of the best guitarists we ever had and I don’t think we ever quite recovered from that. It was almost the equivalent of U2 losing The Edge. I think James’ creative peak was probably when he left.”
And what can we expect from your live shows in April? Will there be any new songs from the band?
“It’s really hard to tell from here but my feeling is that we are very hungry again and that we are in a position of greater strength in terms of our ability to work together…”
And finally, we can’t let you go without asking what it was like acting ‘Batman Begins’ and – more to the point – what was Katie Holmes like?
“Great, it was actually a really good film; It was lovely to be in it”