SetlistJust Like Fred Astaire / Crash / Someone's Got It In For Me / Vervaceous / We're Going To Miss You
- Venue: GLR Studios, London, UK
- Date: 26th November 1999
Interviewer : Now on a major label, Phonogram’s Fontana, James having a hit single with How Was It For You? and the band are downstairs in our basement studio. Tim Booth on vocals, sometimes known as Maharishi Booth. Bit of a guru on the quiet
Tim : Not round my parts mate. You come down here and tell me that to my face.
Interviewer : I love reading about your dream though. Which featured,
Tim : (groans)
Interview : Well, you told the story once, it comes back to you
Tim : Yeah, the guy can’t write. He got it completely wrong as we did the interview on a train so he couldn’t hear his tape back afterwards. It’s embarrassing
Interview : But was Jed Clampett and Jim Morrisson in it? Nurse Crachett
Tim : I’m afraid so, but it had a punchline to it. It had a point to it and it didn’t read like that. It’s an old dream too as well, you know. My dreams are much more clinical nowadays since I’ve been having the treatment.
Interviewer : Did you have one last night?
Tim : That’s a very personal question isn’t it?
Interviewer : I suppose it is
Tim : How Was It For You?
Interviewer : Dreams are very personal things.
Tim : I can’t remember. I can’t remember. I’d better censor it. I think you’d get cut off on air.
Interviewer : Listen, have you had to change at all, going to a major record label? Has there been any compromise along the way?
Tim : No, because we actually recorded the LP beforehand so part of the deal with Phonogram was that they had to sign for completed masters of the LP. So we’ve just handed them the tape and they said “Yep” and so we actually haven’t had any problem like that. They’ve given us some input, some ideas that they’ve suggested, and we either say “yay” or “nay”. But they kind of seem to respect us at the moment.
Interviewer : How long that will last is anyone’s guess. Alright, a song Tim please….
Interviewer : I’m joined now by Tim and Larry from the band James. I’m absolutely delighted to meet these two because I thought coming from a Mancunian band who I expected to wear really long overcoats and be really serious that this was going to be murder, but these guys are quite jolly. Tim.
Tim : Jolly. Must be something we ate I think.
Interviewer : I think so.You’re not very used to doing this kind of thing are you because you’re not very, even though you’ve had a lot of records, you’ve had a reputation for being indie and here you are poised, or I thought you were until you were talking to me a minute ago, poised to have a hit single. Was Sit Down a conscious effort to do something different that would get you in the charts?
Tim : No, all our songs are created through improvisation and about one song a year we make that’s kind of like Sit Down which has the potential for being a commercial success and all we do is earmark those as singles, because obviously there are certain things that are more likely to be played on the radio than others and a lot of our music is much harder than Sit Down, so we don’t release them as singles as they wouldn’t stand a chance.
Interviewer : With the thoughtful image that you’ve got and your fans like about you, do you think that they would resent your success if you did get in the charts?
Tim : There might be some people who would like to hold on if they think it’s very precious to them, but, you know, all we can do is concentrate on the music. As long as you keep the music pure then that’s all that matters, they’ll be OK with it, they’ll get by.
Interviewer : People always write about you and The Smiths and Simply Red as being part of some sort of Manchester scene. Do you think that really existed, Larry?
Larry : No, I don’t think it did. I don’t think it was like the Merseybeat scene and all those scenes like the New York scene of 1976-77 and things like that where everybody rehearsed in the same place, knew each other and went to everybody’s gigs. You know, it just so happened that all those bands came out of Manchester round about the same time. I think there’s more of a scene now with bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets, they appear to be more closer-knit.
Tim : We see quite a lot of them as well.
Larry : Places that they rehearse and record
Interviewer : How important is it now if you’re a Manchester band or a Liverpool band to come to London. Will the record companies come up North to find you?
Tim : I think there’s quite a lot of people coming up to Manchester at the moment because it’s meant to be a hot city at the moment.
Interviewer : Hey. I’m hot and I’m cool.
Tim : So at the moment, this year Manchester’s in. Next year, it probably won’t be again. But you are a bit cut off. It’s very hard, the business centre is in London and you do feel quite cut off a lot of the time. Also apparently if a band in a city sells a lot of records, when it comes to get charted, it gets what’s called regionalised which they don’t take consideration of the fact if you sell a lot in your own city. Whereas if you’re a London band and you sell a lot of records in London, you aren’t regionalised. So the charts are slightly stacked there. So you know, you do feel quite separate a lot of the time.
Interviewer : I’ve got a clipping from Sounds, it must be the current issue of Sounds, that says about you, Tim, it says “He’s nothing but an effite Buddhist vegan in a Morroccan skullcap who neither drinks Nescafe nor says the word Bottom in polite conversation”
Tim : No, it doesn’t say that, it says that’s my image. The image I’ve been landed with.
Interviewer : But it is your image, isn’t it?
Tim : I don’t know, I think that’s slightly journalistic licence. That one. Basically I shaved my head about two or three months ago.
Interviewer : But most of it’s grown back.
Tim : Yeah, it’s all grown back now and so I wore a Morroccan hat, a, to keep my head warm and b because I wasn’t sure I was happy with having a bald head. And people make a lot of assumptions when you have a bald head.
Interviewer : You’re right
Tim : You’re either a skinhead or a Hare Krishna you know
Interviewer : Or very very old. I wonder if you had any special feelings at 12.34 and 5 seconds today, during Doris Collins psychic moment.Were you aware of all that?
Tim : Yes I could feel something, I could feel some spirits trying to contact us, willing us on. I think it was my Great Grandfather. I could see him standing there. Talking about the war.
Interviewer : Was this a wind up or?
Tim : Yes
Interviewer : That’s what you never know of course. Is he a bit of a wind-up merchant, Larry?
Larry : That’s where the image comes from. All those images we’ve been landed with are all wind-ups of journalists who’ve taken it seriously. Or they’ve just printed it verbatim. It just comes out. As you read it, it reads flat and you don’t see the tongue in cheekness.
Interviewer : I love the way
Tim : Bottom
Interviewer : There you are.
Larry : In public. On radio
Interviewer : I love the way Smash Hits occasionally shove in a complete fib in the hope that other journalists pick it up. One example was that Bruce Springsteen’s real name is Roger. They sat back and waited for other newspapers and it works. It always works for them.
So I gather you’re going to do us an extemporised tune here.
Tim : Yeah, we’ve got two if you want them.
Interviewer : Let’s try the one and see
Tim : We’ve not rehearsed this.
Interviewer : Larry’s going to play the guitar and Tim’s going to sing. What’s it called?
Tim : Promised Land, but it has a reference to our glorious leader.
Interviewer : Really, there’s been a couple of songs called Promised Land.
Tim : It’s terrible, isn’t it? I’m really embarrassed. And it’s also kind of a political song. We hardly ever write political songs and this is the only one we can do acoustic.
Interviewer : Larry and Tim from James acoustic in the studios of GLR.
(play Promised Land)
Interviewer : Are you going to be doing any real live James gigs in London in the future?
Tim : We’ve just done two nights in the Marquee last week. In November, we’re going to come back and probably play the Town and Country. We’re recording a new LP in the summer with our new six-piece band. Got a violinist, a guitarist.
Interviewer : So Sit Down is a track from that, is it?
Tim : Sit Down, yeah. I think we’re going to redo it and make it a big harder because we play it harder and faster live now. But it’ll be something like that.
Interviewer : Well thanks very much for joining us this afternoon. I gather you’ve got another live song for us.
Tim : Live we are a rock band, but this is acoustic. It was written about six years ago when they brought nuclear weapons into the country. I’m afraid it’s another topical one.