SINCE forming over 30 years ago, James have released 14 albums and toured all over the world. Their latest album, Girl At The End Of The World, was released March 18th and to promote it the Manchester band are playing a 15 date UK tour including a show at Newcastle City Hall.
I chatted to bassist Jim Glennie to find out more about what is happening at the minute.
The north east date is at Newcastle City Hall – can you recall ever playing there?
“I’m not sure if we have. We have played the Academy the last few times we have been to Newcastle. The rock n roll mayhem will have to be held back, but I don’t think it will have a massive effect on the north east audience. They are always very vocal and come for a good time. It [City Hall] looks lovely, I seen some pictures on the internet.”
Do you have any fond memories of the north east?
“I haven’t been to the north east since Christmas – my wife lives there. It is a part of the world I am familiar with because of the family gatherings. I wasn’t familiar with the countryside there but it is an incredible part of the world.”
The tour is titled “Girl at the End of the World tour” – will you still be playing the ‘classics?’
“It is all about getting the balance right. When we play our own shows we get about two hours so there will be a lot of the new album, simply because we want to play it. We will be doing a few off the last record but then we will shove some more obscure tracks in there. Maybe some B-sides or album tracks we haven’t played in a long time that people won’t expect. Obviously we have to play the bigger, anthemic tracks that people have come to love us for. The idea is for people to go away feeling positive.”
Is playing the obscure tracks a way to keep things fresh while on tour?
“Absolutely. With this tour we’re taking out a new record with songs we haven’t played before. We like the fear and uncertainly of having to make a song work. You look down at the setlist and think uh-oh and making sure it works – it is the same with the oldies that we haven’t played in years. We have to keep it fresh for us so we have to be selfish for ourselves or we would get bored. Playing the same songs every night would be soul destroying.”
Brian Eno influenced Girl At The End Of The World – explain more.
“It wasn’t massive, but we had a few problem songs in the studio. Brian is brilliant with weird and wonderful ways to fix this. We have worked with him on five albums so we took him them songs. We went to him with Nothing But Love which is the big single of the album and he helped sort it out. Eno is wonderful for that, he is a great guy to work with all round, but when a song gets stuck he smashes them up and comes up with new ways for things to develop.”
James released Greenpeace Palace Concert for Record Store Day which sold out straight awauy – how did this go down?
“It was mental. I love Record Store Day, I think it is a great idea. We recorded the album and only one song went on the Greenpeace compilation album so it is nice that it is finally out there. The rest of it was sat there untouched which was a shame really. Obviously, everyone charges down and it will probably be stuck in someone’s collection unplayed, but it will eventually make its way out to the big wide world so it will be shared and exchanged. It is quite painful for people because there are a whole bunch of James fans who aren’t getting it but that is just the nature of Record Store Day.”
What are the plans for after the tour?
“A few UK festivals, a few foreign festival then we are going to the southern hemisphere. 2016 is full of exciting things really – always a big year really when a record comes out so it is nice to always be busy.”
James play Newcastle City Hall on May 17th – tickets are available from See Tickets.