‘Ex Simple Minds’ features original Minds’ drummer Brian McGee and Greatest Ever Bass Player* Derek Forbes alongside Brian’s brother Owen Paul, (yes that Owen Paul). We recently interviewed all 3 legends who spoke candidly about their careers and provided us with easily the greatest ever answers to our “best after-show” question.
The band have a string of festival appearances lined up this summer and will tour the UK in September. Ex Simple Minds will also play at the Festival in Belgium. Ticket details at the foot of the page.
Interview with Ex Simple Minds: Derek Forbes, Brian McGee & Owen Paul
by The Dear
Dear Scotland: Where are you now and what did you do last night?
Owen Paul: I’m in London at home, last night I spent time with my family as it was my birthday and had a great time.
Brian McGee: I am in Glasgow city centre buying some stuff for my drum kit. We have some gigs coming up. I was playing football over at the brand new complex in Toryglen – it’s amazing.
Derek Forbes: I am at home in Aberfoyle, looking out at the mountains. I was at a friends house last night rehearsing songs for another friends 50th birthday celebration tomorrow night. I will be playing with a 5 piece band called Cartel. I am a guest of the band. It’s great to play songs that I wouldn’t normally play, as it gives you an insight into how other writers structure their work. I am playing a couple of U2 songs for the first time ever….cheers Adam, old friend.
Simple Minds – Premonition & Factory, 1979
Dear Scotland: Paul McCartney said he got into music to avoid a job – and get lots of girls. What made you get into music?
Owen Paul: Nothing quite as straight forward as Paul McCartney’s reasons, though of course they are both true and fine reasons. I got into music because I wanted to hear more of the type of music I like and maybe somewhat naively, I thought I could make a difference….. I’m still trying!
Brian McGee: When I was younger all I ever wanted to do was be famous for something so that I wasn’t just a number. I didn’t have a clue about how I was going to go about it.
Then I met Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill at school and we started a band and the rest, as they say, is history.
Derek Forbes: The fact that I jumped about as soon as I heard a song on the radio as a baby. Pretty much the same reasons as Paul, although I didn’t manage to avoid the job scenario, as I am a Painter and Decorator to trade. Jim and Charlie were both apprentice plumbers and Mick was an Engineer. Brian worked in his fathers pub.
“I love Girls, they’re all over this World, some have beautiful shapes, I wanna live to be 98”….Iggy Pop..’Girls’
Dear Scotland: What are your favourite Simple Minds/Owen Paul songs to play at the moment.
Owen Paul: Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite Simple Minds song of the moment is “New Gold Dream 81, 82, 83, 84”. I absolutely love singing that song and look forward to singing it every night during the show.
Brian McGee: Love Song has always been a favourite of mine and I enjoy playing it as much as I did all those years ago. It still sounds fresh.
Derek Forbes: Sweat in Bullet, King is White and in the Crowd and Celebrate. Anything else is a ‘waste of time’…….ho ho ho
Owen Paul – My Favourite Waste Of Time
Dear Scotland: You have a string of gigs scheduled this year across the UK and Europe, including the Muzikale Dinsdagen in Belgium. What will be your first words on stage to the Belgian audience?
Owen Paul: Bonjour et merci pour la mayonnaise et des puces. Hallo und danke für Mayonnaise und Pommes frites.
Brian McGee: Our first words to the people of Belgium will probably be “Hello London” because when you travel so much gigging you tend to forget where you are !
Derek Forbes: “Where’s ma f*%#@g bike?” “It’s great to be home”.
Dear Scotland: You’ve all toured the world quite a few times now. Is there one particular city or venue that you really looking forward to playing?
Owen Paul: I adore Barcelona, it’s the only place other than London that I could live in. The first time I went there I immediately thought that. For gigs Newcastle in England takes some beating, the audience are always up for a great night.
Brian McGee: Glasgow is always up there when it comes to being asked that question. They are not scared to let their hair down so to speak and if they like you they let you know. The fact that you are back home is always a good feeling too. The Italians also like a good night out.
Derek Forbes: New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Tokyo. Kyoto, Auckland, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Rome, Messina, Napoli, Firenze,Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds,Bristol, Newcastle, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Lisbon, Geneva, Zurich, Vienna….not one ..but all..
Simple Minds in Newcastle – New Gold Dream, 1982
Dear Scotland: Has there ever been a support band that played before you that threatened to upstage you?
Owen Paul: Hand on heart I really don’t think so, though when The Corrs played before me at a festival, they came pretty close! On the other hand when I was touring with Phil Collins a few years back as one of ‘Mike and the Mechanics’ I think Phil was worried on a couple of occasions.
Brian McGee: Are you kidding?
Derek Forbes: Never! I can honestly say, with the original band, we would never be upstaged, but we made a habit of stealing the show on many an occasion….XSM are duty bound to do the same…
Dear Scotland: Do you have a favourite youtube video in which you feature?
Owen Paul: The Osbourne’s noisy neighbour’s episode from their reality T.V. show. I’m really proud that I was way too loud for the ‘so called’ Prince of Darkness, what a wimp!
Brian McGee: Probably it would have to be Propaganda live on The Tube a brilliant 80s music show. It was the last time we ever performed together but the band were excellent as always.
Derek Forbes: Yes. The one where I perform ‘I Travel’, as a response to a fan who performed the song admirably, but needed a couple of pointers to perfection.
Propaganda – Frozen Faces Live on The Tube
Derek Forbes – I Travel
Dear Scotland: When touring, do you feel more Scottish when you are abroad? Anything you miss about Scotland?
Owen Paul: I’m not particularly patriotic but I have to admit that when the movie Braveheart is on and I see it, I’m never more Scottish or dangerous. As for what I miss about Scotland when I am away, my family of course, though our ‘famous’ Scottish square sausage could replace them at any time!
Brian McGee: When you travel away from your country you always promote all things Scottish. I am a big patriot of Scotland and always have been – as are all of my family. When I first started travelling my mum used to send me “tattie” scones through the post!
Derek Forbes: Yes, I do feel more Scottish when I am abroad. I miss square slice sausage and tablet…oh..and my family and friends…
Dear Scotland: Which Simple Minds song that you play do you find goes down the best in Europe? How about in Scotland?
Owen Paul: In Germany, Love Song, The American and I Travel always go down a storm, they love a throbbing pulse beat. In Scotland some of the real early stuff like ‘Chelsea Girl’ or ‘Life in a Day’ always takes the roof off.
Brian McGee: Waterfront is a song that everyone seems to react to right away all over the world and probably Alive and Kicking too.
Derek Forbes: It’s a toss up between ‘Waterfront’, ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ and ‘Alive and Kicking’..(the finest Simple Minds song written in my absence, in my opinion).
Simple Minds – Waterfront, 1984
Dear Scotland: What is your proudest musical moment?
Owen Paul: Generally speaking getting from an idea in my head to a demo, and then to an album always gives me some kind of pride. As for performing, singing the American National Anthem at the home of the Orlando Magic Basketball team in Florida at the beginning of their season, that was a great moment for me.
Brian McGee: Getting your first Gold album is a real buzz. It is like winning a cup final and getting a trophy to remind you of your achievements “proper Bo”
Derek Forbes: Receiving our first 2 Gold Discs in Sydney, Australia was incredible, and being voted the best bass player in the World there too, and also winning the accolade of ‘Scotlands Greatest Ever Bass Player‘ in Dear Scotland. It means everything to me…
Dear Scotland: You’ve influenced a new generation of Scottish bands, but are there any Scottish musicians, past or present, that have influenced you?
Owen Paul: Always loved Stuart Adamson from ‘The Skids’ and ‘Big Country’, Roddy Frame from ‘Aztec Camera’ Billy McKenzie from ‘The Associates’ and Alex Harvey from ‘The Sensational Alex Harvey band’. As for newer bands, Paolo Nutini has his moments and I like Travis.
Brian McGee: I loved Maggie Bell as a singer she was and still is incredible. Annie Lennox is another. She has an amazing voice and has achieved so much on the International stage. There is also a new band called Suspire who I really like and hopefully if given the time to develop and succeed they could be the next big thing, check them out! www.myspace.com/suspire
Derek Forbes: Jack Bruce of Cream, Alex Harvey, Zal Cleminson, John McGeogh….
Big Country – Fields of Fire
Dear Scotland: What do you think the Scottish national anthem should be?
Owen Paul: ‘We shall not be moved’…… I’m sure the Romans heard the Scots singing that when they tried to take over and were sent packing with their tails between their legs. (Obviously I have just watched Braveheart again lol)
Brian McGee: 500 miles by The Proclaimers comes to mind or anything from them cause they are pure full on Scottishness!
Derek Forbes: Donald Where’s Yer Troosers.
Dear Scotland: What is the best after-show experiences you’ve had? There must have been a few crackers.
Owen Paul: After playing at The Hammersmith Odeon in the 80’s finding pop mogul Jonathan King waiting in the wings for me was a bit of a hell raising experience, trust me he never got his hands on me lol. I’m sure he had grooming plans.
Brian McGee: This wasn’t our after show but it’s a good story anyway. We were attending a Lou Reed concert in the Hammersmith Odeon way back in the early eighties.
We were invited to a restaurant as guests of Lou Reed. Iggy Pop was there, as was David Bowie. Everyone was having a great time, then later on in the evening Lou Reed and Bowie started arguing about something –
Lou Reed stood up and punched Bowie in the face! The atmosphere was very tense after that. We didn’t know what to do. As the night went on everyone started leaving and eventually there was only us, and David Bowie, (typical Scots last to leave).
Bowie stood up, and as he walked out of the restaurant he trashed all the plant pots all the way up the stairs to the exit. What a tadger! And it was in the NME that week (good gossip).
Derek Forbes: As a young free and single man, I experienced quite a few delights. The best after show would definitely be in Australia. The day started off with ‘Tiffin’ with a lovely redhead, followed by meeting Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, who had come to watch our show, then after the show, I had a lovely tete et tete with a beautiful Auburn lady dressed in a purple tutu, followed by an aftershow massage from two Australian ‘Sheila’s’, and a chance meeting with a Blonde, who required the use of toothpaste, and the evening / morning ended with the wonderful sight of Steve Marriot and Humble Pie checking into our Hotel…..If Carlsberg did aftershows……!!!
Simple Minds – Love Song Live in Australia, 1981
Dear Scotland: And finally, many many years from now, when you finish your farewell world tour, is there one place to where you would like to retire?
Owen Paul: Most definitely Barcelona.
Brian McGee: I have always wanted a house in Italy somewhere. My wife and I have been over looking recently but no luck so far – I will keep on trying. I love Italian culture, their history and of course the weather and the food.
Derek Forbes: Anywhere dry and hot, possibly France or Spain.
Ex Simple Minds – Theme for Great Cities
Ex Simple Minds – Life in a Day
Upcoming UK gigs include the New Quay Festival on 31 July, the Fordham Music Festival on 6 August, the Upton Music Festival on 28 August and a full UK tour in September. Full details can be found at the Ex Simple Minds website www.exsimpleminds.co.uk.