Simple Minds won’t let you (forget about them); band headed to Rocksino

October 2, 2018

Simple Minds won’t let you (forget about them); band headed to Rocksino

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Jim Kerr of the Scottish rock group Simple Minds has a pretty simple view of life.

“We’re incredibly fortunate,″ said Kerr in a call to his home in Glasgow to talk about the band’s stop at the Hard Rock Rocksino on Thursday, Oct. 11. “There’s been ups and downs. But we’ve had damn more success than we could ever have imagined when we started out.″

More than 40 years into the band’s career, and despite a few hiatuses, Kerr and his Simple Minds co-founder, Charlie Burchill, have been making sure fans remember the group who sang “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

“Ninety percent of [musicians] starve, and we have pretty much worked nonstop, doing this thing we love,″ said Kerr, who is the band’s lead singer. “That alone means we won the Lotto.

“It must be miserable to go to work at something you don’t like,″ he said.

“I think we have a story, a legacy,″ Kerr said. “We always want to add to that, and who wouldn’t? Every album is another chapter, and sometimes they work out better than others.″

Kerr knows it takes a proper alignment of the stars for everything to work out. There are musicians the world over who are outstanding singers, players and writers. But the circumstances just weren’t there for them to achieve success.

“When you look at ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me),’ there’s the music itself and you’ve got to think about the things that helped it along – MTV, John Hughes’ movie ‘The Breakfast Club’ [the song was the finale to what was the iconic “brat pack” movie], record companies spending big bucks.

“It had a lot of engines strapped to it,″ he said.

The music industry has changed; labels are more distribution systems than discoverers and developers of talent. Streaming single cuts has replaced listening to entire albums (really, when was the last time you even heard the phrase “concept album?”). Touring has become the main moneymaker for bands and artists.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the amount of luck it takes to “make it” as a musician, no matter how great the talent.

“There are a million factors″ that determine who succeeds, Kerr said. “Sometimes, we’re going to a gig and the piano player in the hotel lobby has more talent in his pinkie than us, and WE are going to play to 10,000 people.

“I’m lucky I met Charlie Burchill when I was 8,″ he said. “I’m lucky his mother bought him a Spanish guitar when he was 10 years old. If I didn’t live on that street, I’d be a taxi driver.″

Then there is the drive and commitment necessary to succeed, plus a bit of a game plan.

“What was our main desire when we started our band?” he asked “We didn’t know about hits, didn’t know about money. All we knew was we had seen a lot of acts play, and we wanted to be a great live act.

“The second part was we wanted to take it around the world, and here we are all these years later, still getting the opportunity to deal with that challenge,″ Kerr said.

“Quite often, we have a little pep talk with ourselves,″ he said. ” ‘This is a piece of cake. All we have to do is be brilliant every night.’ ″

Even after more than four decades onstage, Kerr still gets a kick of doing his job . . . because his job is making people happy. That in itself is invigorating, and keeps him coming back for more, determined to be better.

“We’ll go onstage, and before we’ve even played a note, people are jumping up and down welcoming you,″ he said. “Can you imagine what it’d be like if you went to the office like that? The work ethic would go up. I wish everyone could feel that.″

That would be simply amazing, right?


Simple Minds When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. Where: Hard Rock Rocksino, 10777 Northfield Road, Northfield. Tickets: $38.50 to $59.50, at the box office, ticketmaster.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

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