Simple Minds have been undergoing a marked renaissance in recent years. The slightly morose Scottish rockers, icons of a scene that flourished in the late 80s, have powered on since. Their last two or three albums, released throughout the 2010s, have been their most critically acclaimed since the 80s.
With a new record on the way later this year, though, Simple Minds have also taken the time for a proper ‘flashback’ as part of their postponed 40th anniversary touring schedule. Latest single ‘Act Of Love’ is a pre-record of the very first song they ever played live, reproduced in shiny new technicolour, but bringing with it that vibrant early energy.
“It had always been on the agenda to revisit the early songs,” frontman Jim Kerr says. “It was our favourite for about the first year of our existence. By the time we got a record label, a lot of new songs had come on the horizon, and it just got overlooked. It was a great riff, if not a great song, and we felt we had to go back to it one day. It took 44 years, but last year, while working on what will be our new album, we broke away and did the re-record. We were mightily pleased with the way it turned out. It’s ‘point A’, where we started out.”
“‘Act Of Love’ is one of those ones where you don’t even need to know the song to enjoy it,” he continues. “What appeals to us is it has this really young energy, one that people our age probably shouldn’t have.”
Of course, Simple Minds have already survived through a lot. Now 44 years on from their early forays, Kerr has long relocated to Sicily. The band exists in a space where they continue to make art they’re hugely proud of. They’re determined that their continued presence on the live scene shouldn’t be a nostalgia trip, but are also immensely proud of what came before, a body of work featuring many diamonds, like UK number one ‘Belfast Child’, and the iconic ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’.
“‘Belfast Child’ is our anti-war song,” Kerr says when asked about his musical approach to recent political events. “I don’t want to play down what’s happened in the Ukraine, which is obviously awful, but do you need more than one anti-war song? The new album was actually written before all this stuff happened, anyway, so it’s not addressed. One size kind of fits all, in that area anyway, semantics about whether [The Troubles] were a war or not aside.”