Grammy Award-winning British record producer Steve Lillywhite has sent a bizarre…
- Posted on Jul 22nd 2011 2:00PM by Chris Epting
First of all, how is the tour going?
Great. We play the things people expect us to play, which keeps the greatest-hits audience happy. We also play the songs that the hardcore fans want to hear, which keeps them happy, some really obscure stuff. We never play the same set exactly twice. There are always a few surprises, some spur-of-the-moment covers or two just to show the roots of the band, maybe a Doors cover or a Roxy Music tune or Lou Reed or Bowie. The shows are comprehensive. Last night we did songs from our first album, and a song that was written two weeks ago! There's a thin line between traditions and being a museum piece.
How do you feel about the legacy of 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' and 'The Breakfast Club'?
We look on it with great amazement, great pleasure for what it brought to us. You'd think it was part of the game plan but it wasn't at all. A&M, [who] owned the band at the time, were venturing into movies and John Hughes' movies were their first ones. They understood how to sell records off of movie soundtracks. Right then, we'd had success in most places but America was still a tough nut for us to crack. We toured and toured, making a little headway, but not getting beyond college radio, which was still cool. We thought maybe that's it for us, and that was fine.
To A&M's credit, they came to us and said "Look, we should have been more behind your early records. We sense that there's a real feel for this band in America and we want to get the momentum going." But we were only at work on a new record -- we didn't have one yet. So they told us about this great movie and this great song. We said, "Whoa, hold on. We write our own songs." They told us to just take a listen. So they sent a demo of 'Don't You Forget About Me.' Don't get me wrong, the melody was there, but it was a very different beast that ended up with the big intro and the big coda and all that.
So you felt the need to revamp it.
Absolutely. It sounded OK but it would have struggled to get on one of our albums. We were not jumping up and down about it. So lo and behold, we refused to do it, two or three times.
What changed your mind finally?
The reason we gave in was Keith Forsey, who produced the song, he would not give up. He paid for his own trip to Glasgow to come see us, unannounced, and said, "Look, I'm not giving up. I want you to do this." We liked Keith more than we liked the song. And because we liked him, we said, "Let's give it a go." We went in one afternoon, came up with the intro, came up with the big middle, came up with the coda and it was done and dusted in about three hours.
What was your reaction when you first the film?
We saw a rough cut of the movie and we didn't really get it. In the UK, we don't have this thing where if you've been a naughty kid you've got to go in the silent bay. So to us, it was some charismatic kids, but big deal. We weren't 16; we were already 25 so we felt a bit grown up for it. But you know, never look a gift horse in the moth. It comes out and goes all the way to No. 1. And the movie, as you know, has become one of the movies of a whole generation, as has the song. That's why I used the word amazement. We never even put it on the subsequent album we were working on. A No. 1 track!
Do you ever get tired of playing it?
Never. When we play it live we play it with heart and soul. That song has given so many people so much pleasure. But I can't deny that it will always be an outsider -- but a great outsider.
Is it hard to squeeze in time to promote the new album when doing things like Simple Minds tours?
I'll weave it in however I can. With LostBoy, there's a good little foundation for the future. People who like it really seem to love it. But it's something I can build on. I'm not looking to take over the world with it, but hopefully I'll look back in 10 years' time and there will be three or four LostBoy albums. I'm so proud of the sound of the new record, the response -- everything. It's exactly the album I envisioned and I think whether someone is a Simple Minds fan or not, they'll enjoy the music. There's lots of good stuff happening in there.
You still sound passionate about creating new music.
I love working more than anything. It doesn't seem like work. It's like if you talk to someone who works in watercolors or something like that. I'd imagine you can never call it work. Same with me. All I want to do is produce good stuff. Like LostBoy. It has a mood and a feeling that I really like. It's a way for me to add pages to my story so it doesn't simply become a dusty book.
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