FORMERLY REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES.COM
THE PROCLAIMERS INTERVIEW [2007]

YOU'VE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS NOW BUT HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED?

We started as the Proclaimers in 1983, we'd been in bands previously, kind of new wave bands as 15/16-year-old kids and we decided to do something different. We wanted to cut it down to just an acoustic guitar apart from anything else it was economic to do, we were unemployed and we couldn't afford rehearsals and a lot of it was economic so we just started writing songs as an acoustic duo and that's what we were right up to and including 'Letter From America'.

WITH YOU STARTING OUT IN THE MID 80s, WAS IT 70s OR 80s BANDS THAT INFLUENCED YOU MOST?

It was anything from stuff we listened to at home. Early rock 'n' roll and Country music and stuff. We were small boys listening to the radio in the mid to late 1960s and then Punk was a huge thing with us, and people like Dexy's Midnight Runners and after that there was a lot of different influences going into what we were and what we became.

AND THE BEATLES, WERE THEY AN INFLUENCE?

They would be definitely. I think they would be for anyone that writes songs or dreams about being in a band. I suppose we were in those types of bands in Scotland and we were in a band with people that wrote songs. In terms of popular music in Europe they started that thing off of writing your own material, but previous to that it would have been Country 'n' Blues acts. Even the major pop acts in America had their songs written for them so I think anybody that's in a band and writes post Rock 'n' Roll material can't but be influenced by them.

LOOKING BACK ON THE 80s WHEN YOU MADE A START. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THEM, OR ARE YOU TRYING TO FORGET THEM?

It was a strange period because it began with us from 1981 with us unemployed for many years. I was unemployed from 1980 until almost 1987 so over the first half it was very, very difficult for a lot of people all over the UK and Ireland especially if you were young and looking for your first job and couldn't get it, and then from 1987 onwards if was pop star time so that was a bit strange as well. I don't look upon them as fun, or back on them as anger. I just think it was a time of us all growing up.

YOU OPENED THE LIVE 8 SHOW IN EDINBURGH. DID BOB GELDOF PICK YOU GUYS TO OPEN THE SHOW?

I think Midge Ure picked us. He hooked up with our manager and asked could we do it, could we open with '500 Miles'? There was no way we were going to say no! So we got a very, very late sound check. It wasn't even a proper sound check. It was about 12.30am at night, the night before, because all the sound checks had run over. We stayed behind and got a line check and were glad that we did because we'd never played on a stage in Murrayfield, and the place was full when we got up there. There was about 40,000, and nearly 50,000 when we left 3 and a half minutes later and they were still coming in. It was a bit nerve--wracking but we were straight on stage and then straight in the bar afterwards - it was like a spaceship, we were transported somewhere else! We needed a drink to steady ourselves afterwards but it was a great experience.

THE LATE JAMES BROWN WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THAT STAGE THAT NIGHT. DID YOU GET TO MEET HIM OR ANY OF THE OTHER LEGENDS?

No. One of the guys that does our computer stuff met him. I think I would have found it difficult to meet him. There's certain people like James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis that you're almost like... I don't know if you ever want to meet them because you idolise them so much that it's a bit difficult, but the guy said he was great with him, he was having a laugh with him you know? Yeah there was some fantastic names on the stage that night, but none greater than James Brown.

THIS YEAR YOU HAD A UK NUMBER 1. YOU STRIKE ME AS THE KIND OF GUYS THAT MAYBE 20 YEARS AGO THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT. WHILE IT'S NICE TO ACHIEVE, SOMETHING TELLS ME IT'S NOT THE BE ALL AND END ALL FOR YOU NOW. WOULD THAT BE A FAIR COMMENT?

We enjoyed it a lot more this time round. I mean in 1987 we first had 'Letter from America' and in 1988 we'd '500 Miles' and it was like being in a whirlwind. We'd come from straight off the dole, made an album and toured for a few months, and remade 'Letter From America' and it became a hit. It was a very strange, and you get this thing that hits you first time around and you don't know how to handle it right, but I don't think we enjoyed it that much.

Twenty years later we were pretty sure it was going to be a fairly big hit, and we did all the rounds of the TV Studios and the Radio Press and it was much more enjoyable this time. We see it as part of our career rather than the be-all and end-all and that's a fair point you made, you know, in the beginning we think what's next? What's going to happen? Are we going to be unemployed again in 6 months, which is really what you think, and then 20 years later you go that's just a blip on the overall thing of what you call your career and you're writing songs and occasionally you're successful, occasionally you're not. You get more philosophical about it!

HAD YOU ANY INPUT INTO THE INCLUSION OF YOUR SONG ON THE 'SHREK' SOUNDTRACK?

It was one of these things now where we've had about 12 or 13 films down the years, which we've had songs on. A few of them have been successful like 'The Commitments', 'Benny & Joon', but 'Shrek' was the most successful by far. Somebody had got in contact with our publisher and said, 'We'd like to use 'I'm On My Way' and it's this film featuring the voice of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. It's gonna be great', and that was it. We'd absolutely nothing to do with it.

AND I SUPPOSE THE GOOD THING IS THAT IT'S NOT JUST A SNIPPET, IT FEATURES REALLY PROMINENTLY.

We were very lucky in that sense. It re-ignited the 5 and 6 year olds, long before we done the charity single this year, so there's certainly a whole new audience coming along, that knows of us now, and people always come up to us now and introduce their kids to you in shops and say 'This is the guy that was in 'Shrek'!' and I go well I wasn't actually in it, but the song was!

YOU'VE A NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY. I BELIEVE THE NEW SINGLE IS THE TITLE TRACK.

Yeah the album and single are called 'Life With You'...

IS THE ALBUM DIFFERENT FROM PREVIOUS ALBUMS?

I think they're always different. We've made an album every two years for the last 6 or 7 years and we're very proud of this one. There's probably a couple more political songs than we've had on in recent years, and I think the production is very good by Steve Evans. It's a really good record, and we're proud of it, and hopefully after having a hit earlier this year, this might get a bit more attention. All the records we've done in the last few years we've been very proud of, but this is probably the best one and we've got great hopes for it.

YOU'RE TOURING THE UK LATER IN THE YEAR. CAN FANS EXPECT SOME OF THE NEW ALBUM AND ALL THE CLASSICS?

Definitely. What we're going to try and do by the time we get to Ireland on the tour, we should be doing like 3 or 4 different sets during the tour, so we will rotate them, and most of the new album. Obviously we won't be playing the same new songs every night and obviously there's certain songs like 'I'm On My Way', 'I'm Gonna Be'. 'Letter From America', you've got to play them every night right? But we'll rotate it a little bit so people should hear a lot of the new material. Certainly if you come to a few gigs you'll hear a lot of the new material.

FINAL QUESTION. ARE HIBERNIAN GOING TO WIN THE SPL?

I'm hopeful. They're joint top. Rangers are only ahead on goals. They've won both games so far. If they keep winning we could be Champions. First time since 1953. I live in hope, I live in hope... I don't think it's gonna happen, but you never know. Just keep it going as long as you can.

It's great for us at the moment, they're playing well. Good local players, some good locals players, some Irish lads, a couple of Moroccans, but they'll play with their feet on the ground, and they pass the ball and play great football. That's all we can ask for. They don't have the money of the bigger clubs but there you go.

AND IS 'SUNSHINE ON LEITH' STILL PLAYED BEFORE EVERY GAME?

It's played at every game just about, and so is '500 Miles'. It's never played at Tynecastle for some reason though!

INTERVIEW BY MICK LYNCH

AUGUST 2007

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