Simple Minds

Posted by Alan Kovan on January 19, 2019 (2 Comments)


It started when I bought the UK import of Promised You A Miracle in 1982. I used to read the NME and Melody Maker religiously back then. That is what brought Simple Minds to my attention. Then I read the review of the New Gold Dream LP.

The next landmark was being invited to the Michigan vs UCLA football game in 1982. Being a Michigan State graduate I was less than enthusiastic but realized Schoolkids Records may have the UK import of New Gold Dream. I reluctantly said yes and made it to Ann Arbor early enough to go to Schoolkids and lo and behold there was a fresh copy of the New Gold Dream UK lp in the front of the import section. I bought the LP and just wanted to go home and listen to this record. Unfortunately I still had a football game to attend. 

Well, I rooted loudly for UCLA. They won 31-27. I made zero friends in the Michigan student section where I was seated. 

I went home and listened to NGD. It wasn't immediate. Over the next few months I grew to love this record. Most of my all time favorite records happened like this. Rolling Stones- Exile On Main St and Spiritualized-  Lazer Guided Melodies etc. 

My fandom continued with an ill fated drive from Detroit to London Ontario in 1982. It was a torrential downpour and we hydroplaned for two hours to the University of Western Ontario student venue only to find out the show was canceled. Another two hours hydroplaning home with nothing to show for it. No show. Nothing.

Finally Simple Minds were playing in Detroit in 1983 at St. Andrews Hall on the New Gold Dream tour. I had a friend hand paint the Japanese OBI strip from New Gold Dream on a sweatshirt (I know) but that sweatshirt got me invited on the tour bus by their manager Bruce Findlay. From then on I was treated incredibly well by the band.

I have been all over seeing them and never once having to put my hand in my pocket for tickets. This includes two shows at the Edinburgh Playhouse, several Toronto shows including four Massey Hall shows and Maple Leaf Gardens(sold out!), The Beacon Theater in NYC, the Tower Theater in Philadelphia even a few days in Poughkeepsie New York watching the band rehearse for and then open the Once Upon A Time tour as well as several Detroit and Ann Arbor shows. 

So many memorable moments. Jim shouting my name from the stage at The Michigan Theater in 1984 as well as Jim giving me a dozen after show passes at the Hill Auditorium in 1985 show so he could meet many of my most ardent Simple Minds fans who shopped at my store. My brother and I also drove Jim to my shop which was a 45 minute drive after the Hill Auditorium show. Waiting there were some good customers and my parents. They wanted to meet one of the band responsible for my fandom. It was so nice watching Jim take such an interest in my parents.

In 1995 I saw them at Royal Oak Theater. It had been 10 years since I had last seen them. It was nice to catch up. 

23 years later Simple Minds were playing at the Fillmore in Detroit on their 2018 tour. At this point I had totally lost touch with Jim, their management or anyone to do with Simple Minds. I posted a note on their facebook page asking if it was possible for on old friend to come and say hello. I was immediately messaged asking for my email address. I sent it and Jim emailed me inviting me to their Meet & Greet prior to the show. I had never been to one of these so I had no idea what to expect. When the band walked out and lined up to take photos with the fans who bought this package Jim says "Ok, Where is Alan?". I then got a great big bear hug and we caught up. It was so nice. To be honest it was one of the highlights of 2018 for me. 

The show that followed just blew me away. I have always had the utmost respect for bands that change along the way. Simple Minds are band that have embraced change several times throughout their 40+ year career. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to witness. The band was having so much fun as was the crowd. Many of whom have been waiting over two decades to see them. 

Yes. This isn't the same band I was so into back in the 80's. Only Jim and Charlie remain. However the way they reworked the songs just worked incredibly well. Sarah Brown's backing, and sometimes lead, vocals were perfect. It was also difficult to takes your eyes of drummer Cherisse Osei. Rarely have I ever seen a drummer play with such unbridled joy and ferocity all while in heels. Ged Grimes and Gordy Goudie fleshed out the rest of the band and it all fit so well. 

Over the years my music taste changed quite a bit. This because my shop specialized in more indie music. Mainly the hard to find UK indie music on labels like Creation. More into the Space Rock and Shoegaze music of the era. But also much of the US indie rock a la Sub Pop, SST, and similar labels. But you never forget those bands who mean so much. My touchstones are Simple Minds and the Rolling Stones. Perhaps that is why my catching up with Jim prior to the 2018 show meant so much. He could have blown it off but he didn't. He isn't that type of person.

For that I am grateful.



Comments (2 Comments)

Thanks, Abraham Pacheco for

Posted by Abraham Pacheco on January 28, 2023

It’s an awesome story, love the songs “true faith” and “don’t u forget about me” wished I could have seen them live, your very lucky Alan

Posted by Danny Harnett on December 04, 2020

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