Del Amitri have announced their first tour in more than a decade. Karen Connolly talks to frontman, Justin Currie.
There’s been a glut of rock and pop bands ‘getting back together’ over recent years. Some have seen renewed success – Take That’s reunion has been pretty spectacular – and some not – East 17’s was met largely with indifference.
Why do they decide to bury the hatchet and reform? Well, according to John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), the Sex Pistols did it in 1996 for filthy spoils – money.
But for Del Amitri, back on the road after a ten year sabbatical, they’re not reforming because, according to frontman, Justin Currie, they never broke up.
“Nope,” he says, ”there was no theatrical argument, no-one threw down their guitar after an ‘artistic difference’. None of that.”
So what happened?
“The phone stopped ringing,” says Currie with candour. “Maybe we fell out of fashion, I don’t know really, but that’s it.”
Formed in Currie’s hometown of Glasgow (he still lives there) in 1983, Del Amitri had four Top Ten albums and a succession of hit singles.
Their million-selling breakthrough album Waking Hours included triumphs Nothing Ever Happens and Kiss This Thing Goodbye and the follow-up album, Change Everything, offered up the memorable foot-tapping, beery singalong Always The Last To Know, reaching No. 2 in the albums chart, only being held off the top slot by the might of that mutilated musical offering that was The Bodyguard soundtrack.
In 1995, Twisted charted at No. 3 and included the band’s biggest ever single, Roll To Me, which reached No.10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Del Amitri’s most recent album was 2002’s Can You Do Me Good? and the band haven’t done much else since finishing the subsequent tour.
But during the band’s hiatus, Currie embarked on a relatively successful solo career with three albums to date, the last one Lower Reaches being written in a remote rented cottage on the Isle of Skye.
And now, with a cast of original members of Currie, guitarist, Iain Harvie, Andy Alston, Kris Dollimore and Ashley Soan, and 30 years since the debut single Sense Sickness, Del Amitri are back.
So, did the phone start ringing again?
“Kind of, I suppose it must have,” laughs Currie, “so we decided to pick up where we left off.
“To be honest, there was no big decision, it was more of a slow gravitation towards what I reckon we all guessed was inevitable.”
Currie is constantly forthright and honest about everything and admits there was some surprise when the offers started to come in again.
“We were surprised when people began talking about booking us for reasonable sized venues,” he says.
“But I think perhaps the time is right for us to go on the road again and people will look forward to seeing us rather than thinking ‘Oh no, not them’.”
A splendid raconteur, Currie recalls the early days of touring with the band, when travelling was done by white van and things would get cramped, conditions less than savoury and the air was suffused with cussing.
That sounds a wretched modus operandi for a collection of 40-somethings with families, mortgages and pension plans.
Currie agrees: “No, the band’ll be getting to gigs in something a bit more suitable. God, no, couldn’t do that van thing these days.”
The band will be playing Manchester’s O2 Apollo and Currie says it’s a venue he loves.
“We have played there before, and I love the place. It’s the perfect size for a really good gig. I just hope the audience can stand, we don’t want any of that seating malarky going on.”
He’s also looking forward to heading to Manchester’s China Town while he’s here.
“That’s where I’ll be, I love the food there although perhaps I should try the curry mile this time.”
Del Amitri play The A to Z of Us tour at Manchester O2 Apollo on February 1, 2014 and venues across the North during January and February. Tickets on sale now £45 / £35 from www.gigsandtours.com