To ypogeio.gr

Jim Bob

(ex-Carter USM)


Following last year’s charts climber “Pop Up Jim Bob” album, which came after a 7 year absence from the music industry, Jim Bob strikes back on August 20, 2021 with his 11th studio album “Who Do We Hate Today?”. The legendary ex-Carter USM frontman, one of the best singer-songwriters out there and award winning author, James Neil Morrison, also known as Jim Bob, discusses with Alexandros Kotsis on music, past, present, future, politics and books.

 

"Who Do We Hate Today", out 20/8 via Cherry Red Records, pre-order here.



The Basement: Thank you very much for your time today. I would like to start with a disclaimer first, because I have to say that I am not a pro (laughing).

Jim Bob: Okay, neither am I. Neither am I (both laughing).


The Basement: But I‘ve been following you for the last 30 years, ever since I was 14 in 1991. 

Wow.


The Basement: So it’s a great pleasure for me to do that today and thank you very much for that. 

Thank you.


The Basement: So let’s start, as I understand your time is stressed. May I start with asking you where does the apparently second “summer of no touching” find you at the moment? 

(laughing) I’m in Crystal Palace in South London, where I’ve been for years. It’s hot and it’s raining as well in the way always is in England (laughs). 


The Basement: Yes, I know how that is as I studied in Manchester. Here we have more than 40 degrees today, it’s awful. I meant to ask you, we had no music from you since 2013 and then all of a sudden in one year’s time we are privileged to have two fantastic albums “popping up” one next to another, if I may use the pun. What was it that made you be so productive and creative Was it the Brexit, was it the pandemic? Have you started working on them even before the pandemic?  

It was before the pandemic. I was doing solo gigs, just me on my own with my acoustic guitar and then I played Shepherd’s Bush Empire one year and then I did it again the next year, but I wanted to make it different, so I got a band together just for half the show, half the show would be with a band and I enjoyed it so much, playing with a band, that I wondered whether I could write songs to do with a band. Than kind of gave me the impetus to do it, so that’s why I ended up writing the first album which was just before the pandemic, even though it sounds like I wrote the songs all about the pandemic. And then the second one, I just carried on, because I enjoyed doing it and it did quite well, in the UK, it was successful, so it seemed like a good idea. And there was nowhere else to go (laughing).


The Basement: We have to say that you reached No 26 in the charts with “Pop Up Jim Bob”, which was amazing but I have a question about that so we ‘ll get back later to that.

Okay.


The Basement: I was wondering, because you mentioned that the first one sounds like you wrote it during the pandemic, whether the two albums, the previous one “Pop Up Jim Bob” and the new one that we expect on August 20, “Who Do We Hate Today?”, were written in the same period or close one to another, because I find some thematic similarities, for instance, Brexit, social media reality, pandemic of course, domestic violence, polarization). Was there any time proximity in writing the songs of the two albums?

It was almost exactly one year apart between the two albums, writing them. I think Brexit and certainly the way things were in the UK, with the polarization of views and quite unpleasant things going on, which was probably most noticeable on social media than maybe it was in real life, was probably the inspiration for the songs on “Pop Up Jim Bob”. And then, by the time, like a year later, when I wrote the songs for “Who Do We Hate Today?” the feelings probably around the pandemic, it’d taken a year, but in that year, they’d become as polarized as the views were on Brexit, so it was kind of the same, a lot of the same emotions and feelings about two, you know, totally different things really. So that’s probably why they’re connected, I think. I suppose, when I wrote “Pop Up Jim Bob” there was very much “a left or a right political thing” going on here and now it’s almost like that with COVID, views on lockdown and everything has almost become – and not quite because it’s more complicated – but there is a left and a right view and it’s mad that you can politicize the wearing of a mask. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? I don’t understand how, just because you agree with Brexit, therefore you don’t agree with wearing masks. You know, there’s a lot of that kind of things. It’s strange, it’s weird. People are strange.


The Basement: Yes, yes. Especially when you’re a stranger, to paraphrase a person having the same name with you! 

Yes, with great manners – both laughing.

 


 

The Basement: That leads me to my next question, because it is connected with what we’re saying, so “who do we hate today”? Because you made a parallelism with left and right saying that just because one is pro Brexit they don’t agree with wearing masks. Are we moving away from traditional political separating lines, left and right, to modern ones? Populists - non populists, vaxxers - anti-vaxxers? Do we hate Camus’ “stranger”? I mean we have immigration problems all over Europe as well. So, who do we hate today?

I’d like to think that I don’t really hate anybody but there’s people I don’t like. Because the title itself, Who Do We Hate Today, came from sort of the feeling I was getting, I would wake up in the morning and turn on Twitter and then would look to see what names were trending and that would be who “we’d hate today”. And it might be JK Rowling today, or tomorrow it could be Boris Johnson, but it would be for, like, bizarre reasons. But I think politics, anyway, here are incredibly messy and confusing, because there’s always been that two party system and they’ve been, well, the Labour Party has always been sort of broken up in to all these different factions who hate each other more than they hate the Conservatives (laughing). I don’t know, I mean I‘ve always thought this is probably going away from …, I think the majority of people just tend to just want to get on with their lives and look out for their families and their friends and they don’t really have any strong opinions on lots of these things, you know, until they’re presented to them I suppose. I think that’s what happened pretty much with Brexit, because before Nigel Farage, I don’t remember people talking about “oh, we must leave the EU”. I don’t ever remember the conversation coming up and suddenly it became something that half the country supposedly had always felt strongly about. Yeah, referendums are a bad idea, I think (laughing). 


The Basement: The bad thing with far right agenda, I guess, is that if you try to make it your own in order to keep far right voters at low levels, then you just ignite them, I think. 

Yes, absolutely. I guess the most successful, well I don’t really know whom I’m talking here about, well most successful world leaders tend to be very kind of down the middle tone. Nice people seem to be more successful in running a country. I think we all wish we were in New Zealand at some point (laughing).

 
The Basement: Yes, I guess that would be great in a sense. So, back to music. Should we expect more new music from you in the near future?

I don’t know, I’ve written a song, even though with this album (note Who Do We Hate Today) I didn’t write it until “Pop Up Jim Bob” was released, so maybe after this is released I think I’ll try, at least, because next year we’re going to do some festivals with the band, so I don’t really know. I don’t know if it is the same in Greece, but there is a problem with manufacturers of vinyl in the UK, I’m guessing it’s everywhere. So if you decide you’re making a new album, you have to arrange it at least one year ahead (laughing). You can’t say “I think I’ll make an album and release it in three months. You come to say “I’ll make an album and release it in 2023”. So I don’t know.

 
The Basement: So you are having an almost sold out autumn UK tour, you said that you are going to play in some festivals next year. Any plans to go around Europe or even Greece maybe?

I’d certainly love to. As you know, it’s impossible at the moment, isn’t it? But definitely I would like to. I mean I’d like to play…. I don’t know how many times I’ve played in Athens on my own, sort of four times or something. It would be nice to play with a band, I think, but I don’t know how difficult that is to arrange. In the UK, now, I have an agent for festivals, so maybe he has contacts in Europe. Athens would be top of my list obviously. 

The Basement: Off the record, I will speak with Marc and Matt to see if there is any chance! 

I would definitely love to. I would love to. 
 

 

The Basement: Back to the charts. You reached No 26 last year with “Pop Up Jim Bob”, which was great, especially if you consider that you’ve been absent from the music industry for a long time. I think 8 years today is more time than it was before in terms of the fast moving world we’re living in today. What are the differences in making and promoting music in the 90s and doing the same now?

 

Well, the main difference for me is, apart from money, budget - there’s no money now (laughing). Cherry Red are a great record label, but they can’t spend thousands of pounds on marketing, so I’m a lot more involved in making promo videos and constantly posting things on social media, whereas in the past you didn’t really do any of that, it was somebody else’s job. That’s one thing. We got No 26 in the charts but nothing was played on the radio or anything like that and that’s the same with this (the new album), even less, they don’t play me on the radio. So it’s kind of …. Sort of… But I suppose Carter were a bit like that; we didn’t really fit in, did we? We just sort of did it all ourselves, I think. It was us and the audience against the world. 


The Basement: And that was special to us, I have to say. 

Okay!

The Basement: It was something different for us all back in the day. You topped the charts with Carter back in the day and also headlined Glastonbury. How did you experience the, quotation marks, Brit Pop era frenzy back in the day?

Brit Pop was after us though, wasn’t it?


The Basement: Yes, that’s why I put it in quotation marks. 

Okay, I mean, I hate Brit Pop (laughing). Certainly in Britain, they’re obsessed with Brit Pop still. It’s worse than the Beatles. It’s all they ever talk about. Oasis vs Blur kind of stuff. But it was just before that for us. There was a period for Carter when it was really exciting and then it got sort of less exciting but I think around 1990, 1991, 1992, yeah, I can’t think of a more exciting time in my life, when I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. It was great (laughing). 


The Basement: That’s great. I remember two gigs with Carter in Athens,1991 and 1995 and two solo acoustic gigs in 2007 and 2011. Any special memories from those nights?

I remember…. I think the first… So when was the first Athens Carter one? ‘91? 


The Basement: I wasn’t there, but yes, it was in 1991. First time I saw you, it was in 1995. 

Okay. The ’91 I remember more clearly, I think it’s because I’ve got a lot of photographs of that and my daughter was quite young and she went with us. I think that’s why I’ve got a lot of photographs. A lot of friends went with us and that’s kind of a memorable time. 1995 I don’t remember so well (both laughing). But I think the first time going back in Athens on my own, I remember I was surprised that people were there and everyone knew the words, the songs; I was really surprised in a nice way. 


The Basement: I remember it was at the Closer Bar. 

Yes, with the swinging lights? Was it that one?

The Basement: Yes. 

I remember that and drinking far too much (both laughing). That is Makis’ fault, I think. He would take us out.


The Basement: Last ever Carter gig, in Brixton, 2014. How emotional was it? I was there, I have to say and for me it was very emotional.

Okay. Did you go to both Brixton and Shepherds’ Bush or Brixton only?


The Basement: I went to both. 

Okay, because I think Shepherds’ Bush was a better gig. I don’t know why, I think we were better, we played better. Yes, but the Brixton one, it was, at the end. A lot of large men crying (laughing). I remember it was quite hard to leave the stage at the end. It seemed a bit wrong to end. It was also that Jon Beast had died as well that year and it was very emotional.
   

The Basement: I have one last question for you, because I understand time is running out. Apart from a great songwriter and singer you are an excellent author as well. I have to say I’ve read all your books.

Oh thank you. You have?  Oh well!


The Basement: If I’m not mistaken, it’s six novels, two memoirs and one short novella included in the LP “It’s a humpty dumpty thing”, right?

Yes, that’s right.


The Basement: So, what need brought you to that path? What was it that couldn’t find expression through singing and songwriting that led you to write books and is there any new work in progress with this respect?

There’s nothing in progress I’ m afraid, because I’ve been concentrating on the music. Again, a lot of things I do are accidents, I think. I wrote the first Carter book. It took me a long time to write. But when it was published, it was thrilling, it was like releasing a record for a first time. So, I think that’s why I carried on to try writing a second one. Then it just sort of went from there and I managed to get a publishing deal, so that’s why I wrote the two Frank Derrick books and then the one after that, which would be the last and I found quite difficult to write, it was actually two books. So it became less enjoyable maybe, very difficult. I find it quite hard to write music and books at the same time. I think it’s just because of the lyrics, the words. There aren’t enough words for both at the same time (laughing). So, maybe when I have released another album, then I could try to write another book. 


The Basement: Good! Any chance to get any translation in Greek? Whom should I speak about that with?

I don’t know. If you know somebody ….(laughing). 


The Basement: I served as a translator in the army during my military service.

Oh, maybe you can do it!


The Basement: Yes, I would love to!

I’ve had novels translated into about ten different languages I think. I don’t know if any of them are any good, because I can’t read them myself! Maybe. It’s terrible, I don’t know!  (laughing)


The Basement: Translation is a difficult task... Jim, I don’t want to waste your time anymore. Thanks so much! Congratulations for everything and thank you for the music!

Thank you. Hope to see you somewhere. Hope to see you in Athens soon. Maybe next year. Thanks Alex, bye!

 


 

Discography

Jamie Wednesday:

Vote for Love (12" EP, 1985, Pink) (UK Indie No. 46) 
We Three Kings of Orient Aren't (12" EP, 1986, Pink)


Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine:

Year Title

Chart (UK)

1990 101 Damnations (Chrysalis) 29
1991 30 Something (Chrysalis) 8
1992 The Love Album (Chrysalis) 1
1993 Post Historic Monsters (Chrysalis) 5
1995 Worry Bomb (Chrysalis) 9
1997 A World Without Dave (Cooking Vinyl) 73
1998 I Blame The Government (Cooking Vinyl) 92


 

Other Albums

Year Title Chart (UK)
1994   Starry Eyed and Bollock Naked (Chrysalis) 22
1995 Straw Donkey... The Singles (Chrysalis) 37
1998 Sessions (Cooking Vinyl)  
1999 Live! (Cooking Vinyl)  
2005 The Good, the Bad, the Average and Unique (Who's Daddy Now?)  
2007 You Fat Bastard (EMI)  
2007 This Is the Sound of an Eclectic Guitar (Chrysalis)  
2009 The Drum Machine Years [Live] (Concert Live)  
2014 The Final Comedown [Live - Limited to 4000 copies] (Nyquest)  



Jim Bob:

Jim's Super Stereoworld, 2001 (Jim's Super Stereoworld)
JR, 2001 (James Robert Morrison)
Big Flash Car on a Saturday Night, 2002 (Jim's Super Stereoworld)
Goodnight Jim Bob, 2003
Angelstrike!, 2004
School, 2006
Best of Jim Bob, 2006
A Humpty Dumpty Thing, November 2007
Goffam, April 2009
What I Think About When I Think About You, November 2013
Jim Bob Sings Again, November 2016
Pop Up Jim Bob, August 2020 



Books:

Storage Stories (2010) – Jim Bob's debut novel, which took six years to write described as a darkly comic rollercoaster ride full of thrills, spills and warm sick on the back of the neck. Published by 1040 Books.

Goodnight Jim Bob (2012) – On the Road With Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine Jim Bob's autobiographic tale of his time on tour with Carter USM. Published by Cherry Red Books.

Driving Jarvis Ham (2012) – Jim Bob's second novel, following the life of the awkward character of Jarvis Ham, from the perspective of his oldest friend. A brilliantly witty story of unconventional, unwavering, and regularly exasperating friendship. Published by The Friday Club/Harper Collins.

The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 (June 2014) – Under the name J.B. Morrison. Published by Pan Macmillan.

Frank Derrick's Holiday Of A Lifetime (2015)  - Published by Pan Macmillan.

Jim Bob from Carter: In the Shadow of my Former Self (2019) - Published by Cherry Red Books.

A Godawful Small Affair b/w Harvey King Unboxes His Family (2020) – Under the name J.B. Morrison. Published by Cherry Red Books



 

Σχετικα Αρθρα
ypogeio.gr
Everything by Electricity
[Yulia Bizyukova]
(07/04/2021)
ypogeio.gr
Drab City
[Asia Nevolja]
(24/03/2021)
ypogeio.gr
Whyte Horses
Dom Thomas
(19/03/2018)
ypogeio.gr
Grup Şimşek
(06/04/2017)
Χρησιμοποιούμε cookies μόνο για στατιστικούς λόγους (google analytics). Δεν συλλέγουμε κανένα προσωπικό δεδομένο.
ΕΝΤΑΞΕΙ