Formed in Glasgow in 1983, Del Amitri has released four Top 10 albums and a string of memorable hit singles including ‘Nothing Ever Happens’, ‘Always The Last To Know’ and ‘Roll To Me’. Returning from a hiatus in 2014, the band continues to sporadically tour and release new material as and when they chose to do so. Damian Robinson caught up with frontman Justin Currie to talk about their new tour and the band’s future.
I was just thinking that it’s almost 20 years to the day since I saw you at Whitley Bay for the BBC live tour…
Ha, ha. Yes, it would be. We did a few of those in the 90s and we were usually hungover.
And then I saw you at Newcastle City Hall on the last tour, ‘The A to Z of Us Tour’. That was such a great show – it was absolutely packed out with great songs…
Thank you. We were apprehensive when we came back in 2014; we came back on quite a large tour and were nervous if anyone would come to the shows. As it happened, the tour went really well and we settled back in easily.
So the motive was to come back and see if there was still an audience?
Not really, no. We just decided the time was right. In some ways, not having a new album to tour, and the extra pressures that come with promotion, really helped us to focus on the live show.
So what’s the motive for the tour this year?
It felt like a good time to get out on the road, plus we got a good offer where we would play a shortish tour in places we enjoy playing. Ian, and the rest of the band, was available so we thought why not.
There’s a rumour that there will be some new material for the tour?
We’ve probably got an album’s worth of material written but we’re not sure if it’ll ever get released. There are some ideas of releasing an album on vinyl, but again these are just thoughts at the minute. We’re certainly planning to rehearse 1 or 2 new tracks and see if we can make them sound good live and if they do, we’ll probably play them on the tour, if they don’t, then they may not make it.
So you’re not placing any pressure on yourself for new material?
Not at all. Ian is quite keen on the idea, as am I, but we’d only put something out if it sounded good and if we thought there was value.
Where do you see Del Amitri fitting into today’s music scene?
To be honest, we never felt like we fitted in with any particular scene – and we’re probably the same now. We were inspired by the Postcard crowd, like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, but as a band, we morphed a few times – we were initially quite a melancholic band and then we moved into being more poppy. We were too soft for grunge and too early for Britpop so we were our own entity I guess.
I always felt you were quite similar to the Lemonheads in that regard…
Wow, that’s a compliment – thanks. I’m a great fan of that band. He’s a brilliant songwriter and has such intelligent insights.
Apart from the tour, what’s the future looking like?
There’s a feeling that it may be some time before we tour again after this tour. We certainly don’t want to make this a once every two-year nostalgia trip sort of thing. We’ll see as a band when we tour how we feel and what we feel like doing next.
Del Amitri plays Newcastle City Hall on Friday 20th July. Tickets, priced from £41.50 in advance, are available from theatreroyal.co.uk.