THE PROCLAIMERS INTERVIEW
Ever since appearing on cult TV show “The Tube” in 1987, The Proclaimers have enjoyed huge global success. Almost thirty years down the line, they’re touring the world once again in promotion of their latest album, “Let’s Hear It For The Dogs.” Here, in an exclusive interview, Charlie Reid talks to “Pulse” author Steve Rudd…
Hi Charlie, how are things, and how has 2016 treated you so far?
It’s been great! Last year was a good a year as we’ve ever had in terms of playing to good-sized crowds; we did a lot of the festivals last year. This year, we’re doing even more shows! Generally, on the second year of an album being out, we do an awful lot less. The crowds are as good as they’ve ever been. We’re getting to do a good variety of shows, and it’s not just theatre shows or outdoor shows. We’ve also played in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the Middle East. After the English shows this summer, we’re going to be touring Canada and the US for six weeks, so it’s a good variety this year.
You’ve got a new album out called “Let’s Hear It For The Dogs”! What made you choose that for a title, and which are your favourite songs from the record?
The reference to dogs relates to the fact that in Scotland, people used to ask what school you went to in order to find out if you were Catholic or Protestant. That was the sly way of doing something. In contrast, dogs are very honest – they just go over to sniff another dog to find out if they’re friend or foe. In terms of my favourite songs, I really love some of the ballads on the album. “Tuesday Afternoon” is a fantastic song. I’m really proud of the album. Song for song, it’s as good as anything we’ve ever done. We’re pleased by how it’s going, how it’s selling. The people who’ve bought it seem to have enjoyed it.
Year on year, it seems like you guys get busier and busier, playing more and more shows! Is it fair to say that the release of the “Sunshine on Leith” movie introduced your music to a whole new generation of people?
Definitely, yes! We’ve had a couple of big advantages over the last few years. Since doing the charity thing (Comic Relief) with Peter Kay in 2007, we’ve been playing to more and more people in more and more areas. The release of the film not only took us to a lot of new people, but it also took us to a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily come and see us in concert.
You’ve just returned from playing dates in Australia and New Zealand. What do you enjoy the most about going Down Under, and what are your fans like over there?
Last time we were there, we were playing as back-up to The B-52’s on a three-band bill. It was a tour of wineries, and it was fantastic. This time around, it was our own shows in theatres. We didn’t have much time to look around this year, because we were gigging four days out of five. That means we were taking a flight almost every day, because the distances are so big. I think it was the fifth time we’ve been.
You’ve also performed in Dubai and Doha…
We’ve played in Dubai a couple of times. We played at The Irish Village next to Dubai Tennis Stadium. We played to a couple of thousand people there. We’ve certainly got some good memories of playing in Dubai in the past. It’s good to play in the Middle East to break up the journey to or from Australia.
Your UK tour started in mid-May, and it’s going to keep you busy through to August! What do you and Craig enjoy the most about being on the road in the UK, and are there ever any times that you wind each other up?
Well, we try not to wind each other up! We particularly love the seaside gigs in the UK; it’s good if you get a decent day, then you can stroll about and get something to eat before a show.
What do you remember of performing “Letter From America” and “Throw The ‘R’ Away” on “The Tube” in 1987? Do you think your career might have progressed any differently had you not appeared on the show?
Possibly it would have done. It was an amazing thing to do. We’d just done a tour of the UK and Ireland towards the end of 1986 with The Housemartins, and that got us a bit of publicity. Then we got “The Tube” show at the start of ’87, and that kind of nailed it for us. It was quite scary, because we’d never played anything like that before. I remember being physically sick before we went on. It was a really high-profile show, but there were very few non-signed acts to get on there. Our manager, Kenny, who is still our manager, had put together a cheap video of us. It was just a stroke of luck. Had we not had the show, it could have gone differently. We could have got signed to a different record company.
Given that 2017 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the release of your debut studio album, “This Is The Story,” have you got any special celebratory events planned?
It sounds terrible to say, but we’ll be celebrating by staying at home and writing! We spend two years at a time on the road, and I think it’s important that you draw breath on the third year. We’ve just turned fifty-four! Also, you’ve got to write new material; there’s no point in doing it if you’re just playing the older songs.
Finally, have you written any new material since “Let’s Hear It For The Dogs” came out?
We’ve got a couple of ideas. It’s very hard to get anything finished, because we’re not that good at concentrating and actually sitting down and focusing on it for a number of months to get things done. But yes, the idea is to write another record next year, and try to get it out for 2018.
The Proclaimers will appear at Scarborough Spa on Saturday 11 June. Visit www.scarboroughspa.co.uk for more information
For more information about The Proclaimers, visit www.proclaimers.co.uk