I belong as a musician to the early eighties inspirational time. This is the time when the synthesizers jumped over from comple progressive band orchestrations over to pop singles. When people talked about New Romanticism, Simmons drums, PPG Wave synthesizers, gated bass lines and so on. It was quite fun following this new trend as it was so different from new wave, hard rock, disco and so forth.
One of those bands was Simple Minds. New Gold Dream established them as unique, not that before that they released albums like Sons and Fascinations that DJs actually could play in a club even if this was a guitar/drums/bass/synth band. Sometimes I wonder why there are no more similar bands today in the dance scene — loops and plug-ins rule but it’s getting so boring to listen to the same kinds of material re-hashed over and over.
Sparkle in the Rain was the follow-up to New Gold Dream. Simple Minds had an more edgy, rock-based sound.
What influenced me was:
- The guitar player, Charlie Burchill, didn’t need to play fast blues lines, instead interesting melodic lines, as well as using the guitar as a pad-like instrument with different delayed settings. I think 30% of my guitar playing was picked up from this person when I really analyze my normal playing habit — and a reason why I have a hard time doing solos at blues jams as I just don’t like to sound like everyone else.
- The whole band played as a whole, no need for virtuosos. The complexity arose from the various settings.
- The keyboard arrangements were very much like early day Satie or Debussy arrangements, quite cool for a rock band.
- And in general, they sounded like Simple Minds. In this age of getting gigabytes of audio in one hour from Internet, that’s important.