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Why are James called James?

From the Melody Maker feature on James in 1990:

"Paul Gilbertson originally thought of the name James, apparently because of his love for Orange Juice guitarist James Kirk, or perhaps admiration for his own bass player Jim Glennie, or simply a fetish for first names. Other first names were tried, but no one liked the sound of Paul; Tim sounded too weak; and Gavan sounded too heavy metal. In the end, they settled on James because it was amorphous enough to encompass what the band were - amorphous. James were determined to not pigeonholed themselves and to be a constant surprise. Back in 1982, their newfound name had no connotations."

"They played as James once and were going to dump it, but changed their minds when they discovered their next gig was at the Hacienda and the Manchester club had already advertised the name.

What other names has the band gone by?

From the Melody Maker special on James, 1990:

"they got drunk before every gig to numb their fear, and for every gig, they“d use another name. Volume Distortion lasted 24 hours, Model Team International lasted the 30 minutes they were on stage."

Who are James?

Tim Booth vocals (1982-present)
David Baynton-Power drums, percussion (1990-present)
Jim Glennie bass guitar, backing vocals (1982-present)
Saul Davies guitars, violin, backing vocals, percussion (1990-present)
Mark Hunter keyboards (1990-present)
Adrian Oxxal guitars (1996-present)
Michael Kulas backing vocals, guitar, percussion (1997-present)

Who else has been in the band?

Larry Gott guitars, keyboard, flute, backing vocals, one of the best guitarists ever (1985-1996)
Andy Diagram trumpet, backing vocals (1990-1993)
Gavan Whelan drums, piano, vocals (1982-1990)
Paul Gilbertson guitars (1982-1985)

Why did they leave, and what are they doing now?

Larry Gott left to spend more time with his family. He is currently a student at the Met. in Manchester, studying History of Film and Photography.

Andy Diagram left the band to pursue other musical interests. He went on to form the band Spaceheads, who tour regularly and have put out 3 cds.

Gavan Whelan was asked to leave the band in 1988 after he attacked Tim during a set at a college ball gig. After the incident, "Whelan wanted to stay with them, but all three other members had already had separate run-ins with the drummer and they decided they couldn't give him one more chance." He went on to become a drum roadie for Primal Scream, and eventually went on to join another band (name unknown).

Paul Gilberston left because of drug-related problems. The song "Not There" from Strip-mine is dedicated to him. He entered a detox program after leaving the band, but what happened to him after that is unknown.

When was ?? born?

From The Encyclopedia of Rock Stars:

Tim Booth February 4, 1960
David Baynton Power January 29, 1961
Jim Glennie October 10, 1963
Saul Davies June 28, 1965
Mark Hunter November 5, 1968
Adrian Oxxal ??
Michael Kulas April ??, 1969

What is Black Thursday?

From Pulse!, April 1997:

"We went into the studio to start writing material for the next album, which would end up being Whiplash," recalls (Saul) Davies. "And suddenly, everything collapsed around us, and it happened to be a Thursday." Slide guitarist, key songwriter and founding member Larry Gott announced he would no longer tour with James. Tim Booth announced his plans to go to New York and record his long-stalled solo project with film composer Angelo Badalamenti (the lush Booth and the Bad Angel, released last year on Mercury). And the U.K. tax man announced the unfortunate discovery of an overlooked James debt of roughly £150,000. "We realized that everything we'd taken for granted, even the existence of the band, was now in doubt and required serious re-evaluation," Davies adds.

What's the story behind the daisy?

According to Martine McDonagh, James' former manager, in an interview in the James newsletter Chain Mail, the answer is quite simple: they were designing an ad for Come Home and had put in the word "james" in the usual font, but decided that it just looked too boring, resulting in the decision to put a daisy over the "J"

Why is One Man Clapping so rare, and where can I get it?

From the Melody Maker special on James, 1990:

One Man Clapping was financed through a loan from their bank, who at first wasn't too impressed with the idea of funding a pop venture, but "after the band took their bank manager to a gig (in one week in Leeds, over £2000-worth of james-merchandise was sold), he agreed on the spot. One Man Clapping was distributed by Rough Trade and went straight to number one on the indie charts. The band was quite surprised when they received a fax from Sire records demanding to know why they'd released an album without informing the company." This was four months after they had officially parted from Sire.

Because it was released independently, it received only limited distribution. Although it was distributed on CD and vinyl format, both are extremely difficult to find. Occasionally a copy will turn up in small record shops in the UK. Be prepared, however, because very often when a copy is found, it commands a high price.

When are James going to tour in the US?

Because James have been dropped by their US record label, Mercury Records, and have not yet been able to find another label to release their latest album, they are unable to tour the US at this time. Once they find a label to release them in the states, they will be able to start considering a tour.

Who are Booth and the Bad Angel?

Booth and the Bad Angel is the result of a collaboration between James lead singer Tim Booth and film score composer Angelo Badalamenti (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks). The album of the same name was the result of Tim's long-time desire to work with Angelo, which Tim developed after hearing Badalamenti's work with Julie Cruise on Floating Into The Night. Mercury Records' Booth and the Bad Angel site explained: "Tim was told by a clairvoyant that his career would leap creatively skyward if he collaborated with 'a man with the name of an angel'". Here's how it happened:

In the early 1990's a late-night British music show called Friday Night At The Dome had a running theme of bringing together musicians from disparate genres and cultures (i.e. Richard Thompson and David Byrne) and letting them play together. The producers asked Tim Booth if there was anybody in the world with whom he would love to collaborate, to which he replied "Angelo Badalamenti."

In New Jersey, the fifty-something Badalamenti had never heard of Tim Booth or James. Contacted by phone, he agreed in theory to a collaboration, provided somebody sent him all the James albums and Tim was free to travel to New York. Tim said yes. The producers of Friday Night At The Dome would film the project, whatever it might be. Everyone was excited, not least Tim. Then Tim got the flu and was advised not to fly. The producers went to see a David Byrne concert without him, and had a serious car crash resulting in hospitalizations. Tim would have been in that car...

...Not wishing to let the collaboration flicker out before it had even started, Angelo told Tim to fax some poems and he'd see if they sparked off any musical ideas. "I sent him some poems and heard nothing back from him," Tim recalls. Over in New Jersey, Angelo read the poems and wondered what the hell they were all about. "He'd leave these strange, lyric messages on my answering machine," Angelo says. "It was like having a stalker."

Then in 1993, as a Booth and Badalamenti collaboration was looking somewhat optimistic, Paul McCartney telephoned Angelo and asked him to come to London to orchestrate a song, which he did. Meanwhile James's ground-breaking acoustic tour had just reached London. This put Tim and Angelo in the same city at last. Angelo saw James play at the Town and Country (now the Forum), found Tim's performance to be 'appealing' and went backstage, where they met up for the first time. "He said, 'Anything you want to do,'" Tim remembers.

Angelo returned to America while Tim went off to do the Eno sessions that would comprise the two James albums Laid and Wah Wah. In the spring of 1994, Tim took a holiday in New York where he and Angelo met for the second time. In the interim, Angelo had put Tim's poem to music. They immediately recorded it (although it didn't make it on to the album in the end) in a New York studio and Tim took the tape back to Mercury Records, who gave the project the green light.

When Tim returned to New York later that summer, they began work for real, recording most of the songs for Booth And The Bad Angel in a six day improvisational period with Tim singing, Angelo playing keyboards, and American session men playing bass and drums (backing vocalists include Brian Eno; Angelo on "Life Gets Better" and, on "Dance Of The Bad Angels" Tim's vocal coach in England, Chloe Goodchild).

Booth and the Bad Angel was released by Mercury in 1996, and was accompanied by a single for the song "I Believe". In June 1998 a second single, for the song "Fall In Love With Me", was released in the UK, and the same song features on the soundtrack for the movie Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel & Lawrence.

What's this I hear about a James side project?

James drummer, David Baynton-Power, keyboardist Mark Hunter, and guitarist/violinist Saul Davies have been working on a side project titled Money.

On June 12th, 1997, Money made it's debut live performance to a small crowd in Toronto, as part of the NXNE Music Festival and Conference. A release was originally considered for early 1998, but was delayed because of the release of James: The Best Of... and the press/promo/tour events related to it. Although the guys continue to work on material for an eventual release, James are the first priority, so no release is planned for the near future.

Why is "Sometimes" called "Sometimes (Lester Piggot)"?

Lester Piggot is a famous British horse jockey. According to Tim in an interview on MTV's 120 Minutes around the time Laid was released, the band referred to the song as "Lester Piggot" while they were writing it because of its "racing beat".

What's unusual about the "Born of Frustration" video?

Guitarist Larry Gott doesn't appear in it. According to drummer David Baynton Power, in an interview with Leaking E-zine:

Basically it was our first trip to America. We'd run over to L.A. to shoot the video there, up in the "Troner Pinnacles." Out in Nevada somewhere, that's where it was shot. Well, the night we got into L.A., Larry got mugged. He was so shaken up he just buggered off home the next day. So he sent our tour manager out to take his place. He was wearing glasses and he wore Larry's hat and all; but no one ever noticed.

What's unusual about the "Destiny Calling" video?

Bassist Jim Glennie doesn't appear in it. Evidently, a night of partying took its toll on Jim, and he wasn't able to make it to the video shoot the next morning. Backing vocalist/guitarist Michael Kulas made his James video debut in Glennie's place.

What songs have James covered?

Morrissey - "We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful" Leonard Cohen - "So Long Marianne" Velvet Underground - "Sunday Morning" David Bowie - "China Girl"

What bands have covered James songs?

The Smiths - "What's the World"
Unrest - "Folklore"
Voice of the Beehive - "Sit Down"
Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - "Sit Down"

Kulas - "Laid" (live, NXNE Music Festival, June 1997)
Better Than Ezra - "Laid" (regularly while on tour in 1999)

Where can I find the version of "Ring the Bells" that is heard on the X-Files?

The slow, acoustic version of "Ring the Bells" from the X-files episode entitled "D.P.O." is featured on the Greenpeace compilation titled "Alternative NRG". The song was recorded at "The Palace" in Hollywood, CA with equipment run exclusively by solar power.