Touring the world with Simple Minds – bass player Derek Forbes’ remarkable story

In any bookshop, I still turn to the music section first and from there the biographies as I find it fascinating to read the stories from the source.
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They do vary of course, and some are overlong, like Barbra Streisand, and some are ghost written with just a journalist who has researched the artist who hasn’t the recall they once had. The majority of times the best insights come from the sidemen as opposed to those in the constant spotlight. That is the case with bass player Derek Forbes. A Very Simple Mind On Tour (McNidder & Grace, £22), tells in fine detail how it was as a member of Simple Minds as they took on the world.

Born in Castlemilk in 1956 he went on to co-write some stadium anthems and tour the world with the biggest band. In order to scale this claim you need to read his chapter ‘The best year ever…’ and it started with a first-class flight to Australia in January 1984. From there they would play Melbourne then Auckland New Zealand just as Waterfront went to nu,ber one. From there it was to Dublin then the Edinburgh Playhouse for two nights then Caird Hall Dundee, Capitol Theatre Aberdeen before four nights in their hometown at Barrowlands in Glasgow. The New Gold Dream Tour and the Sparkle In The Rain Tour have become fond memories for those who attended, and they were now off to Europe before an eight-night run at Hammersmith Odeon.

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The humble beginnings are recalled and recording the first album Life In A Day in January 1979 and being managed by Bruce Findlay of Bruce’s Records fame. What I didn’t see coming was how Derek was sacked from the band in 1985 only to rejoin a decade later. His book is illustrated throughout and gives insights we never knew about Simple Minds.

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