The Simple Minds singer and former husband of Chrissie Hynde and Patsy Kensit in his Glasgow recording studio
At home with the Simple Minds front man in his Glasgow studio
1 TRUNK CALL
I’ve been coming here to my haven a lot to work and listen to music while my new Glasgow house is being refurbished. But then being in a rock band I’m always on the move, and the one thing that goes everywhere with me is this Globetrotter suitcase. I first got one in the 80s when my ex-wife, Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, told me about them. They’re tailor-made for touring. Inside you’ll find football books, backstage passes, photos, old notebooks with song ideas. Some of it must have been there years!
2 WHAT A MENACE!
I was into the Dennis The Menace comic strip long before I got into music, and it still makes me chuckle. So when David Sutherland, the guy who’s been drawing him for the last 40-odd years, got word I was a big fan, he did this bright, bold, original drawing of Dennis and his dog Gnasher running down the road for me. They’ve both got that mad, demented look on their faces as usual, suggesting they’ve done something naughty and are scarpering – which is the story of my life too!
3 FEEL THE FORTH
I love this photograph of the iconic Forth Bridge. It’s been photographed a zillion times but Alan Wild, the guy I commissioned to take the picture, has really captured the essence of what makes this 19th-century cantilever railway bridge so loved. I also like it because my first ever flat in the mid-80s was at the foot of the Forth road bridge so I had an amazing view of the railway bridge. What’s more, I haven’t got much of a view in my studio so I make do with this one!
4 WARRIOR STICKS
I got into incense the first time I visited Japan with Simple Minds in the 80s, now I stock up every time I go back. There’s an otherworldliness about these little cedar wood sticks – which Samurai warriors used to cleanse the spirit – that just helps you ‘escape’. I burn a stick in the studio when we’re recording to create an uplifting atmosphere. I also burn one in my dressing room on tour because it creates a sense of one’s own space – and you never know what went on before you were there!
5 A WEE DRAM
I’m not a drinker but I was given this bottle of Strathmill Scottish malt whisky in 1979 – the year we made our debut album. I’ve hung on to it ever since because it’s got a certain sentimental value. I always think there’ll come a moment when it’s time to crack it open – maybe in 2017, the band’s 40th anniversary? I’m that rare thing – a Glaswegian who’s never drunk. The only time I tried alcohol my hangover lasted for days, and I decided never again.
6 MY GLAM MUM
I always keep this picture of my mum and dad Irene and Jimmy on their wedding day in 1957 close to me. They married young – Dad was 22, Mum was 20 – and I always think my mum looks incredibly glamorous here. We never had much money growing up, but they gave us the first couple of hundred quid to get Simple Minds started – but for that the band might never have got off the ground.