As 1995 crept towards 1996, huge sea changes were afoot for Simple Minds. First of all, the band’s September 13, 1995 stop in Glasgow featured one Derek Forbes strapping on his bass for “Waterfront” and “Love Song.” The band had occasionally made overtures to him in the past but he had always demurred. This must have raised a few eyebrows. Secondly, the relationship between the band and their long-time UK label, Virgin Records began to break down. In January of 1996, the band left Virgin after eleven albums, four in a row that reached the number one spot, and signed to Chrysalis Records!
The next month saw the band not renewing their contract with Clive Banks Management, and Jim Kerr’s 1992 marriage to singer-slash-actress Patsy Kensit [which resulted in another child for Kerr] was also finished. The band were using their original Derek Forbes/Brian McGee rhythm section to demo new material for their Chrysalis debut. By the summer of 1996, Forbes had re-joined the band and by the end of the year, another name from the past had become re-attached to the band. Peter Walsh who had produced “New Gold Dream [81, 82, 83, 84],” was on board to produce their next album.
Given that by this time, the band’s machinations could be followed online, this made me very excited, indeed. They had succeeded in purging the decadent strains that had led the band astray artistically, even as their commercial profile had peaked. Now, with the salad days of the mid-80s firmly in the past, and their commercial fortunes abating somewhat, they were making moves that said to me that they were looking to return to their core strengths, which had been ignored for years.
By Spring of 1997, the new album was still in production, but after a six year layoff in which he pursued other options, drummer Mel Gaynor returned to the band and was able to lay down drums for one track on the album. The classic lineup minus Mike MacNeil was now back in place. At the time, waiting for the fruits of this new chapter was painfully drawn out. The appearance of the first Simple Minds official website in the summer of 1997 gave fans something to obsess over to while away the months. That Flash splashscreen got pretty boring as I recall. Another turn of the calendar page and finally, in March of 1998, the pre-release single, “Glitterball” was released with the album, “Néapolis” following soon after.
Next: …A new city beckons