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By Ross Logan
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
THE Proclaimers are playing a live show at the Alban Arena in St Albans later this month. Welwyn Hatfield Times reporter Ross Logan spoke to the band’s Charlie Reid ahead of the gig.
SOME of the most memorable and enduring pop songs were created in a single moment of inspiration.
Blur’s Song 2 was recorded in virtually one take, while it reportedly took John O’Neill five minutes to write The Undertones classic Teenage Kicks.
Likewise, The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) was apparently composed at a bus stop in Edinburgh as the group – identical twins Craig and Charlie Reid – were heading to a gig.
That version of events is seemingly corroborated by Charlie when he calls the Welwyn Hatfield Times for a chat.
“Craig sat and wrote that song on the way to a gig,” says Charlie.
“We changed it round a little bit but not much.”
It’s been 25 years since Charlie and Craig released their debut album This Is the Story.
Now aged 50, the duo released their ninth studio album Like Comedy earlier this year, and their latest UK tour arrives at the Alban Arena, in St Albans, on Wednesday, October 17.
So after so many years in the business, are the brothers still enjoying life on the road?
“Very much so,” says Charlie. “This album is our ninth studio album we’ve put out, and it’s been 25 years since we started.
“The fact we’re still able to do this after all these years is pretty encouraging.
“We still love what we do and hopefully we’re getting better at it.”
Because of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’s enduring commercial appeal – before being famously covered by Peter Kay for Comic Relief it reached number three in the US charts after appearing in Johnny Depp’s 1993 movie Benny & Joon – it is unlikely The Proclaimers will ever go broke.
But thanks to the song’s marketability, it has allowed the band to quietly amass a sizable oeuvre of clever, poignant and politically astute pop songs.
That is demonstrated on Like Comedy, according to Charlie.
“I think it’s a progression,” he says.
“There’s recurring themes in what we do – relationships, social commentary and hopefully quite a lot of humour. We like to question what life’s about.
“The difference is as you get older your perspective changes, and you’ve got to get a different angle for your songs.
“It’s an interesting milestone [being 50]. The fact we started when we were 25 – there’s a poignancy in that.
“And there’s lots of material for us to choose from.”
But 25 years of working, touring and living intensely with your twin brother. Many might see that as a death sentence. How do the two manage to not kill each other?
Charlie laughs, then says: “I think you have to be in it for the right reasons: because you want to make music and because you want to progress.
“When we’re not on the road we don’t spend as much time together, and of course there are minor disagreements about direction and songs, but they are all pretty minor.
“We both know that this is what we want to do, it was our calling.”