Interview: Jim Bob hits the road
Writer and musician Jim Bob is embarking on a long-awaited solo tour. We caught up with him to find out what we can expect:
Hello Jim! We’re excited that you’re heading back on the road to play some gigs. We thought that Jim Bob the Singer had permanently retired and that you were exclusively Jim Bob the Writer these days. What prompted your decision to dust off the old guitar and get back out there?
Even though I was writing a novel most of the time, last year I felt like I’d done very little. Mainly because I rarely left the house. I only made a a few live appearances with the second Frank Derrick book – partially due to refusing to play any songs, so I turned quite a few things down. Of the few book-related appearances I made, at least one made me feel guilty for being so rubbish. It’s still at the back of my mind that I need to redeem myself as a live performer. Anyway, I still haven’t finished writing the novel and so with nothing new coming out this year I was aware that I might spend another twelve months not leaving the house. So I thought about doing a few gigs at the end of the year and then I was asked to play at Indie Daze and once that was booked it made sense to book some more gigs. I was conscious of leaving performing music live alone for long enough for people to be interested in me playing again. That appears to have worked!
What shape will the gigs take? A mix of Jim Bob and Carter classics? Will you do any readings from your books? Any surprises up your sleeve? Or haven’t you thought that far ahead yet?
The tour will be a mix of solo and Carter. Just me and a guitar and maybe one other thing that’s not decided properly enough to say yet. I won’t be doing any reading but I’ll make up for it by talking nonsense between songs. That can be the most enjoyable part for me. Usually by the end of a tour it’s pretty much a spoken word, stand-up comedy set (smiley face).
Will we hear any new Jim Bob songs on the tour?
Nothing is planned. Unless I get struck by my muse, or run over by Muse, I doubt there’ll be new songs. I’ve tried a few times to write something but I find it difficult to justify forcing songs these days. I don’t want to write any filler. The last album came to me in a rush and only took a couple of weeks to write, so you never know. The thought of recording anything is quite daunting though. I hate all the admin.
You probably haven’t played a number of your solo songs in quite a while. Are there any in particular you are looking forward to playing again?
Apart from the Carter songs that I seem to know quite well, I need to relearn a lot of my solo stuff as I’ve forgotten it. There’s nothing that comes to mind at the moment that I desperately want to play. I’d like to relearn as much as possible though, so I can muck about with the set a bit and react more favourably to any requests.
And how about just being on tour in general? Do you enjoy being on the road?
With the solo tours it’s a team effort. There’s me, Marc my manager, Mr Spoons roadie-ing and Chris T-T being Chris T-T. I’m looking forward to that dynamic of four grown men talking like children in a car and eating crisps and staying in budget hotels and eating crisps. One of the reasons I don’t do many gigs is because I’m the only member of Team Jim Bob who is always available and I have no desire to travel on my own. I’ve done about two gigs completely on my own and didn’t enjoy the experience. If Mr Spoons isn’t there for instance, I go to pieces. If I went to the gigs on my own I’d never have the nerve to ask for the money at the end of the night.
What else have you got lined up aside from your tour?
Mostly finishing this next novel. It’s been quite hard. I’ve had a lot of false starts and equally false finishes. And real life got in the way a lot. Especially at the start of this year, with a death in the family closely followed by spending nine weeks on a jury. I’m determined to get the book done now. Apart from that I want to get a bit fitter if possible and learn the piano and a new language, none of which I’ll do.
What can you tell us about your new book?
I’d rather not say what it’s about yet just in case it curses it to not getting written somehow.
Does it get easier, or harder, the more books you write? As in, is it harder to keep coming up with new ideas… is the process of actually getting the words down easier… etc.
It varies. The second Frank Derrick book was the easiest to write. Presumably because the characters were already there. This new one has been difficult because I had no ideas whatsoever. Also, feeling the pressure of following the relative success of – in particular – the first Frank Derrick book, has affected the way I’m writing.
Do you fancy turning your hand to writing a screenplay or theatre production or something like that in the future?
I wrote the screenplay for a film that was never made a few years ago and there is an ongoing script development thing with my book ‘Storage Stories’. I know a few TV writers and I don’t know if I could bear the constant disappointment of things not getting made. At least if I can’t get a book published I can put it out myself. You can’t do that so easily with a film or TV series.
Thanks for talking to us again Jim. What are you going to do now you’ve finished the interview?
Put the bins out.
For more information about Jim Bob’s live dates and to buy tickets, go here.
Interview by Bobby Townsend