Jim Bob talks Shepherd’s Bush and Australia

We caught up with musician and author Jim Bob to find out about his big upcoming London show, his long-awaited return to Australia and his next book:

Hey Jim. It’s been a while since we last spoke. How has 2017 treated you thus far?
So far so good thanks. I’ve probably spent too much of it staring at various word processing apps, which isn’t great for anecdotes but there have been moments of excitement, like when we decided to see what would happen if I booked a solo show at the too-big-for-me Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig, and then being asked to play in Australia with Pop Will Eat Itself. Technically those things are more 2018. I’ve played very few gigs this year but they’ve all been incredibly enjoyable. Mostly festival appearances and coming on halfway down a bill of my peers and friends from the last century. I loved those gigs. I got an eye inflammation a month or so ago and had to put steroids in my eye every day for a month.

We last saw you playing at The Haunt in Brighton at the end of 2016 and it was amazing. Did you enjoy the tour?
It was great and such a surprise just how successful it was. I’d not sold so many tickets for a solo tour before. They were definitely some of my favourite ever gigs. I loved doing the piano songs with Chris T-T and the sing-alongs with the audience were amazing. They were the closest I’ve come to the atmos of the Carter gigs I guess.

What can you tell us about the Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig that’s happening in March?
Not much. It will be just me. Maybe a guest or two for a few songs. I’ll try and drag Chris out of retirement, even if he has to wear a mask or play behind a wall. I didn’t want to get a load of session musicians in just because it’s a bigger venue though. In many ways Ed Sheeran has opened the doors for solo performers like me. You can take that sentence as seriously as you fancy. What I do expect is an incredible sing-song with the audience of course. Some laughs, a few tears. And a classy light show. Probably something libellous about whoever’s in the news. That sort of thing. Needless to say it’s going to be the best gig of all time.

Will the show coincide with the release of any new Jim Bob music? The Jim Bob Sings Again CD you released on the last tour was great.
Nothing planned. And thank you.

Tickets have been selling really well for the Shepherd’s Bush show. Considering the demand, do you have plans to add any other dates outside of London?
Apart from Australia, not at the moment. I’ve started to get more offers of gigs. I’ve always had them but I’ve said no a lot before. Maybe I’ll say yes a bit more. I have no career plan at all.

As you’ve mentioned, before the Shepherd’s Bush gig you’re heading over to Australia with PWEI. It’s been a while since you were last over in Aus, hasn’t it? Are you excited to go back?
Very much so. I wish I was going for longer. The last time I went I wanted to move there. If I was on that daytime TV show with the woman who used to manage the boybands, I’d be holding up the cardboard Australian flag at the end of the programme. What are you talking about Jim?

What are your abiding memories of last time you were there?
The intense heat in Adelaide (I think). My microphone was too hot to touch. The mud fest in Melbourne. Hotel cocktail envy with Nick Cave. A boat party in Sydney Harbour. Iggy Pop missing the boat and having to board via a smaller vessel. Flying everywhere on planes with Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth and Nick Cave and being terrified that if one of the planes crashed, Les and I would have been a very small footnote in other people’s music history.

It seems like quite a full-on tour, with four dates in four cities over four days (the Sydney to Perth leg of the journey is especially epic). Will you have any time before/after the tour to do touristy things?
I’m going out with roadie and close friend Mister Spoons. I don’t think we’ll get much time during the tour to do stuff but we’re going to stay on a few days in Perth at the end of the tour. We’re going to swim a lot.

What’s the latest on your next book? Is there anything you can tell us about it or is it all under wraps at the moment?
I feel like I’ve been writing a book since about 2004. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t. I did finish another novel but that is sort of filed away at the moment because of reasons. I’m currently writing another novel, which I hope will make me as famous as Dickens. I’ve also started a second memoir/autobiography, about the years following the first Carter split. If I finish that I’m going to be describing it as ‘the funniest music book ever written’. It’s amazing how little I can remember from my life. Expect ‘facts’.

When we’ve spoken before, it’s felt like you were winding down your musical activity to focus solely on being an author, but you’ve been playing shows and festivals recently. Are you enjoying balancing being J.B. Morrison the author and Jim Bob the musician?
I do like doing them both. If I’ve neglected anything it’s the songwriting. I haven’t written a song since my ‘What I Think About…’ album. I’d like to find myself in a success battle between Jim Bob and J.B. Morrison that gets so out of hand that I have to live two separate lives.

Jim will play the following venues in March 2018 

Thursday 8th March – Brisbane The Triffid (supporting PWEI) tickets
Friday 9th March – Melbourne Max Watts (supporting PWEI) tickets
Saturday 10th March – Sydney Factory Theatre (supporting PWEI) tickets
Sunday 11th March – Perth Rosemount Hotel (supporting PWEI) tickets
Saturday 24th March – Sherpherds Bush Empire tickets (there aren’t many left)

Keep up to date with Jim on Twitter.

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend