Mike Ragogna: What advice do you have for new artists?
JK: Prepare to starve. If you get beyond that then great, but if this is what you want to do with your life then great, but don’t do it because you think you’re going to be famous and all that stuff. Chances are you’re not, but you might come up with something great and you might be a happier person, but you’re going to starve for a while. I tell that to my own nephew who’s in a band just now. I see some of the kids in Glasgow when I go over there and they ask about it–well, if they ask me. I would never vouch without them asking–but if they ask I say so. Don’t do it because you think you’re going to be making tons of money. Those days of music have kind of gone. Do it if you think it’s going to make you happy. I tell them you don’t have to be a mega rockstar. If you play Saturday nights and you’re happy with that then great, you can be a rockstar in your own world.
MR: That’s a very healthy perspective in an environment led by The Voice andAmerican Idol where it seems young people are more concerned with “making it” than making music.
JK: That’s the truth. Most kids who end up on those shows don’t have a career afterwards anyway. Go learn your chops. Go woodshed. Be great. Learn to read music, learn to write. This is coming from an ex punk rocker who still couldn’t tell you a B from a C but given the opportunity again I would. You have more colors to your palette then.
MR: And what would you have told young Jim Kerr when he was starting out?
JK: What I would’ve told him wouldn’t have mattered because he wouldn’t have listened. [laughs] He just wouldn’t have listened. Even with a gun put to his head he still wouldn’t have listened.
MR: It sounds like he has a lot in common with folks like John Lennon, et cetera.
JK: We kind of made up our minds. It was like, “This is it, we’ve thrown everything we have into it.” At the age of fifteen, we had discovered this thing called hitch hiking and we thought, “Wow, these roads in Europe connect up! You can be in Glasgow one day and a few days later you can be in Milan or Munich. There are worlds within worlds.” Once we had done that there was no going back. We didn’t dream about riches, we wanted to be in particularly a band that was great live and we wanted to take a run at walls. What can I say? We won the lotto in the sense that all these years later we’re still working on that challenge.
MR: You may still be working on it but in some ways you did conquer the world.
JK: Yeah, it’s true. Sometimes it works.