Good Trip, Bad Trip: James

Tim Booth on his travelling experiences...

Tim Booth has been there, done that, and sold an iconic t-shirt.

The frontman has helped guide James from underground respect to mainstream recognition, one of British music's more curious tales.

Still challenging themselves at every turn James will release a new album this summer, as well as playing a host of festival and headline shows.

Packing their bags once more, the Manchester outfit are set to prove all over again that they are genuinely one of the hardest-working bands in showbiz.

Tim Boothe speaks to Clash about his touring experiences in Good Trip, Bad Trip…

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Best trip…
I could recount numerous late teens/early 20’s barefoot follow-your-intuition trips to Greek Islands including arrest and escape at the threat of extradition. Or perhaps some wild trips to Peru and its shamans, Chile and its hospitality – but as the over travelling musician that I am – my best trip always tends to be the one home.

I live close to beautiful National Park in LA. Coyotes pass through our garden daily, rattlesnakes warm us of their approach, we even saw a baby mountain lion last year. There’s nothing like returning to the arms of my loved ones after being lost on an Odyssey. This is exactly what our new single ‘Coming Home part 2’ is about.

Worst trip…
An inner trip (aren’t they all to some degree). Taking too many mushrooms for the first time as a student in Manchester. Picking in Platt fields we were met by the poster boy for “why you should never take mushrooms” – babbling quotes from the book of revelations he raised his hands to us “He who bears the mark to The Christ shall bear no evil” the palms of his hands bore self drilled holes; leave alone the self-mutilation.

My advice when someone uses the definitive article “the” before the word Christ is… run.

Our Prophet helpfully showed us that we were about to poison ourselves on the wrong kind of mushrooms and rather magically showed us the right ones with the prophetic words “seek and they shall be found” upon whose command the "right kind” seemed to materialize all around us. The “right kind” turned our fellow boss eyed Mancunians in the now aptly named “The Woodstock” into wicked dwarfs and elves whose noses kept inflating, eyebrows turned into caterpillars and laughter sounded like hyenas. I had to be talked off the phone ringing 999.

Foreign venue…
Athens – an outdoor gig that overlooked the acropolis. Full moon. Behind us a sheer cliff face upon which impoverished James fans copped a free gig, nestled into crannies like nesting seabirds. It’s closed down now except on rare occasions.

We are surprisingly big in…
We’re surprisingly popular in Peru. We had no idea, though our reception in Mexico and Chile should have warded us. We were in Cusco eating with my family and we noticed a TV crew filming through it’s window for that evenings news broadcast. At the top of the glorious Machu Pichu a tour guide sang “I want to go home” a rare James song revealing fine taste.

We tried to arrive incognito in Lima without work permits only for the customs officers to demand a group selfie. In the airport I experienced my first and only mobbing much to the amazement of my six year-old son and wife. We had pre gig canapés with the mayor and played to 11,000 people.

Best and worst; Guinea Pig. First had Guinea pig wonderfully disguised in a gourmet restaurant in Cusco. Delicious. Emboldened, tried some in a local cafe where the creatures ran free at our feet. Guinea pig screams alerted us to its freshness. It arrived spread eagled on a kebab stick that went from arse to head. Mouth locked in a grimace. My wife converted to vegetarianism – for six months.

Named an album Whiplash. Third gig in ruptured two discs – C6/C7 in my neck Whiplash on the whiplash tour. Life was punning with us. I spent two years in a neck brace. Couldn’t carry a shopping bag. As usual for me something so negative turned out to inspire much psychological growth and healing Essential tour items… Blindfold earplugs phone and recently to my shame – sleeping pills.

Travel tip…
Stay at home – if that’s not possible – pack within those zip up organized folders

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James plays Kendal Calling festival, which takes place at Lowther Deer Park from July 26-29th. The new James album 'Living In Extraordinary Times' is out on August 3rd via Infectious Music.

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

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