James singer Tim Booth calls Simon Cowell an antichrist and speaks sense about the death of music

There is some great stuff here from Tim Booth when he was recently interviewed by Digital Spy website.



He was initially asked about Pop Idol…

“I honestly have never sat through it,” Booth said. “Obviously you can’t help over 10 or 15 years to walk into a room and see 10 minutes of it and go, ‘What the f**k is this?’ Also, I can see the adverse effect it’s had on the media’s presentation of music.

“Punk brought in a slightly puritanical morality of not selling out. What happened in the early ’90s was the media sold out. Q would put Spice Girls on the front cover and Robbie Williams. I’m not knocking them, but those magazines used to be about music, and just about music.

“That seemed like a betrayal. That seemed like a sell-out. They’re accusing bands of selling out, it must be able to work the other way.

“From then on it became about money, and how much you sell. Rather than music. There’s a crossover with that, obviously, but it shouldn’t just be about money and celebrity. It became that when Spice Girls got some kudos.

“It was like, ‘You’re f**king kidding me!’ This stuff was manipulated, created to con the pocket money out of young girls, essentially, and it worked. But it shouldn’t get mythologised by the music press, just because it’s successful. And by star-hungry journalists.”

© PA Images

He added: “I’ve seen that happen and Pop Idol entrenched that, and all of those things. And I do see Simon Cowell as some kind of Antichrist, in that way. In the kind of Bill Hicks. You’ve been sent to the planet to lower the standards, so that people will forget that they are actually angels and divine beings. They kind of lose themselves in this s**t. So, yes, I can rant like that now and again!”

When Martin Gore’s recent comments about Cowell were brought up, Booth said: “I would never say that he should be shot. I would just say that he’s probably the Antichrist in my world. To me it’s like what Rupert Murdoch did to this country and what Dennis Potter spoke out about. It’s about dumbing down and lowering the standards.

“I totally get why people are attracted to it and kids are attracted to it as a shortcut. But it’s a shortcut to a short life. I don’t think it’s very fulfilling. What I want to see is people expressing themselves. From their heart, from their soul. I don’t think when you become part of a machine like that you have any chance of that happening.”

Booth continued: “I went last night to see a band in Brighton called Soccer 96. Two guys, drummer and keyboard player, and it was genius. It was their own language. It was raw as f**k. There wasn’t a chorus to rub together. It was fantastic. Tiny audience, but people going, ‘Whoah’. You’re watching a band who’s going to influence a lot of people.

“They may not become huge – if they stay as bloody minded as they are. But genius. Then you watch Alabama Shakes and you go, ‘F**king hell’. That’s the music we want. That’s the music that feeds us and touches our souls.”

The singer added of the media: “The NME particularly sold out. It had to launch a new band to be the great band every two years and then destroy them after two years… it just became clearly an editorial conceit and a strategy to try and keep people interested. Aimed at manipulation.”

James box set The Gathering Sound is out now.



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  1. Most of the up and coming talent with music in there bones are railroaded into these celebrity obsessed program’s where thousands of kids with obvious ability are fed through the Cowell mill before getting spat out. One from thousands will get a short forgettable career resulting in a house on cribs and a few years getting hounded by the paparazzi. The best the rest can hope for is a one of tour then a few quid for flashing a pare of tits in a glossy mag, then a “as seen on X factor” sign above the karaoke set up.

    These kids should be taught that to gain respect you need to develop your own taste and style in music. There is nothing wrong with a well performed cover by a quality musician who feels they have something to add or just want to celebrate the original. Sadly the Cowell fodder do not fit the bill.

    Our only hope is that this sad phase in music history will be coming to a long over due end!

  2. Who is responsible for allowing this to be published? Are these full sentences? Do they make any sense?
    “And by star-hungry journalists.”
    “In the kind of Bill Hicks.”
    “From their heart, from their soul.”
    Has somebody just stuck full-stops in here randomly?

  3. Have always respected the way James have made music from the heart, Mr Booth is correct in saying these fodder shows contribute noting at all, I have been making music for 30 years and look forward to our next album which will not be commercialy succesful but will be an honest interpretaition of who and where we are at!

  4. Tom, you are a tit! Full stop.

    Wise words Russ. Please let me know when your album is out and what it’s called. It’s always good to hear something new and from the heart ( even if its shite to my ears, at least it will be your own creation and specific taste in shite) I will gladly offer honest feedback. EdnaClouds@TweetyPye

    • David, Don’t wait for Russ’s new album…seek out his current bands CD ‘Devil’s Eye’ by Vincent & The Onepotts – adrenaline stoked dirty punk infused rock’n’roll; real good!!


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