Jim Kerr says his childhood stammer made him the frontman he is today

Jim Kerr on the plus side to his childhood stammer credit:Bang Showbiz
Jim Kerr on the plus side to his childhood stammer credit:Bang Showbiz

Jim Kerr believes his childhood stammer led to him becoming the frontman he is today.

The Simple Minds singer admitted his speech struggles were a “handicap” at the time but also credits his childhood experiences for making him a good listener and giving him the “vibrant imagination” that has fuelled his songwriting over the years.

He said: “The idea of being shy and not wanting to speak and then throwing yourself not only into a band but in the frontline – it doesn’t add up, logically.

“As a young kid at primary school, it was really bad.

“As a result, I didn’t really speak much at all unless I was really safe with the people around me for the obvious reasons; you got stick or embarrassed or shy or whatever. Of course that was a handicap.

“But I’m starting to think now that the roots of what I do and what I’ve become are in that.

“Because in not speaking much you paid a lot of attention, you listened to more of what was said. You weren’t at ease speaking, so you were maybe studying the body language of someone.

“Also, because I didn’t speak, one of the things I liked to do was write little stories, that was my way of communicating.

“There was a loud voice in my head. And I think it was that voice – fast forward all those years later – that led to writing songs and led to having a vibrant imagination, because you spent time on your own.”

The 62-year-old singer doesn’t think there’s a “secret” to his band’s longevity, but he thinks their belief that every gig is the “most important” has helped.

He added to Sorted magazine: “It’s been a long career and people do ask, ‘What’s the secret of being a good live band?’ I’m not aware of any secrets, but probably everyone has their own recipe or attitude.

“The way we’ve been for the longest time is that every gig is the most important, because we think about what’s at stake.

“The way we see it is, people invest so much when they come to see you – not just financially, emotionally, their time, their hope.

“Maybe people are seeing you for the very first time and you want to make sure you make as good an impression as possible.

“Then you get people that are seeing you for the second, third or 10th time. They may be thinking, ‘It’ll be good but it won’t be as good as last time...'

“You don’t care where you were the night before or the night afterwards – tonight’s the night.

“I think having that attitude every night is the most important thing and is something that’s held us in good stead.”