Q&A With Mick MacNeil
former keyboard player of Simple Minds
Q.. 30 years ago in June 1983 you were on the 2nd leg of the New Gold Dream European Tour. What is Mick MacNeil doing 30 years later?
Mick.. I have been writing some background music for a live theatre production thats potentially in the pipe line. Kind of hoping the weather stays nice this week, get more done outside.
Q. You recently played keyboards on the new Visage album 'Hearts & Knives'. How did you get involved with the project?
Mick..it was a call from my old friend Rusty about a year ago. He had what I thought was a great idea, to have a Blitz tent on some of the festival sites. He would DJ along with a live band. Rusty later opted out of the project, unfortunately, he had great ideas. I was then introduced to John Pitcher, and continued to do some work on the project.
Q. What 3 words would you use to describe the chart music of today?
Mick..3 words. Calculated, Effective and Loud. I think chart music has reduced in range a little from the 70's 80's era, it was a wider difference in entertainment level back then, more unpredictable, ultimately more surprising one way or the other.
Q. I described your keyboard playing as 'Music from Heaven'. Would you say your unique sound was inspired by the surroundings from your childhood?
Mick.. Most probably my early music education, Scottish highland based, with a touch of light classical from my music teacher, (the great Jimmy Blair)
Q5. You own a studio just outside of Glasgow which is home to MixRecords. Who is the most famous person to walk through its doors (besides any members of SMs) lol ?
Mick..Well the nicest person was Magnus Magnusson.
Q. You originate from the Isle of Barra which has a very low population, It must have been very daunting for you to leave there and find yourself years later in one of the biggest bands in the world.
Mick..Anyone from Barra or any small island community, will have no trouble dealing with whats beyond their shores.
Q. Looking at your facebook profile you look to be a very happy family man. When you look at what you've got now are you happy you're not tied down to any band or contracts etc..
Mick..I believe Im exactly where Im suppose to be. I could not ask for a better life. I am so blessed. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.
Q. Simple Minds went quiet for a few years pre Cry 2002. Did you think the band was all wrapped up at that time?
Mick..I never gave it a second thought.
Q. I know there will be many special moments but what was the biggest highlight for you as the keyboard player of Simple Minds?
Mick..Maybe the day I stopped working in a factory. though I still value the skills a learned back then.
Q10. Plans for the future..XSM, Guest on a Simple Minds Tour/Album More session work or are you just happy to keep producing new items of furniture in your new big shed
Mick..Ha, I would love to get involved in the creation of new musical instruments, maintain my health, and have time for the children.
Thank You Very Much Mick.
An absolute pleasure to put questions to someone who I have long admired.
MICKS ALBUM PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS AVAILABLE HERE