Melody Maker March 1 1997 Melody Maker March 1 1997

TIM BOOTH OF JAMES SUCCUMBS TO PRE-MILLENNIUM TENSION

BRITAIN
"Apparently, about 40 or 50 years ago, it dominated the whole world. Then it started a so-called righteous Second World War, and then the Americans took it over! It's never quite got over that. It's a tough, fiery little island doing better in terms of creativity than size would suggest. I tend to call it home, sometimes reluctantly."

BRITPOP
"I've liked a lot of the music and loved a little bit of it, but it bugs me when people consciously lift from the past. It's one thing to influenced, you can't avoid that, but when it's deliberate it's called theft, and it's a different thing. Jarvis (Cocker), in terms of attitude, is obviously wonderful, and I've loved some of his songs, very much lyrically. He could end up being the Alan Bennett of this generation. In terms of his literary ability, he could probably go and do whatever he wants now. And he's an original character - it's not like, 'We're lads, we go and get fuckin recked all the time and screw everybody.' It's something we haven't seen before."

MANCHESTER
"I live just outside now. I had a house just outside Manchester for a long time, and now I'm actually moving back in. It is a pretty frightening city, when judged against most of the other cities I've been in. I like Glasgow."

TOURING
"We're really looking forward to it! We haven't done any gigs for three years, and I've just been looking at some footage of the last one we did, which was 'Woodstock2' in America. Then I've just been watching the band rehearsing and working on the new songs, and we're really hungry. James became famous because of touring, and we know we can do that really well. But it's been so long that I've forgotten what it's like, so ask me again in June and I'll probably say it was like giving birth."

SKYDIVING
"I did it for a ritual that I was doing in America, which was all about 'choosing your own life'. The most frightening bit was that the plane took off almost vertically, and we hadn't got our parachutes on. So you're sliding back towards this huge open door. I kept going, 'Excuse me! Someone's left the door open!' Once you've got your parachute on, you feel like you've got a chance. The funniest thing is that they video it, and I had this huge fight with the video guy because he wanted to stick Def Leppard on the soundtrack, and all these other rock tracks that I couldn't stand! I had to fight to get the only halfway decent music he had there, which was 'Freefalling' by Tom Petty."

RELIGION
"I would say that it's the organised thugs, the vultures who come in and carve up the market immediately after a wise person has died. To me, finding one's spirit or finding your true nature - that's my purpose in life. It's been in a lot of James records, but it's been hiding. It didn't sit well with James' music. One of the main reasons I wanted to work with Angelo Badalamenti was that I knew he'd give more poetic licence to free- associate in those areas, which is simply about finding out how to get into altered states without drugs. I do it through dancing, meditation or jumping out of areoplanes. I used to do it through drugs and I'm not averse to them every now and again, but that's all too short-term."

HOME
"I've always felt like an alien. I've always been desperate to get from here to home. I'm still looking, and the way I feel at home is when I'm in love - when I have people I love with me."

LONGEVITY
"James were always built to last. It was always our intention. If you take short cuts, you can get there quicker, but you can't hold it. Longevity for me is about staying alive - keeping your enthusiasm and curiosity."

GENIUS
"The one out-and-out genius that we've worked with is Brian Eno. He's clear of obstacles. His creativity is direct. On another level, I would call Angelo a genius, and Neil Young. It's being clear-sighted and clear-minded and not letting your personality get in the way. Most of the music industry doesn't know half of what Brian does. He writes papers for Mitsubishi on the future of urban transport. He did a lecture tour of Britain on perfume, and sold out Sadler's Wells! He's designing a crystal museum in Scandinavia with Peter Gabriel and Laurie Anderson. His interests range so far beyond music."

INDULGENCE
"Well, you stick a group of young lads in a tour bus for three months, with all kinds of offers coming your way, and ...it's whatever you want to make it. I know I'm seen as a monk and the band are seen as animals, in the positive sense of the word. That isn't accurate, because I've done a lot of wild things in my time, only in a different area. I mean, I've gone dancing for 10 days."

ANTHEMS
"We're scared by the whole thing. The reaction to 'Sit Down' got a bit overwhelming - beautiful but scary. It meant so much to people. We had parents whose children were on life-support machines writing in and asking us to come in and sing to them. 'Sit Down' struck the balance between being a big anthemic song and being very personal. We do write anthems, but not consciously, I promise. There's a lot of very strong, catchy songs on this new album, but God knows if we'll ever write another 'Sit Down'."

MILLENNIUM
"Did you know that the island which will be the first point in the world where the sun will rise on that day has already been bought up by Japanese businessmen? They've got a new car, and they want the sun to rise on that new car! I mean, you're going to want to remember it. Your're not going to want to go to bed at 11 on that date! We're living in an astonishing time anyway. Information technology is getting well out of hand, and God knows what is going to happen in the next 20 years. These are really exciting times. We could destroy ourselves, or we could find amazing new technologies to liberate ourselves."