“I WOULDN’T say I’m dreading the Hydro,” says Justin Currie, speaking one week before his old band Del Amitri get back together to do it all over again at Scotland’s biggest venue for Celtic Connections.
“But I’m more than a little nervous. We have no experience of playing venues like that, it’s an arena gig. And it’s a lot bigger inside that it looks from the outside.”
It is not so much the size of the audience he minds, as the lack of intimacy in a big hall, noting that a venue like the Barrowlands is where he feels most at home.
It’s been 11 years since Del Amitri were last onstage together, and Currie is pragmatic about why it was time to call it a day back then, following a decade filled with hits like Nothing Ever Happens, Kiss This Thing Goodbye, Roll to Me and Always the Last to Know.
“The phone stopped ringing,” he says. “Every tour we’d done since ’89 onwards, there’d been at least a year’s worth of work out of it. This time the European and American dates were conspicuous by their absence, and there were a few empty seats in the halls we did do. It was time to stop.”
In discussion with guitarist Iain Harvie and his manager, they decided that going back to clubs wasn’t what they wanted to do at the time, and besides, Currie had enough songs written to try out his solo career. His debut album under his own name What is Love For? emerged in 2007, and it was actually the continuing success of his solo career which put off this reunion.
“The phone started ringing again,” he laughs, “but when we got offered a couple of nights at Hammersmith Odeon a while back, I said no because I wanted to do a third record.”
He and Harvey knew the subject would crop up again though, and it got them thinking. “We started talking quite honestly about it,” says the 49-year-old Currie. “You know, will it be any good or will it be rubbish? We wanted to only enter into it if it was going to be decent, although only the audience can tell us that, of course.”
For now the reunion begins and ends here, although it will carry on if that phone keeps ringing.
• Del Amitri play the Hydro Arena, Glasgow, tonight, www.celticconnections.com