Leith, Scotland is a town of immense historical significance and, in 1962, that significance was furthered with the birth of twin brothers, Craig and Charlie Reid — the duo that created The Proclaimers.
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“We were always interested in music from when we were young, but we didn’t start playing until our mid-teens,” Charlie said. “We just became more and more obsessed with it, I suppose, until we got to the stage where we wanted to do it professionally.”
For a band that has created such a legacy, however, The Proclaimers didn’t immediately rocket to fame. The brothers spent a lot of their free time writing songs and trying to build up an act that they felt they could take on the road. Even though there wasn’t instant gratification, they worked for many years in order to pursue music professionally.
“The early part of our career was so stop-start,” Charlie said. “I think initially a lot of guys who come out and make a record and have some success and have some following; you get insecure. You think it is going to evaporate and disappear. When it became obvious to us that it wasn’t in the earlier part of the 2000s, we felt we really had something going.”
For most siblings, spending as much time together as The Proclaimers would have resulted in a million fights, but for the Reids, musicmaking is the family business.
“We’re twin brothers, so we’ve spent our whole lives together,” Charlie said. “We were in the same class at school, we had the same friends, and when we were young, we slept in the same bedroom. Being with my brother is more normal than not being with him, you know?”
The two brothers fought a lot when they were younger, Charlie admitted, but they got it out of their systems before they decided to make music. With this mentality, The Proclaimers have created nine studio albums, garnering the UK Silver, Gold and Platinum certifications.
Now, 30 years after the band formed, The Proclaimers are still together and releasing music. Their next album, The Very Best of The Proclaimers is a compilation of some of the band’s favorite songs.
“For live shows, ‘Sunshine on Leith’ has always been very important to the fans,” Charlie said, “even though it’s a ballad, and it’s quieter than a lot of the other material we do. ‘I’m On My Way’ has always been great, and obviously ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ has been by far the biggest success we’ve ever had and the biggest success we ever will have.”
Even though the band has played many live shows, they like to change it up, playing their hits interspersed with other songs in order to give the fans a different show every night. Their current tour takes them all over the United States, including The Ark in Ann Arbor.
“It’s a great town; I like the college towns in the U.S. generally,” Charlie said, “But Ann Arbor seems like a nice, friendly place to me. The venue itself is excellent; we’ve played there once acoustically and two or three times with a band, and I really like it.”
Looking forward, The Proclaimers want to keep writing and making music, developing their act and bringing fans a truly unique live show.
“As long as we feel like we’re doing it justice, we’ll carry on,” Charlie said. “I hope they go away from the show feeling better than when they come in.”