Derek Forbes Biography
Derek Forbes is a 70 million selling, Ivor Novello Award winning Triple Platinum songwriter & musician, famous for being a songwriter and bassist with Simple Minds, Big Country and Propaganda, and his recording collaborations with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Herbie Hancock, Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Kirsty MacColl.
Derek has also been awarded the titles of ‘Best Bass Player In the World‘ and ‘Best British Bass Player‘, and has toured and performed with Peter Gabriel, Bono, Johnny Marr, Chrissie Hynde, The Alarm, Spear of Destiny and The Damned.
STIFF RECORDS and Early Beginnings
Upon becoming a professional musician in 1977 Derek was promptly signed to STIFF RECORDS as part of Glasgow punk band The Subhumans (Subs).
The Subhumans had a hit in Belgium with song ‘Gimme Your Heart’. (Stiff UK – OFF1). The Subs broke up in early 1978 and Derek, originally a lead guitarist, was asked to join Simple Minds.
Simple Minds and International Success
Simple Minds are not only one of the best loved British rock bands on the international stage, but also one of the most commercially successful Scottish rock bands of all time: with 5 number 1 albums, numerous awards, Platinum, Gold and Silver discs, and over 60 million records sold, Derek joined Simple Minds in 1978 and enjoyed immediate worldwide success.
Derek wrote and performed on all of the Simple Minds albums from 1979 to 1985, and recorded ‘Don’t You Forget About Me‘ during the songwriting sessions for the 1986 album ‘Once Upon a Time‘ (uncredited). He also wrote and performed on Simple Minds albums from 1995 to 1998, and guested both on the ‘Live‘ and ‘Black and White‘ album.
It was for his songwriting as part of the extensive Simple Minds repertoire that Derek was awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello award for ‘Outstanding Song Collection’ in 2016.
Propaganda & Spear of Destiny
Derek moved on to German band Propaganda in May 1985, before becoming a full member in 1988. Derek performed on 2 Propaganda albums, and over 7 years co-wrote material with Propaganda which resulted in a Number 1 hit in Argentina.
In 1994 Derek joined 10:51, a musical project of Kirk Brandon. In later years, Derek re-joined with Kirk Brandon for a resurgence of Spear of Destiny, a Top 20 hit album UK band. Around this time Derek also performed with Welsh alternative Rock/New Wave band The Alarm, whilst on tour with The Damned (another STIFF RECORDS label alumni).
Derek joined UK Number one album chart band BIG COUNTRY, firstly as a replacement bass player for Tony Butler, then performed on and co-wrote ‘The Journey‘ album with the band.
Derek toured internationally with Big Country, taking in the US and two European and UK tours. Derek stayed with the band until after their ‘Steeltown‘ tour.
Derek has enjoyed an incredibly diverse and rich musical career; from singing with David Bowie on the Iggy Pop album ‘Soldier‘, to having Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) provide guitar on his tracks, he has worked with many musicians on tour and in the studio including Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Greg Hawkes (The Cars) and Chrissie Hynde.
Derek also performed bass on the Kirsty MacColl Top Ten hit ‘A New England‘. As a bassist Derek is internationally respected by Adam Clayton (U2), Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers), Pino Palladino (The Who), Tony Butler (Big Country), Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd), Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), Malcolm Foster (The Pretenders), and JJ Burnell (The Stranglers). Derek also counts Peter Gabriel and Mick Ronson amongst his friends. He has also presented his own Hollywood radio show for two years titled ‘May The Forbes Be With You‘.
Tours, Echoes & Zanti
Recently, Derek has been very busy touring the US, with his solo show and also with a full US band. In 2016 he also released a solo album of Simple Minds favourites titled ‘Echoes‘, which he continues to tour internationally. Live, this band consists of seasoned musicians Natalie McCool (Guitar/Vocals), Siân Monaghan on Drums & Keys, and Brian McNeill on keyboards.
Teaming up with Anni Hogan (from Marc and the Mambas fame (Marc Almond) in 2016 to create a the duo ZANTI, they signed to Downwards Records. Anni is a producer and musical director, and Anni And Derek wrote, produced, and performed on their album ‘Broken Hearted City‘: engineered and co-produced by Andrea ‘Ando’ Wright (Coldplay, Rhianna, Echo and the Bunnymen) the album is scheduled for a 2018 release.
Derek Forbes Career Highlights
- A PLETHORA OF PLATINUM, GOLD and SILVER DISCS
- VOTED BEST BASS PLAYER IN THE WORLD 1982
- VOTED BEST INTERNATIONAL BASS PLAYER AUSTRALIA 1982
- VOTED BEST BRITISH BASS PLAYER 1982
- VOTED BEST EVER SCOTTISH BASS PLAYER 2006
- IVOR NOVELLO AWARD WINNER ‘OUTSTANDING SONG COLLECTION’ 2016