Derek Forbes

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Derek Forbes
Derek Forbes at CamGlen Radio, December 2018
Derek Forbes at CamGlen Radio, December 2018
Background information
Born (1956-06-22) 22 June 1956 (age 64)
OriginGlasgow, Scotland
GenresRock, post-punk, new wave, pop rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsBass guitar
Years active1978–present
Associated actsSimple Minds, Propaganda, Oblivion Dust, XSM, Big Country, Subs

Derek Forbes (born 22 June 1956) is a Scottish bassist, vocalist, and occasional guitarist. He was a member of the Scottish band Simple Minds from 1978, recording their early demos, until shortly after their 1985 hit, "Don't You (Forget About Me)".


A former member of the Scottish punk band Subs, Forbes replaced Tony Donald as bassist for Simple Minds in 1978, leaving in 1985.

He reunited with the band for a three-year period from 1995 to 1998, before and during the recording of Néapolis. He and Mel Gaynor also appeared at Scotland Rocks for Kosovo in 1999 performing Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", whilst Simple Minds also appeared on the bill with Mark Kerr on drums and Eddie Duffy on bass.[citation needed]

Forbes has sung with David Bowie, on the Iggy Pop album Soldier. He played bass on the Kirsty MacColl hit "A New England". Forbes has also performed onstage with Peter Gabriel.[citation needed]

After Simple Minds, Forbes went on to play in a number of other bands, including Propaganda (Germany) and Oblivion Dust (Japan), Spear of Destiny, 10:51 and the Alarm. He also played in Fourgoodmen, a Scottish supergroup, between 2005-2007 and formed XSM, who were originally to consist of Forbes, MacNeil and McGee from the original Simple Minds line up. XSM recorded an album's worth of tracks, but Mick MacNeil didn't want to perform live, so Forbes and McGee took the band out, along with Owen Paul (McGee), sibling of Brian McGee. The guitar and keyboard player roles were twofold, with Steven Curley (version 1) on guitar, followed by Ant Seaman guitar (version 2) and Gary O'Hagan on keyboards (version 1) and Andy Gall keyboards (version 2).[citation needed]

Forbes was voted 'Best Bass Player in the World' in 1982, and 'Best International Bass Player' in a music poll in Australia, the same year. Forbes was also voted 'Best Bass Player in UK'.

In 2009, Forbes was voted 'Scotland's Greatest Ever Bassist' by the readers of Dear Scotland,[1] and his life and work is the subject of a biography in both print and film by writer/director Ethan Dettenmaier.[citation needed]

Forbes had his own radio show on LA Talk Radio for two years, May the Forbes Be with You. Production stopped after he joined Big Country[citation needed] in 2012, replacing bassist Tony Butler. Forbes left the band in 2015.

Forbes was a featured extra in the film This Is Not a Love Song.[citation needed]

He also toured the East Coast of America from 2015–2017 with his all-American band, Derek Forbes Band. Members include John McNutt (ex-Spear of Destiny), Danny Beisell (Fosterchild and American Vinyl), Tim McKinstrey and Marc Iezzi.[citation needed]

Forbes was awarded an Ivor Novello in 2016, for Outstanding Song Collection, for his songwriting for Simple Minds, amongst others.[citation needed]

On 22 June 2016, Forbes released a solo album titled Echoes containing 11 songs he composed with Simple Minds in their early years, which he re-recorded as the only musician involved in the project.[citation needed]


ZANTi is Forbes' band and album project with Anni Hogan (ex-Marc & the Mambas).[2] ZANTi have released one album, Broken Hearted City on Downwards Records[3] with Forbes and Hogan on all writing, arranging, performing and producing duties.[4][5]


  1. ^ Vote for Scotland's Greatest Ever Bassist, Dear Scotland, 9 December 2009
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Downwards Records". Downwards Records.
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  5. ^  Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@) (21 June 2018). "Zanti: Broken Hearted City". Retrieved 7 May 2020.

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