Del Amitri star Justin Currie opens up on devastating Parkinson’s diagnosis

Scottish rocker Justin Currie, frontman of Del Amitri, has spoken about his Parkinson’s diagnosis and admitted he wants the illness to make a decision on when he stops touring.

The 59-year-old shared the news that he had been battling the disease just a few weeks ago after being diagnosed in 2022.

Despite this, he has continued to tour with the band – which was formed in Glasgow in 1980 – even though he’s been finding it a struggle to play their hit tune Nothing Ever Happens, according to a new interview with the Sunday Times Weekend magazine.

He explained that you need ‘quite a strong arm’ for the song, saying: “You also need a relaxed wrist but I couldn’t do two things at once. If I tried, I’d lose the grip on the plectrum (and) get stuck in the strings. You just become more and more of an amateur. Your body’s like this.”

The musician says calling his Parkinson’s tremor, a “shake” sounds “horrific” so he has named it Gavin to give him some control over the condition, which causes parts of the brain to become progressively damaged over many years.

Currie also said it is “a way of humanising the thing inside you that’s not human because the disease feels like some kind of nemesis”.

Despite continuing to perform, he says that there is “nothing dignified, at any age, in bopping about on stage, singing your own lyrics and desperately trying to get people to watch you”.

He added: “So I don’t mind losing my dignity in the sense of the Parkinson’s affecting me. As long as I’m not driven by some mad obsession to keep going, which I’m not.”

Del Amitri
Del Amitri were formed in Glasgow in 1980, and have had six top 10 albums

Explaining why he thinks Parkinson’s should make that decision, he said it “would be utterly heartbreaking so, (I want to) let Gavin be the one to say it.

“Gavin goes, ‘Nah, I ain’t playing!’ Then, fine, I’m done.”

He also said that he was not “horrified” by knowing about Parkinson’s as he was aware of his symptoms due to Back To The Future film series star Michael J Fox disclosing details of living with the condition. Scottish comedian Sir Billy Connolly and Black Sabbath star Ozzy Osbourne have also been diagnosed with the disease.

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Currie revealed his condition on BBC Radio 4’s Tremolo documentary programme on March 10 and was interviewed by BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg.

According to the NHS website, Parkinson’s is characterised by involuntary shaking of parts of the body, as well as slow movement and stiff muscles, is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra.

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