As Del Amitri prepare to play Manchester as part of their first tour in four years, frontman Justin Currie took time answer a few questions

Del Amitri went on hiatus for 13 years between 2002 and 2014. What brings you back to the stage now?

Well, after we reformed for a few weeks of gigs in 2014 we enjoyed the experience so much (after initially being very sceptical and trepidatious) that we always thought we’d do it again someday. An offer to do Edinburgh Castle came in, and having made such a mess of it in the nineties we thought it might be good to try and make amends. And four years felt like a decent enough period of time to stay out of people’s faces.

Will the band be playing any new material on this tour?

We deliberately avoided that in 2014, we just wanted to do a comprehensive review of our output between 1985 and 2002. We called it “The A to Z of Us” and we felt new stuff would have fogged the glass. Besides which, we were so paranoid about trying to attain the same standards of our heyday that we feared the whole audience might sod off to the bogs as soon as we played something unfamiliar. This time we have given ourselves a little more leeway so we’ll try some new things and see if we can make them fit.

Is there any sign of a new Del Amitri album on the horizon?

We snuck out a couple of tracks in 2014 in a far flung corner of the web. They’re still fluttering there, uneaten husks. We are discussing what might be justifiable. We have songs. We just don’t quite have a raison d’être. Which is French for excuse.

A great many bands of the Eighties and Nineties have re-formed to milk the “heritage” circuit. How do you view your own place within the contemporary live scene?

We’ll milk any teat proffered. We’re too old for this game so are grateful for any opportunity to make fools of ourselves - wouldn’t you be? As for the heritage tag, we were heritage before we were 30.

“We gave up trying to be modern in 1986. We grew moustaches and sideburns in a sarcastic nod to the grim, unhip man-rock that clogged the Seventies. If we had stuck to being chirpy, angst-riddled indie boys then this sort of thing might be harder to pull off. We always sold ourselves as a working band; plodders, drinkers and grouches.

There is to be a Del Amitri book published this summer. Is this a cynical commercial tie-in?

It’s nowt to do with us. An Australian lunatic called Charles Rawlings-Way decided to write the whole sorry tale down a few years ago. It felt rude not to help him out with a few interviews and photos. He’s a lovely man and I enjoyed waffling on to him on Skype with a glass of red wine while he was having his breakfast in Adelaide. I’ve read a proof and it’s remarkably comprehensive. It’s a non-stop romp through twenty years of sex, drugs and quality biscuits. It’s a bit embarrassing, really – we don’t merit that sort of scrutiny – but I’m overjoyed that Mr. Rawlings-Way saw fit to attempt such an onerous task. I do come out of it looking like a bit of an arsehole which goes to show that not everything is fake news.

You formed Del Amitri in your teens and are now touring in your fifties. How have things changed for you as a performer?

The further you travel from your youth the less vital every aspect of the project becomes. It goes from being a do-or-die obsession, heartbreaking and ecstatic in equal measure, to a warmly pleasurable bit of mild exertion. You can’t hit the frenzy of yore but you can nail things with a little more solidity and authority perhaps. The angst ebbs and the confidence flows. Not that you’re not still besides yourself with nerves every time you step into the light. But it’s a mission and it’s unfinished. There’s always something more to say.

Del Amitri, Manchester Apollo, Sunday, July 22. Details from