IN their iconic 1988 song Cap In Hand, Craig and Charlie Reid understood that Stranraer’s lowly league position was due to the absence of a Hibernian goalkeeper, but were unable to fathom why Scotland was still under London rule.
After 24 years, the Proclaimers’ long held belief in independence is being fiercely debated in the lead up to the referendum of 2014.
But while ex-chancellor Alistair Darling launched the pro-union Better Together campaign this week, alongside the Scottish Conservatives’ Selkirk-born leader Ruth Davidson, and argued the country would face an uncertain future if it stood on its own, the famous twins re-affirmed their belief in an independent Scotland.
Speaking to TheSouthern ahead of the Proclaimers’ gig in Hawick on Sunday, Charlie Reid said: “Alistair Darling is right to say Scotland is in a state of flux, but with things changing so rapidly, I think we should have the chance to rule over our own lives.
“I want Scotland to have as much control over its destiny as possible and, if required, will help out the ‘yes’ campaign.
“Britain is not the country it was, certainly compared with my father’s generation, and I believe it will get weaker still over the next 20 or 30 years.
“The unionist campaign will claim we shall have no voice in Europe. Although we won’t have the same power as France or Germany, I would still rather have a voice than not be heard at all.
“I think there will be holes knocked in the arguments of both sides in the next two years but we do need an honest debate about Scotland’s future.”
The Reids’ Hawick appearance is their first visit to the Teviotdale town in “15 or 20 years”, according to Charlie, and is the first time they have been on the road for two years.
The show marks the beginning of a hectic second half of 2012, their 25th year in the industry since breaking into the public’s consciousness with their album, This Is The Story.
Having released their ninth album, Like Comedy, earlier this year, the Fife brothers will perform at a number of summer festivals as well as at the Singapore Grand Prix alongside Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Noel Gallagher.
But whether it is the Borders or the Far East, Charlie says he is happy to play The Proclaimers’ well known and popular live setlist in front of any audience, anywhere.
“It doesn’t matter where we will be playing or the size of the location, as long as our voices hold up and the atmosphere is good,” said the 50-year-old.
“When we started, people used to tell us certain places had quieter audiences than others but we have never found that. Wherever we have gone for a live gig, the reception has always been great. We don’t expect Hawick to be any different.”
Looking back to 1987, when the Proclaimers signed up with a major recording label a month after their memorable performance on Channel 4 pop show The Tube, Charlie refuses to take too much credit for the pair’s rapid emergence.
He told us: “There was a lot of good luck. Some people don’t get the breaks and others get the break but don’t use it.
“We were fortunate to meet Kenny McDonald, who became our manager, and then tour with the Housemartins - both were the pivotal moments for me.
“People have asked if we would have gone on talent shows if emerging today but I don’t think we would have lasted two minutes. We would not be what they are looking for.
“If we were trying to break into the industry now, we would do what we did 25 years ago, and that was play live gigs.
“If you look at successful acts now, they either have lots of hit records and are a good live band or have a couple of hit songs but are well regarded for their live act. I think we fall into the latter category.”
A quarter of a century after the Reids’ Letter From America TV performance captured the public’s attention – and created plenty of impersonations – the siblings remain as dedicated to their music as ever.
Charlie said: “There is the buzz of writing a really good song and knowing you have heard it before anyone else.
“Then there is the thrill of the live gig, where the audience can create an atmosphere and the band can feed off that.”
Doors open for the Proclaimers’ show in Hawick Town Hall at 7pm. Tickets can be bought from Spences Music Shop in Hawick, or phone 0844 844 0444 or visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk