The Love And Money singer brings the reformed band back to the Gallowgate tonight as their reunion goes from strength to strength.
And James can still easily recall the first time the group appeared on stage there.
"There was Billy Bragg, Lloyd Cole, I think Wet Wet Wet and the Big Dish all playing that night with us, as it was part of the Red Wedge tour," he says, remembering the late 1980s collective of musicians who tried to encourage gig-goers to be politically aware.
"At the time we had just released Candybar Express and when we played it people went mental. At that moment we thought we had arrived and I will never forget it, it was extraordinary.
"The place was heaving and when the Barrowland is like that there is no other place in the world like it."
The years have not dimmed his passion for the venue and he believes it remains one of the most unique venues in Scotland, possessing a character that more modern buildings lack.
"Music ties people to places, and with the Barrowland in particular, we all lived within a mile of there," he says.
"Every Friday and Saturday night that is where we would be, so there is a particular emotional resonance there.
"I am expecting a charged atmosphere on Friday. It is hard to describe, but most venues now are aircraft hangers or concert halls, while the Barrowland is just a big club, and some of the best gigs I have ever seen have been there."
Yet tonight's gig is not merely concerned with nostalgia. For years James was reluctant to return to Love And Money, instead focusing on his solo work.
Then a solo gig that featured him performing some of his band's older classics sparked an interest in him again, and that led to a reunion gig at the Royal Concert Hall in 2011, as part of that year's Celtic Connections.
The gig was well received and James enjoyed such a buzz from it that more shows followed, with a new album, The Devil's Debt, arriving last October.
"About half of doing the album was unfinished business, songs we had not released or recorded properly," he explains.
"But a lot of it was to do with friendship and hanging out again - a lot of what I do these days is acoustic and to rock out again and behave like a rock god on stage was tremendously appealing.
"I loved being able to do that again, and Love And Money let me hang out with my pals again and do that."
Some of the material on the Devil's Debt is new, but other tracks are reworked and updated versions of material first written in the late 1980s, originally for the band's proposed third album, The Mother's Boy.
By this point, the band's relationship with their record label, Phonogram, had disintegrated, and the company refused to release the record, frustrating the band immensely.
It led to the songs being scrapped, and the classic Dogs In The Traffic album was recorded instead.
"Our relationship with the record company then was quite bad, so we made things very abrasive and some of it (The Mother's Boy) sounded like Japan with a hangover," says James.
"We were concerned the record company was trying to package us as something we weren't, something we did not want to be.
"The company was right to say it would not release it with hindsight, but at the time I regarded the company as our mortal enemy."
While the band are back together, James is not stopping his solo music and has various projects on the go.
"I am doing some things with Tim Burgess at a few festivals, such as the Isle Of Wight, and then I am doing some dates in April and May," he says.
"I am having some fun with cover versions at the moment and will maybe stick them out as the year goes on.
"I like that freedom, and a lot of it is done through Facebook and Twitter."
With Love And Money now a continuing concern and his solo work carrying on, it is perhaps no surprise the singer seems happy with his lot.
"I reckon I am content and am free to do what I want to do," he adds.
"That feels good and I am content but also a bit scary too because I'm flying by the seat of my pants. For the most part I am a full-time musician, whether gigging, producing another album for someone or writing for others.
"It can be difficult to make a living but it still moves me and I still love it."
n Love And Money, Barrowland, tonight, £25, 7pm