Midge Ure on why he’s got no plans to re­tire

Midge Ure de­fined an era with Ul­travox and or­gan­ised Live Aid with Bob Geldof. He tells MAR­ION McMULLEN why he’s now bring­ing the iconic sounds of the 1980s back

Bangor Mail - - Seven Days -

‘IAM now at the age when peo­ple have started to ask me if I’m think­ing of re­tir­ing ... far from it,” says Midge Ure, be­fore adding with a chuckle, “I’m not go­ing to find any­thing bet­ter that I can do.”

The for­mer Ul­travox front­man turns 66 next month, but has no plans to hang up his gui­tar or put his song­writ­ing on hold.

But then this is the man who co-wrote and pro­duced the best­selling char­ity sin­gle Do They Know It’s Christ­mas? back in 1984 and showed that the mu­sic world could make a real dif­fer­ence to the lives of peo­ple by co-or­gan­is­ing Live Aid with Sir Bob Geldof.

He’s now count­ing down to a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional tour that will keep him busy well into 2020 ... and can­not wait.

“Bob Geldof and I were talk­ing five or six years ago and he said some­thing that has stayed with me. He said ‘We are not go­ing to find any­thing com­pa­ra­ble. We have no other skills. This is it’.”

Midge laughs: “I’m not go­ing to be a brain sur­geon now. I’ve wanted to do this since I was in short trousers and I wanted an elec­tric gui­tar. I’m not leav­ing what I love to do.”

The 1980 tour, with Band Elec­tron­ica, will see Midge per­form­ing the ground break­ing Ul­travox al­bum in its en­tirety for the first time in 40 years and he will also be play­ing high­lights of the Vis­age al­bum which gave birth to the sin­gle Fade To Grey.

Both records were co-writ­ten, recorded and pro­duced by Midge and proved life chang­ing for him.

“I think 1980 was a piv­otal year,” he says. “The Vi­enna and Vis­age al­bums both came out and I was part of both and they both charted and were suc­cess­ful at the same time.

“It was the tech­ni­cal rev­o­lu­tion with syn­the­sis­ers and drum beats. You could do any­thing in your bed­room if you wanted to.

“But we didn’t think it would last. When you are young, you are look­ing through the te­le­scope at the fu­ture. You are look­ing through the wrong end and the idea of be­ing around for even five years is tremen­dous.

“In the 70s and 80s, we sim­ply didn’t think mu­sic had longevity. We didn’t think a ca­reer in pop or rock mu­sic was a thing. Be­ing 35 was an­cient in rock mu­sic back then and the idea of car­ry­ing on do­ing it for the rest of your life was not even dreamed of.

“Of course in folk, blues and jazz you have per­form­ers in their 80s who are cel­e­brated, and the songs I wrote 40 years ago are still played.

“There has been a lot of in­ter­est in ev­ery­thing 80s in the last few years and 80s fes­ti­vals have be­come huge. I want to cel­e­brate this pe­riod and, as we pass from 2019 into 2020, play the Vi­enna al­bum in its en­tirety along with high­lights from the epony­mous Vis­age al­bum.”

With the 40th an­niver­sary of both re­leases ap­proach­ing, the

Scot­tish singer­song­writer says he has many great mem­o­ries of his days with Ul­travox and can even look back on the early pho­tos without cringe­ing too much.

“We were rea­son­ably un­scathed,” he laughs. “We never had the bouf­fants or wore head­bands like lots of bands did. We were more dead man’s clothes. We used to buy clothes from Ox­fam and thrift shops.”

He winces: “We did far too much make-up, far too much eye shadow and blusher. My par­ents were a bit con­fused by the en­tire thing. They would come to the con­certs, but not re­ally un­der­stand it all and then I did This Is Your Life and they un­der­stood be­ing on some­thing like that. I think my kids are suit­ably em­bar­rassed and proud of what I did back then.”

Midge went from pop band Slik to post-punk band The Rich Kids and then worked as a stand-in gui­tarist for Thin Lizzy be­fore Ul­travox en­tered his life.

“I was work­ing on the Vis­age project with Billy Currie and I was in­vited to join Ul­travox. The work we did that win­ter on Vi­enna was an ex­hil­a­rat­ing rush of cre­ativ­ity the likes of which I had never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.”

The new tour will take him across the UK, Eu­rope, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

“A tour like this takes a lot of preparatio­n and I’m hav­ing to re-learn the songs,” says Midge with a smile. “I never lis­ten to my stuff... it’s weird if I have to go back ... and we are go­ing back quite a long way with 40 years. I’m lis­ten­ing to ev­ery­thing again. I don’t want to for­get the lines of Vi­enna or lyrics of the big hits.”

■ Midge Ure & Band Elec­tron­ica – The 1980 Tour starts on Oc­to­ber

6. See midgeure.co.uk for de­tails.

My par­ents were a bit con­fused by the en­tire thing. I think my kids are suit­ably em­bar­rassed and proud of what I did

Midge Ure on his early years in mu­sic

Midge Ure still loves be­ing on stage in his 60s

Midge, third from left, in his first pop band Slik

Midge with Bob Geldof at Live Aid

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