Days of Ore . . .
He had his first Number One single in 1976 and has kept the hits I coming ever since, in one form or 5 another. Midge Ure shows his age ' to Alastair Mabbott, and explains why he’s about meet his British
audiences eye to eye. :
He may still be associated with the hi-tech pomp of l Ultravox. or his bleary—eyed stint at the mixing desk for ‘Do They Know It‘s Christmas. but. come closing time. Mrs Ure‘s wee boy Midge likes a strum and a croon as mttch as the next guy. To prove it. he's about to embark on a solo tour. in small seated venues. close enough for the punters to shout requests, or even ask him what on earth ‘Vienna’ was all about anyway — which. in fact. is the very idea. ' For these dates take the fortn of something like a cross between a gig and a seminar. Midge taking his audiences through the development of a song. explaining how one idea leads to another. perhaps playing songs by some of his old friends. orjust saying and doing whatever he feels like on the night. ' Heaven knows. he might even follow George Best on g to the raconteur circuit. an after-dinner speaker with a battered Martin acoustic stuck behind his chair. I
‘Sitting there and trying to play things I would never have dreamed of trying to do i - like playing an Ultravox song on an acoustic guitar — to my mind, it was ; ridiculous.’ ‘
‘lt is back to basics. although there will still be a bit of technology in there. The idea is to take an acoustic guitar. an electric guitar and a keyboard. and I'll put some sequences into the keyboard. but not a lot of them. l‘mjust going to chat about how influences go into my head and emerge fifteen years later as something I’ve just written. To demonstrate that. I‘m going to plug in the electric guitar and play some bluesy things I learned when I first learned to play ‘ guitar. when the British Blues Boom was happening. Just to have the tool there to be able to say. “I like the Ziggy Stardust period." and play Mick Ronson- esque licks and stuff. just to demonstrate how the influences come in and how they emerge later as another piece of music. Something like “Reap The Wild Wind" is very inﬂuenced by something like “Johnny. Remember Me". which I heard on the radio ; when l was a kid.‘
The idea of this tour came to him in America last V year. when his record company persuaded him to do one night in New York. l
‘lt went down so incredibly well. the fact that people could see me sitting there. well. talking. fora start . . . I don’t know. I was probably a bit pissed. but I was incredibly irreverent about everything. and it was hysterical. But sitting there with a guitar and trying to play some of the things I would never. ever. in a million years have dreamed of trying to do — like playing an Ultravox song on an acoustic guitar — to my mind. it was ridiculous.
‘So. anyway. this thing turned into a tour. and we did six weeks round America. The difference was that l was actually ottt there with four other songwriters. from all areas of the music industry — country writers and stuff. It was an interesting package. because when we talked about the craft of songwriting it was all so radically different. They were saying. “Well. I was travelling in an old beat-up car up some highway and I started strumming the
Back to basics with Midge Ure guitar. and by the time I got to where l was going. the song was there." And I'm saying. "Well. I was sat in a roomful of machinery and a year later out popped this finished thing'”
So catt we look forward to hearing any Slik songs
' on this outing'.’
‘Nooo . . . I think the world's probably a better place for never having to hear those again.’
Bttt surely Midge realises he might have to be prepared for punters shouting for them‘.’
‘People might have to be prepared for me to ltavc a
bash at playing them! All's fair in love attd war. I
think in another context they might work all right.
but they were conspicuous by their absence on the Best Of. . .'
Midge Ure plays The Queen 3' Hull. Edinburgh on
‘ Wed 5.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: HOT HOUSE FLOWERS O SHEEP ON DRUGS 0 WORLD PARTY LP
38 The List 23 April—6 May 1993