Midge Ure is a man of few words. But after over forty years in the business, perhaps that’s to be expected: the man doesn’t need to engage himself in idle myth-making. Having co-written the international megahit Do They Know It’s Christmas and working with renowned bands such as Thin Lizzy and Visage, his legend is thoroughly and resolutely assured. Of course, he has also forged out his own incredible career as a solo artist: his striking debut album The Gift reached number two in the UK album’s chart, and the single If I Was still has a very special place in the hearts of many.
Now, Ure is set to perform in 2016’s 80’s Invasion Tour, a series of shows that will feature him belting out his best known tracks alongside a veritable who’s who of popsmiths, including Big Country and Curiosity Killed The Cat.
We spoke to Ure about his past work, how he finds the experience of being out on the road, and what it’s like to live your life in the public eye.
Joseph Earp: How are you and where in the world does our interview find you today Midge?
Midge Ure: I am in fine form thank you and I have just come from the studio where I’ve been setting up new recording equipment in order to start writing and recording next year.
JE: Your upcoming 80’s Invasion Tour is set to be massive. Do you still get nervous before a string of shows?
MU: Excited yes, nervous not really. You only get nervous if you haven’t done your homework and rehearsals.
JE: You’re going to be playing a lot of shows in a very short space of time. How do you find the energy to keep going night after night?
MU: The buzz you get from playing gets you through, even if you are feeling particularly tired. A lot of shows back to back can take its toll on the voice. All my songs are high and still in the original key.
JE: How conscious of what’s going on in the audience are you when you’re performing? Do you find you go on auto-pilot, or are you acutely aware of everything?
MU: Although you can only see the first few rows of faces you still get a good picture of what’s going on in the venue by the atmosphere.
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JE: Do you have any backstage rituals that help you before you go on stage? And after the show: what’s the first thing that you’ll do?
MU: No rituals before or after a show but the first thing I do coming off stage is have some water and grab a towel for a wipe down.
JE: What’s the main draw of doing a tour like this compared to headlining your own shows and how different are they for you?
MU: I think multi act tours gives great value to the audience, especially at a time when people really think long and hard before they spend their hard earned cash on live music. The pressure is still on for you to come up with the goods even though you are sharing the evening with other artists.
JE: What do you think is the best show that you’ve ever played? What’s the most disastrous?
MU: Luckily I don’t have many disasters on stage these days and there are no shows I consider ‘best shows’ but you do tend to remember the bad shows more.
JE: What’s the hardest thing about being on tour?
MU: The traveling and waiting round to do your thing. I try to eliminate ‘dead time’ as much as possible.
JE: You’ve had such an amazing, illustrious career. If you had to pick one, what would you say your career highlight has been?
MU: The highlights are the bits people rarely get to see……….meeting your heroes….working with people you respect and admire.
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JE: What is the one song you’ve written that you’re most proud of?
MU: Again it’s usually the more obscure and non-commercial songs which are the most interesting. None in particular.
JE: If you couldn’t be a musician, what would your dream career be?
JE: Say you’re not on tour, you’re not writing or recording…What does a day in your life look like?
MU: Spending time with my family and relaxing.
JE: Tell me something you’ve never told an interviewer before.
MU: My life is an open book so there is nothing left to tell!
The 80’s Invasion Tour begins on March 2nd 2016, with dates around the UK. Dates below: