MIDGE URE INTERVIEW CD
Ive put a lot more of me into this record than I did the previous one. I mean its a lot more guitar-oriented. Ive gone back and grabbed my synthesisers with great gay abandon again and Ive started making all those lovely noise and atmospheres. Its very different to Breathe but its still very much a Midge Ure record. The melodies are there; the lyrics are there. You know the Midge Ure stamp is still on it although its wearing different clothes as it were. The songs are still the important part.
I still write about things
that affect me - you know things that go on in my life, things
that affect me from books, from watching television, from seeing
the news. You know theres a real wide range of subjects
on the record.
Being back in control again, youve got to care, cause theres no one else around to do it for you. Youve got to be on board and make sure youre doing it right, but you know Ive done it plenty of the times in the past, you know produced my own things, I was very confident this time around, because I was very keen on using a lot of new technology and getting on board and see how I can make it sound different to what Ive done before. I think I have achieved that.
Move Me is about moving you physically, moving you spiritually, moving you sensationally thats the whole idea of it. If you cant write and record something that doesnt touch someones heart theres no point in doing it. So the song - the title track - is about that. Its about different things that come into your life that really leave a quite deep affect on you.
The Internet has been absolutely amazing and Ive got my site up there and I get e-mails from people all over the world whove never been able to come directly in contact with you. So I get people telling me of amazing things that have happened in their lives because of something that Ive written which completely - Im gobsmacked at that - anything that Ive ever done thats actually touched someones life is quite incredible. So you know people have not only conceived their children to things that Ive written but you know theyve had babies born, been married to things that Ive written, theyve buried people to things that Ive written, and that stuff is just absolutely amazing.
Theres many people
out there who I think are just so prolific its ridiculous,
you know - they just seem to go to the loo for 5 minutes and
come back with half an album. I cant do that. Ive
got to really sit down and work at it because Im not just
trying to make a song thats maybe more interesting than
somebody elses song. Ive got to make it more interesting
than what Ive written in the past. Its got to equal
it or better it. And thats my guideline. So it just means
an awful lot of work.
Absolutely. Songwriting is a great way of getting it out of your system. You know whatever is eating away at you, whatever is really messing up your head, you know whatever is playing around inside your head at the time .. you can sit there and you can exorcise those ghosts by writing it all down and the great thing is because a lot of its real, a lot of its genuine, its things that do upset you and do worry you or do make you happy, or do make you really ecstatic and you write it down and its real, people pick up on that, people write back to you and go thats how I feel, thats got me through a really sticky horrible situation - that song, that positivity, or that train of thought has done that and its just a great way of pouring it all out.
Its just feeling sorry for yourself. And then it ends up by saying it turns itself around. Cause Im not alone. I have a partner and Ive got friends, whatever. But the end of the chorus says nothing comes from nothing and thats exactly what I am. Alone So, if youre alone, theres nothing there. Youve got to have other people around you. So its just a feeling sorry for yourself song.
Its like no mans an island, you know. We all need somebody. We all need somebody, as Ive said in the song, someone to lay your head on. You know, you just need somebody to give you a cuddle and a hug and tell you everything is all right. When youre babbling on about whatever you need someone there to kind of back you up when youre not 100% confidant of what youre doing. And we all need that. Somebody is a favourite as well and I like it because its such a different kind of laid back feel for me. Ive never done something thats got that kind of laid back casualness about it. And its got all those lovely gospel singers on it as well and its just theres something really nice about the way that builds each time the chorus comes in - their voices get louder and bigger and its just so relaxed and so.. its a very unusual thing for me to do. I just love the track for that. Its something new for me. Its got something quite magical about it.
Well you look at most [Steven] Spielberg movies and hes got huge, kind of you know threatening, you know, its big, its panoramic. You know, its in just about every movie hes ever had had huge, what I call a Spielberg Sky. Its my term that I use making videos. I say Alright, OK- that shot, we need the Spielberg Sky so its got to be brilliant, you know, beams of light, shafts of light coming down. You know, Gods made this image, that kind of thing. Its about war actually. The whole thing, about how its all changed. How we sit and we watch a war on television now and it becomes kind of less real and you get kind of like action replays of satellites, of missiles you know hitting the target and you think this is watching this is like a computer game or its like watching a video. So I thought Hold on a second, when the end of the world comes well be watching it on television. And itll be directed by Steven Spielberg or something like that. Itll be like watching a movie. Cause its become so kind of soul-less and detached and I just thought this is thats whats gonna happen. You know, when the morning comes up and you open up your eyes and see it disappear forever beneath a Spielberg Sky.
I started thinking about how powerful words are. How a book can make you cry or smile or feel good or feel bad. How a book can educate you. And I started thinking about songwriting - and thats what it does, it tells people a story. It gives them a feeling. You know, a movement. You know it gives them - some kind of emotion is provoked because of a song. And I started thinking about words and I just started writing. You know, the words that touch, the words that heal Words that move you. Do things to you. And thats what the song was all about.
I did a series of concerts for Kosovo last year and I met some of the refugees, some of the kids, and that leaves a real strong impression so I went off and wrote the Refugee Song about what would happen if a situation like whats happened in Yugoslavia happened here. I put myself in those positions and just think what would I feel as a father being separated from my family, not knowing whats happening to them. And then when you meet them again, and if you ever meet them again, what language will they be speaking.
About being weak (laughs). Its about men and how men can be so incredibly weak for the most ridiculous reasons. Were all human but the sexes are incredibly different and I wrote this thing about men not being particularly strong you know, in certain instances. So it was just an interesting angle for me I think.
I was doing some music for a television series about women in prison and I just thought of this amazing, this bizarre guitar riff and I started messing around with this very strange hybrid, its kind of a cross between Led Zeppelin and Fatboy Slim. I mean if they all got together thats probably what the track would sound like. And I started doing this piece of music and I ended up loving it so much I didnt do it for the television thing. I just ended up just doing it as this piece of music. Ive always dabbled with instrumental music and Ive always loved it. And people love it live, weve done it 3 or 4 times now in front of people and its just, they go crazy about it, they just love it. Power.
Ive got to say my
kids because theyre wonderful. You know, Ive got
4 daughters and theyre just lovely. You know, its
great. That stuff you cant help - its life changing
stuff, you know its big grown up stuff. You have a baby
and all of a sudden you feel this unconditional love that youve
never felt before in your life. So that stuff is a huge curve
- you know its tiring, but its incredibly rewarding
at the same time.
Track Four is about the children. You know, one can sing and dance, and one can make you happy, and one you know. Thats just about fun cause its nice when theyre grown up to think Oh, that was written about me and you know, I was the one who was doing the dancing. And what ever. Its just a nice thing to, a nice angle on it really you know calling it Four.
Im down in the supermarket, you know. I came off stage in front of 10,000 people the other night, got back here, and then went out shopping. Thats what you do, you know. And the funny thing is people just tend to pass you and think you look a bit like Midge Ure, and by the time theyve actually clicked youve gone. It doesnt matter - all of that stuff. Its real life, its quality of life youve got to have. I dont want to be locked up in a castle somewhere. And I dont want to go to raves at 5 oclock in the morning and stuff. Ive got my life. Ive got whats important to me going. I think its probably got to do with a fairly early sensible Glasgow background.
I dont deny anything I have done in my past, be it good or bad because if I hadnt done it, it wouldnt have taken me on to whatever the next step was. The 80s were a fantastic time to be in a band. It was brilliant - we were a bunch of lads travelling the world, doing what lads do, and just having an absolute ball, you know and being paid for it, which is just ridiculous. So yeah I cant deny any of that stuff. What I do deny is going back to it. I cant go back. You know, Ive moved on in my own funny little way. Ive gone off on various tangents and discovered new things.
I think the Band Aid thing has got to be one of the main things. I really was like a fish out of water there. Both Bob [Geldof] and I realised we had gotten ourselves embroiled in something that was just absolutely huge and when it came to sitting down at Band Aid meetings talking about buying trucks, renting ships, ocean liners to take all the stuff across there, and Im thinking God what am I doing, I dont know anything about sorghum, about soya and high protein biscuits and it really did feel like it was enormous this thing, which it was. So that was bit of a highlight, you know actually getting through the initial six months from the making of the Band Aid record right through to when we were about to do Live Aid. And then of course the evening of Live Aid, it was just magnificent, the whole thing. You know standing on stage in front of that sea of people and playing those songs, and then sitting in the audience afterwards and watching U2 and Queen and all these guys doing such an amazing job. It was just brilliant to be there, to be part of it. I mean it was history in the making you know just being there in the audience people will be talking about it forever, but I was there making history, and you know not realising it at all. So that was just huge, its just ridiculous.
I could never think of Vienna as anything but what is was. It was an interesting piece of music that became immensely successful commercially, and Ive got to thank it for that, cause I dont think Id be here doing this today if it wasnt for that. Because it turned Ultravox from a small kind of college, hardly known electronic pop band/rock band into this huge world wide known act, and that is just amazing, you know how the strength of one record can change you, can elevate you to a stature way above anything you thought youd ever achieve.
Ive been asked many times would we reform Ultravox, cause there is a whole lot of people who never managed to get to see Ultravox and they want to see it now cause they have latched on to the music. I just dont see that it works. I think things work for a reason. You cant just go back and do it. More often than not the reason to go back and do it is not the right reason. You are doing it for finances rather than for the love of the music. You know, and I still love the music. I love what Im doing now. And I want to do that and thats more interesting than kind of doing this retro thing so I am steering well clear of the whole 80s package thing.
Ive been incredibly lucky to be able to work with my heroes. You know as an inspiring young guitarist, Eric Clapton was God to me. I had that written on my jacket you know Clapton is God and to work with some one like that was great. But also working with someone like Kate Bush, who I seriously admire, she is just brilliant at what she does. You know Ive worked live with Peter Gabriel, you know all of these people I really respect and admire for what they do, theyre brilliant. Ive worked with great musicians like Mark King from Level 42, was probably one of the best bass players in the world. George Martin, Sir George Martin, I mean the most amazing character, I worked with him last week at the big orchestral event. How can you go through life thinking, I know George personally. He sends me a Christmas card every year. You know he is one of the most famous men in musical history. All of those people are just amazing. The interesting collaborations are the ones that come about because the artists admire each other, they admire each others work.
Not really, you learn from
your mistakes. The thing thats worrying right now about
the state of the industry I think is a lot of the bands arent
actually bands, theyre not real. They havent gone
out and played all the sleazy clubs with all the graffiti on
the walls and no toilet backstage and all of that stuff. Youve
got to go out and do that because thats how you learn how
Music is incredibly evocative. You know you hear something on the radio you havent heard for ages, and you go Oh my God. And I remember who I was going out with or who I fancied at that moment in time. And you know you remember what year it was, and what you were wearing, and who you were hanging out with, and that stuff is great. Music is brilliant for that.
The last one we bought I think might have been Macy Gray. Cause thats real. Thats great. You know, its like really interesting stuff. Great voice, smoky, you know. There was that. Travis -good straight forward pop. Radiohead - good kind of hippie-head music, you know. Theres lots of good stuff. Lots of good stuff around out there right now.
Sure, I think everyone and his brother has got a web site now, cause its the big thing. When we were doing midgeure.com, we looked into quite seriously to see what everyone else was doing, and we wanted to find the mistakes they were doing, not only the good things, but the bad things. So we looked into it and we found that a lot of the problems were things like slow access, you know it took ages to download anything, it took ages for the main screen to come up. Between Berenice, who is my tour manager and sound engineer, and Cerise, who runs the fanzine, we all kind of sat there and figured out what to do, how it should look, you know get it up and running as quickly as possible. And I constantly update, I can answer emails and stuff on it, which is great, so people ask questions I can actually talk to them direct. And we put footage up everytime were away doing anything. Weve got some footage up just now I think of the band performing in Spain at a Womad concert, 100,000 people you know its a great atmosphere and stuff. And its such a great thing to have because - for the first time ever I have instant access to people who write to me, theyve got instant access to me as opposed to writing to the record company or writing to the management office, and a lot of that stuff never gets through to you, or if it does get through you never have time to read it all. So when I go out on tour or do anything, I take my lap top, I can sit there and I can access the site and pull down all the emails, and all that stuff. So its a great fantastic facility to have, and people know what youre up to instantly, they dont have to go chasing around. midgeure.com, all the information is there - its great.
It was the funniest band Ive ever been with. They were just it was not just great musically doing that, but just being in their company all the time was just brilliant. And its going to be very difficult to top that. Because Troy who was an Uilleann pipe player/multi-instrumentalist is just the funniest man in the world. And we had such a great time touring and it was a great thing to do. I mean, the record being successful and going to Italy and seeing not just the hard core fans whove always been there but an entire new audience. Young people whod gone out and bought the record simply because they liked the music which was the great thing about it.
Ive got a whole new band this time around because the music calls for a different type of musician. So Ive got a whole new band, all new guys, young guys that I found all around here (just outside Bath) and its excellent.
Yeah definitely. We have been looking at dates in Europe, and possibly doing some proper dates in the UK, which I havent done for a long time, you know maybe start out with four or five up and down the country just to show the new band in action. So were looking to coming to Germany, I think its in November, a few weeks after the release of the new album.
I think its always worrying putting anything out because the press can be incredibly harsh and scathing and thats always difficult. I never like reading reviews - be they good or bad. But I think the hardcore fans are the ones you kind of gauge it from, and from what I can glimpse off everyone's very happy with what it's all starting to sound like. We've put little snippets of it up on the web so people can actually go and access it and listen to like 30 seconds of a track and a bit of this and a bit of that and the response were getting is very, very good. So I'm feeling quite confident about it. Its successful to me now because musically its successful, but commercially successful - I cant do anything about it. I cant make it work. You know someone else has got to decide that.