If Midge Ure were a fictional character in a movie about musicians, his real-life career would seem nothing short of impossible. Most performers would give their right arm to have one successful group, but Ure’s been part of a string of noteworthy chart contenders beginning in the mid 1970s, including Slik, the Rich Kids, Visage, Thin Lizzy, and Ultravox. He even scored a solo number-one hit with “If I Was” (1985).
Ure’s biggest impact, however, may be as part of the Band-Aid trust, helping organize such events as the Live Aid and Live 8 mega concerts, raising funds and awareness to fight hunger and poverty.
- Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
Ure stops in at the Casbah on January 13, part of a 25-date tour in support of his new album, Fragile. While he usually performs with a band, for this tour Ure will be taking the phrase “solo performer” to the extreme, traveling and organizing the tour from his U.K. base completely alone. “I saw it as an interesting challenge,” Ure tells the Reader. “I’m quite good at spending time in my own company. For this trip I suppose l like the unknown, which makes things interesting but scary. Worst-case scenario, you turn up in some town and no one comes to see you or the vehicle breaks down. Really, the only place I can see it getting awkward is if I break a string and have to go offstage to fix it.”
Ure says the night’s set will feature songs from Ultravox, Visage, on through to the new record, but nothing from the early part of his career. “The history lesson starts in 1979,” he joked. “I’ve never played Rich Kids songs acoustic; I really don’t know why that is,” Ure mused.
Ure is coauthor (with Bob Geldof) of the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which was recorded and released by an all-star group, Band Aid, in 1984, raising funds to combat hunger in Africa. The song was recently redone by a current crop of British stars, as Band Aid 30, with funds going to fund Ebola research. Artists taking part included One Direction, Chris Martin, and Queen drummer Roger Taylor. “It wasn’t a major move for Band Aid to take the focus from one disaster and put it on another,” he said. “For the past six months, there were questions about whether or not there would be an anniversary issue of some sort for the original recording and the answer was no. Until about six weeks ago.” He notes that it was important for artists participating to actually be in the studio for the recording. “With everyone’s schedule, it was extremely difficult to put together fast. But it was important for the artists to be present at the recording. It would be easy enough for someone to email in a part from, for example, San Diego, but it’s not the same. It’s something real, all those artists making a concerted effort.”
The new version of the song hit number three in the U.K. when released December 8, but it’s had critics. “We’ve had a mixed reaction to the song in the U.K.,” he said. “The new generation loves it because it’s their artists, it’s got their contemporaries on it, but the older generation is comparing it to the original.”
Would he be okay with it if the song was revived every decade in aid of a new cause?
“I’m sick to death of hearing it and I’m sure Bob is, too,” Ure said good-naturedly. “But the fact that the song has raised $240 million and continues to do so every time it comes on the radio is phenomenal,” he said. “If the song were to resurface every ten years for a cause, that would be a great legacy to leave.”