Midge Ure says he’s part of the generation that never grew up – and that’s why so many wrinkly rock stars are still going strong.
Mick Jagger wasn’t going to let a heart issue slow him down for long and the 75-year-old singer is already back on stage with The Rolling Stones.
A decade younger than Mick, Scottish music legend Midge might now be eligible for a bus pass, but retirement hasn’t crossed his mind.
He plans to carry on performing for as long as possible and says he wants “to be the George Martin of my generation”.
The Beatles producer continued working until he was 80 and Midge would love to keep going for just as long.
“Back in the 80s, we weren’t allowed to grow old in rock music,” the Ultravox star said.
“We would look at each other and say ‘you’re still going to be on stage at 35?’
“In every other genre of music it was acceptable and applauded to get up on stage in your 80s, but rock music wasn’t quite like that. It is now.
“Who is out there now, it’s people my age or older. Why would you stop?
“We are the generation that grew old but never grew up. We wear the same clothes as our kids, go to the same festivals. It’s an attitude.
“The generation before us, the kids wore the same clothes as their parents – shirts and ties – and then there was a revolution.
“You see someone like Jagger doing what he loves to do. And I just read a report about a 103-year-old woman winning a race. It’s a different mindset.”
The Glasgow-born singer says he’ll recognise if he needs to stop.
“People will let you know when time is up, if the voice is too croaky or I’m forgetting guitar chords. Whatever form it takes, I think I’m smart enough to notice and then I will back off into my little studio and make music no one will ever hear.”
Midge is preparing a massive tour that will take in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK, celebrating the year that made him a household name.
In the previous decade he’d been in Silk and The Rich Kids, and toured with Thin Lizzy, but 1980 saw him come to the fore.
The 1980 Tour will see him perform the complete Ultravox Vienna album for the first time, as well as highlights from the Visage album, as both came out in that pivotal year at the turn of the decade.
The Band Aid co-founder will be on the road until next summer and says an international tour wasn’t intentional, but interest was so strong dates kept being added.
“If only everyone could have a 1980,” he continued. “That one year changed everything for me.
“There was a long build to it – putting Visage together, buying a synthesiser, managing the two styles of rock and electronic music, borrowing studio time between different projects.
“Then Ultravox fell apart and I joined the band, and everything became different when those two albums went into the charts.
“I was in a little flat in London at the time and it didn’t have a phone. Back then it took three or four months to have one put in, so I would go to the phone box every morning and night to call the office and find out how sales were going.
“They would tell me 40,000 albums were sold and another 20,000 were ordered. The next day those had been sold, too.
“I didn’t have two pennies to rub together at the time, so I couldn’t even celebrate!”
Midge has a number of summer appearances in Scotland, including next week’s Rewind Festival at Scone Palace in Perthshire, but he’s already looking forward to returning to the iconic Barrowland Ballroom in October.
“It’s been a long time since I was last there – probably Stuart Adamson’s memorial gig, which was a while ago,” he added.
“I have outstanding memories of the place, back in the days when the massive stacks of PA equipment would shake and rock back and forth due to the sprung dance floor.
“It’s a place where you can cut the atmosphere with a knife.”
Midge Ure, The 1980 Tour, Glasgow Barrowlands, October 13