HE jokes that he’s the uncrowned king of Scotland yet didn’t get the vote in the independence referendum — but Midge Ure says he doesn’t want to do “a Sean Connery”.

“My daughter speaks like the Queen and got a vote as she was a student at Edinburgh University but I didn’t get to because I don’t live there,” said Ure who is originally from Cambuslang but is now based near Bath. “Having said that I don’t want to be a Sean Connery so I keep my opinions to myself. It would be a different thing if I was living there.”

However Ure, who is to play in St Andrews this summer for the first time since he toured with Salvation and Slik in the early 1970s, is gloomy about the current state of the world.

“I think we are in a bigger mess now than we have been for a long time what with nuclear war being threatened, Trump and Brexit,” Ure told the National.


WOULD music motivate people to action the way it did in the early 1980s when he was involved with Band Aid?

“The world needs a big help but maybe music is not the vehicle today it was back then,” said Ure. “For us it was the be all and end all. We did not have mobile phones, the internet or computer games. All we had was music and to us back then it was incredibly powerful and maybe that is not the same any more.

“I think everything is a bit dissipated now. People are worrying about trying to get themselves off the dole, they are worried about Brexit and worried about how to feed themselves so it’s understandable. It’s ridiculous that nurses are going to food banks. There is something seriously wrong when that happens.”

Ure admits he had no idea the original Band Aid single would still be making money for charity more than 30 years after it was first released.

When he and Geldof wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? their original target was £100,000 but in the end they raised over £100 million from the record and the Band Aid concerts.

“That is how powerful music was and how it motivated people. People did not have a lot then but they still put their hands in their pockets.”


URE became involved when he was rehearsing with Ultravox for the Channel 4 music show The Tube. During rehearsals Bob Geldof phoned his girlfriend, the presenter Paula Yates, about shocking footage he had just seen on television documenting the famine in Africa.

He and Ure agreed that to raise immediate funds to help they needed a number one record at Christmas. At that time a Christmas number one made three times as much money as a number one at any other time of year.

The concert followed and the public responded so well that Comic Relief was then set up to raise money annually for projects all over the world, including the UK.

Having worked so hard for charity and achieved fame with the band Ultravox, Ure could have been forgiven for taking a back seat since then but, at the age of 63, he continues to tour and write songs and remains active as a Band Aid trustee.

He will be in St Andrews on July 22 as part of Byre In The Botanics festival and is looking forward to performing.

“I cut my teeth at St Andrews as the university was one of our regular gigs when we were on the circuit in the early 1970s,” said Ure. “There were no shortcuts then. I’m not sure a talent show on TV is a substitute for going out and playing gigs.”


URE says he is glad to return to St Andrews he’s “nearly grown up”.

“It’s going to be quite an intimate gig I think. It’s our only Scottish gig and one of the last shows with two young multi-instrumentalists, Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe. We’ve been touring for two or three years and it’s very unplugged. It’s an interesting way to play the hits — some of the songs I really had to think long and hard about. How do you strip down a well known song like Vienna and still make it powerful?”

However, Ure says he thinks the stripped down songs work really well.

“If you have written a decent song you can turn it inside out but if the song is just okay it all depends on the production. Strip that away and the song falls apart.”

The Something from Everything tour has taken Ure to Australia and New Zealand as well as the Far East and balances his hits with less well known album tracks.

“I think there is something for everyone as there is a fair selection of stuff — one or two songs from every CD released since the 1970s,” he said.


TAKING place in a fully-seated and covered marquee, Byre In The Botanics runs from June 29 to July 29. The programme includes singer Elkie Brooks, Chris Barber with his big band, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham and a rare live set from Gallagher and Lyle. Other live music highlights include the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK led by Ray McVay, Mànran and the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys.

This year’s event will also host the only Scottish performances of Opera Up Close’s Olivier award-winning production of the classic romantic opera La Boheme, with a fresh new English language translation and the Scottish debut of Dutch street dance crew The Ruggeds.

Two grand St Andrews ceilidhs with a live band led by broadcaster and musician Billy Anderson are part of the programme along with a host of family movies and fun activities for children.

The Byre Theatre’s artistic director Liam Sinclair said: “Building on the success of the inaugural event last year, we have a varied programme that our audiences will enjoy. In addition to the world-class performances, they can expect top of the range facilities within our completely covered performance venue.”