My Hell At Hands Of One Crazy Fan
Edinburgh Evening News 27th April 1996
Deacon Blue star breaks silence on his terror
FORMER Deacon Blue mainman Ricky Ross has spoken for the first time of the horror of being stalked by an obsessive fan and how the terrifying experience left him with a legacy of stage-fright.
“There was a kooky fan who started to stalk us around the place. I still don’t know exactly what this person was about, but eventually it started to get to me, being aware of this person in the audience every night,” he says. “The attention was focused on myself and my wife Lorraine particularly, and it began to get very strange. Going out on stage every night, I kept getting flashbacks to the film Nashville, when somebody gets shot on stage. “On stage with the lights on you, when people rush up there, you cant see them until they are close to you. For years, even playing college shows, when students would get up on stage because they were drunk or to have a laugh, I would never see them until they were right on me. “So I always had this problem of feeling quite vulnerable on stage.”
He confessed that three of the I songs on his first solo album are I about the blind terror brought on by knowing the stalker was in the audience at every one of his old band’s last shows. The demise of the band clearly sent the stalker off to find another victim. As the leader of the Scots rockers, fronted with his wife Lorraine McIntosh, Ricky enjoyed 17 Top 40 hits in just six years, and bowed out with a triple platinum album. Being away from the limelight for a couple of years has suited Ricky Ross. He has been able to get that quality family time denied to a busy touring rock star, and to make the record he wanted to make “without other people saying we can’t play that, or we won’t play that.” Now he has high hopes for a newly launched solo career — especially after Uri Geller predicted he would have a Number 1 record! Ricky met the psychic superstar before they appeared together on a TV show, and after bending his solid metal keyring in half, Uri picked up the chart- topping vibes.
That must have been good news for the affable musician after the stresses and strains of the group’s break-up. Ricky has an eight-year-old daughter, Caitlin, from his first marriage, and got happily hitched the second time around to his Deacon Blue co-star. The couple have two daughters, three-year-old Emer and 18- month-old Georgia. But while he was relieved to be free of the hassle of Deacon Blue, his wife took a long time mourning the passing of the group. “I had been very frustrated. The last couple of years in Deacon Blue were very difficult to be in a band,” recalls Ricky, relaxing in a Leith hotel before the launch of his new album, What You Are. “We were having a really hard time with the label and as the figurehead of the band a lot of the calls came to be about that — and a lot of the calls came into our house. “You’re just sitting down having something to eat or having a drink or just doing something as a family, and the next minute you are into this really angsty situation. Getting rid of all that was the first thing that made a big, big difference to our lives.” The band bowed out with shows at the legendary Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow, but their farewell party fizzled out like a damp squib when police raided the after show bash and closed the bar down! All were disappointed to go out with a whimper.
“We were six people who had enormous fights and enormously good times and like any other band had our highs and lows. The tumultuous times of Deacon Blue were all in the early years when we are all getting together. Lorraine and I got together and caused an enormous chemical imbalance in the band,” says Ricky, laughing at the memory. “But we got over all that. Then in the last four years we got on really well and had a lovely relationship with everyone. I think that was the period that Lorraine really grieved over for a year and a half after we split up.” This summer Ricky joins Bryan Adams for his show at Ibrox Stadium on Saturday July 20, and is also appearing at the Fleadh in London. Before that he takes up residency in more modest surroundings at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow from June 4 to 6. The single Radio On precedes the album What You Are which is released in June. Colin Somerville