Out Of The Blue
Daily Record 30th May 1996
Dad's the way : Ricky Ross is on the hit trail again and it's all thanks to his later father.
FORMER Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross is turning his back on the bright lights as he hits the comeback trail. The days of playing the rock superstar in front of sell-out crowds at massive stadium gigs are gone forever. Instead, Ricky — who quit Deacon Blue because they were becoming too famous — is ending his two-year stretch as a virtual music recluse, with a string of club gigs. The 37-year-old former. teacher almost gave up music two years ago, after the death of his father William. The tragedy happened during Deacon Blue’s last tour in 1994, and left Ricky absolutely shattered. Yet, ironically, it is the memory of 71-year-old William that has given Ricky the inspiration for his comeback tour and first solo album, What You Are. He said: “My dad’s death played a huge part in the making of the album. “He had been ill for a long time but when he died, during the final Deacon Blue tour, it was a real shock to me. “I just wanted to stop what I was doing. In fact, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure if I would see many of the people who were involved ever again. I was very discouraged. “What rescued me was that I went on holiday. I started thinking and living life again.
“My wife Lorraine was expecting a new baby. There were a lot of things to look forward to. I started writing again and got a new record deal. “When we made the first Deacon Blue album, we didn’t think we had a hope in hell and we didn’t really care. It got to 82 in the charts and we were all delighted. “We had a small hit and the following year we sold 250,000 records. It was good to have hit albums. “But I wasn’t comfortable at the end of Deacon Blue. “It seemed I was being driven up an alley to make singles I didn’t want to make.”
Drummer Dougie Vipond became a presenter with STV after Deacon Blue split, but Ricky shunned the limelight. And he had regained the inspiration to write songs after sifting through his father’s belongings, after the funeral. He said: “What helped me was that I was pouring through his things. They weren’t worth much, just sentimental stuff. I realised they couldn’t really sum up what the man was about. “That’s when I got the idea to write What You Are. Suddenly I had the space and confidence to write again.” Although the album doesn’t go on sale until Monday, Ricky’s comeback single Radio On only reached 35 in the charts. But he said: “I’m not against singles. I just don’t think about them. I told the record company I wasn’t interested. “I’m at an age when you have kids and your parents do get ill and die. I can’t write songs about screwing 16-year-olds.
“I was nervous when I was completing the album. A couple of weeks ago I suddenly couldn’t cope. I wanted to keep the songs private. I didn’t want people to hear the album or the single. “There’s something that happens to a song when it’s a hit. You get to hate your own song when it’s played to death on the radio.” Although he’s originally from Dundee, Ricky is now happily settled in Glasgow with Lorraine, the former co-singer in Deacon Blue. They have two children Emer three, and one-year-old Georgia, while Ricky also has an eight-year- old daughter, Caitlin, from his first marriage. He said: “All my family have drifted to Glasgow over the years. It’s a good place to be. Here, you can get everywhere in half an hour and that’s really good. “Los Angeles is like a giant dodgem park. We had a house for the summer and my brother in-law came over with his wife. At a shopping mall, he was having trouble starting his car. So he asked a policeman for help. “It was then he noticed that the cop was loading a shotgun. He was in the middle of a bank raid.”
Ricky, who played in front of 250,000 fans at Glasgow’s Big Day in 1990, said: “When you have success people clock you. “Because Lorraine and I would go out together, it became a nightmare at times. “Life is simpler now. I can go to a shop and people don’t know me.” Apart from supporting Bryan Adams at Ibrox on July 11, Ricky’s live shows are at King Tut’s in Glasgow next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He said: “Attention spans are shorter, so I’ll only play 50 minutes. “But there’s no point in saying I’m never going to touch the older material. I was in a great band and we’re all still really good friends.” John Dingwall