Real Gone Romance
Dailly Record 30th January 1999
Ricky Ross and his wife Lorraine McIntosh have mellowed out since their heady days singing with Deacon Blue.
Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart may not agree but there comes a time when all pop stars must grow up.Four years ago Ricky Ross and Lorraine Mclntosh decided exactly that. Their decision to end an eight year love affair with Deacon Blue fans appeared to come from nowhere.With an incredible track record of 19 hit singles, six top 10 albums and hundreds of live appearances, Scotland's stadium stars seemed to be on a roll. There was no falling out and no acrimony surrounding the split. Deacon Blue had simply outgrown their phenomenon. During an exclusive fashion shoot and interview, husband and wife Ricky and Lorraine seem entirely at peace with their decision to end one of Scotland's most successful pop exports. Both have carved out new careers. Ricky released his first solo album two years ago and regularly plays solo gigs to appreciative audiences. Lorraine's first acting role in award-winning movie 'My Name Is Joe' with Peter Mullan has opened new doors for the 34-year-old. She has already had three other roles, and is hoping for a second movie part.
In the sumptuous surroundings of a hotel near their home in Glasgow's south side, the couple are very much at ease with their new life. Although their careers remain important, something has changed about the band's former singers. Their priorities are different. They've tasted success and stardom, they know what fame brings. Now these pop stars crave normality, routine and the security of a very ordinary homelife. "On the last two Deacon Blue tours our older daughter Emer was a baby, " says Ricky. There were some really lovely moments during that time, but we wouldn't want to do it again. "We really do have a remarkably normal lifestyle after years on the road, this is bliss for us." At 41, Ricky's trademark boyish looks are still intact. The floppy fringe and shy smile that captured thousands of female hearts haven't suffered through time. He's a quiet, unassuming man, vey easy-going and good-natured, although behind the self-effacing facade is a sharp wit and bright personality.
Probably best remembered for such songs as Dignity, When Will You Make My Phone Ring and Real Gone Kid (their 1989 album, When The World Knows Your Name entered the charts at No 1), Ricky never truly took to the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Brought up in the Plymouth Brethren, a strict Protestant sect in Dundee, Ricky has always been hard working and stuck to his high personal values. He stayed at home until he was 21 before marrying young and turning to the caring professions after leaving university. He still has his faith, and every Sunday the family - with daughter Emer, six, and four year-old Georgia -go to their local Episcopal church . "I feel kids should have a model to work on," he says. "As they get older they may not want to go in the same direction as us, but I like to think we'll be gracious about their choices."
Ricky has a 10-year-old daughter Caitlin from his previous marriage, which ended amid speculation when Lorraine joined the band. He admits to having a wonderful relationship with his eldest daughter (the couple split around the time Caitlin was born), and any rumoured bad feeling isn't in evidence. "When Caitlin was bom I was never at home because I was away from my wife," he says. "I missed her growing up. I see her a lot now and am as close to her as any of the girls. But was I there when she was a baby? No. "lt's something I find very hard to rationalise and make excuses for. Mums and dads should be with their kids. "I was determined that would not happen again. When we had made some money we used it to be close to our children. " Breaking up the band has obviously taken a weight off both Ricky and Lorraine's shoulders. Their life now revolves around their family and they admit to being 'boring' about their social life. "Children need routine and stability," says Lorraine, "and, to be honest, after years of not having that I love it too. "My acting is going really well, and it's exciting not knowing what's round the corner, but the days are over when I'd go on the road for weeks at a time - I've done that and have no desire to do it again." Lorraine was literally plucked from acting obscurity when Paul Laverty, the scriptwriter of My Name Is Joe, approached her about a part. "He's an old friend and thought I'd be right for the role," says Lorraine. "Fortunately the director Ken Loach agreed an I was thrown in at the deep end. "Filming for my part took three weeks and I loved every minute of it. There was nothing at all stressful about it. "I've always wanted to act, but I fell into singing and didn't know much about the mechanics of getting into acting. "I didn't even have an agent for months after My Name Is Joe, and as soon as I got one I got offered more work - I kicked myself that I hadn't done it earlier." But Lorraine has no intentions of giving up singing. In fact, given the choice she says she'd choose music every time. For the last two years she's been writing songs with musician Brian Docherty, and their band Cub plans to do its first gig in the next few weeks.
The couple have managed that difficult task of keeping their working lives separate. They both write and record but not together, for the moment anyway. "I don't think there's any real competition," says Lorraine. "Ricky would be delighted if Cub did well - he would be happy to be a kept man!" But there is a very real possibility that there will be a joint project in the future. "We've always hankered a notion to do a song together," says Ricky. "Just because Deacon Blue broke up that doesn't mean we'll never sing together again. "At the moment I'm looking to get a second solo album out, and since I'm
no longer with Sony I'm looking for a new contract." In the meantime, Lorraine will continue with her blossoming acting career. she already has an episode of Taggart under her belt, is in a new BBC drama called Medical Ethics, due out in the spring, and has a part in controversial Channel 4 series Psychos, in which she plays a woman who is wrongly imprisoned in a mental institution.
But her most important role is that of a mother. Lorraine admits she would love another baby, but the time isn't right. "Your perspective on everything changes when you have kids," she says "lt'll he fun showing our grand children the Deacon Blue videos - though they'll never believe it's us." Ricky and Lorraine have kept Emer and Georgia well away from the limelight - the closest they've been to a gig was a soundcheck for Capercaillie a few years ago. And they don't bat an eyelid when mum or dad appears on TV. "One of the kids said to Emer in the playground: 'Your dad's Ricky Ross, "' laughs Ricky, "and she came home saying: 'I know you're Ricky Ross - what does that mean) I don't think she really understands what mum and dad do." The children are one of the reasons the family never moved to London.
They're one of the few Scottish exports to remain in their home country. "It was more difficult when we were touring to live in Scotland, " says Ricky. " But we always resisted moving, and we're really glad now. "That's what we both like about our lives now. We have our privacy, we're both doing what makes us happy and we have a lovely little family. "Life just gets better as you get older." Lorna Frame