Expense But No Blues For Rocker Back On The Road
The Daily Express 18th April 2001


Ricky Ross, 43,  shot to fame in 1988 as his Deacon Blue band stormed the UK charts with Real Gone Kid. The sextet went on to become Scotland's most successful pop rock band, with 17 top 40 hit singles and six albums, two number 1's. In 1990, Ricky Married co-vocalist Lorraine McIntosh, but the band split four years later. Now reformed, an album Homesick, is released on April 30. A UK tour begins  on May 10. 

Were you a ďreal rich kidĒ? Not really, but we were comfortably off. My father inherited the family business, a toy wholesalers. That was fantastic growing up with so many toys around.

Do you remember your first pay cheque? I canít remember the amount but it would have been less than £10. I used to work by helping my father and aunt with the business.

Ever been on the breadline? I was quite poor after I left college. I helped to run a youth project but the job paid only a nominal salary It was subsistence living but made me realise Iíd had a cushy life.

Do you have expensive tastes? Definitely I inherited that from my father. If I have a choice between similar products Iíll always buy the more expensive one. I seem to have an inbuilt mechanism that tells me that if something is more expensive, it must be better.

Your most extravagant purchase? Eleven years ago I signed a really lucrative publishing deal to write for television. I then bought a new piano which cost £6,500. That seemed a heck of a lot but I still have it ó and I love it to death.

Do you have a recording studio at home? Yes, Lorraine and I use it a lot. We used to rent out a studio but it cost at least £3,000 a year. Itís much cheaper now itís at home.

Do you have a mortgage? No, itís been paid off. The house isnít particularly grand, though. Itís quite a typical detached place in the suburbs of Glasgow.

What about a pension? Yes. Lorraine and I both have one.

Do you have financial advisers? We have an accountant and an adviser. Our accountant persuaded us to buy the house in 1994.

Has your career paid well?  It has but being a recording artist is a gamble. You effectively bet people will buy your albums  and go on to see your concerts. It's fine when they do, but itís not a good game to be in if they donít.

Whatís more profitable ó chart success or sell-out gigs? Gigs can pay very well but ever~- thing is connected. If people like your singles theyíll buy your albums then, hopefully roll up to see you play Radio play can also be useful but Deacon Blue was always a very high-spending band we never made much from royalties.

Have your five children been more expensive than expected? Yes, particularly at holiday time. Like any parent, I want the best for them. But you don't become a parent expecting kids to be cheap, at least, youíre very stupid if you do.

How much money do you have on you now? £23.08. I also have 40 francs, which must have been in my wallet since we holidayed in France last year

Do you tip? I always tip I know a lot of people waiting on tables are probably frustrated musicians.

Do you throw away bank statements? I wish I did but I file them away

Cash or credit cards? Credit cards , theyíre useful abroad. I also use them on the Internet.

Thereís a lot of money in the music industry Would you like to be starting out now? No way Deacon Blue had a lot of freedom in the early days but bands donít get that now. Our record company let us carry on when nobody was buying our records and we were getting a terrible press. We built an audience by touring and eventually broke through.

Have you reformed for money? No, it just happened by chance. I was planning to do a solo album and the record company asked me if Iíd do another Deacon Blue album as well. When we split in it wasnít acrimonious. We left the door open to come back, provided there was still an audience.

The new albumís called Homesick. Is that because you and Lorraine are sick of being at home and not working? Not at all. We called it that because being disconnected from where we belong happens to us all. Throughout our lives we are plucked away from our loved ones. We are separated and put in different places and that fascinates us.

Does money buy happiness? Itís very easy to say it doesnít if youíre affluent but the phrase is always associated with the wrong people. If youíre living in a highrise block of flats itís a more important question. If money means the difference between your children being accepted and humiliated. between presents at Christmas and none, then yes,  it can buy happiness Geoff Marsh