Got The Deacon Blue's Again 
South London Press 2nd November 2001

AFTER five years away from the music scene Scot rockers Deacon Blue are back. KELLIE REDMOND caught up with lead female vocalist Lorraine McIntosh to find out more . . .

DESPITE being one of the most successful Scottish bands of the 90s, Deacon Blue lack some of the usual rock star trappings.

"We are only playing at weekends for the tour - so we can be home for the kids for school," reveals the band's Lorraine McIntosh.

It's the kind of freedom only a band with their level of success can enjoy. Since arriving on the music scene in 1985, the Glasgow-based group has notched up a string of Top Ten hits - including the massive Real Gone Kid - plus two number one albums.

"Now that we're free of contractual obligations with Sony," adds mum-of-three Lorraine, "we can tour when we want and not tour when we don't want to - just as long as people keep wanting to come and see us.

"So you get to have a life, a family and do other projects that come along, but every so often we get to do a tour. "It's a real privilege." Although Lorraine admits she considered moving to London during the height of Deacon Blue's success, she's glad she didn't leave her Scottish roots.

And it was the band's fondness for their hometown which led them to re-form - despite having gone out with a bang in 1994 with the number one hit album Out Town.

"What happened was we had a great career, finished when we wanted to do, and then went off and did other things," explains Lorraine.

"Then five years after we split up, Ricky [Ross] was approached by a charity we are involved with to help raise money and its profile.

"It's called Braendam, and based in Glasgow for families suffering in extreme poverty and deprivation." So, she says, Deacon Blue decided to regroup for a one-off benefit gig.

"We were a bit nervous as it had been five years since we'd been done anything.

"But we thought 'What if nobody comes?' - it will be egg on our faces because we stopped at a very good point, on a high. But the gig sold out within an hour-and-a-half.

"And it made us think that people really want to come and see us, and we had such a great night doing it that we decided to do a tour." Even though Deacon Blue have now become one of Scotland's biggest musical exports, at the start, the band's founder Ricky Ross wasn't looking to become a rockstar. "Ricky just wanted a publishing deal and wanted other people to play his songs.

"He didn't really want to form a band, as he was a teacher at the time.

"But when he eventually got the deal, the proviso was that he went out and formed a band.

"He knew me and Ewen [Vernal] the bass player through social circles, and the other guys through working in studios." So what does she think has been the highlight of the band's career so far? "Lots of really privileged things happen to you which are exciting and fun, and you get to meet different people," says Lorraine.

"But I can honestly say one of the nicest things was the fact that after five years away, we walked on stage in Glasgow and had our breath taken away by the response we got from the audience. "That was one of the best things ever." On a more personal level, perhaps the best is yet to come for Lorraine, as she has now turned her hand to acting.

Her big screen debut was getting a role in My Name is Joe, directed by legendary film-maker Ken Loach. "I'd never acted before, and I know the scriptwriter Paul Laverty and he asked me if I wanted to audition for the film. "I didn't know if it was about acting or singing or whatever. But I auditioned, and couldn't believe I got the part." She adds: "It was so nice to do something that scared me and I didn't feel totally at home with, and was a challenge." Since then she's done various things for TV and film: including the Channel 4 drama Psychos (which was filmed in an old asylum in Croydon), Life Support for BBC, and Taggart for ITV. She also had a part in a film called Aberdeen, which was a Scandinavian-Scottish collaboration from the same team who made Breaking the Waves. Lorraine adds: "Then I got pregnant and had to stop for a while.

"But I'm planning to do something for TV before Christmas - I can't say too much about it." Her fellow band members have kept themselves busy too: Ross has forged a solo career, and you might recognise Dougie Vipond as a TV presenter from BBC1 travel show, Holiday.

In terms of Deacon Blue, the band are still enjoying the fruits of their last album Homesick, released in April this year, and will release another one later this month.

"Sony are bringing out an album The Very Best of Deacon Blue.

"But we didn't want it to be just another greatest hits, so Ricky went on the Deacon Blue website and contacted the fans asking if they could vote for their favourite tracks - whether live tracks, acoustic tracks or whatever.

"We then asked Sony if the ones with the most votes could go on the album - and they have. It makes it a bit more creative and personal." What are her plans for the future? "I'd like to do more acting as I don't think Deacon Blue will tour for a while after this. So, it's time to get on with other things."  Kellie Redmond