Ricky’s A Real Gone Kid
Again The Sun 16th March 2001
New baby, new CD and a new UK tour.
Veteran rocker Ricky Ross is back on the hit trail after seven years in the wilderness - with a new album, new tour and a bouncing baby boy.
The Scots star folded his multi million selling band Deacon Blue in 1994 after the pressure of fame had him on the verge of cracking up. But he reckons he’s ready to lead the band to glory once more after vowing never to work with his old mates ever again. And he admits he’s like a kid with a new toy.
Deacon Blue - who at their peak notched up a string of classics including ‘real gone kid’, ‘Dignity’, ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Wages Day’ - are set to blitz the charts with a brand new album Homesick.
Ricky, 43, who can’t wait to get back out on the road for a tour which hits Scotland in May. This time Ricky and his vocal foil, wife Lorraine McIntosh, will be joined by the latest addition to their musical clan - four-month-old son Seamus. But although it’s set to be a real family affair, the Dundee born dad of four insists that Deacon Blue’s comeback will be no cozy trip down memory lane. Last night he said “When I first decided to break up with the group everyone thought I had seriously flipped. But the whole thing had become a nightmare and I wanted to get out to get my head back together.
Although things aren’t quite on the same scale this time around, I’d be a liar if I said that I didn’t want us to be as successful all over again. You can’t make records and not be ambitious about them. That would be a bit like Dick Advocat or Martin O’Neill pretended that they weren’t bothered if their teams win, lose or draw”.
All six original deacon Blue members regrouped to record the impressive Homesick, with just bass player Ewen Vernal missing for the tour. The string of gigs will also mark am emotional return for guitarist Graeme Kelling, who is battling cancer. And Ricky paid tribute to his brave pal, who will be there when the band rock Edinburgh Playhouse on May 25 and Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium the following night. He said “ Graeme i doing very well and looking great. He was very involved in the making of the record every step of the way and it’s brilliant that he’s going to be on stage with us”.
One much less serious, but nevertheless tricky problem is that drummer Dougie Vipond is now best known as the anchorman on BBC’s big weekend football show Sportscene and has a hectic TV schedule. But Ricky joked “ Obviously because of Dougie’s regular job we can’t play concerts on a Saturday night anymore. But if he can’t make it we’ll just rope in one of his colleagues like Dougie Donnelly or Richard Gordon to take his place behind the kit. I doubt if anyone would know the difference”. And Ricky also revealed that the arrival of baby Seamus also puts brakes on the missus Lorraine pursuing an acting career and fronting her own rock band. The tousle-haired singer made her movie debut in the award winning ‘My Name is Joe’ alongside Scots star Peter Mullan. Then she appeared in the TV mental hospital dramas Psychos with Dougie Henshall and even popped up in an episode of Taggart.
Ricky said “ Lorraine has her hands full recently, after being pregnant again, then coping with a new baby while trying to make an album. But she’s right into acting now and she’ll definitely be doing more. Our older kids, Emer and Georgie, will miss out on the tour because they are a bit older, but little Seamus will be there so it’ll be no partying and early nights after the show for us”. Ricky - who also has another daughter from his first marriage - reckons the fact that the other members have careers outside music has actually helped their comeback plans. He said : “ When we were having Number One Albums and filling giant arenas all over the world, the pressure on myself was immense. I was the main songwriter as well as the frontman and I constantly had five other people looking to me as to what we would do next. Now the situation has changed as everyone else has a life and other interests away from the band which means there isn’t the same day-to-day hassle and personality clashes. He continues: We are definitely not doing this to be part of some kind of trendy 80’s revival though. I think the new album is actually better than the last two I made with Deacon Blue and every song sounds like a single”.
“But although we’ll be playing a lot of the new stuff on the tour we’ll also be raiding our back catalogue of hits, so all the biggies will still be there”. Despite being on the sidelines as other Scots groups like Texas and Travis have gone on to become rock giants, Ricky insists he has no regrets at bowing out so early the first time around. He said: ”It’s great to see the bands doing so well and they’ve worked very hard for it. But I have been that soldier and I know that fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It was great fun for a while and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, but now it’s someone else’s turn and I’m sure Sharleen Spiteri and Fran Healy know exactly what they are doing and don’t need any advice from me”. He added: “ In saying that I do feel like I’ve been given a new lease of life in every department. I left the door open enough for Deacon Blue to come back and hopefully we’ll be here to stay for a while longer yet.