Deacon Blue star Ricky Ross tells why he can't wait to take to King Tut's stage for 7 Nights Session in aid of Centenary Fund
Daily Record 4th August  2013

THE Scottish group will play a full show on Friday, September 6 in a bid to raise money for the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund.

RICKY ROSS can’t wait to take Deacon Blue to Glasgow’s King Tut’s for our next 7Nights Session, because he dreamed of playing venues just like it when his band first started out.

The group play a full show on Friday, September 6 to raise money for the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund, following on from Glasvegas, Gun and The View.

The Deacon Blue concert is the latest in our series of 7 Nights Sessions, with cash raised going to the SMCF’s 17 charities.

Ricky, 55, said: “It is good to be doing something for such an important charity.

“I love King Tut’s. I go a lot and it is a great place to see a new band.

“It’s a welcoming place and a real musicians’ place. People go there primarily for music, which is a good sign. It is not a trendy hotspot.

“I don’t remember the first time I went to King Tut’s to be honest.

“But when we did an album in 2001, we did a show in Tut’s at the start of the album as a one-off thing.

“We played it as Deacon Blue and I played there solo a couple of times. It was always good fun. It’s a great place to play.

“The audience are right in front of you and there is no hiding place.

“There is a real strong bond with the audience. We played a lot of that size of clubs so I’ll feel comfortable playing there.”

Dundee-born Ricky started the chart-topping Glasgow band in 1985, five years before King Tut’s opened its doors.

That meant Deacon Blue had to impress audiences and record company A&R men in pubs, nightclubs and student unions, where bands could potentially face a tough ride.

He added: “What a lot of people don’t realise is that when we started playing music and I came to Glasgow, there was no King Tut’s.

“We were going around playing places that weren’t suited to being gigs.

“The early gigs we played were in bars that weren’t set up for it and that meant you had to get in a PA and lights, and we were playing nightclubs that would have a DJ.”

Among those early gigs were concerts by Deacon Blue and Ricky’s previous band, Woza, at Glasgow’s Maestros nightclub and the city’s Fixx bar.

“The Fixx was a place we played,” Ricky said. “It didn’t cater for gigs.

“It was everything that made you want a place like King Tut’s.

“But we were lucky. Major label people would come up to see bands.

“Even though these places weren’t the best gigs, we always managed to get round it.

“Sometimes you would do a gig and there would be nobody there. Other times there would be 200 people and you would think it was amazing.

“One night in one of those clubs that went well would be enough to keep you going and to keep you believing in what you were doing.

“It was great when King Tut’s came along because until then, there had been no small venues in the city.”

He added: “There used to be a gig in Edinburgh called The Venue.

“It was a club gig and I remember playing one summer and it was steaming hot in the club.

“I remember thinking that was great. Then we played in Glasgow at the Art School and Dance Factory in Dundee and that was a nicely set up club show.

“In Glasgow, we went from playing late at night to playing student unions such as Strathclyde University.

“Every time we came back there were more people there to see us.

“There was always a bit of pressure. The audience we played to back when we started out, 25 years ago or whenever it was, never went away because that was the audience that discovered you and stuck by you.

“And when you go back to places like King Tut’s, you know you had better be pretty good.”

The intimate concert will take Ricky back to his days as frontman for Deacon Blue before they got signed.

“Before we had a record deal, every gig seemed make-or-break because A&R men were coming up to see us,” Ricky said.

“Bands around at the time included
The Big Dish, Hue & Cry and Love & Money who had already got a big record deal.

“Wet Wet Wet had made a big splash and had a deal. You’d see the Blue Nile about though they didn’t do gigs.

“Del Amitri and The Bluebells were around too.

“Every time you went in to do a demo, you had to book a studio and it was the big demo you felt was going to change your life.”

He added: “It was completely different to these days of sending an MP3 by email.

“Something about the slower communication and taking a physical cassette to someone’s office made it seem more important.

“Certain cassette players ran slow or fast so you were never quite sure how it would sound.”

Ricky fully expects some of the magic of the band’s early gigs to be in evidence when the King Tut’s show comes around, on September 6.

The band will be playing songs from a career that stretches back to their seminal debut album, 1987’s Raintown, to their most recent long-player The Hipsters.

Ricky admits the tiny show to just 300 people will seem like back to basics and says that will add to the appeal.

“As a fan, I remember being in the States on tour and wishing I could see the Stones who were playing a club in New York,” he said

“Audiences love a one-off because it is an event.

“You can’t have special effects and the fact that it is limited makes it special.

“We’ll get as much of the laser show in as we can. There’ll be a red light and a blue light.

“We hope to give people the best night of their lives.

“Every time we play a show as a band, that is what we set out to do, whether it is King Tut’s, the Royal Concert Hall or a place like The Hydro at Christmas.

“It has got to be the best gig you can put on. The King Tut’s show is the first gig on our tour that takes us through to December.

“We’ll do the best we can on the night and hopefully people will have a good time.”