Though fragile, Ultravox’s Midge Ure survives 

click to enlarge Midge Ure’s new solo album is called “Fragile.” - COURTESY ANDY SIDDENS
  • Midge Ure’s new solo album is called “Fragile.”
Scottish musician Midge Ure, 60, has been awarded five honorary degrees and is an officer of the Order of the British Empire. With his longtime comrade Bob Geldof, he helped organize the historic Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8 concerts and co-wrote Band Aid’s charity smash single in 1984, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” He reformed his classic New Wave group Ultravox for a tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of 1980’s definitive “Vienna” album, and the recording of 2010’s comeback “Brilliant.” With all of these successes, it still took him awhile to release “Fragile,” the ethereal new followup to his 2001 solo disc “Move Me.” He had his reasons.

In the “Fragile” booklet, you try and explain the 13-year lapse.

Well, people think you’ve wound up in a drunken stupor and walked off the edge of a cliff somewhere. Or that you’ve disappeared, or just run out of ideas. So you do feel obliged to explain to people why it’s taken such a ridiculously long time. And part of it is the doubt that goes through your head. Doubt like: A, can I do this anymore?; B, do I want to do this anymore?; and C, is there anybody out there who’s even remotely interested in anything I’ve got to do or say? And that really takes the wind out of your sails.

But you have your own home studio, where you gradually pieced “Fragile” together, right?

Yeah. I’ve always had my own facility. I knew the day would come when you would be of absolutely no interest to a record company anymore. I could see it coming a long time ago, that you had to be skilled in many, many different areas if you wanted to survive in this industry. So my studio is a musician’s potting shed. Traditionally, somebody my age would be down there twiddling about with flowers and planting things. But I twiddle about with computers and machines and make noise. I waddle down there every day and indulge myself.

The first song is “I Survived.” Survived what, exactly?

It’s the classic working-class-boy-aspires-to-become-a-musician-makes-loads-of-money-and-drinks-too-much-and-then-finds-out-he-cant-stop thing. Ten years ago now, I got myself in a bit of trouble with alcohol, and I just felt like my entire world was collapsing. That’s part of why “Fragile” took so long – I went through major periods of self-doubt, and it takes a long time to climb back out. So “I Survived” was one of the first things that I wrote without my old friend Jack Daniels sitting next to me, doing the co-writing. It sounds bloody miserable when I’m talking about it, but it’s quite a positive song!


The Retro Futura Tour

with Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Ultravox's Midge Ure, Katrina of Katrina & the Waves

Where: Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $45 to $89.50

Contact: (408) 741-2822,

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Tom Lanham

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