Midge Ure in Majorca to perform for Inselradio's 20th anniversary.

09-06-2015

It has been 31 years since the dawn of Band Aid and a similar period since Midge Ure and Ultravox were topping the charts across the world, but both Midge and Band Aid are still very active today.

On Saturday Midge was the headline act at the party to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Inselradio Mallorca at the Pueblo Español. And while Midge is still performing and touring - having been a part of the bands Ultravox, Visage and Thin Lizzy he is in big demand at everything from 1980s' festivals to heavy metal and folk gatherings - he is still very much involved with the Band Aid foundation and Save the Children.

Midge is an extremely talented musician, and in the early '80s Ultravox completely changed the direction and approach of the music industry.

"We were always very hands on and very conscious about the sets, lighting, costume and sound etc., but when Vienna was released and became such a hit all round the world we were in constant demand on TV shows all over the place. We got sick and tired of flying around, miming in a studio and doing these naff interviews.

"The videos at the time were of really poor quality and, despite the record label not really understanding why we wanted to shoot one considering the track was so successful, we decided to film on 16mm. We used cinematic techniques and it became quite influential. The music video changed after that. All those things that became video clichés - cropping the top and bottom off the screen, shooting on film as opposed to videotape, making it look like a movie ... we were quite a groundbreaking act for a while."

He admits that the '80s, as a music decade, was one of the best.

"There were so many great bands and all so radically different. You had Japan, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, all that lot, and it was not just about the music. It was also about the songs and that is why so many have stood the test of time and are still being played today, a bit like the sounds of the '60s.

"When the '90s came around, it all changed. It was all about dance and little has changed since. Yes, there are some great bands about - Snow Patrol, Muse, Coldplay, Oasis, for example - but they’ve been around a while already and are well established. Nobody is writing any songs - apart from Adele - that connect with people and their feelings, there’s no social comment being made, it’s all so diluted with the emphasis being more and more on celebrity than quality talent and songs."

He also underlined how disastrous music downloads have been for the industry.

"There must be millions of young people who have never paid for a track in their lives. Just think about what that means for the artists and the record labels. It’s the main reason fewer artists are being signed, the money’s not there any more. Having said that, it wasn’t when I joined Ultravox. In fact the band was in serious debt and had just been dumped by its record label, but we begged and borrowed and managed to put something pretty special together."

"On the flip side, live music has become more and more popular over the past few years and that has been welcomed by artists. Not only does it mean extra work and income it also means that, for many of us, we can get out there and do what we love most and that is to perform live.

"I love live music. It’s like football, watching a match on the TV is not like being at the game and it’s the same about good bands and performers. We all want to be out there on stage. Every audience, like every team, is different, so you are constantly adapting and evolving depending on the crowd."

Midge fears that "dilution" of modern music has also crept into modern society and the younger generation.

"At some point in the not too distant future, someone is going to have to take over from Bob (Geldof) and me at Band Aid. What was initially going to be a six-month project is still going strong today. I co-wrote and produced Do They Know It’s Christmas? and we both thought we’d give it six months, raise as much money as we could for the cause and then go back to our normal lives. But that didn’t quite happen and, although we’ve never had an office or employed any staff, all we’ve ever done is pay for good accountants to manage the money because, after all, it’s not our money. And the royalties have kept coming in since 1984. Every Christmas the single is rolled out, it’s on every festive compilation CD, so the money’s kept coming in. We’ve been funding and still are funding, a host of projects in the key areas of Africa we set out to help like Ethiopia, Niger, Chad, the more stricken and struggling countries on the continent.

"But considering what the world is going through now, one would have thought young people would be more willing to step in and get involved, but they’re so busy with their faces in their phones and tablets or playing computer games, they don’t really appreciate what is going on in the world and how hard millions of people are having to fight to live from day to day. We re-recorded the song in 2004 for Famine Relief and then two years ago to raise funds for Ebola, but why is it just Bob and I? Aren’t there any young, new singers out there who want to pick up the mantle and take Band Aid forward or launch a similar initiative?

"We can’t go on forever you know. Many of the original trustees like Michael Grade, are still on board, but we need some fresh blood. Music can be, should be, a great vehicle for getting through to people, but that only works if you are writing good songs. I go back to that connection, it’s all about telling a story, writing the soundtrack to people’s lives and it’s rare to see that happening at the moment.

"Everyone’s looking for the easy option and shying away from reality. People are more interested in Celebrity Big Brother or TOWIE than with what’s happening around them and the rest of the world. We need some kind of moderation and no longer given a watered-down observation of the world. We need to start taking some responsibility, we can’t carry on just rolling and passing things over."

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Mike / Hace over 5 years

Funny that, James. Midge always speaks very highly of you.

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Steve / Hace over 5 years

All below is totally correct.

Also if it wasn't for Band Aid there would be millions less starving children in Africa.

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James T / Hace over 5 years

Jeez I always hated this guy, total non star. Now he is grumpy old man. Bob Geldorf is an ass, He recently slagged off his audiience for being badly dressed. You know what Bob, maybe the dont have your undeserved dosh to buy clothes! I remember band aid, self indulgent frollocks. Career enhancing rubbish, Midge Urine is saying kids arent what they used to be, moan moan moan. Lets also go back to striking, 4 day weeks and coal mining. What a bore. Get a life and new career you has been (and never was).

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