NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Paul Young, arguably the definition of blue-eyed soul in the 1980s, is returning to his roots, playing his early hits on tour alongside Midge Ure of Ultravox. It’s hard to believe that Young’s first album will soon be turning 35 years old but, according to the reviews, there is nothing about the music that hasn’t stood the test of time.
“Paul Young, Midge Ure at Sellersville Theater show how good ’80s music was; how well it, and they, hold up,” wrote John J. Moser of Allentown, Pa.’s The Morning Call.
Young has come come and gone over the years, playing some of the biggest hits of the 1980s like “Everytime You Go Away” and “Come Back And Stay,” and singing the opening couplet of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” that led to the Band Aid charity extravaganza to a time when he was dropped by his label and, in the early 90s, returned to the club scene. Along the way he reformed one of his earliest bands, The Q-Tips, and formed the country music outfit The Pacaminos. He released the album Good Thing, featuring vintage soul songs, in 2016, which led to his first bout of live performances in a long time. He admits it took a while to get his sea legs back.
Young has been answering questions lately about the odd and tragic story of his late wife and stolen music. His wife, Stacey Smith, passed in January and last month Young found himself reliving a curious and infuriating situation from 20 years’ prior, when a young man broke into his home and stole one-off recordings that contained Stacey’s voice that were never recovered, along with a £4,000 guitar collection. That 21-year-old man spent two years in jail for the crime after police matched him to DNA found on cigarette butts found in the home. That man also is now UK celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo, 42, but Young said in a recent interview with The Mirror that he has moved on, although the loss of the recordings was the most difficult issue to overcome. D’Acampo repented a long time ago.
More can be found here. We chose, instead, to ask a few questions about touring the States with “Midgy.” In fact, to get a good reception for the interview, Young borrowed Midge Ure’s cell phone. Each artist does a 65-minute set followed by “some stuff together” like this:
So. How’s the tour going along?
I’m really enjoying the tour. I had a long period where I was only doing occassional shows. When I released the last album a couple years ago, it gave me the opportunity to get back on the road. I was a bit rusty but it’s been getting better and better and better over the last two years and I’m really enjoying it. At this point, I’m touring America again. I’ve been a fool. I left it way to long, which means I’m playing smaller theatres, which means smaller hotels.
But to be honest, I don’t give a damn as long as I’m working hard. I enjoy it whether I’m in a luxury room or in a motel.
I just watched a YouTube video of you playing in November and it looked like you were having a blast back then.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Are you traveling with a full band or hiring ringers in various markets?
We’ve worked it out that we can get by, making the sound we want, with three American musicians and I brought my own guitar player. We have a four-piece band and that’s it, really. That’s enough to make the sound we want.
Sounds like you and Midge are getting along pretty well if you can borrow his cell phone.
Laughs. Yeah, we’re getting along great. We’ve known each other off and on for years. People say, How did you meet? I’ve called him up and asked, Midge, how did we meet? He went, “I don’t know. I can’t remember.” And neither can I.
We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives. Everybody knows Band Aid but, even before that, I think when I was in the Q-Tips we passed each other along many a road in the UK.
With venues this size, like the Culture Palace and the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, are there meet and greets backstage or are you heading out to the merch table?
Midge has gotten into the habit of always going out to the merch table afterward. That’s what we’ve been doing on these smaller dates. It’s quite manager at the smaller venues.
What type of people are you meeting: Fans that say they’ve been loving you since the 80s or people saying, “Dude, I didn’t know who you were when I walked in here”?
Laughs. Nah, generally they come armed with all their old album sleeves and they know me well. I will say that Midge has got some very hardcore followers. I may not loom that large on their radar. They quite enjoy the show but what they really want to do is get into the “Midgie Cridgie of the music Midge has made where as, I suppose, the kind of people who come to see me, they’re happy with a photograph.
Maybe, but in my world, when I was growing up, you were all over my MTV screen. The cycle was once or twice an hour.
Yeah. The nicest thing I get seems to be that a lot of people out there say my music got them through a particular hard time in their lives. That’s always been the power of music.
I know I’m obsessed with the merch table but what material is popular? What gets sold the most? Album covers to sign? Your 2016 CD? T-shirts?
Midgy is a lot better stocked than I am. I didn’t get gear as much as I should have so I’ve only got T-shirts on sale. Midgy is much more experienced at doing these kinds of shows. I didn’t think ahead.
In 1992 you rebuilt your career starting with small bars. Wouldn’t this be considered something similar – starting off small then coming back to the States in a couple years to play the bigger rooms?
Yup, that’s what I’m hoping. I definitely have that to go on.
Was there anything else you wanted to make sure was put into an interview?
When I get back home I’m doing a tour of the UK for a month that goes from the end of September to the end of October. I’m doing the first album in its entirety because it’s 35 years old. My other band, Los Pacaminos will be going out in November around the UK and then I’ve got December off. The Pacaminos album comes out in November.
January/February I’ll be working some Paul Young material before I do some European shows.