Guitarist Midge Ure, who brings his solo tour to the Bayou on Tuesday, says his old band, Ultravox, is not disbanding. "Not at all. This is sort of a holiday. We decided it was time to take a break, our first in five years."
Ultravox was one of the prime movers in England's electro-pop and new romantic movements, but he could just as easily have made his reputation as a punk pioneer: In 1975, he turned down a chance to be a founding member of the Sex Pistols.
"I was offered the job without ever being asked if I was a musician or not," Ure recalls. "That didn't sound right to me. In fact, the whole thing stank. It was basically a ploy on Malcolm McLaren's part to sell clothes, because he owned a shop in London."
It's been a year now since Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" launched the rock philanthropy movement, and while Bob Geldof is often lionized for his leadership role, Ure is often overlooked as the song's co-composer. He remains an officer of the Band Aid Trust and insists that recent criticism about disorganization and delays in dispersing funds is unnecessary.
"Anytime there's a large amount of money involved, there's always cynicism, especially when you've got rock musicians involved. The few things that have been tried in the past were immense failures, despite the best intentions. The entire Band Aid setup is an open book. We've been criticized because all hasn't gone as smoothly as everyone thinks it might have, but trying to collect 55 million pounds from umpteen countries in the world is a very slow, laborious business. I'm sure people would like to see the money spent a lot faster, but I think it's a lot better getting it spent proper than quicker."