Not long now! Thirty-five years since their debut single, Dignity, and millions of record sales since, Deacon Blue are digging out all their old 45s – the Top 10s, the favourites, the sing-along rarities and touring Australia this month. The band have always thrived onstage, but they’ve never played gigs quite like this. They’ll go electric for a raucous trip across their hits and play some of their favourites in an intimate acoustic section of the show. Ricky Ross talks to Hi Fi Way about returning to Australia.
A lot has happened since your last tour here in 2019. You must be really looking forward to coming back?
I think we hoped to be back sooner, the way things panned out. I think it was talked about coming back a little bit sooner. But obviously events caught up with everyone. It’s taken until now to get back, but we’re really glad it’s happening.
Do you have a lot of fond memories from the last Australian tour?
Amazing memories. First of all, we weren’t ever sure that we would get back after 1989, there was a big discussion about whether we could we make it happen. We were buoyed up by the fact that the tour sold so well and we ended up doing two nights in most of the cities. It just felt like incredible reaction. In terms of normal touring, it was quite hard work because of the way it was set up, we were flying back and forward. It was amazing and just a great reaction. It was great to be in Australia. The audiences were fantastic, and we had an amazing time. The chance of coming back was built on that now and we’re playing bigger places to bigger audiences. 2019 will always be very fondly remembered by us.
Does it feel more like an extended holiday rather than hard work?
Well, it certainly wasn’t a holiday because there was massive amounts of travel. This time it feels like a little bit more sane. We’re going west to east and probably in the right direction in New Zealand. Last time we were doting back and forward a bit, I think we had a day off in Melbourne from what I remember. Other than that there was a lot of travel involved, but we still had a good time. We didn’t have time to do very much other than gigs, but the gigs were so good we had a great time.
Has it been something that’s always been in your mind to do a tour like this one?
I think it comes from where we are at the moment. There’s obviously been four studio albums since we got back together in 2012 when we did The Hipsters. So it was about the last ten years or so, slightly longer because we were writing that record for a while. These four albums and the earlier five albums sort of never been in the one place. We felt it was a good time to put these songs that are very much part of our repertoire together. This last ten years has been a really exciting time. It’s reinvigorated band creatively, great audiences and there has been some great tours and great radio singles as well. It’s just been nice to put all that into one place and to explain to people this is who we are and what we do. It’s a chance to really celebrate that.
Have you reinterpreted some of these hits?
What actually happened was we were putting out a big sort of box set, which has everything in it, called You Can Have It All, it’s got every album and we were going to put a bonus CD with lots of things that were B-sides and so on. There was the eight CD’s there, but there wasn’t anything there really of any substance that I didn’t think was of any use. I said let’s do something good. We had been doing a little campfire set on the last tour, and so what we did was recorded over a couple of days an album of songs from Raintown right through to The City Of Love acoustically.
There’s about twelve songs that go right through the catalogue plus a couple cover versions. That album comes out with a box set and that’s why at the moment you can stream an acoustic version of Chocolate Girls. On the UK tour, we’re opening with that. I think when we come to Australia we will probably do some of that in the middle of the show. I haven’t quite got into thinking about that yet, but there will be some of that going on in the show as well.
With where you are at this stage of your career are you amazed with how these singles especially Real Gone Kid keep on keeping on and resonating with fans?
I think that’s the thing that surprises you most about having a longer career they’ve kind of lingered around in people’s memory and become important songs for people in their life. That keeps them in the front of people’s minds. We’ve been lucky enough to have a few of these songs and you can only have that perspective after a long number of years, but it has surprised us with how important and how much these songs mean to people.
Are there plans to do another album?
Greg and I have been working on new songs. Whenever there’s been downtime and obviously the first few months of this year where we weren’t doing shows, there was other projects that I was doing and in between times I’ve been just trying to store some things away that will be for a future thing. I’d like to think so. We never really plan anything beyond the last night of the next tour. because you never know where you are until you all look around and look at each other and think, do we want to do this any anymore? I’m really enjoying it. I think the band really enjoying it, so there is still a creative spark there, there’s still things I want to do with the band.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Deacon Blue on tour on the following dates, tickets from Live Nation…