Midge Ure clarifies that it wasn’t his idea to reconvene his long-dormant new-wave outfit Ultravox three years ago for an overseas tour and reunion album, “Brilliant.” But he says LiveNation, the promoter that seems to “own everything,” emailed saying, “If you’re ever thinking of doing anything, this is the year to do it — it’s the 30th anniversary of your album ‘Vienna,’” says the Scotsman (who lives in Bath, England), adding, “I honestly, hand on heart, had no idea that any of us would be interested.” But everyone said yes. Next week, he plays The City in a solo show.
Did you appear on “Celebrity Master Chef” overseas?
Oh, yeah! Those celebrity shows are all over the networks like a rash, and my agent kept phoning up, saying, “How do you feel about ballroom dancing? Or going into the jungle?” And I said no, I wasn’t interested. But later he said, “Don’t you watch that program ‘Master Chef’? And don’t you like cooking, too?” I said yes, and he said, “Right. Then you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is.” So I did.
And you almost won.
I got through to the finals, which was a little scary, because it’s way more intense than making music. I found myself thinking about bloody recipes, as opposed to what I was actually doing, so I ended up just sitting in my hotel room after doing a show, thinking, “Well, what can I make next? I’ve done all my signature dishes.” The hardest part was when they put you in a professional kitchen. I will never, ever complain to a waiter again if my meal is late!
When did you first get into cooking?
I did it initially just to impress the girls. I thought females might think it was really sweet that I could make them a dinner. But I found that I quite enjoyed it, to the point that the first time I went to Japan with Thin Lizzy — although I’d just joined Ultravox, I was still working with them for a while — the entire band and crew came home with then-new Sony cassette Walkmans. But I came back with a cookbook so I could learn how to make Japanese food.
What’s your specialty?
I like Thai food, Asian food. If I’ve got friends coming over for dinner, I’m ecstatic to spend all day just standing in my kitchen. It’s a meditative process, and a sharing process, too — it’s like making a record and getting people to hear it the same day you made it.