Sunday, 4 July 2010


Ricky Ross's music career took off when he moved to Glasgow and formed Deacon Blue. There is plenty of information about Deacon Blue's history on the net already, but not quite so much about Ricky's early Dundee days, so I thought I'd drop a few bits & pieces of the lesser known stuff about him.
RR actually lived near Dawson Park I recall (my old roll delivery patch) and was a Dundee High School kid. He then went to Dundee College of Education to become an English teacher.
Ricky was also involved in the local music scene around this time too (late 70's) - one aspect of which was playing in a band called Cahoots. Another connection with the Dundee music scene was his friendship with the Scrotum Poles, going to all their early gigs and helping them out behind the scenes, which included travelling to London with the the band, sharing driving duties on the way down, when it was time for the Scrotum Poles to cut their "Revelations" EP.
RR also ran a youth club in town called The Other Door Cafe, in a city centre church. A place where local bands could play and teenagers could grab a few soft drinks.
He even dabbled in a bit of acting on stage, along with Scrote, Craig Methven. There is photographic evidence for that one!!
Anyway, these wee snippets of his youth spent in Dundee, all eventually lead up to him going west in the early/mid 80's - and the rest is well documented.
I had a sift through some old music papers I have and found the above item in an NME from June 1987, an early tour schedule which shows a Deacon Blue gig at Dundee's Dance Factory (Fat Sams) on 5th July that year.
2 years later, the band put on a show at the Whitehall Theatre, and as if by magic, I have a track from this gig, below, the concert having taken place on 1st March 1989.
Apart from a bit of sax near the end, it's pretty much a Ricky Ross solo spot. A track called "Thunder Road".


  1. We played at ricky ross's youth club , but it was in the city churches not princess street , it ended in a full scale riot with us fighting the "audience" who were a bunch of glue sniffers ! - soft drink policy !(no problem with glue sniffers i used to be one !) anyway , a guy from the crowd want to sing because the scrotum poles had let him the week before , but ,Vex were not the scrotes and we told him to fuck off , but he had loads of mates and massive fight broke out , a lot of our equiptment got smashed we got hurt , they got hurt..etc ,then rick invited us back to his flat to discuss what had happedned , 2 minutes in his flat I opened a beer and was told by ricky "we dont do drugs here" I left , never discussed what when wrong , but on hind sight , a bunch of nutters from whitfield (VEX) playing to similar from the hilltown did not really work ! still see some of the guys we fought with and are freindly with them now! what ricky did not get was we (all of us groups and crowd) did not give a fuck about his christian views and just wanted somewhere to go on saturday night!

  2. Imagine getting a bit of "stick" from glue sniffers!!!

  3. The scrotes had a fantastic gig at the Other Door, it was normally at the city churches but the sub was Princes Street and we played there. Mike is right in saying that we let the kids come up on stage and dance with us and sing and to be honest it was no problem, we didn't mind.

    I am not a christian, and neither were any of the scrotes, and, again, I doubt if many of the kids were, but here was a youth club of sorts with bands and a great atmosphere.

  4. Another thought Mike - perhaps the audience had read your Vex Literature where you state "Anyone can play and enjoy. No pretences. Join in, play, chant, bang"
    Maybe it wasn't the glue!!

  5. Hi retro
    pretty sure none of them could read, respond and react to our manifesto ! could just be they fucking hated us!
    but an interesting interpretation and conclusion !!

  6. Vex
    fight at brig o' tay and city churches, banned from tayside bar-could you lot not take a hint???

  7. yes anon! and that was to carry on to confront and cross the barriers of music and art as purely mundane entertainment and to make people think and react about the purity and importance of what i was doing as a significant relevant musical event - then fight them !!
    to stop would have been easy and a great loss to dundee's musical education
    who says I have no sense of humour!
    mike kane

  8. Yeah Mike, but it was the continual and never-ending confrontation that became tiresome and boring! As much as I admire your stance back in the day, it eventually became kind of joyless and awful.

  9. Did Alien Culture support Vex there? I remember seeing both of them but can't remember if it was the same night. Seems like everytime I went there someone got a wrap in the puss fae some Hulltoon tinkys. They were mods too, that made them even sadder.

  10. Last time I saw Richard (obscure lyric alert)he was a Christian, is he still?
    Good guy though, and now ace and knowledgeable Radio Scotland presenter.
    He's a proud Dundonian, but sadly a Camel Jockey.

    Klaus and The Rooster

  11. point taken baxter parp ! Ive often been told to calm down , play the guitar properly , stop being so angry all the time !
    "the bear" once said to me "all you wee people are always angry cos your small" he may be right !! just cos he's 6 foot odd.
    there were "happy" times as well! AAGA were a pop band , as were the Wilderness Children, so I was not always confrontational.
    As for Alien Culture , that was another night, and , re-reading my first comment its sounds like a hate Ricky Ross , I dont really and have met him several times since and got on well , but , he is an Arab and in Deacon Blue!!

  12. First remember Richard when he, and his family, frequented the same sunday school in early 70s. He was a pretty good kid (teenager) who always looked after the younger ones around (me and my brother etc as we were a few years younger)...he didnt stand for bullying, had a good sense of humour and was a good chap!

  13. As long as he doesn't slip into presenting Songs Of Praise..!!

  14. This is a thread about Richard Ross, though, and not about vex.

    Pluses: absolutely excellent lovely bloke, supportive, honest and I love Raintown

    Negs: Real Gone Kid. I could never forgive him, as an english teacher rhyming kid with "I'll do what I should have did".

    And as for Mike, its irritating that every music post ends up about vex. I didn't like them much, but Mike is a bloody lovely person too.

  15. Not sure how to comment on this , but , the VEX comments I put on were relevant to Ricky Ross and thats what I thought the blog was about, commenting on your memories of dundee events and I can only comment on things I have been involved in ,not trying to monopolise the site with VEX , things just go off on tangents and if I comment I get reply's , I cant control this.
    I like craig's comment that he did not like us much , seems nobody did and I don't and never did care, for a band that played 5 gigs and released no records we seem to still get talked about!
    and my past output seems to have given a lot of people a lot to talk about , good or bad !
    anarchy and peace

    mike kane