Even if the name Midge Ure doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably heard at least one of his songs. In 1984, Ure (with Bob Geldof) wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia.
The song, which included vocals from U2’s Bono, became the top-selling single in U.K. history.
Ure (pronounced “yer”) also was instrumental in creating the Live Aid concert with Geldof in 1985 and used his success as the frontman of the new wave British bands Ultravox and Visage as a platform for his altruism.
The Scottish musician will play the Mystic Theatre on Jan. 10, performing Ultravox and Visage classics as well as material from his 2014 album, “Fragile.” The first track on the album, “I Survived,” is a heartrending song about Ure’s unending battle with alcoholism, which he has acknowledged for many years.
In a phone interview last month, Ure addressed topics ranging from Ultravox’s groundbreaking 1981 video for the song “Vienna” to documenting his 2015 solo tour.
Q. Why did you make the documentary “Fragile Troubadour” of your 2015 tour?
A. I don’t normally jump on a plane with a guitar in my hands, no crew and no manager, no adult really, and set about touring North America for six weeks.
It came about because I was (teaching) a master class at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and (students) were asking about multi-album deals and global touring.
The majority of people in that room would never ever see a multi-album deal because of how much the music industry has changed.
I thought that nothing I’m saying to them is relevant.
So I set about doing this tour completely unaided, completely alone, driving 300 miles between cities, setting up the equipment, doing the show myself, taking it down at the end of the night, taking money at the end of the show and documenting the entire thing because I wanted to show these aspiring musicians just how hard the reality of the future they’ve chosen is.
I don’t think people will stop wanting to perform music; I just think they might have to subsidize it themselves by doing something else.
People aren’t buying songs. They aren’t paying for something that costs less than a cup of coffee but that could maybe change your life. A piece of music is an incredibly powerful thing at times.
Q. What do you have planned for the upcoming tour?
A. This time around I’m touring with a couple of U.S.-based musicians, (former Right the Stars drummer BC Taylor and keyboard player Tony Solis), and between us we make quite a bit of noise.
So it’s guitar, bass and drums and a couple of synthesizers thrown in as well.
We mix the instrumentation between us, which gives us the facility to cover a huge amount of material from early Ultravox to a little bit of Visage to some of the latest solo stuff.
Q. Is the song “I Survived” autobiographical? You’ve had problems with alcohol.
A. Absolutely, yeah, I still do. I don’t drink — once you’re involved in that stuff it’s like a little demon on your shoulder just waiting to pounce. I just think that you write about your life and if you write honestly someone somewhere will connect to that piece of music.
Who: Midge Ure band with Luvplanet
When: 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10
Where: Mystic Theatre, 21 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma Tickets: $25
More information: 707-765-2121, mystictheatre.com