Tributes paid to Sunderland clubland legend Blue

Musical tributes will be paid to one of the most popular figures on Sunderland's club scene.

Saturday, 9th April 2016, 5:00 am
Cirkus, with Stuart McDade, back right.

A funeral service for Stuart ‘Blue’ McDade at Sunderland Crematorium on Friday will be followed by a wake at which his friends will play.

Stuart passed away last week at the age of 63.

He first became known when he played drums with rock band Lucas Tyson in the early 70s, but had been bitten by the music bug while still a child, as brother Kevin and sister Sandra Dixon recalled.

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“My nana bought him his first drum kit when he was still in junior school,” said Kevin.

Stuart’s practice was not always music to the neighbourhood’s ears, as Sandra remembered.

“Every time the house was empty, he would practice the drums,” she said.

“Mum always knew that within half an hour of her coming home, someone would be knocking on the door to complain that he had been playing again.

“It still did not stop him.”

When Lucas Tyson ended, Stu and a couple of bandmates formed a new group, Cirkus, and made a serious bid for the big time, pitching their recordings to London record companies.

They caught the attention of The Sweet frontman Brian Connolly, who became their manager, and secured a recording deal that saw them produce an album, Cirkus One.

Although the album was well received critically and sold well in the band’s native North East, it failed to capture a mass market and, after a change of lead singer, the band returned home.

Cirkus became a highly successful fixture of the club scene for the next decade , playing classic rock, before going their own ways.

Stuart continued to work with keyboard player Derek miller and also spent time with successful club circuit band Deek the Juice.

Twice married, he is survived by children Charisse, Tonja, Stevian and Adam and four grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at the crematorium at 2.30pm on Friday, followed by a wake at Steel’s Social Club, at which a host of local musicians will perform.