Have you been to an Ash gig recently and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) describing your
experience? Have you seen an Ash interview/review in a magazine and typed it up? Have you come across an Ash rlated article online that's not mentioned here? If you have, send it in and I'll add it to the site! Contact details can be found on
the add a link page. Every link/review/typed up article will be credited. Thanks, all help is much appreciated :c)
Taken from 'Intergalactic Sonic 7"s'|
1992 With grunge hitting its peak, 'Vietnam' split. Stuck for a drummer they recruit cowboy booted church sticksmith Rick McMurray (16), who had been seen to wander the school corridors alone with a demented bug-eyed stare (i.e - a total freak). Picking the first short word they like in the dictionary, Ash is born!!!! Inspired by Nirvana and local punk rock gurus 'Lazer-gun nun' our teenage heroes play almost weekly in dives in Belfast and Downpatrick, changing their reputation to a superteen punk-pop machine. Over the first ultra prolific summer together they record approximately 50 songs at local 7 track studio 'Cosmic Rays' (1 track was broken), funded by money saved from starving themselves during lunch break.
1993 Ash's demo tapes top local charts but the band start to get disillusioned playing to the same 20 kids at every gig, with GCSE exams looming they wonder how to get a record deal in a country with a non-existent music industry - things are looking bleak, but the band still finds time to write the evergreen classic 'Girl from Mars'. On the verge of breaking up, enter local gay svengali Bill McCabe who markets them as rentboys and sends their tapes off to his London contacts. PR Paddy Davis and radio plugger Stephen Taverner fall for the tape. Taverner takes a leap of faith sending the band £300 to go into the studio.
1994 The band's first single, 'Jack names the planets', is released on Taverners newly formed LaLaland label and picks up play on Radio One. Months later the 17 year olds sign to Infectious records after a whirlwind tour of England during their Easter break. Singles 'Petrol' and 'Uncle Pat' top the independant charts and 'Trailer' the mini album receives warm accolades. Ash are asked to play with Elastica on their UK tour which involves getting permission from their school headmaster. Not much homework gets done.
1995 In March they release 'Kung-Fu', Wheeler's paean to martial arts hero Jackie Chan. Critics and fans love it and the band start to gain momentum. After leaving school in June 'Girl from Mars' crashes into the top 20 and establishes Tim Wheeler as a writer of truly great pop tunes. The band commence their first world tour, trashing hotel rooms and experiencing Beatlemania in Japan, Australia and America. 'Angel Interceptor' the third in a wonderful series of singles continues the band's trajectory. The band's debut album is awaited with baited breath.
1996 After 3 months in the studio with maverick producer Owen Morris the band emerge with the album '1977'. The Welsh maniac's drug fueled production techniques involved making the band perform in dresses. Despite this the album was a scorcher and shot straight to the top of the UK charts. The nihilistic teenage rampage was a press sensation and before the band knew it covers on Smash Hits, NME, Select and Kerrang! had hit the shelves. The summer of 1996 belonged to Ash. With Britpop in full bloom the Irish boys scalped 2 top 5 hits with 'Goldfinger' and 'Oh Yeah' and they hit the road for the rest of the year. The album went on to sell over a million copies.
1997 Three become four with the addition of new guitarist Charlotte Hatherley whose first gig is in front of 40,000 people at the V97 festival. Having laid low for most of the year following a hectic previous 18 months the band hit back with yet another classic. Written for the film of the same name, 'A lifeless ordinary' hits top 10 and the marks the end of the '1977' chapter.
1998 Somewhat dazed and burntout by the blitz that had been the last three years and under pressure to deliver a follow up to the success of '1977', the recording of 'Nu-Clear Sounds' was a troublesome time for the band. Wheeler suffered writers block, there were problems with producers, deadlines were missed, but the band still delivered a critically acclaimed album. Taking a harder and darker direction, 'Nu-Clear Sounds' confused the public, though it still yielded the hit single 'Jesus Says'. Despite sell out tours round the globe, the year petered out with the release of 'Wildsurf'.
1999 Marking the nadir of the bands career, 'Nu-Clear Sounds' hadn't achieved what it could have done. Tim seemed intent on not doing press and went AWOL, ending up in New York making the blood, drug and sex fuelled video for 'Numbskull'. The band returns to Northern Ireland to rethink.
2000 After 6 months off, a rejuvenated Ash reconvenes at Tim's folk's house, playing and writing songs in the very same garage where it all began in 1992. Armed with over 30 songs and Rick McMurray's new mohawk (pre-Beckham) they head to a villa in the decadent mecca of Puerto Banus, southern Spain to record. Our heroes have the summer of their lives with sun, guns and endless nights at the Devil's bar. The songs were coming effortlessly and morale was sky high. They'd made their best album yet, but it wasn't going to be easy to reconvince the public. Using the internet to re-establish their fanbase, they hit the road on a tour of tiny venues off the beaten track, all voted for by fans online.
2001 The touring paid off and in January Ash's first single in almost 2 years, 'Shining light', smashed its way into the top ten. 2 fingers to those who had written them off. Ash were back. The rifftastic 'Burn Baby Burn' with a scorching hot cheerleader video put the rock back into the chart at lucky 13. 'Free all Angels' is released in May, beating Janet Jackson to the coveted number 1 spot prompting crazed drummer Rick McMurray to ring the offices of Virgin records, leaving a stirring rendition of Outkast's 'Sorry Miss Jackson'. The platinum selling album arrived in the nick of time as Ash were £1000 off bankruptcy. With the band in their element, touring commenced with a summer full of 44 European festivals culminating in a triumphant Reading headline set. The world tour takes Ash up to Christmas and 'Free all Angels' spawns two more hit singles in 'Sometimes' and 'Candy'. Q magazine crowns what has been a successful return to form presenting the band with 'Single of the year' for 'Burn Baby Burn'.
2002 So far.... 'There's a star' gives the band their 5th hit off 'Free all Angels'. 'Burn Baby Burn' is awarded 'Best single' by the readers of NME. At the hot press awards 'Free all Angels' picks up the gong for 'Best Irish album' and 'Shining Light' comes away with 'Best Irish single'. Meanwhile Mr Wheeler wins 'Best contemporary song' for 'Shining Light' at the British Academy of Composers and Songwriter's Ivor Novello awards. On tour in the states a recording session results in the Motown punk of 'Envy', a brand new track for the singles collection 'Intergalactic Sonic Sevens'. Meanwhile things are looking good stateside as 'Free all Angels' gets it's US release on Kinetic Records.... the past is prologue.....