Ash are an alternative band from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. The teen idols have grown into international indie stars known for their upbeat songs of summer love, adventure and wanderlust. The band draws on the talents of super drummer Rick McMurray, the mighty bassist Mark Hamilton and singer Tim Wheeler armed with a flamethrowing Flying V.
The band’s origins stem from Hamilton and Wheeler’s failed attempt to start an American football team whilst at school which became an Iron Maiden inspired mega band called Vietnam that included five members.
Vietnam whittled down in members until only two remained and so McMurry was drafted in before changing their name to Ash - the first cool word in the dictionary. Drawing on new inspiration from bands like Pixies and Nirvana, the band began to incorporate a more American based grunge style featured on a number of demo tapes including Shed, Raptor and Garage Girl.
The tapes attracted the attention of manager Stephen Taverner who forwards the teenagers £300 to record some more and resulted in the single Jack Names The Planets which became a big success in the indie scene. It was followed by the song Uncle Pat and both singles were included on the 1994 mini-album Trailer.
Despite their growing success and clear musical talent, the band were hampered by their young age having to postpone the release of their single Girl From Mars due to school exams. They immediately threw themselves into the studio once again and six months after school had ended for Wheeler and Hamilton their first LP 1977 was released.
Named after the year of release for the original Star Wars movie, the band’s shared obsession, and Tim and Mark’s birth, the album included a stream of hit singles such as Goldfinger, Kung Fu, Angel Interceptor and Oh Yeah. It has been certified Platinum and sold over two million copies worldwide since coming out in 1996.
In 1997 the band recruited guitarist Charlotte Hatherley who made her recording debut on the single A Life Less Ordinary. The relentless touring and crazy lifestyle began to take its toll on the young band and this reflected in the music. Follow-up album Nu-Clear Sounds had a darker edge and reflected on themes of paranoia, confusion and burning out. Nu-Clear Sounds hits #7 in the UK upon the release in 1998 and reached Gold certification.
Taking some time out, the band came back in 2001 with their stunning album Free All Angels. Featuring the blistering single Burn Baby Burn and the Ivor Novello Award winning song Shining Light, the album saw the band once again become certified Platinum.
Ash were invited to the hit making Sound City Studios where Nirvana’s Nervermind was recorded and produce their 2004 hit album Meltdown. The record benefits from the band’s talent for writing punk informed guitar pop which is bolstered by the big sound the studio creates.
Following the departure of Hatherley, they release the reflective album Twilight Of The Innocents in 2007. The record marked a growth in maturity for the band with songs that touched upon a political climate of fear whilst wars raged in the Middle East.
This development continued with the band exploring electronic sounds. Sensing that a change was coming for music with the rise of downloading and streaming, the band announced that they would only release singles from then on and in 2009 begin the exhaustive task of releasing twenty-six singles in one year for their A - Z Series. The period marked a creative high for the band as they succeeded in their task whilst also gigging prolifically, joined on stage by Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack.
Despite vowing never to release another album, that is exactly what they did in 2015 with the release of their latest studio album Kablammo!
The record saw the band return to a sound based more around guitars and featured the cool slacker track Let’s Ride, the full on head rush song Go! Fight! Win! and an instrumental ode to the daredevil Evel Knievel.
Ash tickets are now on sale through Gigantic.com so book now!
They play at The Live Rooms in Chester on Monday 25th of July.
This December sees the band celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their breakthrough album 1977 by playing stellar gigs at the fantastic Roundhouse in London and Nottingham’s legendary venue Rock City - despite previously being banned having trashed the backstage area and letting off the fire extinguisher at the venues owner in his own office during the original 1977 tour.
“We're as excited as we are in disbelief to announce the 20th anniversary tour of 1977. Some of these songs have grown with us throughout those years; others have the ability to transport us mentally and emotionally back to that crazy formative year of 1995 to 96. These gigs are going to be a trip, trip, trip!
These concert tickets will absolutely sell out so be sure to book yours early to avoid disappointment.
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