Interview: Ash

Ash have stormed back into the top ten recently with "Shining Light" and look set to continue in a similar vain with their outstanding latest offering "Burn Baby Burn". Given that the forthcoming album "Free All Angels" is even better than a regular seat in front of Kylie’s shower cubicle, the end of April should see me breaking into a cold sweat when the band take to the road. Charlotte Hatherley was more than happy to give me a sponging down. Yeah right. I wish.....

AD: First of all, before now, you personally have been reluctant to do interviews. Why is this?

CH: Someone asked me that yesterday and it’s not something I’ve ever been aware of. I Suppose I’ve been doing more of the acoustic radio stuff and been around Europe so maybe that’s just how it looks.

AD: So were you a big Ash fan before you joined the band?

CH: Erm...I knew of the singles but to be honest the band had passed me by a little bit and I didn’t really know much about them, but Tim played me "A Life Less Ordinary" and I loved it. I wanted in after that.

AD: I noticed you were wearing a Kiss t-shirt one on of the publicity photos. Is that more your cup of tea then?

CH: Nah, that was just a good joke t-shirt.

AD: Glad to hear it. Anyway, you made a number of songwriting contributions on your last album "Nu-Clear Sounds". How daunting was that, knowing that "1977" had been as well received by critics and public alike previously?

CH: It wasn’t as daunting for me as it was for Tim. The thing is, he hadn’t really written anything since touring the first album. You know, we went into the studio with only half the album written. There was a lot of pressure on Tim to come up with singles as commercial as "Girl From Mars", but I was just enjoying the experience and doing my own thing with Mark.

AD: Talking about "Nu-Clear Sounds", the band was recently quoted as saying you were much happier with "Free All Angels" than you were with the last album. Why do you think the new album is so much better?

CH: It’s not that it’s better. Well it is, - it’s just that for us "Nu-Clear Sounds" is quite difficult to listen to. It’s quite a dark record and was very difficult to make because of all the pressures that were put upon us at the time. This time it was different - we went to Spain and had such a good time making the new record that it’s more upbeat and it just makes us feel good to listen to it.

AD: Now, is there any truth in the vicious rumour doing the rounds that Tim made his own porn video when the band were last on tour?

CH: Er...that wasn’t really Tim,no. But there was some kind of porn related incident involving an Italian pole vault champion who stalked us! Erm...very bendy.

AD: I’m intrigued now. How do you get involved in these things? It says in my notes that you were asked to appear on Ski Sunday as well! What’s that all about?

CH: Oh yeah. Me and Tim went to Chamonix a few days ago up in the French mountains. We were just doing some stuff for Jo Whiley’s evening session and decided to do some skiing and snowboarding. The BBC got wind of it and invited us to be on the show.

AD: Ah I see, it’s the old "rock music and skiing" link again. Let’s talk about the charts. Do bands like Westlife sicken you or do you think they deserve their place in the hall of fame?

CH: (sighs) What are they for? What do they do? I don’t want to get involved with the whole Westlife slanging thing but I can’t understand how anyone can like them. A-ha were much better anyway.

AD: Yeah at least they had a shred of talent. I’m sorry, I just hate Westlife so much that I always have to ask about them. Damn karaoke band. Anyway, your excellent new single, "Burn Baby Burn" - what’s it all about?

CH: It’s all about the end of a relationship where neither person wants to admit it. It used to be called "Slow Suicide" but we changed it because they said they won’t let the word "suicide" be played on air - which is a bit rich as I remember the Manics "Suicide Is Painless" and "Suicide Blonde" by INXS both being played.

AD: Hmm, I can distinctly remember one member of each of those two bands that maybe that decision was based not dwell on it I reckon. Anything embarrassing ever happened to you or the others on tour?

CH: Anything celebrity like and we always embarrass ourselves. I was standing next to PJ Harvey who is a big idol of mine so I knew I had to say something to her. She turned out to be really sweet, and then I was saying bye to her whilst walking backwards and I fell flat on my back. Quite humiliating. I embarrassed myself when I met Bono and I embarrassed myself when I met Huey (Fun Lovin’ Criminals). I’ve got foot IN mouth disease.

AD: Finally, Ash have always had a reputation for getting absolutely bladdered a lot of the time. Has that changed since you joined the band or are you just as bad as the rest?

CH: No it hasn’t changed at all. It would be a bit weird if I turned round and was like "Right. You’re not drinking tonight lads. Early night for the lot of you. Don’t you think?

I suppose so. Well, whatever is Tim and co have been drinking, let’s make sure they are well plied with the stuff ready for the follow up. More of the same please.

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