The phenomenal Ash returned a month or so ago with the most glorious
set of tunes you could wish to hear all summer. I had a brief chat with
drummer extraordinaire Rick McMurray to find out how it all came about:
AD: Hi Rick, and congratulations on your new album, which we believe
to be the finest of the year so far. It seems to me that youve
taken all the best bits of all your previous records and merged them
together. It also seems that you personally play a more prominent role
in the new material than you have done in the past. I think Tim was
quoted as saying youd turned into a drumming monster.
Did this just happen, or was it a pre-meditated idea that you just wanted
to let rip?
RM: It was kind of an overnight thing really. Nothing really changed
between the recording of Free All Angels and the ideas behind
Meltdown. I think its probably been in the back of
our minds to make a much heavier album since we first started though.
We just thought Ah f**k it, lets do it! this time
around. Plus I bought myself this fantastic vintage kit and so Ive
probably been paying more attention to my drums recently!
AD: With the forthcoming release of Charlottes solo album,
has it crossed your mind to make one yourself then?
RM: No, not really. Im not much of a songwriter, to be frank!
I suppose if I had some spare time and we werent busy touring,
promoting and recording Id feel like having a crack at writing,
but I havent got any plans to do so. Theyd almost certainly
turn out to be B-sides if I wrote them though
AD: You never know. Anyway, one of the things I like most about Meltdown
is that you could release literally ANY track from it as a single. Do
YOU regard it as your strongest album?
RM: Yeah I do actually. A lot of people and press are saying that its
the heaviest thing weve done, but that weve still got the
seriously strong melodies, so thats good. We worked hard to keep
that kind of consistency and add the extra rock factor this
time around and I think weve managed to make a record that appeals
musically to the senses. I think its great that I read a line
in one review that said Ash go Black Sabbath too!
AD: My favourite tracks are Meltdown, Detonator
and Clones which ones are you the happiest with?
the last two you just mentioned actually! It was nice to
have something to say as well - you probably already know that Clones
was about Tims disillusionment of going on the Iraq anti-war peace
march and nobody seeming to take a blind bit of notice. Detonator
was more a thinly veiled ode to an orgasm! Actually that one seems to
have been the least popular with the press so far, so Im glad
you like it!
AD: So how much did America influence the direction that you took
on the album?
RM: Well we certainly picked up a lot of things from other bands; because
the States is a lot more rock oriented than the UK and we spent about
9 months touring with bands of that ilk, its bound to leave an
impression on you. The great thing is though, that you have to be totally
on top of your game at those shows and I think a lot of that is reflected
AD: Ash do actually seem to be getting better and better every time
an album is released. How much longer can you continue the trend, and
how the hell do you better THIS album?!
RM: Ah well thats the thing. But then we ALWAYS think that when
weve put an album out before, so we dont really worry about
it. This time around, we switched producers Owen (Morris) agreed
with us too; in fact it was him who brought up the point we all
decided that hed taken Ash as far as he could, and thats
why we enlisted the services of Nick Raskulinecaz (Foo Fighters). Anyway,
it was a case of just enjoying ourselves while we were over there and
I think as a result, were now playing better than ever.
AD: On the inside sleeve of Meltdown, there are 15 tracks
listed. Now, call me stupid if you like, but I can only hear eleven!
What the hell happened to the other four?
RM: I think the reason for that was because we only wanted to put one
ballady track on the album, and there a few other slow ones left over.
You may seem them on a B-side at some stage, but there is one more dance
oriented song that we did and you never know, we might put it out as
a one off single some time!
AD: I shall look forward to it enormously. Thanks for your time Rick
and good luck!
What? Youve read the interview and you STILL havent bought
the album? Are you stark raving mad? No, dont answer that - its
quite clear that if you havent bought (or dont intend to
buy) this album, you will deservedly be bullied for the rest of your
days, and I for one have no sympathy.
Interview and transcript; Tone E