Charlotte Hatherley

Princess Charlotte

One of the best albums released this year is Ash’s mad axewoman Charlotte Hatherley’s upbeat, poppy-but-rocky solo debut album “Grey Will Fade”. Well, ok, actually she’s not mad at all, but hey, it sounds good. Anyway, the talented, luscious lady was happy to give me the lowdown on Ash, Kim Wilde and groupies…

AD: First of all, congratulations on an excellent debut solo album. It must have been a nice surprise for you when your download only single from it, “Kim Wilde”, attracted seven and a half thousand fans…

CH: Oh, that was just amazing! I remember the first day the website went up, and we had 300 people downloading the track in the first 3 hours, which was a real surprise for me! It was a major boost to my confidence as well, because I’m quite reluctant to give myself any praise and am normally quite down on myself and negative. Maybe I’ve always underestimated myself, I don’t know, but anyway, I decided I’d been talking about doing a solo album for so long that it was about time I did something about it.

AD: Just out of interest, what exactly WAS the relevance of Kim Wilde to that single, if any?

CH: There wasn’t any. It was just meant to be a working title, but it kind of stuck and never shifted at all. That’s why I put the line about “when I was a kid in America” in there – so that there was some kind of a reference…and I had a relationship in New York so it was easy to incorporate that lyric.

AD: You worked with Frank Black’s producer, Eric Drew Feldman, on “Grey Will Fade” and you’re apparently a fan of my all time favourite band – Pixies. So, what are the chances of you and Frank himself getting together for a collaboration?

CH: Funnily enough, we supported them (Frank Black and the Catholics) in Berlin and Paris, and I gave Frank a copy of my album. We’ll have to wait and see what he thinks before I put that idea to him! But yeah, that’d be a phenomenal thing to do!

AD: How different was it working on your own album, as opposed to an Ash one?

CH: Totally! With Ash, all the parts are already written – even the drum parts – when we go to record them; I knew exactly what I was going to do on every record. With my solo album it was more a case of trial and error and I really enjoyed it. I thought about changing my name but I decided against it. It’’ not exactly very “rock” though is it? Charlotte Hatherley…

AD: I shouldn’t worry if I were you – my real name’s Lawrence Etheridge. (Charlotte laughed rather too hard at this revelation for my liking!)

CH: Sorry, you should become a 16th century writer with a name like that!

AD: Ahem...moving on…if we could just talk about Ash for a moment – “Starcrossed” – amazing video! It seems to have several references to classic films within it. I’m sure I noticed a bit of “Last Tango In Paris” in there somewhere…

CH: Oh my God, is there? I don’t know. The main theme of the video was lifted from Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo and Juliet”, I know that much, which we thought was just brilliant taken visually. We went to Bucharest before we found a church that would be perfect for the video and we had to have this priest there the whole time, to make sure we didn’t get up to any mischief! Most of the ideas for our videos come from Mark though, so he gets really involved when we’re filming it. The rest of us are just sitting on the floor twiddling our thumbs for most of the time!

AD: How do you think people’s perception of you personally has changed since you joined the band?

CH: I think they’ve embraced me a lot more now. When I first joined, I think a lot of the female fans thought I was there for an ulterior motive, but I think they can see now that I’ve not taken over the band in the way some people expected. I never pushed myself to the front and I wasn’t sleeping with anyone from the band – I was purely there to play the guitar, and I think most of the fans appreciate that now.

AD: How do you fight off amorous male groupies then?

CH: That’s an interesting one with Ash, actually. The girls that go to our gigs between the ages of 18 to 25 are really in your face, and they’ll go up to Tim and say “Do you want to fuck me?” straight out…

AD: I want to be a rock star…

CH: Ha ha. But the guy groupies…well, I don’t really get any – they all seem really intimidated and don’t really say much. They just stand in the corner and stare quietly, or they say hello and ask me to sign a record politely and that’s about it.

AD: But don’t you prefer it that way, rather than them coming up to you in the same way they do Tim?

CH: Well…whatever!

Wahey! I know which approach I’M going to use on Charlotte this Saturday at the…um…Charlotte in Leicester! Oh shit, no, wait. I can’t do that, I’m married. Bugger. I’ll have to be content with being one of the leering mutes that the young lass is accustomed to...

Interview - Tone E



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