Interview:
Tim Wheeler of Ash

Ash Club Sevens?

Ash have been around for longer than you think. And how many people out there recently realised that they have actually been their favourite band for the last few years without having actually realised it before? Anyway, after several previous interviews with Atomicduster, we finally managed to track down frontman Tim Wheeler who spoke frankly about porn videos, slasher flicks and S Club. Hmmm.

AD: Right, first things first. Being the sad, anorak Ash fan that I am, I have read through every one of the “thank yous” on my promotional copy of “Intergalactic Sonic 7”s” and couldn’t help but notice the names Darius Danesh and S Club! Have I missed something here?

TW: Well, Darius appeared on stage with us in Leeds. He’d been voted the “biggest knob on the planet” previously by our fans, and then we met him at a Virgin Megastore where we were doing a signing session. He told us that he used to sing “Girl From Mars” in a band he used to be in so we got him up on stage to do that song with us…

AD: How did that go down with your fans? Really well?

TW
: No, they were mortified!

AD: Understandably so! And what’s your excuse for S Club?

TW:
We met on a few TV programmes, hung out and shared some spliffs together…

AD: Hang on a minute…you can’t say that about S Club!

TW:
Oh no…erm…we just hung out together. Ahem.

AD: You didn’t hang out with S Club Juniors too did you?

TW:
God no! That’s just sick. It’s child labour.

AD: So, anyway, moving on…Having exceeded a pinnacle point in your career – three successful albums behind you (as well as the debut mini album “Trailer”), and a summation of your history in the forthcoming greatest hits collection, have you considered exploring other forms of media?

TW:
I prefer to call it a “singles collection” than a “greatest hits album”. But yeah, we’re actually making our own slasher flick as we speak. It’s gonna be really cool because it’s got people like Moby, Dave Grohl and James Nesbitt in it. We all get killed in the end. In fact, Charlotte’s really unlucky and she ends up being killed twice!

AD: Of course that was nearly a reality recently wasn’t it?

TW:
Yeah, the bus crash. Rick’s the worst – he’s still in pain, but he still managed to play Reading and Leeds even though the doctor told him here was no way he should perform. That was a really frightening experience. We were on the way from San Francisco to Seattle and our bus driver swerved to avoid a shredded up tyre in the middle of the road. Anyway it took out the fan belt and the radiator so you can imagine how scary that was at seven o’clock in the morning. It certainly woke us up I can tell you.

AD: I’ll bet. Now then, last time I interviewed Charlotte, I mentioned that I had read somewhere that you’d made your own porn video. She just went “Er..no…that wasn’t Tim, but there WAS an incident with a very bendy rubber man”! I didn’t press further at the time – can you shed any more light on the matter?

TW:
My own porn video? God, where did you get THAT from? I’ve never made on yet but, hey, you never know! I think what they may have been referring to was the video for “Numbskull”. The idea for that was to make a video that pushed the envelope of what you can show on music television in the day. Regarding what Charlotte says, I really have no idea what she’s going on about…sometimes she just goes off on one!

AD: So, going back to “Intergalactic Sonic 7”s”, why have you chosen now to release a “singles collection”? There’s not a split on the horizon is there?

TW
: No. Definitely not. We decided to do it now because we’ve been together for ten years and most people don’t realise how many singles we’ve released. Most people will play the album and think “Oh God yeah I remember this one” so many times, so we just thought we’d remind people. We thought it was a good way for people to start taking us more seriously too. Plus we had “Envy” and releasing the album gives us more time to get songs ready for the next one. We’ve been spending so much time in America lately that we haven’t had much time for anything else. It’s really exciting as we’ve been invited to tour with the Foo Fighters in the States. I met Dave Grohl at the awards on Tuesday night and it was weird as I’ve been such a fan of his work over the years, so it’s such an honour to be touring with them.

AD: And maybe it’s because you are still a fan that Ash are so fan friendly. For example you ran a competition recently for unsigned bands to cover one of your singles and win the chance to feature on one of your B-sides and play several tour dates with Ash. How has that panned out?

TW:
That was amazing. We had such a huge response for it. We did it this morning actually for XFM – we had to get up and soundcheck at 6am, and we played between 8 and 9am. The band that won did this incredible death metal version of “Candy”, but there were so many brilliant tracks that we’re thinking of making a mini album of all the best tracks and putting it out in its own right. The winners were called Ten Masked Men, but there were only six of them, so they were cheating….which is great.

AD: Who’s the stupidest person in rock ‘n’ roll you’ve met?

TW:
Well the STRANGEST was a girl at a signing we did who wanted us to sign her burn scar tissue. That was really strange, but pretty cool too we thought. The stupidest? Probably any number of these American bands who are so inroad looking and only have one song that they play over and over again…

AD: This sounds like we’re leading on to a band that you made some hilarious comments about in the NME last Christmas – Linkin Park…

TW:
Oh God. I don’t mean to slag bands off because it’s just music after all. But Linkin Park are just so ANGRY. Some of these American bands just have absolutely no sense of humour. I blame the parents myself. I just find bands who can’t laugh at themselves annoying.

AD: On the other hand, I was delighted when you played the NME Carling gig at the London Astoria earlier this year with some friends of Atomicduster, also one of our favourite bands – Jetplane Landing…

TW:
They were absolutely brilliant and the album’s fucking superb. We really bigged them up to the audience. I’d kill to get them on tour with us. Actually that’s a point…I think one of them’s still got one of our amps…

Oops. Better end it there I guess. Hopefully the two bands will get together for several dates as that really would be my idea of musical utopia. Anyway, you remember the old Bill and Ted films, where their music ends up being essential to world peace? Well I reckon Ash are so good that they might end up doing so as well. Or maybe, knowing Mr.Wheeler and co, we’ll just end up very, very drunk. Me, I’m not fussed either way…

Interview and transcript by Tone E

 

 

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