1. Firstly, whose idea was it to play 1977 in its entirety, and
can fans expect to see other Ash albums performed in full in the future?
"Well, after we heard Rhino were gonna release the 1977 Deluxe
Edition, our agent asked us if we wanted to do any 1977 shows to help
launch it. We hadn't really thought about it until then, but it sounded
like a lot of fun and a good excuse for a party! No plans as-of-yet
to do any other in full shows at the moment, but who knows, in a few
years we could do Free All Angels. We were just gonna do the Roundhouse,
but because it sold out so quickly, we added the Astoria as it's our
favourite venue. Dunno how in demand a Nu-Clear Sounds one would be!
2. Have you been pleased with the reaction from fans, the music press
etc. to the announcement, and what was the best thing that someone said
about 1977 upon its release in The '90s?
"It's hard to remember the reviews, as it's 12 years now since
it was first released
how old does that make me feel! But it's
cool to know that it's now regarded by many people as a classic album.
The reaction by the fans has been great. The shows sold out quickly
and because the 3CD set is gonna be packed with bonus material, they
should be content. They're all happy on our forums anyway!"
3. If you could handpick some of your favourite artists / bands to play
their albums in full, who would it be and which records?
"I'd love to see Weezer do Pinkerton and The Blue Album again.
We toured with them on the Pinkerton US Tour, and it was one of the
best experiences ever. I also wouldn't mind seeing The Smashing Pumpkins
do Siamese Dream again. We supported them years ago at the SFX in Dublin,
but the PA sucked so bad you couldn't even work out the songs. Sonic
Youth doing Goo or Dirty would be awesome."
4. Is it rewarding for you all, to think that 1977 is regarded by
so many people as one of the great debut LPs of all-time, and do you
have any favourite debut records?
"It's a bit embarrassing for me when people say that to you. You'd
be a bit of a cock if you nodded along going "Yeah, it is one of
the greatest isn't it." My favourite recent debut is the Klaxons'
Myths Of The Near Future - they really exploded from out of nowhere
with that and deservedly so, the songs are classics."
5. Of the Ash songs that you haven't performed very often, including
b-sides etc. which are you most looking forward to playing live?
"Looking forward to playing Innocent Smile off 1977, because we
haven't done it in a long time and we used to really spaz-out during
it. Also some of that era's b-sides - we got a week of rehearsing beforehand
to knock them all into shape."
6. Are the 1977 shows going to be filmed / documented for DVD?
"Yes, they're being filmed - dunno if they'll be commercially released
on DVD, but we're definitely gonna put both the shows online. We've
just re-launched www.ash-official.com which is under ongoing construction,
so it'll be good to have some great new content for that."
7. What are some of your fondest memories of writing and recording 1977,
and are the individual songs evocative of the time in which they were
created / do you have a personal favourite?
"We had the greatest time with Owen Morris recording 1977 in Rockfield
Studios, Wales. There's many, many stories; playing in drag, the Italian
stalker who hid in the bushes outside the studio, the sick party, Tim
dancing on acid to The Scream (bonus track on the Deluxe Edition), partying
with the Monmouth locals, sledding down the Welsh hills
was a lot of fun times to be fond of. For me, Lost In You is one of
our greatest songs because the music and recording captured the emotion
in the lyrics precisely. It was the last song recorded for the album,
but arguably the best. There's such a good bunch of singles on there,
it's hard to pick a favourite, but Kung Fu and Girl From Mars always
get the crowd going mental live."
8. Are there any major changes that you would now make to the album?
"Definitely not, it really captured what we were all about at the
time perfectly. Tim's voice has come on a long way, he's a much stronger
singer now, but he sounds very vulnerable back then, which was maybe
part of the appeal. We could of remixed the album and made it more hi-fi,
but then it might have lost a lot of it's charm and those who've listened
to it for years, might hate a more polished mix. It has an excitement
to the sound that's hard to replicate."
9. Do you remember how you felt when the LP was finished (along with
the artwork), and you could hold your own record + buy it in the shops?
"I don't remember getting the actual finished copy, but that's
always a pretty satisfying feeling. After all the work you put into
something and then taking and holding the final product off the shelf,
is a kinda cool vindication."
10. Were there any alternative titles / artwork ideas?
"Yes, we did have a name suggestion box in the studio. The album
was almost delayed because we didn't have a title until the final deadline
day. I remember some of the alternative titles including: Three Tits
- The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Young, Dumb And Full Of Cum
all kinda Three Stooges references!"
11. Of all the 1977 promo videos, which one was the most fun to make?
"Oh Yeah was cool, 'cause I had to make-out with a Swedish model
for 2 days. That didn't bother me too much! Angel Interceptor was fun
as well - there's a lot of hidden messages in that video that not many
people know about. I'm sure if TOTP or MTV had spotted Tim simulating
wanking on the bed, they wouldn't have playlisted it! Ha."
12. Do you have any interesting tales from your time on the road
touring 1977, and what was your most rock 'n' roll moment?
"Jesus, we were constantly drunk and pretty out-of-control during
that period. There was usually some trouble to be found and we'd find
it in one way or another. One of the funniest and silliest moments I
remember, was stealing a massive Flipper The Dolphin cardboard cut-out
from a Norwegian hotel lobby, then being chased after by the bellboy!
Most rock 'n' roll - albeit clichéd moment - was wrecking a Japanese
hotel room and landing ourselves with a gigantic bill. That was the
last time we ever did that!"
13. Is there a standout gig or performance from that period?
"Reading '96 was amazing for us. That's why we dug it out and mixed
it for the Deluxe Edition. Also, the 5 night run at the Ashtoria was
amazing - another reason why we're returning there to do the second
14. Over the years, I've read on many occasions how if the band could
go back in time to give yourselves advice, it would be, "Don't
let success go to your head." But if you could sum up the 1977
era with a few words, what would they be?
"Young, Dumb And Full Of Cum. (Actually would've been an ok title!)"
15. Lastly, can you reveal any details about new Ash material - musical
direction, song titles etc.?
"We're really going in loads of different directions. Not being
tied to the album format has freed us up immensely. We've got some really
different production styles going on, everything from full-on OutKast
style pop to 80's disco and Misfits! We aim to release more new music
in 2009 than in any year before. Keep up-to-date with all Ash developments
@ www.ash-official.com Thanks, Mark."
A very special thanks to Mark + to Tav and Mark @
Outthere, for all of their time and help.
"Making Noise Since 1977"