Ash in concert to end out the working week, in concert at Glastonbury 1997 and faithfully preserved for posterity by BBC Radio 1 on June 29, 1997.
Ash officially formed in 1992, reportedly having taken the name from the first word they liked in the dictionary. Prior to this, Wheeler and Hamilton were in an Iron Maiden cover band called Vietnam, which had formed in 1989. The new band created three demo tapes that year – Solar Happy in June, Shed in September, and the Home Demo in November. These tapes featured their earliest material and the first recordings of some songs that were later on the 1994 release, Trailer, including “Intense Thing”, “Get Out”, “Obscure Thing,” and the future single, “Jack Names the Planets”.
In 1993 the band recorded the Garage Girl demo tape, which featured “Jack Names the Planets” and “Intense Thing”, taken from Shed, and new tracks, including “Petrol”. Following Garage Girl, Ash released a compilation demo tape, Pipe Smokin’ Brick later that year, which featured an assortment of songs from the other tapes. Downpatrick musician Ray Valentine recorded Ash’s demos at his studio, Cosmic Rays. At that time, the band were known as “Genuine Real Teenagers,” because they were so young when recording their early material. The demo tapes did not gain much attention at that time and the band was still playing small shows at local clubs but, in early 1994, Stephen Taverner came across the Garage Girl demo tape. Taverner put up the money to press 1,000 7″ copies of “Jack Names the Planets” on his own LaLaLand record label. Taverner subsequently became the band’s full-time manager.
Ash released the mini album, Trailer, in October 1994, comprising seven songs. Airplay by Steve Lamacq followed on BBC Radio 1 and the debut single was followed by “Petrol” and “Uncle Pat”, on their new label Infectious Records. In 1995, Ash left school and released the breakthrough singles “Kung Fu” (featured over the end credits of Jackie Chan’s North American breakthrough film, Rumble in the Bronx), “Girl From Mars” and “Angel Interceptor”. The movie Angus was released, which featured two Ash songs, “Jack Names the Planets” and “Kung Fu,” and served to introduce Ash to American audiences. The band had offered two other tracks that were not used, as well as “Pansy Division’s Deep Water”, which made the soundtrack but was cut from the movie due to time constraints. Ash marked the end of their breakthrough year by releasing a cover of The Temptations’ Get Ready, as a limited edition red vinyl 7″ single on Fantastic Plastic.
In 1996 the singles “Goldfinger” and “Oh Yeah” were released, with the successful album 1977 being released between these. The track “Lose Control” from that album was featured in the video game Gran Turismo. On 17 February 1997, Ash released Live at the Wireless, a live album, recorded at the Triple J Studios in Australia. A limited edition version of the album was released in the UK on the band’s own Deathstar label.
As a three-piece, they released mini-album Trailer in 1994 and full-length album 1977 in 1996. This 1996 release was named by NME as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. After the success of their full debut the band recruited Charlotte Hatherley as a guitarist and vocalist, releasing their second record Nu-Clear Sounds in 1998. After narrowly avoiding bankruptcy the band released Free All Angels in 2001 and a string of successful singles.
So as a reminder, or as an introduction (in case you missed them the first time around) – here is one to crank up and make the walls shake.