Ride in concert this weekend. Recorded at the Town & Country Club in London on October 28, 1990 and was around the time the band issued the last their three debut eps earlier in September.
Ride formed in 1988 in Oxford, England, consisting of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence “Loz” Colbert, and Steve Queralt. The band were initially part of the “shoegazing” scene that emerged in England during the early 1990s. Following the break-up of the band in 1996, members moved on to various other projects, most notably Bell who became the bassist for Oasis. In 2001, the band briefly reunited for a one-off performance for a television show. Ride announced their second reunion in November 2014. Their debut album Nowhere has been named one of the important albums of the shoegazing genre.
Andy Bell and Mark Gardener had been to Cheney School in Oxford, appearing in the school’s musical theatre productions, and in October 1988, they moved to Banbury to do Foundation Studies in Art & Design at North Oxfordshire College and the Oxfordshire School of Art & Design. There they met Laurence Colbert and Steve Queralt. Queralt, who also went to Cheney School, was recruited from the local Our Price record shop where he worked as a singles buyer (although Bell and Queralt had already played together in an obscure reggae/pop band called “Big Spiderback”). After considering various names, the band settled for ‘Ride’, with its evocation of travel, and after the Ride cymbal. Bell has cited a performance by The Smiths as the inspiration for forming a band.The band formed in the summer of 1988 and played their first gig as Ride for the College’s Christmas Party towards the end of the year. While still at Banbury, the band produced a demo tape, recorded in Queralt’s bedroom and hallway, including the tracks “Chelsea Girl” and “Drive Blind”. Queralt and his record shop boss and future Ride manager Dave Newton had started a live music night in Oxford called Local Support, and it was due to a cancellation by another band that Ride got their first proper gig at one of these nights. Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain heard a copy of the demo that was in the possession of the DJ Gary Crowley, and this led to interest from former Mary Chain manager Alan McGee. After the band supported the Soup Dragons in 1989, McGee signed them to his Creation Records label.
Ride released three EPs between January and September 1990, entitled Ride, Play and Fall. All three EPs made it into the UK top 75, with Play and Fall reaching the top 40. Ride’s top-75 placing was a first for Creation Records. The first two EPs were released together as Smile in the USA in July 1990 (and later released in the UK in 1992), while the Fall EP was incorporated into the CD version of their first album, Nowhere, released in October 1990. The band were often labelled as part of the “shoegazing” scene, but the band rejected this, Bell stating “my first reaction was like, this is another boring tag. These days…that’s pretty much still my reaction”. Gardener said of the band’s influences “We liked the noisy bands of the time. When we were at art college we went to see My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Stone Roses and Sonic Youth. I think these all had a lot of influence on us in the early days as they were great gigs”.
The band recorded two sessions for John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show in 1990, and their popularity with the show’s listeners saw them with three tracks in the Festive Fifty that year, with “Dreams Burn Down” and “Like a Daydream” at numbers 3 and 4 respectively, and “Taste” at number 25.
Nowhere was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 11 in the UK, and the media dubbed Ride “The brightest hope” for 1991. Demand for new material was high, and the band recorded another EP, Today Forever, released in March 1991. The EP marked a change in direction for the group away from the noisier early style. Ride made their first international tour to Japan, Australia and France later on that year. Tickets for the performances in Japan sold out within minutes.
In February 1992 the band broke into the UK top 10 with “Leave Them All Behind”, and the following month saw the release of the band’s second album Going Blank Again. The strain within the band was already apparent, Bell stating “By the time the second album came out we were touring too much. We were tired. We then took time off, but it was too much time off”.
As a reminder of Ride during their earlier period, here is that concert from October 1990 (28 years ago).
Enjoy and enjoy loud.