Ash Are Bringing The 30th Anniversary Celebrations To The Gov
Northern Ireland’s Ash bring their punky pop genius back down under with their Teenage Wildlife Tour – Celebrating 30 Years of Ash. The Teenage Wildlife album and tour perfectly encapsulates the trio’s entire recording career and includes – Girl from Mars, Oh Yeah, Goldfinger, Kung Fu, Shining Light, Burn Baby Burn, Walking Barefoot, Orpheus, A Life Less Ordinary and more. Bassist Mark Hamilton talks to Hi Fi Way about the tour.
How much having you been looking forward to bringing the thirtieth anniversary celebrations down to Adelaide?
We started doing the Teenage Wildlife tour in the UK and Europe a few years back then the pandemic hit and everything got stopped. We were up in Norway and the tour bus had to rush back through Europe just as the borders were shutting. We didn’t want to be trapped in one country and be able to get home. It was a race against time and we only just got through some of the borders by a couple of hours and then everything stopped for a year and a half and not being able to play a show. That was a weird time for everyone, last year we were able to reschedule a bunch of those shows. We always had plans to come back to Australia, New Zealand and Japan as part of that tour but obviously everything got pushed back. It’s good to be finally able to do these gigs even though it is three years later.
Do you get nostalgic going back through the entire career of Ash on this tour?
Yeah, it isn’t to different than going out on one of our regular album tours because people always want to hear your old hits and songs fro over our career anyway. If we are going on an album tour, the set list will be between eighteen and twenty two songs, two thirds of that will be the hits and one third will be the newer stuff, which we’re excited to play. Whenever people go to shows they want t hear songs that they know, so that’s how we approach most album tours. Teenage Wildlife is essentially greatest hits so we’re playing a lot of songs that we have been playing for years. There was one new single on there that we recorded specifically for radio to push the album. It is quite easy, it isn’t like we’ve had to go in to rehearsals before hand and learn a bunch of new songs, maybe played a couple of times in the studio and that’s it.
Are some of those songs from earlier in your career still strong in your mind and get you remembering things from that time they were released?
Oh definitely, we did a thirtieth anniversary show in Belfast before Christmas was like a homecoming event. We played songs from when we were sixteen year olds and had not been playing since. That was real fun to do.
Do you remember your first Australian tour here with Garbage?
I remember one show we did where the fire alarm went off and the show got abandoned. Everyone evacuated the building, everyone came back in and we started over again. That was interesting!
With all the challenges of being in a band did you think you would be going strong after thirty years?
I don’t think we have ever really looked much further than the next album. I don’t think you can ever really look much further than that. You just don’t know what will happen or have any idea, particularly if an album flops hard whether the next one will get released. We’re always looking forward but not too much forward. Whenever you hit a milestone like thirty years you do have to pause for a second and look back reflecting on we have done a lot. We have done a lot of travelling, played a lot of shows and released a lot of shows. If you asked us when we were younger would we still be doing it when you are in your mid-forties, we probably would have thought that would be the dream. That would have been the goal and never believed that would happen.
Was the period between Nu-Clear Sounds (1998) and Free All Angels (2001) the toughest period for the band?
Yeah, it probably was. It was the toughest in a number of ways. We had such big success with 1977 and a lot of pressure from the record company to follow it up straight away with what they wanted which essentially was 1977 part two. Where we were in our headspace, we were quite exhausted after touring and to be put back in the studio to record another one of those, anytime to you tell a bunch of rebellious teenagers to do something they are going to rebel and do the opposite. We were quite stubborn and wanted to react to that. We made Nu-Clear Sounds and it has two sides to it, there’s a heavy side to it, a straight rock and a little less melodic, and some darker sounds. Quite the opposite to what 1977 was, which was a fun pop rock album.
When Nu-Clear Sounds it was received quite well critically but didn’t necessarily have the singles which people were expecting and didn’t commercially perform as well. So that was seen as quite a dip, then we lost lots of support from the record company when it was time to make the follow up album which was Free All Angels. We got to the point where we were basically skint and had no money and we were trying to make the Free All Angels album. There was not a lot of support from the music industry or he record company. When we came back with Shining Light it was a top five single in the UK and the album went to number one. Everything just took off again and went bigger than 1977 almost. Every album has been different and has been like riding a roller coaster ever since. That period between Nu-Clear Sounds and Free All Angels was definitely our rockiest period because their was such a hang off 1977 which I don’t think could have ever been sustained.
Have you been able to celebrate the thirty year milestone within the band?
We have done a bunch of shows around Teenage Wildlife which is like a party every night. We recorded that last show before Christmas in Belfast which was like a celebration. We had a lot of special guests there, a lot of press and media there, if anything I think we would call that our thirtieth birthday party.
Are there plans for new music?
After this Spring tour we will be finishing up some work on new music, it is almost done but there’s some finishing up stuff. We will be busy during the summer playing a lot of the British and Ireland festivals, there’s so many now where you could almost do one every weekend. After that we will be in to autumn and we have plans to release a new album. We have one album essentially finished, one or two songs need to be remixed but that album is in the bag as you would say. We also have another album which is ninety nine percent finished. We always say this that we want to release an album pretty soon after the last one to keep the momentum between them which usually ends up being a three year gap between albums but maybe this time we should be able to release two albums in the space of a year, which we are quite excited by.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch Ash on the following dates, tickets from Metropolis Touring…