Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Urban Hymns Voted 28th Best Album of Past 25 Years

To celebrate Q Magazine's 25th birthday they asked their readers to vote for their favourite albums of its lifetime.
'Urban Hymns' was voted the 28th best.
The Top 10 albums are:

01) 'OK Computer' - Radiohead
02) 'Nevermind' - Nirvana
03) '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?' - Oasis
04) 'Definitely Maybe' - Oasis
05) 'Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not' - Arctic Monkeys
06) 'The Joshua Tree' - U2
07) 'The Stone Roses' - The Stone Roses
08) 'The Bends' - Radiohead
09) 'Achtung Baby' - U2
10) 'Black Holes and Revelations' - Muse

The birthday issue, which is on sale now, lists the top 250 albums as voted for by the readers of the magazine.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Ashcroft To Hold An Intimate Gig For RPA Club Members

Richard Ashcroft will be holding an intimate gig in central London on December 7th for RPA Club members only.

If you’re not already an RPA Club member and would like to purchase tickets for this event, you will need to sign up to the club before midnight on Monday 15th November.

Members will be notified when tickets will go on sale and how to access them via email (restrictions will apply).

As well as getting access to tickets for the gig, as an RPA Club Member you’ll also receive;

- Instant exclusive access to RPA Club only tracks.
- Limited Edition members only t-shirt.
- Access to pre sale tickets for tours.
- Access to tickets for members only gigs.
- Further exclusive tracks throughout the year.

Richard Ashcroft To Play Concert For Killing Cancer

Richard Ashcroft is set to play a gig at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo in aid of the Killing Cancer charity on January 13, joined by The Who, Debbie Harry and Jeff Beck.

The gig will raise money for the Killing Cancer charity, which helps to fund research into Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). The therapy destroys cancer cells with a single treatment.

Tickets go on sale at 9am (GMT) on November 19. See for more information.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Richard Ashcroft Signs With Razor & Tie

Richard Ashcroft has signed with Razor & Tie for the North American release of "The United Nations of Sound," his fourth solo album produced by No I.D. (Jay-Z, Kanye West).

The singer has joined artists like Brand New, Joan Baez and Semi Precious Weapons on the label, which will issue the album in early 2011. "Sound," Ashcroft's first solo effort since 2006's "Keys to the World," was released overseas on Parlophone last July prior to the signing.

Razor & Tie VP of A&R Beka Tischker calls Ashcroft "one of the seminal figures of modern British rock music," adding that "it's an honor to work with someone as esteemed as Richard."

The album follows the 2009 break-up of "Bitter Sweet Symphony" auteurs The Verve after the group released fourth album "Forth" in 2008 and embarked on a world tour, including a headlining set at that year's Glastonbury Festival. "Sound"'s lead track "Are You Ready?" is featured in Volkswagon's latest Jetta TV spot and is now available on iTunes.

After spending last summer playing shows in Europe, Australia and Japan, Ashcroft has also announced plans to tour the U.S. next year after a six-year absence from the States.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Verve Songs In Top 1000 Songs Ever

To end all those pub arguments about music Xfm have released The Xfm Top 1000 Songs Of All Time book, the definitive guide to the best tunes ever recorded. Collated from the annual 'Top 1000 Songs of All Time' listener poll, the most requested songs on the 'X-list' and suggestions from radio DJs and celebrity guests. The following Verve and Richard Ashcroft songs made it into the 1000:

The Verve, 7 songs:
Bitter Sweet Symphony
The Drugs Don't Work
Lucky Man
Love Is Noise
This Is Music

Richard Ashcroft, 1 song:
A Song for the Lovers

Monday, 4 October 2010

Pete Salisbury With The Charlatans

The Charlatans played a BBC 6 live session recently along with Pete Salisbury filling in for Jon Brookes on drums. Go to the BBC 6 Music website for pictures and live video of the performance.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Verve Drummer Joins The Charlatans

The Verve drummer Pete Salisbury has joined The Charlatans to replace Jon Brookes as he battles a brain tumour.

The British band cancelled a string of shows in the U.S. after the percussionist collapsed at a gig in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week (15Sep10). He was later diagnosed with brain cancer and will take a break from the group to focus on his health struggle.

The Charlatans vowed to continue performing and have now hired Salisbury to take over the drums on their upcoming U.K. tour.

The band will unveil the new line-up at a charity gig in London on Monday (27Sep10) and the tour kicks off in Hatfield, England on 5 October (10).

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ricky Gervais Inspired By Rockers Like Richard Ashcroft

Funnyman Ricky Gervais has praised rockers Richard Ashcroft and Liam Gallagher for giving him inspiration for one of his films.

During a Q&A at the Soho Hotel in London for the DVD release of Cemetery Junction, directors Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant admitted Liam, 37, and Richard, 38, were the inspirations behind the comedy-drama.

Gervais, 49, found that actors fell into two categories, half that play society types and half that play violent wife-beating roles.

But the Extras star worked with Stephen to make their characters different and more like rock stars.
He said: 'We didn't want it to be one those really gritty 'isn't England a bit depressing and crap and normal' films.

'We wanted it to be a bit more glorious and evoke those possibly false memories of every day being sunny and brilliant and fun, that's how I remember my childhood.'

Ricky added: 'We cast about a thousand people to try and find these Jimmy Deans and John Travoltas - half of them will be Mr Darcy one day, and the other half will be going, 'You f****** slags.'

'So we had to look to our rock stars like Richard Ashcroft and Liam Gallagher, that's where we rule the world.'

Stephen added: 'This country's always been very good at making rock stars, and rock stars are unashamedly cool but somehow British films are less like that, it's like we're a little bit more embarrassed to be like that.

'We need to be self-conscious and make things seem gloomier and grittier but that wasn't my experience of growing up, everything seemed very cool to me.'

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Richard Ashcroft's Jailed Collaborators

Richard Ashcroft claims many of the people he wanted to work with on new project United Nations of Sound were either ''in jail'' or too expensive.

Richard Ashcroft couldn't collaborate with the people he wanted to because many of them were in prison.

The former Verve frontman is currently working on a new venture, United Nations of Sound - in which he goes by his initials, RPA - and admits he ran into difficulties arranging guest vocalists because so many of them were unavailable.

He said: "Half the people I wanted on the record were either in prison or going there. I tried to get Lil Wayne on the end of 'America' because of his gravel, but he was about to start his sentence for gun possession so he was busy recording 15 videos and three albums.

"So they were either in prison or wanted £70,000."

Although the 'Lucky Man' star's latest project showcases a radically different sound, the singer - who has previously released three solo albums - insists it could have happened any time.

He added: "When I look at it, I could have attempted this in the Nineties. I could have been working with these guys then, it just took a long time to get there.

"The idea, if there was any idea, was carrying on the dream of still believing the roots of music can be drawn on as inspirations."

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Richard Ashcroft Told To Shut It

Richard Ashcroft has been told to keep his mouth shut - by a doctor - after storming off stage just halfway through the first song of his Splendour In The Grass set.

The former Verve frontman appears to have strained his vocal cords after performing three gigs in two days before heading to the Woodford festival site on Sunday. A doctor recommended he stay silent for 72 hours with Ashcroft's manager Jazz Summers also hooking the singer up with a throat specialist in Brisbane late yesterday afternoon.

"I am concerned about him continuing on to play Summersonic in Japan this weekend," Summers told music editor Kathy McCabe.

Ashcroft sang at the Million Dollar Lunch in Melbourne on Friday before performing for almost two hours later that night at his first Australian concert. He played Sydney's Enmore Theatre on Saturday night for more than 120 minutes and conducted a slate of promotional interviews on both days.

After complaining of a sore throat on Saturday night, Summers cancelled all his scheduled interviews at the Splendour gig on Sunday. But when he got in front of the mic on the G.W. McLennan stage as one of the festival's closing acts, his voice was almost gone. Midway through the first song Are You Ready, Ashcroft threw his mic stand and stormed off stage, frustrated he couldn't sing.

Summers denied that Ashcroft was angry at the size of the crowd in the tent or that the majority of fans had gone to see The Pixies.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Ashcroft Will "Never Say Never" To Verve Reunion

In an exclusive interview with Hot Press, Richard Ashcroft tells them about his new solo project, talks about 9/11 falling on his birthday and doesn't rule out a Verve reunion...

In there exclusive interview, Ashcroft discusses his new album (released under the moniker RPA And the United Nations of Sound) and talks about its American influences. He ponders 9/11 happening on his birthday: "When 9/11 happened, I was in France and I came back, and my mother-in-law had sent me a birthday card prior to going. It was a fold-out card with a black and white photo of the New York skyline pre-Twin Towers.... It’s the most world-shifting event."

And despite multiple break-ups, he doesn't rule out a reunion of his old band.. "A Verve reunion? "I'd never say never anymore, because it’s a stupid thing to do. People change, opinions change and lives change, so you can never really truly write anything out."

For now though, he has his hands full with the excellent Motown inspired United Nations of Sound. After Q magazine slammed the album as "preposterous." Ashcroft responded: "Take it from Hot Press, it isn’t.”

Read the full interview with Richard Ashcroft in today’s double issue of Hot Press (with Gary Lightbody and Jedward on the covers.)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Ashcroft Flees Australian Concert After Just One Song

Richard Ashcroft abandoned an Australian concert over the weekend claiming that his voice had failed him and he was unable to perform.

Ashcroft and his band, United Nations of Sound, were playing at the Splendour In The Grass festival, at the same time as Pixies and Empire Of The Sun.

According to spectators Ashcroft came out on stage and said "Welcome to our little patch", an apparent jibe at the small audience the band had attracted for the set.

Ashcroft then allegedly did not even make it through the first track before throwing down his equipment and 'storming off' through the crowd and into the festival site.

Festival organisers were quick to clear up the incident however, claiming: "Richard had an unfortunate incident and had to cancel the show."

Ashcroft's management have also moved to claim that the cancellation had nothing to do with the size of the crowd. 

Jazz Summers, Ashcroft's manager, said, "After three gigs in two days, including a two-hour show in Sydney on Saturday night, we knew Richard would have to look after his voice for the Splendour in the Grass, set so we cancelled all promotional activity for Sunday. It wasn't until he got on stage on Sunday night at Splendour that he realized his voice wouldn't make it through the set.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Ashcroft On Oasis Support Days

Richard Ashcroft has reminisced about the days when Oasis supported him - and played in front of only two people at a gig.

During an intimate live acoustic session inside the Absolute Radio studio in London, showcasing new tracks from his latest project RPA & The United Nations Of Sound, he told Geoff Lloyd about his past support act.

"Yeah, I remember very early in the tour, I think it was Glasgow, we went backstage and Liam just said: 'I hate being in a band, I hate being in a band', you know, because he just played the whole of the first album to two people, two kids in Adidas tracksuits," the former Verve star recalled.

Ashcroft Doubts Beady Eye's Ability To Top Oasis

Richard Ashcroft doesn't believe Liam Gallagher's new band Beady Eye will come close to recreating the success his former outfit Oasis enjoyed, despite Gallagher's claims to the contrary. 

Speaking to XFM the former Verve man said, "I'm really excited about Liam's stuff, and Noel [Gallagher]'s stuff too. They're both going to be great. Whether timing-wise, or culturally, anything is going to be as big as Oasis? I don't think so. I don't think anyone will." 

Ashcroft explained his reasoning, "Because of the nature of Oasis when they arrived, there was a big vacuum, everyone was scared of rock 'n' roll. And Noel did it. Noel showed the way for a lot of people that there's still some great songs to be written."

The singer's remarks come on the back of Liam's claims that Beady Eye will be "bigger than Oasis,"

Although Ashcroft disagrees with his fellow frontman, he believes Gallagher's hyping of his new band is just part of who he is, and explained, "We all talk a little bit like that because we're all imbued with the sporting/boxing promoter way of doing interviews. That's the way we were brought up."

Thursday, 15 July 2010

NME Trashes United Nations Of Sound Debut

NME reviewer Gavin Haynes has trashed the self-titled debut album of Richard Ashcroft's new band, United Nations Of Sound, rating it a 3 on a scale of 10.

"[Richard's] solo career has already been a steady plummet to mediocrity - arrested only by The Verve's reunion - but United Nations Of Sound finds Richard actually battling it out with Des'ree for the wooden spoon in cod-philosophizing about 'life.'" And he quotes a line from Ashcroft's song "Born Again" that I think is kinda genius: "I saw Venus up in the sky/I turned down my head and Serena smiled... and I'm born again."

Haynes' NME colleague Rick Martin defends Ashcroft, calling him "the greatest frontman of his generation." 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Ashcroft: Verve Reformation Tensions Were 'Inevitable'

Richard Ashcroft has said it was "inevitable" that there were inter-band tensions when The Verve reformed in 2007.

The singer, who is set to release his debut album with new project United Nations Of Sound later this month (July 19), said there was a "realness" to the Wigan band's comeback.

"It wasn't a marketing thing. It was much better than hanging around," he told the Observer.

Ashcroft also discussed disappearing from the public eye over the past couple of years, saying it is "fantastic" that he is outside the mainsteam again.

"But I don't feel on the outside when I walk the streets. I'm not on the outside to the painters, to the delivery guys, the shop assistants. I'm not on the outside to the people of England," he remarked.

In 2008, The Verve released their fourth album 'Forth and headlined a trio of UK festivals - Glastonbury, T In The Park and V Festival.

However, there were regular rumours of tensions and arguments, with Ashcroft describing the reformation at the time as "not some 'Mills And Boon' scene running down the beach as the sun sets".

Friday, 9 July 2010

Richard Ashcroft Is Born Again

Richard Ashcroft & the United Nations of Sound have today revealed the video for their brand new single ‘Born Again’.

‘Born Again’ is released on July 19th through Parlophone. Following on from ‘Are You Ready’ and a string of sold out European shows, it’s the second track to be taken from their debut album ‘United Nations Of Sound’, also released on 19th July. 

Richard Ashcroft - Born Again

“Sometimes phrases get hi-jacked” Ashcroft says, discussing the sentiment behind the single. “Being born again is something that can happen to anyone at any given time and it doesn’t have to have a Christian overtone to it. There are certain moments in life where we all come out of a hole and feel like we’ve been given another chance… We feel born again.” 

Recorded in Los Angeles, New York and London, ‘United Nations of Sound’ was produced by Chicago hip-hop pioneer No ID (Common, Jay-Z). String arrangements are by Benjamin Wright, the man responsible for the strings on Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, and engineered by Grammy Award-winning Motown legend Reggie Dozier (Outkast, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye). Other musicians featuring on the album include Mary J Blige’s guitarist Steve Wyreman, Paul ‘DW’ Wright (bass), and Derrick Wright (drums). All songs written by Richard Ashcroft. 

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Katy Steele Joins Richard Ashcroft Tour

Perth songbird Katy Steele will join The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft on his tour of Australia.

The Little Birdy leading lady will provide some supporting star power for the tour that arrives in Perth on August 4.

Ashcroft has been getting rave reviews around the world during his Richard Ashcroft and The United Nations of Sound tour.

"The key to Ashcroft is his almost mystical belief in the power of music to raise the spirit and salve the soul…Such was the intensity of his performances that Ashcroft deployed their simple tunes and chord structures to lift the audience into the realms of communal rapture," wrote The Times in London.

Steele will perform alone with her guitar and keys, bringing her unique sound to Metro City.

Richard Ashcroft Rules Out Gallagher Collaboration Too

Ashcroft belives Oasis’ split will give both of his old mates Liam and Noel Gallagher a new lease of life, with them going on to enjoy the same success he’s experienced as a solo artist.

“I spoke to Noel a couple of days ago,” he said.

“He’s going to go through similar questions to the ones I went through in 2000.

“But he wrote the songs in the biggest band of the Nineties, so he’s got nothing to worry about. It’ll be a new lease of life for both of them. I’m quite excited about it.”

But despite admitting Oasis were most dominant in the 1990s, rather The Verve , Ashcroft is not keen on collaborating with either Gallagher.

“Now you see someone’s album coming out and there are 15 different people on it. The younger generation, like the Dizzees, are getting into ‘Top Trumps’ music - “I’m going to Top Trump you with how many guests I’ve got.” 

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ashcroft Rules Out Verve Reunion

British rocker Richard Ashcroft has confirmed his former band The Verve is over for good - because they could never top their previous achievements.

The Bitter Sweet Symphony hitmakers split in 1999 but they reunited for a tour in 2007 and a new album the following year.

But frontman Ashcroft has dashed fans' hopes of another comeback, insisting the band has nothing left to prove.

He tells Britain's ShortList magazine, "I can't see any reason why, after headlining Glastonbury, headlining Coachella, headlining in Japan and making an album that's better than 99 per cent of other bands' albums, The Verve would get back together."

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ashcroft - "British Music's Lost Its Verve"

Richard Ashcroft believes Britain’s music scene has become stale and dull as people chase fame.

The ex-Verve man, whose new group United Nations Of Sound release their debut this month, said: “There’s a blueprint now and it’s very boring.”

And you won’t find him collaborating with anyone either. Rich, 38, told this week’s ShortList mag: “You see albums coming out now and there are 15 different people on it.

“It’s Top Trumps music – ‘I’m going to Top Trump you with how many guests I’ve got.’”

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ashcroft Caught Pneumonia While Recording

Richard Ashcroft was struck down with pneumonia while recording his new band's first album.

The star created the United Nations of Sound earlier this year but he had to rush studio sessions with the group, because he only had 10 days to work with producer No I.D.

Ashcroft told The Sun's SFTW he didn't sleep for five days during the period and when he eventually consulted a doctor, he was diagnosed with 'walking pneumonia' - a mild strain of the deadly lung condition.

He says, "The first week in the studio was one of the best recording times I've had, even though I put myself through a lot. At one point, I'd not slept in five days. The doctor was called out who said I had 'walking pneumonia'. I asked 'What the hell does that mean?' and he said 'It means you're not dead yet'."

United Nations of Sound's self-titled debut album is due for release on 19 July.

Ashcroft Admires Fry For Tackling Mental Illnes

Richard Ashcroft is full of admiration for actor Stephen Fry because he has spoken so openly about his battle with mental illness over the last few years.

Fry suffered a nervous breakdown in 1995 and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has been candid about his problems and even documented his battle in 2006 documentary Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.

Former The Verve frontman Ashcroft has long suffered from depression and although he is convinced he will never be able to shake it off, he has praised Fry for bringing the subject of mental health out into the open.

He says, "I really admire Stephen Fry and love what he's done over the past few years in bringing mental illness into the open and tackling the stigma surrounding it..."

And Ashcroft credits his family, as well as moving to the countryside, with helping him battle his own demons.

He adds, "It (depression) will be with me for a lifetime. It's not something a magic wand can make disappear. But I've been lucky with music, my wife and my family. I've got really good support...

"I don't take medication now but I have in the past - but I'm better with natural endorphins. I used to joke with friends how the house I bought in the countryside saved me. But it did. Basic things like nature, the stream and a good walk helped me find my peace."

Black Ships Update

Straight from the band: "New songs, constant work, Mr. McCabe in Top form as never seen or heard before... pity I cannot share anything yet... I'm dying for everyone to listen to what we are doing, but I can't play anything yet, cause otherwise it will spoil the surprise!"

New material coming "very soon." Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Brian Cannon Launches New Website

Brian Cannon who designed all of the Verve sleeves alongside the cover of Super Furry Animals’ debut album has launched a new website.

The website celebrates the twentieth anniversary of his agency Microdot Creative and includes many shots of sleeves being created.

Click here to view the website. The Verve gallery on his website can be viewed by clicking here.

Monday, 12 April 2010

New Simon Tong Interview

Simon Tong's new band Erland and the Carnival have given a new interview over at

Highlights include:

"Asking whether Cooper is a better writing partner than the notoriously difficult Richard Ashcroft yields a resounding “yes”. Largely, Tong says, “because Richard never works with anyone. Never did. ”And he has no plans to up sticks (“I only left those bands because things fell apart”).

Ashcroft To Debut New Project Live

Richard Ashcroft is to make his live debut with new project United Nations Of Sound with a handful of UK gigs in June.

After playing a string of European dates the ex-Verve lead singer will play a pair of UK shows at Manchester Academy (15 June) and London's Shepherd's Bush Empire (16).

United Nations Of Sound, a collaboration between Ashcroft and Chicagoan producer No I.D who has worked with Jay-Z in the past, will also release their debut album on 7 June.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Ashcroft To Attend Brit Awards

Brit Awards organisers are reportedly struggling to persuade former winners to attend the 30th anniversary ceremony next week.

Groups including Coldplay, Dire Straits and Travis have all been nominated in the one-off 'Brits Album of 30 Years' category, but have so far allegedly snubbed the London event on February 16.

"Invitations have gone out to all concerned but it is now a tricky situation," a source told The Sun.

"Dire Straits, The Verve and Oasis have all split. Sade won't go as she likes to protect her privacy.

"Chris Martin and co have turned us down as they're recording and preparing for shows. Duffy is in the studio in the US. Organisers are exploring all avenues to resolve this."

Phil Collins and The Verve's Richard Ashcroft are reportedly among the few former winners who have agreed to attend the event.

Bookmakers have made Oasis's 1995 LP (What's The Story) Morning Glory? the favourite to win the 'Brits Album of 30 Years', which has been decided by Radio 2 listeners.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Urban Hymns Nominated For A BRIT

As the Brit Awards marks its 30th year this year, the show is awarding an Album of 30 Years prize. The Verve's Urban hymns has been nominated along with the following albums:

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Dido - No Angel
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
Duffy - Rockferry
Keane - Hopes & Fears
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
Sade - Diamond Life
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Travis - The Man Who

Are You Ready? Asks Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft has unveiled the first material from his new project, the United Nations Of Sound.

The track was produced by No ID, and features Ashcroft working with a host of new musical collaborators.

The song is described as a taster for the album - recorded under the working title 'Redemption' - which will be released on March 29, although the tracklisting is yet to be confirmed.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Ashcroft Reveals New Album Working Title

Richard Ashcroft has revealed exclusively to NME.COM that the working title of his forthcoming new album is 'Redemption'.

The singer/guitarist is returning this year with a new band, which he has named United Nations of Sound. The album is expected to be released in late March.

Ashcroft has teamed up with producer No ID for the album, who produced Jay-Z's 2009 singles 'Run This Town' and 'DOA (Death Of Auto-Tune)'. It is being mixed by long-time collaborator Chris Potter.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Ashcroft's Turkey Pet Gift For Vegetarian Son

Rocker Richard Ashcroft astonished his butcher by ordering a giant turkey - as a pet for his vegetarian son.

The former The Verve singer paid £20 for the bird - weighing in at a mouth-watering 16lbs - a few days before Christmas.

But instead of having it slaughtered the dad-of-two asked for a cage and whisked the turkey away for nine-year-old Sonny.

Richard, 38, who lives in Ledbury, Herefordshire, said: "My son has recently turned vegetarian and he said he wanted a turkey for Christmas. I travel to the butchers a lot and have definitely bought the luckiest turkey in Ledbury."

Butcher Matthew Waller of DT Waller and Sons added: "It was quite an odd request to take the turkey home alive but we were happy to oblige."

Richard, who had hits with Lucky Man and Bitter Sweet Symphony, has since named the turkey Lucky.