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.