The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






Ash are downunder to play their seminal album 1977 in it's entirity in August after UK dates in July. Mark spoke to mainman Tim Wheeler who was getting ready to hop back to the UK for some dates arftere laying down some new tracks in New York.



Mark: Hi, Tim, its Mark from The Rockpit, in Australia, how are you?



Tim: Yeah, I’m good thanks. Good morning!



Mark: It’s not long now until we see you over here touring Australia.



Tim: Yes, we are really excited; it’s about a month away.



Mark: Are you still recording in New York at the moment on the eve of a few dates back in the UK?



Tim: Yes, we are leaving first thing in the morning; it’s our first tour for a few months.



Mark: Yes, and it’s an interesting tour once you get down here, because the Australian dates are split by a date in Bangkok.



Tim: Yes, we initially booked this show in because we are playing a festival in Seoul, and the following weekend in Bangkok, and we have four free days, and I guess our agent was speaking to the promoter, and he suggested coming to Australia between to do some shows, so we did, and those shows sold crazily, they sold out in just over a week!  He then said do you want to come straight back and do some more!! So, we said ok, it’s a crazy schedule but we are just responding to the response!



Mark: It will give you a good indication of how big Australia is your flight from Perth to Bangkok, will be like going from Perth to Sydney! Do you have good memories from the last time you were here?



Tim: Yeah, the last time we were there, we just did shows in Melbourne and Sydney because of being on Splendour in the Grass we just tacked on a couple of extra shows.



Mark: I know the reaction from people in Adelaide and Perth is fantastic, knowing they will get to see you this time round.
Tim: Yeah, I’ve missed coming to Perth for sure.



Mark: You are playing 1977 in its entirety, which I think you last played in 2008 at The Roundhouse, in London, so that’s something a little bit special for us, is that also the same thing you are doing in the UK and Europe? Or are they getting a different show?



Tim: No, we are mainly doing festivals on the UK tour; it was the promoter’s idea basically. We did two shows in London, doing it, and one in Belfast, I think we’ve only ever done it like four times, but it’s really fun.



Mark: It will be special, as it’s a fantastic album.



Tim: Thanks, it’s fun, and very easy to play!! I don’t know why we don’t do it more! People have very fond memories of it as well.
Mark: You are also doing a “best of” set list as well as playing 1977. You are now back to a three piece, are there any songs from your other albums, with Charlotte, that you have reworked, or any songs you would like to play, but can’t as a three piece?



Tim: There’s only one song, the first song off our second album, called “Projects”, that particularly relies on two guitars, we could never play that as a three piece, and some songs sound slightly different, we are 90% there, I don’t mind if it sounds slightly different!



Mark: You mentioned one of my favourite tracks, “Projects” from “Nu Clear Sounds”, which was the album, back in the day that nearly broke the band. How do you see that album now, as I really still love it!



Tim: Thanks, yeah, I do love it, and I think we did manage to bounce back from that, sometimes I don’t even think it’s the record as such it’s just albums that come out and ride on a wave of hype are always hard to follow.  Of all those contemporary bands who had the big first albums back in the 1990’s, a lot of the follow ups didn’t do too well, and most of the bands disappeared, but we managed to come back, and I think also we were a big British press hyped band – the press has a real talent of hyping up a band and destroying them when they release their follow up!



Mark: Yes, it certainly stands the test of time, definitely. When Charlotte left in 2006, it seemed to be by mutual consent, but later there was more of a hint that you wanted to get back to being a three piece, but there is a bit of speculation going around that she may re-join you at some point in the future. Are you still friends?



Tim: Yeah, we get on very well, and I think it would be a lot of fun to record again, we do play occasionally, but I think it’s very important for Charlotte to do her own thing and she’s comfortable with that and we are more comfortable being a three piece, so I don’t really know if it would be on the cards.





Mark: We really loved the documentary, “Teenage Wildlife” you guys got to do a couple of years ago.



Tim: Oh, you got to see it, awesome!!



Mark: Is there any chance of a follow up?



Tim: No, I don’t think so!! (we both laugh) It would be quite fun! We did take a cam on tour when we did A-Z and we put some of that out.



Mark: Yeah, that’s how I got hold of it, part of the A-Z series, which was a great way of doing something a bit different, did that project do everything you wanted it to do? I think every band is looking for a different way of getting their music out there.



Tim: I think we were pleased in the end. My dream was to go top 40 every week, we did have quite a lot of people subscribing on a weekly basis, and I think if we’d just had a few more we would have done it and maybe then the profile would have been raised. That was really the statement I wanted to make anyway.



Mark: That would have been amazing, and I think you’re right, the thing for me is that you are one of the few bands that have said we are going to do this, and you actually did do it!



Tim: I think it was great, you know, especially for people who went along right from the beginning I hope they got a lot out of it and after all that was what it was really about.



Mark: You are currently in New York recording for the new release, anything you can tell us about that?



Tim: It’s really early days at the moment we’ve got 8 songs without any lyrics or vocals on the demos. They are pretty much guitar pop songs that are hanging around the three minute mark, that’s the first batch of material.



Mark: When do you think it will be ready for release?



Tim: I think it’s going to be next year, Spring or Summer, I think we want to take our time, we’ll figure out what the fuck we’re doing and then we’ll be good to go!!



Mark: Is it all new; is it all stuff that you’ve done since the release of the A-Z Series?



Tim: Yeah, it’s all fresh. That was the great thing about the A-Z, it cleared out all our ideas, any idea we had, experimented, and tried and put out, whether it was a track or bonus track.



Mark; It’s like starting with a clean slate then, which must be a great feeling. Outside of the band, have you ever thought about a solo release?



Tim: Yeah, I’ve actually done two movie scores, in the last couple of years, one was a film called “Ashes” which went straight on to DVD, and it was a low budget British film that came out in January this year. The second one was a Stone Roses movie set around The Stone Roses gig at Spike Island, it’s called “Spike Island”, and it’s just come out in cinemas in the UK.



Mark: Just a couple of quick questions to finish, if that’s ok. If you could have been a fly on the wall for the making of any great album, at any time, what would it have been for you and why?



Tim: I think it would be “Nevermind”, because I can’t believe they recorded it all in two weeks! It would have been an exciting record to be around, just throwing it down really fast!! It would be good to see how they made it sound so good.



Mark: And it is one of those albums that changed everything, so it would have been interesting, and seeing what Dave Grohl went on to do, which showed there wasn’t just one guy in the band! As a guitarist and vocalist, over the years, who are your biggest and most enduring influences?



Tim: As a guitarist, I always loved Thin Lizzy and Brian Robertson, he was the Scottish guitarist for them, he was only with them for a few years, but he was my favourite. Then, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys was a top song writer, they are my roots.



Mark: You were a bit of a Sabbath fan, back in the day, is that right?



Tim: Yeah, not like obsessed or anything!! But, I did listen to them quite a lot when I was 17/18.



Mark: I did know that, and I also know that you were in an Iron Maiden cover band, before Ash started up. Have you had a chance to listen to the new Sabbath album? What did you think of it?



Tim: What do you think of it??



Mark: Personally, I was a little disappointed; it was like a bad solo Ozzy album! It tried to sound like old school Sabbath, but came a long way short, sadly. But hey that’s my opinion; plenty more people really enjoyed it and I’m sure they’re right and I’m wrong.



Tim: (laughs) You’d think with Rick Rubin on board, he usually does a good job of bringing out the best in the older artists.



Mark: It sounds good, but I just don’t think the material’s there. Anyway, my final easy question for you is what is the meaning of life?



Tim: Man, that’s just too easy!! I have no fucking idea, Ozzy Osbourne, maybe?!!



Mark: You can tell me the answer when you get over to Australia!!



Tim: Yeah, I’ll think about it over the next couple of weeks!!



Mark: It’s been a pleasure talking to you, Tim, thank you so much for your time and we can’t wait to see you here in Australia.



Tim: Good talking to you mate, cheers, bye.






By Mark Diggins July 2013






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