Ash in hand
With the release of their first full album. three Northern Irish lads are searing their mark on the music world. Jonathan Trew risks getting his
fingers burned by Ash.
ineteen seventy seven was a rum year. The King finally toppled off his perch in Graceland. the Sex Pistols were locked in a battle for headlines with the Queen's jubilee celebrations and from a galaxy far. far away Star Wars was beamed to our cinema screens. Biissfully unaware of all this cultural chaos. two thirds of Ash — Tim Wheeler. guitar and vocalist. and Mark Hamilton. bassist — slipped into existence. two years after drummer Rick McMurray.
12 The List 17-30 May 1996
Almost twenty years later. lilvis and the Queen are largely irrelevant and the Sex Pistols. irrelevant or not. are about to impinge on the public consciousness again. More importantly. Ash have grown up and just released their first full length album. titled l977. As for Star llizrs. Ash — and Hamilton in particular — are all big fans. or obsessives depending on your stance. Within their own world view. \Ilchurray is a cross between ('3l’(). the limperor and Ren from the Rm And Strut/iv show. Wheeler is the clean-shaven Luke Skywalker. and Hamilton is
(‘hewbacca on account of his mentality and the fact he once had long hair. As thumbnail personality sketches go. it‘s obscure but accurate enough.
For now. let’sjump back in time and space to the early ‘)()s. Thu Wheeler and Mark Hamilton are at school in Downpatrick outside Belfast. In a desperate attempt to alleviate small town boredom they persuade their parents to buy them cheap instruments. allowing them to bash
‘I really love New York and Iceland because they’re so weird. But Japan is too hard to get into, it’s so bizarre.
It was as it we were Take That when we were out there.’
out their frustrations. just as thousands of kids before them have done. It sound investment. llaving overcome initial difficulties. namely being in a school band with the well dodgy moniker of Vietnam. the duo hooked up with drummer McMurray and began producing the kind of crisp power pop which splits its own seatns with youthful exuberance and convinces people that there is nothing wrong with forming a one—man mosh pit in the