Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! We put Ash’s Tim Wheeler to the test


In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their very own profession to see how a lot they will keep in mind – and discover out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the information out of them. This week: Ash frontman Tim Wheeler.

1: What backwards message does the music ‘Evil Eye’ open with?

“We have been going to place one thing about George W Bush however the label received scared so we ended up saying ‘Suck Devil’s cock’.


(Laughs) Good and mature! We have been in LA making ‘Meltdown’, our most onerous rock file, dwelling our childhood heavy metallic fantasies, so it was impressed by loopy tales you’d hear at school within the ‘80s about how in case you performed Ozzy Osbourne data backwards, there have been directions telling children to kill themselves.”

JT LeRoy wrote the liner notes for ‘Meltdown’. Did you will have any inkling on the time it was a hoax?

“I’d been emailing JT LeRoy whereas we toured America within the yr main as much as that album. Once they visited the studio, I believed there was undoubtedly one thing bizarre occurring with that quirky group of individuals! (Laughs) The one masquerading as JT LeRoy was quiet and unusual, however the one who was actually behind issues [Laura Albert] was actually high-energy and loopy. We performed a music and he or she jumped up onto the sofa and began dancing actually onerous! It’s cool to have liner notes written by somebody who didn’t truly exist.”

2: Title three of the porn-inspired slogans out of your early T-shirts.

“Oh right! ‘Guaranteed Real Teenagers’, ‘Domination Teenage Bisexual’ and ‘Three Boy Hardcore Action’.”


“My reminiscence’s intact! After we began to play in Belfast, our supervisor on the time was slicing stuff out of homosexual teen porn magazines for the flyers and posters. I feel he was attempting to market us as hire boys (Laughs). We additionally had a T-shirt referred to as ‘Return of the Rent Boys’. We ran with it for some time.”

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three: Which is the one monitor in your A-Z Collection the place the singles letter corresponds to the music title?

“Oh wow! Let me see! (Lengthy pause) That’s inconceivable! Might it’s ‘Summer Snow’?”

WRONG. It was S – ‘Spheres’ (‘Summer Snow’ was launched because the letter ‘U’).

“Ah okay, rattling! (Laughs) If I’d deliberate issues completely by way of, I’d have made each music title start with the corresponding letter of the only – as a result of that confused folks. However I didn’t go that deep! It was groundbreaking and enjoyable  – we explored quite a lot of types and received away from the normal album/tour cycle. It’s the form of factor persons are doing these days lots with streaming, so I feel it was forward of its time. We did an alphabetical tour of the UK – our final present was in Zennor [Cornwall], the place we couldn’t even get our tour bus down the lane into the village as a result of it was such a small place. We performed their village corridor which held about 80 folks. We performed a leisure centre in Milton Keynes and the dressing room ignored a trampoline class so there could be folks showing on the home windows each two seconds doing flips by way of the air (Laughs). After we performed the Isle of Wight – V for Ventnor – I informed the safety guards off for stopping folks dancing and so they let the air out of our tour bus tyres. It was an journey.”

four: What do the 2 Dutchmen firstly of ‘Jack Names the Planets’ recommend the music ought to be referred to as?

“‘Jack Names the Planet Nieuw-Vennep’ (Laughs)”


“Which is the city they got here from. They have been my outdated associates I met on vacation in France after I was a young person. We’d ship one another cassettes as an alternative of writing letters. We’d file ourselves chatting and me enjoying a few songs. That snippet was from a tape they’d despatched me. Every time we play Amsterdam, they arrive and hang around. Actually, the primary time I ever received actually drunk was with them. I used to be 15 – they have been a couple of years older. I ended up puking all around the tent I used to be sharing with my brother (Chortles).”

Was the vomiting as volcanic as your hidden ‘Sick Party’ ‘1977’ monitor?

“It’s a recurring theme! (Laughs)”

5: Which organisation as soon as fittingly used ‘Girl from Mars’ as their phone maintain music?



“(Laughs) I by no means referred to as them to test it out however’s fairly cool – and exhibits that they had an excellent sense of humour.”

What are your recollections of creating ‘Girl from Mars’’s attendant album ‘1977’?

“We’d simply left faculty – I’d turned 19. We labored with the Oasis producer Owen Morris, a lunatic who cherished getting us into bother and launched us to medication and cross-dressing (Laughs). The locals should have thought it was bizarre – all of us going into totally different charity retailers and shopping for loopy clothes to file in. We made a pair extra albums with him. On the third, 2001’s ‘Free All Angels’, one evening Owen drunkenly determined it could be an awesome thought to drive his Vary Rover across the fields beside the studios. He recommended that Mark [Hamilton, bassist] take the wheel, so Mark handed his half-finished bottle of vodka to me – that was my cue to get the fuck out! He did one circuit of the sector earlier than crashing by way of a large fence – an enormous pole smashed by way of the windscreen narrowly lacking his head (Laughs). The subsequent day, the shit hit the fan with the studio proprietor ‘cos that field was where his daughter usually kept her horses. He said if the horses had been there, he would have grabbed his shotgun and shot us. He wasn’t joking! (Laughs) That was a typical day recording with Owen.”

Did you will have drag names when cross-dressing?

“We must always have! Truly, NME as soon as dressed us up as The X-Recordsdata, and I used to be Gillian Anderson’s Scully. I seemed fairly scorching as a girl! (Laughs)”

6: What’s the title of the character Chris Martin performs in your unreleased horror movie ‘Slashed’?

“Ah! Sherbet Bones.”


“He’s just about Sherlock Holmes. I used to be impressed by his performing expertise – he left us all within the mud! (Laughs) Jonny Buckland [Coldplay guitarist] was enjoying a Watson-type character referred to as Datsun Ford.”

Will you ever end and launch it?

“No. We filmed the demise scenes of Mark, Rick [McMurray, Ash drummer] and Charlotte [Hatherley, former Ash guitarist] – sorry, spoiler alert! Then our US touring stopped earlier than we received to movie the tip – my demise. I don’t assume there’s something we might cobble collectively, however they’re utilizing CGI to recreate James Dean, so with higher expertise, it may be potential! (Laughs). We’ll add Carrie Fisher in there as nicely! For our 20th anniversary, Mark confirmed the footage that is still and talked by way of the entire thing, filling within the gaps. That’s the one time it’ll see the sunshine of day.”

Dave Grohl, James Nesbitt, Moby, The Divine Comedy‘s Neil Hannon and members of Weezer seem in it as nicely..

“We have been attempting to crack America, and operating into these folks. I remorse not asking David Bowie to do it once we toured with him – ‘cos he’s truly an excellent actor! We’ll add him to the CGI checklist (Laughs).”

What was Bowie like?

“Charismatic and right down to earth. He was attempting to stop smoking, sneaking off behind his assistant’s again to bum fags off folks. I didn’t count on that from the Skinny White Duke! (Laughs)”

7: Ash wrote and recorded the title monitor to the 1997 Ewan McGregor-starring movie ‘A Life Less Ordinary’. Which of his film roles did you as soon as display take a look at for?

“I display examined for the function he performed in Moulin Rouge!”

CORRECT. For the starring function of poet Christian.

“It was a musical, so the director Baz Luhrmann was asking singers to try out for it. I did a screen test in LA, which was daunting as I’d never acted before. I spent a couple of hours with Baz talking me through the film, even down to the colours they were using – which were based on Toulouse-Lautrec’s absinth-tinged paintings.”

eight: Which pop band receives a thank-you within the promotional copies of your 2002 singles assortment ‘Intergalactic Sonic 7″s’?

“Mmmn…was it Westlife? Cling on – not the Spice Women? (Laughs) I quit!”

WRONG. It’s S Membership 7.

“Oh yeah! For some time we have been doing TV exhibits that they have been all the time on. A few of them gave us a joint at one level (Laughs). That they had the picture of being a clean-living children’ band, however there was a few partiers amongst them!”

There ain’t no celebration like an S Membership Social gathering?

“(Laughs) You nailed it! Two of the Spice Women – Sporty and Child – got here to one among our events on the peak of their fame in ’97 and that was enjoyable.”

 Who’s essentially the most uncommon one who’s stated they like your music?

“Dana – the Irish singer who received Eurovision [in 1970 with ‘All Kinds of Everything’] – has simply lined ‘Shining Light’ which is…odd. So she should be a fan! Annie Lennox additionally lined ‘Shining Light’. A variety of our followers have been offended by her model so after I met her, she truly apologised for doing the quilt. (Laughs) I used to be like: ‘No way! That was one of the greatest honours of my life!’. Quentin Tarantino got here to one among our gigs and spent the entire present making out with a woman standing on the again. Ash’s music undoubtedly appeared to make him attractive! (Laughs)”

9: In a function titled ‘If Pop Was World War 2’ in Choose journal in 1996 evaluating Britpop to historic figures, who have been you likened to?

“(Laughs) Woah! I’m guessing perhaps it might have been somebody actually younger – as a result of we have been a few of the youngest children in that scene? However I do not know – please enlighten me!”

WRONG. It was Common Charles de Gaulle!

Actually?! That’s superb. My girlfriend’s French as nicely – she’ll be impressed after I inform her! (Laughs)”

For a bonus half-point, are you able to guess who both Stalin or Hitler have been?

“OH MY GOD! Erm – let me see. Hitler might need been Crispian Mills from Kula Shaker after his swastika debacle. (Laughs) I’d like to know who the hell Stalin is in all of this!”

WRONG. Stalin was Noel Gallagher and Hitler was Eddie Vedder (‘Demonic, vegetarian leader of forces of darkness, hell bent on enforcing American longhairs’, apparently).

“That’s very harsh! I imply, Noel was a little bit of a dictator in Oasis – however that’s excessive! (Laughs).”

Didn’t you flip down supporting Oasis at their legendary 1996 Knebworth exhibits?

“Yeah, we have been touring lots within the States – it’s a disgrace we didn’t fly again and do it. I keep in mind Noel saying he actually appreciated ‘Shining Light’ apart from the guitar which reminded him of James (Laughs). We’d run into Noel rather a lot due to working with Owen Morris – we must always have gotten him to do a solo on ‘1977’ or one thing. We have been truly the primary ever folks exterior of Oasis’s camp to listen to ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ as a result of we went to hang around with Owen within the studio on the day they completed the combo – and stayed up all evening smashing the album.”

*For these , Winston Churchill was Damon Albarn, Karl Marx was Paul Weller, The Purple Military have been Ocean Color Scene, and George Formby (!) was Sleeper’s Louise Wener.

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10: You as soon as ranked first in Angle journal’s 2004 checklist of ‘Indie Boys We’d Wish to Fuck’. Are you able to title any others within the high 5?

“(Laughs) OH MY GOD!! Superb! Is Julian Casablancas in there, as a result of that was round The Strokes‘ heyday? No? Can I assume one other? Nick [Valensi, guitarist]? No? Fuck! Fab [Moretti, drummer]?”

CORRECT. Fab positioned second. You could possibly have additionally had: Jared Followill (Kings of Leon), Tom Vek or Liam Gallagher.

“(Laughs) That will be a really fucked-up orgy! I’m fairly pleased with being first. That’s one of many best achievements of my life – that’d I’d utterly forgotten about. I want I’d truly received some form of statuette that I might proudly show on my mantelpiece beside my Ivor Novello Award. (Laughs). I keep in mind as soon as supporting Björn Once more at G-A-Y. We lined ‘Mamma Mia’ – one of many bangers that was meant to be of their set, and so they wouldn’t discuss to us due to it. One of many 5 or 6 Björn Once more’s touring all over the world at this minute are fairly pissed off at us! (Laughs)”

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Bonus query! For half a degree: You’ve simply launched a remastered model of ‘Jack Names the Planets’. Title the planets within the photo voltaic system.

“Ahhhh! OK. Um…Pluto, Venus, Uranus (Laughs), Jupiter, Earth, erm…oh my God – Mars, Neptune, Mercury….Saturn!”

CORRECT. Though Pluto was relegated to a dwarf planet in 2006.

“It would have been bad if I forgot Mars!”

The decision: 7.5/10

“That feels average! It’s good to know rock ‘n’ roll still does the damage it’s meant to!”

‘Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash’ is launched on February 14 by way of Sony BMG. The band’s intensive UK tour begins on February 17 2020 in Leeds. Full particulars could be discovered right here.

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