After Mark Gardener left Ride in late 1995, Andy Bell did a few solo shows to promote Ride's swan song Tarantula. During that time, Gareth Farmer, a then 18 year old Ride fan out of Oxford, offered his drumming services. At that time, Andy had written a bunch of songs, which he recorded and sent a demo to Alan McGee, head of Creation Records. Word has it that McGee responded back positively, but suggested Andy get a singer. Due to this, Andy placed an advertisement in Melody Maker.
Enter Alex Lowe, a Scottish boxer with 32 amateur bouts under his belt, looking to re-enter the music ring. Alex's girlfriend sent in a demo, and Alex took the 12 hour bus ride down to the audition. "He sang a cracking "Maggie Mae" at the audition and got hired on the spot." Though they dutifully heard the remaining contestants after Alex, he was clearly their man. During the same auditions, a hired session bassist flaked out on them, but put them in touch with Will Pepper from the Three Hypnotics, who they immediately hit it off with as well.
Though they began as Hurricane, a US independent label claimed that they would be infringing on DJ Hurricane. Thus Hurricane became Hurricane#1, as Creation was not going to bow and pay money to the label for use of the name. Interestingly enough, McGee initially wanted to call them Hurricane76, as 1976 was his favorite year in music, but changed his mind.
They began to rehearse, record, and eventually went off a UK tour supporting Creation act 3 Colours Red. During that time, they described playing live as "a honeymoon." Several gushing live reviews concurred.
Debut single Step Into My World was released on April 23rd, and entered the singles chart with a respectable 29th. One thing was quickly evident: Andy wasn't going to sing. According to Andy "The reason why is I didn't like my own voice at all." Though he'd not been singing live, the latter Ride albums had featured Bell vocals increasingly promisingly.
The next single was wah-wah dance track Just Another Illusion. This release began the now-tradition of having CD1 devoted to new tracks and CD2 devoted to remixes. Here's some of Andy's comments on the remixes: "this [is] a big thing for us." And again, "I think we'd prefer to be doing the remixes ourselves, from the recording stage onwards, giving it that sound we're after, and this is really what we're going to be trying to doing the future. Treating the remix as a kind of organic thing."
Next to follow was Chain Reaction. Originally in the running to be released as the 3rd single were also album tracks Faces In A Dream and Mother Superior.
Finally, the self-titled album appeared on UK shelves. Fronted in the UK by a shot Alex with the American flag, the US version featured Andy recreating the pose, but with a mirror. The US version included two extra tracks Touchdown and Smoke Rings, and was released several months later in late October 1997. Of note is the fact that the band originally planned on naming the album 'Everybody Must Get Stoned' and subsequently, 'Storm Warning,' before deciding on an eponymous record.
Somewhere in the mix here, we're a bit obliged to mention Oasis. Says Andy about the first album "a lot of Hurricane is not influenced, but inspired by Oasis." And the influence is undeniable on the first album. Yet quickly enough Liam Gallagher of Oasis began slagging Hurricane off in the press, as well as criticizing Alex as being a Liam copycat. Things came to a climax at a gig by Idha, who was promoting her second LP "Troublemaker." Allegedly Liam and Alex got into a scuffle, as reported by the NME. Since then Alex has refused to comment, but we haven't heard any more Oasis bluster about Hurricane, have we?
The Perfecto remix of Step Into My World was then issued as a single. It did quite well, reaching the top 20, and apparently McGee realized that Hurricane should be given more leeway with remixes, after scoring such a coup. Incidentally, 1997 had seen the band do over 120 live gigs.
A bit of controversy was to ensue in February when the tabloid Sun using a clip of Only The Strongest Will Survive in an ad. Only The Strongest Will Survive did quite well in the charts. Hurricane has just decided to name their sophomore album Only The Strongest Will Survive and the album will include the James Lavelle mix of that tune.
Sometime after this time, a Volkswagen Beetle ad campaign began in America featuring music by such bands as Spiritualized, The Orb, and Hurricane. The ad featured the intro to Step Into My World being played as the visuals showed a new Beetle and suggested "if you sold your soul in the 80's/ here's your chance to get it back." The ad brought needed attention to Hurricane in America, and the ad is now beginning to run in selected European territories.
During this time, Hurricane spent several months relaxing, before releasing Rising Sign on October 12th, 1998. It is immediately apparent that Rising Sign is a polar opposite on the musical spectrum to Only The Strongest Will Survive. Whereas Only The Strongest Will Survive is a bit of a tropical, laidback acoustic jangle, Rising Sign is a full out assault featuring a hypnotic guitar line, driving drums and bass, and even some slide guitar. From a Melody Maker interview with Andy: "The guitar sounds are informed by all the stuff I used to listen to, Sonic Youth, the Valentines and stuff like that." The Rising Sign singles also marked the end, at least temporarily, of Alex on rhythm guitar. He's decided to concentrate solely on vocals for the next album.
Hurricane#1 has recently finished recording the second album, and next single is planned to be The Greatest High. All reports indicate that the new songs are brilliant.