Slide Away - Original Text

"If you've got good music, what the fuck are you doing selling 3,000 records. Being in an indie band is such a dated philosophy." - Richard Ashcroft

"The first gig I ever did, I thought I'm going to do this for as long as I'm in music. So I just went fuckin' mad and me mates thought I'd cracked. Every time it's like being on a rollercoaster. I'd be a puppet without strings without the band." - Richard Ashcroft

"There's so many average bands around. When people see the spark, when they see it really happening, they're gonna go wild for it. We're trying to give something that's been lacking, something we've gone to gigs for, listened to records for and wanted to hear, and it's just not been there." - Richard Ashcroft

"If you've spent seven years waiting to perform in front of people, you've got it all built up inside you. It's like a fuckin' time bomb every time. A big celebration…" - Richard Ashcroft

"….I've been in bands since I was 17. We've had years to get it ready and only when we were ready did we play a gig in London. We played one gig in London and we were signed up. That's the essence of this band, creating something out of nothing. Trying to be someone from nowhere. I learned early. My father died when I was really young. He'd worked nine to five all his life, and he suffered and got nowhere. And I was 11 at the time and immediately realised that that wasn't the life for me. Immediately I found out how quickly someone can die and just be wiped out. So I thought, 'Fuck this, I'm gonna do something positive, I can do something great, I'm gonna make something of myself." - Richard Ashcroft

"The second EP's closer to what we sound like live, a bigger sound and a bigger feel. Obviously when we were naïve about how to make the best of the studio. We just went in there, bashed it down and that was it. We were happy about it at the time but it was only two or three weeks before we were thinking , 'Christ we could have done it a lot better.'" - Richard Ashcroft

"If we're successful, the roots of our success will be people knowing that we don't give a shit, people seeing that we can let ourselves go and be what we want. People like it if they can see that you're not self-conscious and you're not restricted by business considerations, and people need it at the moment." - Richard Ashcroft

"People don't understand that there's bigger things than charts. There's more at stake. If I can move a person emotionally, and take them to another place, it would mean more to me than being on Top Of The Pops or seeing us in the Top Ten." - Richard Ashcroft

"I believe that you can do anything. I believe you can fly and I believe in astral travel, because, if I thought I was just going to walk around this place for the next 50 years , I don't think I could exist." - Richard Ashcroft

"I'm just a guy from Wigan who's into music and into what we're doing. I don't want to become some sort of spokesperson. But I just want people to enjoy themselves, and I don't really care if it sounds like some statement that Timothy Leary made in 1965. I don't care." - Richard Ashcroft

"As for drugs, they are like a good drink with a good meal. It's people like Lou Reed, The Velvets, Bowie who can pull it off, because they used them as a complement. This is what we try to do the music always comes first." - Richard Ashcroft

"I strongly believe that music is an escapist form. I don't want reality rammed down my throat, I want something that's gonna take me somewhere else." So you're a bit of a hippy then? "No, the hippy movement was too idealistic, it never works because this world's shit. I'm fully aware that insane, macabre, horrible things are going on - I'm a news junkie. I'm not fool enough to believe that because I'm doing okay, I can shut off. At heart I'm a realist who wants to be an escapist." - Richard Ashcroft

"The thing about Verve is we can go in any direction we like, we write to satisfy ourselves, and we'll never satisfy ourselves, but we strive for that and that's what makes cool music." - Richard Ashcroft

The band were interviewed while shooting the video for 'Slide Away' in Spain, which involved the band cavorting with lots of women in an ancient brothel in Almeria. "I think one of the girls fancied me" - Pete Salisbury

"I found myself in some seedy peepshow once, just to see what the hell goes on there. I've never been to a real brothel before. It might be interesting to go once, just to see how deflated you can really feel, you know, once you've had your orgasm. I bet it'san incredible moment, once it's all over and you're strolling out there and you're exactly the same person as you were before you walked in. A completely meaningless experience." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think people who saw us last year thought we were a bit hyped or something to do with Suede. They were ompletely wrong. There's always a tendency for people to exaggerate your place in the world. I mean, to the vast majority of people, Verve, Suede, Spiritualized, even U2, mean nothing at all. But to me, this is everything. I think about music all the time and I'll never stop believing that we can live up to anything anyone says about us." - Richard Ashcroft

"Keith Richards threw a telly out of a window in 1969 - big deal, I don't give a fuck. I think The Stones were a great band, but we're not trying to copy them. Just because I'm skinny and I've got a big pair of lips doesn't mean I want to be Mick Jagger! Obviously, you get inspired when you see footage of them. They could hold an audience. But I'm not in this to become an imposter. I don't want to look back and say to myself, 'You were lying for 20 years'." - Richard Ashcroft

"The thing is, Nick and the others are cutting the music and I'm just interpreting it. I'm probably 15, 16 different people during a gig, you know? Sometimes I just disappear and I wouldn't swap it for the world, that feeling of being totally elevated, totally blown away. World War III could be taking palce around the corner, but I wouldn't hear it or see it because of those few moments of complete abandon." - Richard Ashcroft

"I said I was gonna be able to fly. Well why not? I actually believe that I could fly if I put my mind to it but everyone's embarrassed to hear me say it. Why? Because everyone's embarrassed t think big. Everyone's scared of the unknown. Everyone's frightened when , for even a split second, they think about who the fuckin' hell they are and where they're going and what happened before they existed." - Richard Ashcroft

"That vast void of uncertainty is what's behind this band. And when I said I was expecting to fly, I was just trying to explain what we do as a band, to explain that we can do anything and we're gonna go as far as possible. I mean if I'm called Mad Richard just because I get involved in a gig, because I lose myself, how banal and boring does that make everything else?….So call me Mad Richard if you like. In these times I consider it a compliment…" - Richard Ashcroft

"I don't think we're ever gonna achieve what we wanna achieve. It would be impossible, but that's the point. To aim further. But I think, for our age and experience, we've made a fucking great first album and established a great place to start." - Richard Ashcroft

"Music elevates me. It stretches reality into an unbelievable experience, it stretches each day into a completely different world. I don't think many bands realise that people are there to experience something different, something not run-of-the-mill. And I think you owe it to the people who are spending their pocket money or dole or wages on your records and live gigs to go as far as possible, because they're putting their trust and that's what I expect of bands that I go and see." - Richard Ashcroft

"As soon as people think they've got us pigeon-holed, we'll do something to keep them on their toes….and always will." - Richard Ashcroft

"I got recognised on a train the other day. It only happens in London. No one seems to care in Wigan. I was a bit unpleasant actually. I'm not sure if I do want to be famous. Some of the stuff that goes with it must be quite distressing. But I do want Verve to be the biggest group in the world. We will be the biggest group in the world. It's only right." - Richard Ashcroft

"I'm into great music. Funkadelic, Can, Sly Stone, Neil Young, the Stones, Chuck Berry, Jazz. I hate 'indie' music. It's so diluted and boring. I can name you 50 bands who are doing OK now and in two years they will be forgotten. They're just this summer's T-shirt. History will forget them. But history has a place for us. It may take three albums but we will be there." - Richard Ashcroft

"If people think that I'm crazy, then it's a sign of the times. It just shows how banal things have become in the last 20 years, how far we've come from the abandon and entertainment of the past. If I'm Mad Richard, what would they make of Jimi Hendrix? They'd put him in an asylum." - Richard Ashcroft

"When we signed a deal, we got a stash of money. I rented a flat in Wigan and in that flat we just had the most ridiculously indulgent, decadent six months. Now all the money's gone and I'm totally skint - but it was a good time." - Richard AshcroftNick McCabe with a bottle of goods

"I've been daydreaming since I was 12 or 13 about music, and I treat daydreams as important as visualizations, which is an important part of meditation. If you want something, you visulaize It, see it, smell it, touch it, walk around it. Before Verve, I played with Nick, and at the end of one gig, for some reason, I just completely freaked out and started rolling on the floor. All these kids were staring at me, going, 'What a wanker - what the fuck is he doing?' But I couldn't help it." - Richard Ashcroft

"People who write music or poetry, I think they underestimate the mind of the listener, they make it to obvious. I want music that I can grow into, that I can drift away from and then come back to in years' time - and I still don't quite get it. I think that the listeners' imagination is so much greater than….mine, actually. People I talk to, their ideas of certain songs have been far, far beyond my expectations…" - Richard Ashcroft

"Albums, although they're the main source of record company's money, they've been forgotten as a piece of work, because albums are now seen as the only long term money that the record company are going to get off you." - Richard Ashcroft

WHEN ASKED ABOUT THEIR LIVE SHOWS "I know that usually we're given an hour and a half and you can use that time really well if you're one of those bands who can take it further on stage like we are. We're human beings and we can mess up a song or we can make it amazing, improvise. Not being a machine on stage is so important." - Richard Ashcroft

"We have to be self-confident, we're from Wigan. There's nothing here, there's no driving force in Manchester any more. If you're independent you've got to do it n your own. You've got to have a hard edge to you. No one's going to help you." - Richard Ashcroft

"I like a nice big fry-up from a motorway café. The tea should be brick red and very strong and should be drunk with mountains of bread , each slice with too much butter. The problem with motorway cafes is that the cholesterol is never high enough for me. I quite like theLittle Chef near Keele because not only do they do a great tomato soup, but they also do a brilliant Yorkshire pudding with two jumbo susages and gravy. It's £4.95, which borders on the expensive , but it's well worth it. They also make a great hot chocolate there, and you get a panoramic view of the M6 while you're enjoying your food. The downside of motorway cafes is the fact that they charge 10p for a sachet of sauce which is outrageous. Garagesandwiches: don't make the mistake of taking them too often, because after a while they make you feel ill. What you should do is supplement your sandwich intake with a Little Chef tomato soup. Ideally, sneak your garage sandwiches into the Little Chef and dip them in your soup." - Richard Ashcroft

"There's a new track I've just written. It goes 'the drugs don't work, they just make me worse, and I know I'll see your face again.' That's how I'm feeling at the moment. They make me worse, man. But I still take 'em. Out of boredom and frustration you turn to something else to escape." - Richard Ashcroft

"Sometimes you 've got to go through these things to taste the extremes….I'm attracted to it in a macabre sort of way….But whenever I pick up a guitar and write now, I'm automatically tapping into the darker side of my nature, I can't help it, it just happens like that. I wonder that if I'm still stuck in this rut a while from now, I'll be really messed up. I wonder if I'll be able to sing these songs every night on tour. I have to feel the songs when we play. I don't know if I can re-live the last six months for another year." - Richard Ashcroft

"I went to a Harley Street specialist about my voice, and he said that if I carried on with the way I was singing, really intense and pushing my voice, then it would be gone in three years." - Richard Ashcroft

"When we're on tour, we'll have a great time, suck the marrow out of it all and come home like corpses, recharge our batteries and go out again. If someone gets blind drunk and throws something out of the window, then it's because they're blind drunk. It's not a conscious rock 'n' roll thing." - Richard Ashcroft

Original Text - South Pacific(On Recording On A Northern Soul) : "It was all about waiting for inspiration. Feel was everything. And if it wasn't there, we'd really, really depressed . The song'd sound good but there wasn't that magic. We were waiting for the magic all the time: like, 'Where is the magic, man? We need it!' Then it'd just happen and it'd be just be, 'Yes!' But like any experience in life, when you go really up, when you reach the peaks, the comedown is incredible. And after six weeks of going up and crashing down, everything you've been doing takes it's toll. You start losing it." - Richard Ashcroft

"I was elated with the record . Elated. It was almost like …. Well, I've heard of artists who have tied themselves to the masts of ships so they could get more inspiration. They'd sail out in a huge storm. And it felt like that: it felt like I'd been through a huge emotional experience. But I got something out of it. Out of all the torment, I had a diamond. And that's what great groups survive on." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think we're the best jamming band in the world. I do. But we don't go into all that horrible bullshit. You know, we've been labelled 'prog rock' but that's just utter bollocks. It's miles more intense than that. There's an aim and a cause when we jam. We do it for hours at a time: build the intensity then drop it down; to tease people, to tease ourselves. We're great teasers. It's like prolonging the orgasm. People buy cream for that but we've got music…." - Richard Ashcroft

"To be honest, being Mad Richard isn't really funny to me any more. People always ridicule an individual. That starts in the playground, d'you know what I mean?" - Richard Ashcroft

"What the band does is pretty heavy, and that's because we're a pretty emotional group of people. I couldn't make….funny music, I'm not interested in…funny, know what I mean? (laughs)." - Richard Ashcroft

(talking about visiting his mum's hairdressing salon every Friday as a yongster) - "At 13 I wanted it bleached completely Andy Warhol white, but it went purple. So I had it dyed back to black and it was so black it was blue. A monstrosity! A big Shakin' Stevens dyed black hairdo with sifeburns that stopped at the chin. I had everything - streaks, a perm, even had the early 80s permed-at-the-back footballer's cut. Yes! I was that lad." - Richard Ashcroft

About being in love) - "It's just incredible, that feeling of….there's someone there. Someone who wants you and understands you. To be wanted by someone in the true sense of the word means a lot more than playing in front of 20,000 people. Get your priorities right. Your life - and the people who love you for what you really are - are more important than anything else. If I ever lose that, I'll pack it all in and play acoustic guitar on the beach." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think it (A Northern Soul) 's briliiant. I don't know how people are going to take it really because it's nothing like what's going on at the moment. I don't know if people have got the ears for it anymore. It just sprawls. You know, a lot of people thought we were a weird retro band or something and that might change now. It's gone beyond even what I thought we could do." - Richard Ashcroft...stood at the top of the hill over my town, I was found

"Since the last album we have spent two years playing music every night and that means you get a lot better. But I always thought it was our demos that were the best things. When we recorded them properly we lost a lot of the edge. With John Leckie producing the first album we had to compromise and this time we had a lot more control over the sound." - Richard Ashcroft

"I didn't really get on with him (Owen Morris) and we had a bit of a fall out. Everyone else got on with him and I suppose he did make a really good job of the album. What he does is he lets you go out and get a load of powerful sounds and he doesn't fuck around with them. He leaves them like that and as I say a lot of people are frightened of that power now. We could just play in a room together and get off on it and that was great." - Richard Ashcroft

(About rock 'n' roll antics with supposed drinking buddies Oasis) - "I like a drink and that but I'm not really into totally living it up. The thing is I've never said 'Oh I'm best mates with Oasis, you know', because I don't really know them. It's funny it's Richard who knows them best and yet he's the one that talks about them most and then gets pissed off when they're always mentioned. The thing is, I'm not into cliques and I avoid it because most bands are total fucking knobs. I'm not interested in meeting Sleeper or Gene or Menswear." - Richard Ashcroft

"I wrote that song (Dance On Your Bones) about any kind of total loss of any rules whatsoever. It's about the Devil sweeping you up into all kinds of depravity. Because he does! If you wanna believe in Christianity, the Devil's rife in my body. He's buzzing around my bones at the moment. He's dancing on 'em." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think you get to a point in your life where you've gotta decide, no more bullshit. No more lies. If someone's telling me bullshit, I'll tell them to fuck off and, if a girl's givin' me bullshit, leave. Cos you waste a lot of time in your life in relationships and situations that you think are right on it and they're not. You get let down and ….I think I….relationship-wise, I'd had an easy life up to that point." - Richard Ashcroft

(On making A Northern Soul)"We used to drive around at night for hours waiting for the feeling to come. Other times, we'd sit around, doing absolutely nothin'. Getting stoned. Sometimes we'd play Funkadelic or Chic really loud, getting' a club vibe in the studio. You've got to compete with the greats." - Richard Ashcroft

"'This Is Music' came about after I met this guy who went to Eton. I just realised the options that were open to him if he wanted to venture into certain fields. He was 90 metres ahead in the race of life, purely by birthright. And I find that really strange. So I invented a character with which to sing the song. But it could be me, easily." - Richard Ashcroft

"I'm always going to keep my feet on the ground, cause if I start acting like a pop star, I'm gonna get punched by one of me friends. We haven't hit success on a big scale yet. We had a couple of Top 40 singles in England, and that's nothing to change your life in a moment." - Richard Ashcroft

"When we did the first album, we only had three songs done when we went in to do it and we made the rest up in the studio, which is a pretty big achievement. With this album (A Northern Soul), we had nearly two albums worth of material before we went in. But there is still a lot of input, a lot of jams, just sections of music where we didn't know what we were going to do next, which I think you can feel on the album. The most important thing for us is feel over anything else." - Richard Ashcroft

"We were on the dole in England, which is absolutely nothing week to week to live on. You can barely scrape together enough to get some cigarettes. We were just bored out of our minds and luckily my cousin owned a small little club that he used to let us play in. It was the only thing that gave us happiness." - Richard Ashcroft

ABOUT THE BRITISH PRESS - "It's a lot like a love/hate relationship. I think we scared them more than anything, being more rock than what's happening at the moment 'cause they're into that Brit pop thing, whatever the fuck that is - pop singles and all that sort of shit." - Richard Ashcroft

"America is more rock oriented. I can't wait to get over there and play, because playing live is what it is all about really. That is where the band started and that is where we are best. A band is only as good as it can play live." - Simon Jones

"The album we're about to release (A Northern Soul) is the result of being a human being over two years of mad circumstances, mad experiences, going through marriages, births, separations, falling in love, getting messed up on this, that and the other." - Richard Ashcroft

"It's so fucking annoying, doing an interview, thinking you're talking about your music. You get to read it and they're more interested in us trashing hotels. Trashing a hotel room takes ten minutes; writing a fucking album takes fucking years. I mean, we've been in a band for four years, we've got two albums, that's two years per album. Two years and they want to write about it in five lines." - Simon Jones

"I've always thought I'll be happy whether we make it big or not. But now the pain we go through to make a record, it's like - yeah, I want something back from it. We deserve it." - Simon Jones

"Pop music is defined by major corporations. Radio One tell us what pop music is. But if Radio One played feedback for seven days a week, then feedback would become pop music. It's all insane really." - Richard Ashcroft

"I know we sound bitter men, but it's fucking great being in a band though, when you're actually making music. It's the greatest fun you can have in your life, that's why it's worth it." - Simon Jones

"I just hit things. Don't ask me any questions." - Pete Salisbury

(On Oasis) "They supported us last year when they were first starting out, just as they signed to Creation. We got on with them so well. We'd heard of them because a friend of ours in Wigan who does all our sleeves, he started working for Oasis as soon as they started. So we got them on your with us and got on with them straight away. There's lots of bands that are hard to get on with because you don't like the music. With them it clicked straight away and it made the tour so much easier." - Pete Salisbury

(On Germany) "You can be massive in Germany and sell more records than if you're massive in England. We get a good reception in Germany. Last time we were over there, we went down really well. They loved it. I've got a lot of respect for the Germans. There are quite a lot of people over there who understand good music. They've got open ears." - Pete Salisbury

"The band now is almost on a family level. Our conversations have cut down, and when I play with these guys, it's almost non-existent. We're on this synchronicity level, especially with the music. Nick set us such a high standard (in the beginning Nick was much more advanced with his guitar than Simon & Pete were with their instruments) but learning together and growing together as a unit has been much more powerful than putting an advert in Melody Maker for some guy who's coming from a totally different set of influences. We were lucky but we made our own luck." - Richard Ashcroft

"I do believe that certain artists are vehicles for something that's a little bit bigger than anything we ever really know about. I hate sounding like a fucking hippie or something, that's narrow minded in itself, but I do believe certain people have tapped into that place, I believe John Lennon did and I believe Van Morrison did and Neil Young has." - Richard Ashcroft

(On recording A Northern Soul) - "…Owen won't ever work with us again, I know that for a fact. And I feel sorry for him really, because he was the perfect man for the job…The first three weeks were just brilliant, the best three weeks of my life. We'd drive back up here of a night and listen to the tapes and we'd just be like laughing and smiling at each other. But after that, the process of choosing the songs and tidying them up took a lot more concentration and suddenly whoosh and we're all in each others' faces, coming down off whatever drugs we'd been doing for that three weeks and all very intense and paranoid. People got a little mad. I don't really want to go into it. It's all very personal." - Simon Jones

Nick interviewed over the phone from his Wigan home.
Nick - "That was me. I just got a guitar and I could play a few things on it, and I liked messing with it, and I liked making my own things up."
Nick McCabeNick - "(chuckling)"Don't ever describe it as psychedelic, it spoils the facts and stuff like that. I think it's just through taste, trying to evade anyhing sentimental. It's a certain kind of power we try and go after…. It's a surging thing, and I like that."
Nick -
"It was good. We enjoyed it. Detroit was amazing. We did four days in Detroit, and the crowd got slightly bigger each day. People were getting into it. That is what was good about it really. Because it wasn't publicized that well."
Nick - "Well the thing about Lollapalooza is that we got to see enough of the stadiums. There were a couple of places that had what I thought was a really good atmosphere about them. So, it doesn't matter to me as long as there is the sound and the atmosphere."

"With this album (A Northern Soul) I felt I'd discovered something new about myself. That I'd opened a personal Pandora's Box. Things like that just come to you in life. They've probably been there all the time, it's just a question of you actually realising that they're there. And the result has come out in the music. The grooves, the lyrics, the guitar work, they've all joined together to become something extra. The just records just sounds like modern rock 'n' roll music." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think we've suffered because there's so much shit and it's difficult to spot the diamonds amongst it all. It's just a job to some people. We're not part of anything, that's the point I'm making, really. All these groups at the moment who are supposedly punk-influenced, well if anybody is influenced by punk it's us. That is, if punk means doing your own thing and avoiding all the things that you're supposed to be doing. Doing things with souls and depth. I think the really exciting things at the moment are going on in dance music, where kids are making records in their bedrooms and in garages. As for us, we'll stay on our own. We don't want to be part of anyone else's gang. If people want to join us, then, yeah, great, but we're not looking up to anyone else." - Richard Ashcroft

"The thing is, music is the soundtrack to my life and my emotions. It has the power to change the way I see the day. In ten years' time I think it'll be miles better than it is now, it has to. I mean, the '80s were shit….It was just a a waste of time. The problem is, we can't lose our way like that again. Music still has a power, it just takes people to do it from the heart again and then it will become great again. When it moves out of the ordinary. Y'see music's so vast, you open one door and there's another hundred on the other side of it. If you've got some kid who's into Jimi Hendrix, early blues songs, mixing it with techno and then juggling it up in a big cauldron then you'll get great music in ten years' time, and we'll be making it as well. Trouble at the moment is you've got all these Camden bands who are just making instant music, sliced bread music. And in the end that sort of stuff just gives you malnutrition. It's time for a cure." - Richard Ashcroft

"The first album was wrapped up in imagery and was very escapist, whereas this one is more personal and a lot more real." - Richard Ashcroft

"'On Your Own' means a lot to me, because it was the first time that I'd really sat down and gone through the process of songwriting - nearly everything else has been written in a jam with the four of us together in a room. Lyrically, I think it's one of the strongest songs to date and, in this mad, mad world of Hollywood, we're lucky to find a video director who can put real feeling into what he's doing." - Richard Ashcroft

Blue Promotional Video Clip"Since Nirvana, there's been a formula going on in American music, which has diluted their strength and brought us to the stage where heavy angst music will soon mean as little as Bon Jovi and all the LA poodle rockers meant a few years ago." - Richard Ashcroft

"The first three weeks (RECORDING A NORTHERN SOUL) were the best three weeks of my life, because we were just enjoying making music and not thinking about it. And then it all went nuts. Richard and Owen were shouting and smashing things up and I was retreating into myself. At the end it was horrible." - Nick McCabe

"On the early records, people thought of us as this bunch of 20-year olds making heavy dope music, but now we've moved into a completely different thing. In the next few years, I think our music will grow dramatically. The frustrating thing is that people still believe the band to be something it no longer is, so it's going to take a couple of albums to prove where we're now coming from. Especially in England." - Richard Ashcroft

"Well you go to this place - we were talking about this earlier today - a place where you go and get inspired, and sometimes it doesn't work, but when it does work the four of us don't have to look at each other, it's the music that's greater than the sum of the parts and this music just comes from somewhere…..I mean the music lives and breathes with these four people, and if you take away that chemical reaction between the four people it's gonna sound completely different. I'm in awe of the other three members of the band, totally in awe of them, and individually we are all up there with each other. Usually there is one weak link, but there isn't with us. It's exciting and I don't know if it's lucky, but we made our own luck 'cos we learnt together as musicians." - Richard Ashcroft

"I want The Verve to be the biggest band in the world because rock and roll will be dangerous again if we are." - Richard Ashcroft

"Rather than impress people with my licks and chops, I try to create a place for listeners to sit and become involved." - Nick McCabeBeautiful Mind - Original Text

"I use whatever set-up the studio has because it's usually better than what I've had over the past few years. Touring tends to knacker your amps. I used to use an Alesis Quadraverb and a Mesa Boogie Mark III live, but now I use a Marshall JCM 800. I like tape echo. I've got a Wem Copycat and a Roland Space Echo, but they last only two gigs before they become mangled." - Nick McCabe

"I like Vini Reilly from the Durutti Column because he could be flashy, but he was really simple about it. I also like Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel because he condensed all the best bits of Jimi Hendrix." - Nick McCabe

"We are the only ones doing it for real without any sort of scene to fit into or silly ideas of being a figure in the music business. We are the last band in it for the music in Britain." - Richard Ashcroft

"The break-up was basically about having to stop something before it went beyond any possibility of ever getting it back. Beyond the phone call saying, 'Hey man, I need you and you need me, let's 'ave it.'" - Richard Ashcroft

"I can't understand people who cite influences when they themselves are only a pale imitation of them. I don't want to see the same old names - Dylan, Brian Wilson, Beatles, blah blah blah. They've got their place, but people have got to believe it can happen now. Don't get sold on 'Dance music's arrived in America and it's gonna crush the voice of human beings'. I'm all up for dance music, but there's still something about rock music that's alive in your speakers." - Richard Ashcroft

"I remember sitting in a hotel room overlooking the cliffs in Cornwall, and Radio One came on and it said, 'The Verve are history and this is their final single "History" and I was more choked than I've ever been in my life." - Richard Ashcroft

"Let me tell you this, there are things that have gone on in The Verve that I won't be talking about in this interview and I won't be talking about until the day I die. If we were an American band I might talk about them and go on to sell 15 million albums on the back of it, but because we're from Wigan and we all love each other, we're not going to start talking about it. I know some people get their catharsis through interviews, but not us. Let's just say there was a cloud over us…" - Richard Ashcroft

"Oasis have tapped into how a lot of people feel in this country, but at the end of the day I know that I speak for a certain amount of people. I don't want to be a spokesman, but there's still a lot of untapped ground in England. Oasis are part of it, but there's a darker side to this country and I'm it's flag bearer." - Richard Ashcroft

Nick McCabe on the keyboards(About feeling pressure) "It feels completely different now. The difference is that this time around, it can only be personal, what we do, that's what I've learnt in the time I've been away. I've not got Day-glo red sunglasses on anymore. I can see what's what. I've got to get over this idea that maybe the ultimate prize isn't possible. It's just your own personal battle that needs to be won." - Richard Ashcroft

(On postponing the June tour) "Mental and physical exhaustion and illness is obviously all related and mentally I've been at Def Con One for fucking two years and it takes its toll. And if you're physically not up for it as well then you've just got nothing left at all, d'you know what I mean?…I've said it before…we're on the edge in this band. There's no point in kidding. It was always gonna be like this. A lot of other lead singers would have done that tour. They'd have shuffled the songs around and got through it, because they would either been scared to do it or outside pressures would have made them do it. But I think people deserve more than having me at 40 per cent. It's been too long, you know what I'm saying? Why fuck around now?" - Richard Ashcroft

(On publishing royalties for Bitter Sweet Symphony) "We originally thought they'd take 50 per cent of the publishing…. And then when it came to it that didn't happen. We used a sample of the strings from this song (a version of 'The Last Time' on an orchestral album of Stones hits arranged by Andrew Loog Oldham) which we built 'Bitter Sweet…' up from. It's just what hip-hop bands do, and they get money and they get credit. But Allen Klein is one of those old school people who does not believe in that sort of shit….and the Stones' music to him is this holy thing that can't be fucking played with." - Simon Jones

"I see 'The Drugs Don't Work' as a love song. Not about drugs not working but about being that far down where you're down and you realize that they're not getting you to where they used to. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not doing a Nancy Reagan and saying, 'Don't do it'. Whatever gets you through the night is fine by me. I'm just saying that we've been there, y'know, and I think a lot of other in our generation have been there too." - Richard Ashcroft

"….We're gonna do three albums in quick succession. We're on fire. And when people listen to it, it won't be like before. This time we're gonna have the fucking world waiting for it." - Richard Ashcroft

All in the Mind - Promotional Clip"He was good, my old man. He was all right. Kind of strict geezer. About five stone heavier than me. Big feller. I loved him. But I wouldn't be here now if he hadn't died. God knows what I'd be doing. That's the only thing death gives you, isn't it? That one moment of realisation, that makes a mockery of any authority from then on. Because you know from there on that it's all fucking bullshit. None of it makes sense. None of it. You have to go out there and see what happens." - Richard Ashcroft

"I've lost all my possessions. I owed a geezer three grand back rent in Wigan, and when I came back from doing the first album he'd changed all the locks and kept all the stuff. My dad's rings. Watches. All my records, all my clothes. Everything. Since then I've just had a bag. I've not even caught up. When you've bought the same records or book for the third time, all those Vanilla Fudges and H P Lovecrafts, it gets a bit depressing, you know? But at the end of the day I owed the geezer three grand. I hope his son had a good laugh with it….Sometimes it's good to lose everything." - Richard Ashcroft

About Urban Hymns - "You won't be disappointed. It's diverse, everything there, totally us, it's like a Roxy Music thing going on, 'we can do anything' - two of the biggest fuckin' massive slabs that we have ever done." - Richard Ashcroft

"We've been too much for people to either describe or understand. The 'Mad Richard' thing, that was really orchestrated to…divert things. It was very demeaning, very…English. And we were one of the most important bands in the world from when we started. A lot of journalists should not be in a position to even write about it. Everyone can have their opinion, but when it becomes personal towards me, when it doesn't even try and explain what the music sounds like, that used to piss us off big time….People thought we were hyped, but for a long time nobody helped us fuckin' once. You end up feeling like some kind of preacher man in interviews to keep getting it across….But it's breaking. We've taken on five times the amount of people that we had 18 months - even seven weeks - ago with one song, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'. There's people pulling up to me in cars while I'm walking down the street going: 'Oi, mate, the video's finished, y'know?!' Heheheh. People are fookin' on the bus." - Richard Ashcroft

About rumours that Richard is a heroin addict - "Let them say what they want, rumours go around me anyway I think because I'm quite a private person, we don't play the scene, never have done, so people will never truly get it. And that's the way I want it. I don't want people to understand it. Every fucker seems to be coming back with a distress story, and with us there's no distress any more." - Richard Ashcroft

About 'The Drugs Don't Work' - "To me that tune's about total love. It says 'LOVE, I'm fucked up, but I'll go anywhere with you'. There's lines in there that are persoanl to me and personal to someone close to me and I can't really go into that side of things too much." - Richard Ashcroft

"Wigan's got it's first radio station for years, Wish FM, classic hits, so I rang them up from the studio and this guy said: 'How will I know it's you? (sings down imaginary telephone) 'Wellitsah bittersweeeet!!!' full-on. They put us on straight after Bon Jovi's 'You Give Love A Bad Name'. Three cabbies sitting outside the station in Wigan going, 'Ur?' Harhargh!" - Richard Ashcroft

"I'm just like everyone else. I'm as fucked-up as all of us, but let's not celebrate the fucked-up - let's just celebrate the fact that we're all here. We're making this incredible music, so come on!! We've all been through these emotions - let's exorcise them and move on." - Richard AshcroftAlready There - Original Text

"I just couldn't get over the fact that my grandfather used to show me the stars when I was five years old and told me that space was infinite and that some of those stars might not exist. So, all my life, I've had this incredible feeling that it's crazy. That the world's a little ball of insanity floating in infinity." - Richard Ashcroft

"I put out my antennae and I pull the music in. Keith Richards said a similar thing and you see, Keith Richards is so anti-bullshit, but even he has to recognise something beyond himself and a piece of wood - there's something else involved in the beginning of 'Gimme Shelter', it's magic, it's pure. All I can see is that all inspiration is out there, every past, present and future, every note - Handel's 'Messiah' came to him in a flash, he got the whole piece in his head. As far as true inspiration is concerned, it's all out there for the taking. It's about rejecting all the stuff you were told before, and just opening up to it, just, like, receiving." - Richard Ashcroft

"I think you're born with the truth and you're born with instinct and society and your background and whatever life you've got goes on to influence it , and you've got the rest of your life taking away all the bullshit. For 200 or 300 years, we've been taught so much bullshit about what is important in life and now you've got kids who are writing down their main goals in life and it's not to make music or be a footballer or an astronaut, it's to win the lottery. To me that just puts a full stop on the end of it. These are our dreams now, they're about making money and I think that's sad." - Richard Ashcroft

"The hardest thing for me to get my head round recently is that you hardly ever truly know people and they hardly ever truly know you. When you grow up, you learn to belong by covering yourself up . We're not allowed to break through those doors and shout, 'This is me! Who are you for fucks sake?' You've got to open up yourself, and that's why lyrically, after five years, I've opened up on this new album. I've learned to take away the bullshit, get rid of the excess imagery. Sometimes you can hide behind words and I think I've had to go through a process of getting to the point where I don't need to hide any more. Why hide?" - Richard Ashcroft

"On 'This Time' when I sing, 'I'm gonna rise into the light', for me it means I can get better without any base religion or a strict philosophy on life. There's millions of us out there who haven't got that and are hurtling through life trying to get little pieces from different sources to try and find our own inner philosophies and our inner strength from something else." - Richard Ashcroft

About the positive exclamations at the end of 'Come On' - "That is the 'fuck you' of a man who's on top of it, who's buzzing, who's got those guitars raging underneath him. It's a 'fuck you' of total joy." - Richard Ashcroft

"The Verve splitting up seems to have meant a lot to a lot of people. That's what everyone's saying to me at the moment, You came back, man, you did it. You didn't just plop into the charts at number 40. You came back and you fucking did it. I think our story is a story that people can relate to because it hasn't been sweet from the start, it hasn't been overnight. We've had our fucking total downs, we've had our split up, we've had our this, that and the other. It's life within a band, and at this point in time, the world's tuned into what we've been doing and saying all along." - Richard Ashcroft

On sampling: "We like to take a sample and then build something completely new with it. A lot of rap bands, I think, sample and don't really add a lot of themselves into it, whereas with BSS we completely transformed the piece of music. That was the thing that initially pissed me off. If it was completely the same, I'd hold my hands up and say, 'Yes, direct steal'". - Richard Ashcroft

On somgwriting: "We are experimentalists, fundamentally. Everything we do, we try and put a little twist on it. On our album, there's metal being driled, there's coat hangers - there's a thousand different things we did to get something a little bit unusual….It's a pretty tall order to make a record that's any good any more! It really is! You're taking on something that can be beyond you. And that's the exciting thing." - Richard Ashcroft

About Wigan: "I have no family there any more. It made us who we are but the great thing about being in a band is I can live in Paris for six months or New York and soak in that. I lived in Wigan for 20 odd years and I think I soaked everything I could." - Richard Ashcroft

"My musical journey started with The Beatles when I was kid, my mum had those red and blue albums. Then you start doing drugs when you're 16, you go back and you hear those Beatles records again and they sound completely different. And then a different journey starts, looking for music that's gonna turn you on." - Simon Jones

"We used to go down to Ainsdale, quite near Liverpool, the sea'd be miles out and the sound'd be great. We were liberated once someone got a car, suddenly we were getting stoned in the car, then it'd be 'where are we going to go tonight?' We'd build a fire on a beach or go to some woods, take the stereo with us, drop some acid and listen to music, that's all we had where we came from because there was nothing else." - Simon Jones

"I'm capable of doing anything, me. A lot of the time in the very early hours of the morning I spend time writing songs in my head. I can't control it. I've just got music in my mind. But we've got lives as well. We've got people we love…we've got places to see…we've got... cups of tea to drink …" - Richard Ashcroft



There ain't no Space and Time