Skip to main content

A Life Less Ordinary

Sometimes you should just take risks. My Complete Idiot's Guide to Ash went online today and it serves as a reminder to the risk I took getting into the band in the first place.

Back in '96, while on a family vacation in London, we visited the Tower Records in Picadilly Square. I picked out a CD I wanted to get (Metallica's Load came out that day) and my father found a few Ted Heath CDs that were unavailable in the US. Tallying up the cost, my father told me to pick out another CD for import tax reasons. Apparently if you spent a certain amount you wouldn't have to pay extra taxes on them. Well, right after he told me this, there was a large display for Ash's 1977 in front of me.

Even to this day, 1977's cover is arresting. A camouflaged-colored, mirror image of a knocked-over trashcan makes an impression. Maybe it was the green (my favorite color) that caught my eye. I had heard of Ash only a few days before. 1977 had just come out and the band was doing a lot of television appearances that week. I saw a picture of them in a TV program schedule and was curious. They were a three-piece rock band and that's all I knew. Combined with the fact that all of the copies in the store contained two hidden bonus tracks, I wanted to get this. This was long before you could get any MP3 on the Internet, so this seemed valuable to me. When I got back to our flat, I was blown away by the record.

Sitting in a hallway listening to my Discman, I enjoyed Load, but was really taken with 1977. Starting off with the sound of a TIE fighter flying by was nice. All of the twelve songs were great. They were poppy, punky and well-done. I was now an Ash fan.

The years passed and I kept track of the band. I've picked up every new record whenever it has become attainable. Realizing the band would be perfect for one of Jeff's guides, I wanted to share. But I have to remind myself of how a small little risk paid off big time. This encourages me to take more risks.


Rj said…
Ash was allright, but always came off a little too campy for me.

Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Catherine Wheel

Originally posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 Despite managing to release five proper albums, Catherine Wheel was one of those bands that always seemed to slip past the mainstream rock crowd. Yes, they got some nice airplay in their day, but people seem to have forgotten about them. You may hear “Black Metallic” or “Waydown” on a “classic alternative” show on Sirius or XM or maybe even on terrestrial radio, but that’s about it. For me, they were one of most consistent rock bands of the ’90s, meandering through shoegazer, hard rock, space rock and pop rock, all while eluding mainstream pigeonholing. Led by the smooth, warm pipes of vocalist/guitarist Rob Dickinson (cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), Catherine Wheel featured Brian Futter on lead guitar, Dave Hawes on bass and Neil Sims on drums. They weren’t a pretty-boy guitar band, but they weren’t a scuzzy bunch of ragamuffins either. Though the band hailed from England, Catherine Wheel found itself more welcome on American air

Hello, Control

I'm still a big fan of iTunes . I haven't tried Napster , Urge or eMusic as I've been perfectly happy with Apple's program ever since I downloaded it two years ago. However, an annoying new feature has come up with its latest version, 7.0. Whenever you pull up your music library, a sidebar taking up 3/4ths of the screen appears plugging the iTunes Music Store. Why is this an annoyance? Well, first and foremost, since you can't close the sidebar, you can't escape it. I believe a music library is a private collection, a spot away from the music store. So what's the need for constant advertisements and plugs? To provide a better visual, let me describe what I see whenever I pull up a song in my iTunes library. When I listen to "This is a Fire Door Never Leave Open" by the Weakerthans, I see a graphic for Left and Leaving , the album that it comes from (and available in the iTunes Music Store), along with a list of the Weakerthans' other albums,

Best of 2021

  Last year, my attention span was not wide enough to listen to a lot of LPs from start to finish. Too much went on in 2020 to focus on 10-15 albums, so I went with only a couple to spotlight. Well, 2021 was a little better, as I have a list of top four records, and a lot of individual tracks.  (I made a lengthy Spotify playlist ) So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorites of the year: Albums Deafheaven, Infinite Granite (listen) Hands down, my favorite album of the year. I was not sure where Deafheaven would go after another record that brought My Bloody Valentine and death metal fans together, but they beautifully rebooted their sound on Infinite Granite. The divisive goblin vocals are vastly pared-down here, as are the blast beats. Sounding more inspired by Slowdive, the band has discovered a new sonic palette that I hope they explore more of in the future. It’s a welcome revelation. I still love their older material, but this has renewed my love of what these guys do.  J