Ex-Verve Members In A New Band

Yes, as far as I know, it's true.

Simon Jones (bass) and Simon Tong (guitars, keyboards) from the Verve are in a new unnamed band. My site, The Verve Universe, has the news on how you can download their first track. It's an untitled demo that hasn't been mixed yet and clocks in just shy of seven and a half minutes!

Richard Ashcroft Interview

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Richard Ashcroft, former leader of the seminal UK stalwarts, The Verve, has just released his first solo record, Alone With Everybody. Excellent Online correspondant Jay Babcock was able to sit down with Ashcroft to reflect on his former band, his new album, and his renewed look on life. Notes from this interview were used for a story which originally appeared in July/August 2000 issue of Mean magazine, but we're pleased to bring you the transcript of the entire interview.

Interview by Jay Babcock


Richard Ashcroft's First Single Since Verve Split

RICHARD ASHCROFT is ready to release his first solo single, "A Song for the Lovers" on April 13th. His solo album is apparently set for a release later this year.

Details on Richard Ashcroft's Solo Album

Ex-Verve frontman RICHARD ASHCROFT has a small article in this month's Alternative Press. Asked about the new recordings, Ashcroft says, "I don't think people will expect the songs to be as full sounding as the Verve, but I'm achieving that--rich, timeless sound."
Helping out on the record is bassist Pino Palladino and a few members of the old Verve team, including Pete Salisbury on drums, producer Chris Potter, string arranger Will Malone, and B.J. Cole, who played pedal-steel on the Verve's final tour.

Simon Jones and John Squire Working Together

Simon Jones (ex-VERVE) and John Squire (ex-Stone Roses) are working together. They are writing material in a Manchester studio but details about release dates or even the name of the project has not been made public. Excellent Online will keep you updated on what happens with this collaboration.

The Verve Split

THE VERVE have split. It's essentially been in the cards ever since Nick McCabe walked out of the band's tour for "Urban Hymns," but now it's official. Richard Ashcroft is in studio currently working on a new record, with Verve drummer Pete Salisbury in tow. The rest of the band are all currently involved with differing projects, though Simon Jones has told the NME not to rule out further collaborations in the future.

Richard Goes Solo?

News has leaked that VERVE frontman Richard Ashcroft has been recording solo tracks at a UK studio. There has been no official announcement from the band, but Verve management told NME to expect news sometime in the new year. Whether this spells the end of the band is anyone's guess, but things in the Verve camp have been shaky at best lately -- guitarist Nick McCabe quit "touring" with the band halfway through 1998, and the band's tour manager recently said that 1998's festival shows were to be the band's last. Of course we'll keep you up to date as news unfolds.

Verve's Return To Stage

Well, THE VERVE kicked off their US tour tonight at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, and Excellent Online was there for the festivities. To quelch the Internet-rumour-of-the-week, there was NO opening act (although we've STILL been hearing word from slightly-better-than-average sources that Noel Gallagher might pop up for an acoustic set on at least one of the US dates). In the meantime, what we DID get was the Verve's new pedal steel guitarist, BJ Cole. The addition of Cole to the line-up provided some stellar moments in "The Drugs Don't Work" and "Bitter Sweet Symphony," among others. Last month's announcement that guitarist Nick McCabe was taking a sabbatical from the live stage has caused many to speculate whether or not the band could pull off a live set of the usual calibre. The answer is a hearty YES. Simon Tong and Ashcroft himself took on more of an active role with respect to guitar playing, and Cole more than made up for the difference. The whole band seemed pretty positive, with occasional grins from Ashcroft and an un-ending smile on the face of Simon Jones. All in all, a decent time -- we'll hopefully have pictures available on the site soon. In the meantime, rest in the knowledge that it looks as if The Verve are FAR from finished.

Massive Attack Pullout of Verve US Tour

Following in the "we-told-you-so" vein, when MASSIVE ATTACK made it public last week that they were withdrawing from The Verve's US tour, we told you that they would likely announce their own North American tour for September. This weekend, they did just that -- check the tours page for details.

UNKLE Sets Release Date

Besides the Oasis b-sides album that we told you about last week, another project finally seeing the light of day is the much anticipated first album from U.N.K.L.E. Following in the likes of Massive Attack and This Mortal Coil as a revolving-door collaboraboration more than a traditional band, U.N.K.L.E. is a superstar project fronted by James LaVelle, founder and president of Mo'Wax Records.