The Freewheelin’ Tim Wheeler
During the final minutes of the Ash gig on Saturday, Tim Wheeler closed a chapter of the Ash book. He told his audience at the Isle Of Wight festival that their new album, ‘Twilight Of the Innocents’ would be their last.
Blimey, we thought. If that’s the end of Ash, then we’re gonna have a significant hole in the tapestry of Ulster rock. Here was a band that had racked up 17 hits in the top 40, which brought humour, big tunes and unfiltered teenage awe to the party. I was thinking of songs like ‘Girl From Mars’ and ‘Angel Interceptor’ and ‘Shining Light’ - all roaring out of the radio in that classic, shaky-voiced manner.
In my head, I was already writing the obit. About their critical first surge from Downpatrick High, and the international rock action before the school exams were even over. Their first ‘proper’ album goes to number one, and so does ‘Free All Angels’, their mighty comeback release. Charlotte Hatherley played on some peppy releases while the band supported U2 at the memorable ‘Yes’ gig in the Waterfront Hall.
Ash have cool history in their DNA and the new songs are also full of intent. So we were all rather relieved when a Tim statement, issued last night, said that the band was not done yet. Instead, they’re moving their operation to digital only, using broadband to deliver great songs, rather than pressing, printing and shipping. Essentially, it’s another life less ordinary.