Mark sent me an email saying I'd been given the green light to interview the ever elusive Rick about the madness that was the 1977 era.  What transpired can only be described as magical...behold, Rock McMurray!

Scary eyes McMurray!

Hi Rick.  You've written some of the most coveted Ash b-sides (Stormy Waters, Kingdom of Shadow), but you've also been given songwriting credits on 1977 single 'Angel Interceptor'.  What was your involvement on that track? Besides drums, obviously.

       Basically, I was a sounding board for Tim while he was writing the lyrics. I don't remember much about the process as I was off my face. Maybe something to do with it being our first session with Owen Morris!

What was the story on the band Sneaker and the only song you released, 'Easter Island'? A subtle attempt to kick Tim out of the band?

     Oh god, you're really giving my grey matter a work out, Chad! This goes way back to 1994(?) I think. Mark was setting up his own record label at the time and had enrolled the services of Superchunk, Kenickie and the legendary Griswold. we ended up putting together an impromptu band with Barry Peak of Backwater and Sean Robinson, ex-Confusion, currently of Oppenheimer fame. I think Mark, Barry and myself got together for an afternoon to write a song and 'Easter Island' was what came out of it. We recorded it in a tiny studio in the middle of the countryside in Northern Ireland, and it turned out really well. So well that it became the Ash classic b-side known as 'Sneaker'. And no we weren't trying to get rid of Tim. We're not insane, you know.

On the topic of b-sides, T. Rex was played live at most 1977 era shows, but didn't make the album. What was in the bucket bong when you guys made that decision?  Just kidding...sort of.

      I guess you can't put everything on the album. Besides, I don't know what we would have taken off the album to make room for it. It's a cool song but maybe that's down to its status as a really good b-side.

Touring with Stabbing Westward must have been interesting. How did those shows go down?

         My memories are quite hazy at that point of the tour. We were all pretty burnt out by that point. The only thing coming back to me is Tim guesting on stage with them on a few nights, wearing a Mexican wrestling mask!

The Warhol Days

From the bootlegs I've listened to, a lot of the shows from the early days were extremely loud, fast, and furious.  Did you guys rehearse a lot for your tours? Or leave it up the gods of rock to determine how things went down live?

      I'm sure we reheared for the 1977 tour but I really don't remember! I do remember we did production rehearsals in Bristol Anson Rooms, which we had played the year before, and it was at that time pretty big for us. It was the smallest gig on the 1977 tour which showed us how far we'd come in a few months. I think during the course of that year our set got shorter and shorter, down to the fact we kept playing faster and faster. I think even the Ramones would have told us to slow down by the end.

Are there any moments that stick out as being especially important from that time period?

       The album going to number one was insane at the time. It felt like we'd barely even finished it before it was out.
       From that point onwards it felt like the whirlwind descended. Reading festival that summer was a real standout moment. It felt like the enormity of what we'd achieved really hit us that day.

In three words, what can the kids expect at the two London shows?

       Power, glory, chaos!

The hits keep on coming....Tim's interview will be up on Monday.

Look for the red hoodie,

(PS - How good does ROWR sound?)

Added on 26/08/2008 by Chad