ASH 1994

Ash Wednesday 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Ash’s debut single Jack Names the Planets. To celebrate the band are the offering a special re-recorded version of the song as a free download for one day only.


1) The song showed up on multiple demo tapes recorded by Cosmic Ray in 1992 and 1993. Was this by popular demand? Or were you trying to refine your sound with each successive version?
If my memory serves me correctly, and why shouldn't it; don't answer that, we only recorded it once for the early demos. It first appeared on Shed. I remember Tim coming back from summer holidays with the song pretty much completed and running through it in the, well, shed. It definitely seemed like a real step up in terms of song writing compared to the Solar Happy stuff. I loved the title coming from a Stephen King book too. I think it reappeared on a compilation tape of all our previous demos but I'm pretty sure it wasn't re-recorded.

2) How did the demo version of "Jack Names the Planets" show up on Tav's desk? Did you guys go through the standard route of sending demos to every London-based record label you could think of?

Our manager at the time, Bill McCabe, was sending out loads of tape to everyone he could think of, one of which landed on the desk of Paddy Davis, who worked at Bad Moon PR. He loved it and also worked beside Tav, who he knew was looking for bands to do one off singles on his label.

3) "Jack Names the Planets" is an Ash classic, but let's talk about the b-side "Don't Know". As educated Ash fans know, the band had been insanely prolific in 1992 and 1993. Obviously Tav saw huge potential in "Jack Names the Planets", but how did you decide on "Don't Know" as being the flip side to that ever-important first single?

Looking back on it Don't Know is probably a pretty odd choice for the flip side but I think it was a more current song for us and we were quite excited by it at the time. It's kinda shoegazy in terms of the main hook, but filtered through our punk side. I love the verse riff; it maybe needed more work in hindsight to round it out, but that's not how we worked back then.
4) The Trailer recording of the song showed up on the Angus soundtrack alongside future tour-mates Weezer, which must have been exciting. It was also a high-profile way to reach American ears. What do you remember about your American tours in 1995? Any juicy stories, almost 20 years on?
Trucker pills and dressing room redesign are the first thing to pop into my mind. Also Dumpster Juice, Babes in Toyland, China Drum, The Excorcist on repeat every night, Arizona Border Patrol, Skateboard guy(ask Mark; he won't remember), Halloween fancy dress, Pierre la pompkin.... Oh, and Leif miming the Hoover to We Are Family. We did some gigs too.

Added on 05/03/2014 by Chad