Interview with Lord Mark Hamilton

Looking forward to the 1977 shows....

Obviously these shows will require quite a bit of rehearsals – are you looking forward to it? Which song will be the biggest challenge? How long do you think it will take?

Yeah it'll be interesting playing a bunch of songs we haven't played in years. Innocent Smile is a challenge cause we'll want the crescendo to be awe-inspiring. We're booked in for 3 days rehearsals, after a Spanish festival in Valencia on Aug 30th.

Which 1977 track is your favorite?

Lost In You. It's lyrically so heavy and the music compliments it perfectly.

Which is your favorite to play live?

Innocent Smile will be fun to spaz-out to. But Girl From Mars and Kung-Fu will more than likely bring the house down as they always do.

How do you feel about the 1977 shows?

They should be a great celebration. We intend on having a lot of fun. Hopefully the second night won't suffer too much from Roundhouse hang-overs!


Harking back to the 1977 era...

What was the most memorable moment around the 1977 era?

Reading 96 was an amazing moment, I think Oh Yeah really connected with the collective conscious and there was loads of boobs bouncing around as the sun was setting over a gigantic crowd. The day we found out we went number one was also crazy time, I don't remember too much other than we got trashed in some Irish pub in Camden and I was up to climbing antics.


What was the best show you played around the 1977 period?

As mentioned above Reading was pretty spectacular and that's why were so keen to get it mixed and include it on the re-release. The 5 night sold-out Ashtoria stint was also pretty amazing. I think that solidified the Astoria as our favorite venue and spiritual home, our upcoming Ashtoria is set to break the record for total appearances at the venue. The Weezer tour in the states was also a personal dream come true and running their lights every night was one of my favorite experiences ever.

What was the worst?

I guess it was somewhere like Salt Lake City where we played in some club to only the bar staff and a dog.


 

When you were touring in the 1977 era, which was the best support band: Musically? Professionally? Socially?

60 ft Dolls were the greatest band to hang-out out with and party, they were true animals and it was a pairing made in heaven or hell depending on you POV. Kenickie were pretty fun and Scarfo, Placebo, Muzzle and China Drum were great tours that we have a million stories from. Jamie from Scarfo (now Hotel from The Kills) was the most hardcore bus-surfing and swimming out to and scaling a wrecked pier in a gale force storm. He had a lot of balls! Placebo have obviously went on to be massive which insinuates they were most professional and I really, really liked Muzzle's album, which you should seek out. Oh how can I forget The Rentals, they're actually my favorite musically. Matt is a also a sweetheart. We tried to get them as special guests for The Roundhouse but unfortunately they're in the studio.

Could you give us a 10-track tour bus play list from 1996- what were the highlights of Ash's soundtrack that year?

It was probably anything by Ween and Weezer's Blue album and Pinkerton on constant rotation. I don't think we listened to anything else. The Ween sessions were particularly legendary, Steve (lights) and Gigs (tour manager) gave us our Ween education and opened our eyes to their twisted awesomeness.

What films/games were played non-stop on the tour bus?

We didn't have game consoles on buses back then. That makes us sound truly ancient! We did watch rather a lot of comedy porn on the China Drum US tour which spawned such (still used) catchphrases as: "Aww man, he's tonguing her asshole!"...


 

Any regrets about the tracks on 1977- in hindsight are there any insertions/deletions you wish you'd made?

I wish we had put The Scream on there as a second hidden track but I guess Sick Party was pretty effective on it's own. It's good that The Scream will finally be unearthed on the re-release. I think Lost In You should have been a single. That could have had massive chart success with the wave of momentum we were riding. T-Rex probably would have been better on the album than Gone The Dream.

What was the most shameful thing you all did together during the period?
I'm never gonna repeat the most shameful things as that is for only us to know! One of the stupidest things I did was firing a real bow and arrow (which I bought on an Indian reservation in the states) across the lobby bar at the Reading Holiday Inn. The place was packed due to the festival, I was well into a second bottle of gin and don't remember doing it but I could've really hurt someone. I think i was a bit of a liability back then.

Who is cooler, Han Solo or Indiana Jones?

Han, duh! Indy is cool but come on... a space pirate who shots loser dweebs under the table, with the coolest ship in the galaxy, a wookie sidekick and being able to pull royal totty with the click of his fingers. Han's the man.

Which TV appearances stand out in your mind?

Jool's Holland was memorable because we were at the point of nervous exhaustion and Rick had a bit of a crack up on set. Watch the footage on youtube and you can nearly see him crying into his snare, the poor sod.


 

What's the significance of the photo on the 1977 cover?

There was none. We'd kinda of came up to deadline day and had nothing. A company from Manchester called Microdot, who were Oasis associates, did it with us on a night long office bender. It's a bit random but it looks cool.

Why was Sneaker left off the album? Why was T. Rex let off the album? Did you really think Gone The Dream was better than those two songs?

Sneaker wasn't really an Ash song so that's why. I think Owen liked Gone The Dream and he wanted to record strings. T. Rex wasn't recorded until later after the album was decided on.

I think "Gone The Dream" is the worst song on the album and "Goldfinger" is the best. DO YOU AGREE? IF NOT STATE REASONS WHY.

Gone The Dream is not as uptempo or anthemic as the rest of the album so it does kinda feel a bit out of place, so I can see where you're coming from. Goldfinger was definitely a change in direction that Owen was really into developing. As far was best actual song I still love Lost In You the most. It's so emo. Tim was way ahead of the game!


 

Is a girl from mars a girl who likes to be one of the lads? As in women are from Venus, men are from mars but a girl from mars can drink pints with the guys and whip them all at poker.

I have no idea. The girl on the single's cover does look a bit androgynous but I'm not sure who Tim even wrote it about...

 

Thank you very much my lord....and big love to all the people who submitted questions. If there's anything you'd like to ask the guys then just e-mail us HERE.