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Ride were a Britishmarker alternative rock band that band formed in 1988 in Oxfordmarker, Englandmarker, consisting of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence Colbert, and Steve Queralt. The band were initially part of the "shoegazing" scene. Following the break-up of the band in 1996, members moved on to various other projects, most notably Bell who became the bass player for Oasis. In 2001, the band members were briefly reunited for a one-off performance for a television show.

Biography

1988-1989 Starting out

Mark Gardener and Andy Bell had been to Cheney Schoolmarker in Oxford, appearing in the school's musical theatre productions, and in October 1988, they moved to Banburymarker to do Foundation Studies in Art and Design at North Oxfordshire College & The Oxfordshire School of Art & Designmarker." The Ride Story: part one", BBC, September 2001, "I was 14 and they definitely inspired me to get a band together" There they met Laurence Colbert. Steve Queralt, who also went to Cheney Schoolmarker, was recruited from the local Our Price record shop where he worked as a singles buyer (although Bell and Queralt had already played together in an obscure reggae/pop band called "Big Spiderback"). After considering various names, the band settled for 'Ride', with its evocation of travel, and after the Ride cymbal. Bell has cited a performance by The Smiths as the inspiration for forming a band. The band formed in the summer of 1988 and played their first gig as Ride for the College's Christmas Party towards the end of the year. While still at Banbury, the band produced a demo tape, recorded in Queralt's bedroom and hallway, including the tracks "Chelsea Girl" and "Drive Blind". Queralt and his record shop boss and future Ride manager Dave Newton had started a live music night in Oxford called Local Support, and it was due to a cancellation by another band that Ride got their first proper gig at one of these nights. Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain heard a copy of the demo that was in the possession of the DJ Gary Crowley, and this led to interest from Mary Chain manager Alan McGee. After the band supported The Soup Dragons in 1989, McGee signed them to his Creation Records label.

1989-1993 Early Creation years

Ride released three EPs between January and September 1990, entitled Ride, Play and Fall. All three EPs made it into the UK top 75, with Play and Fall reaching the top 40. Ride's top-75 placing was a first for Creation Records. The first two EPs were released together as Smile in the USA in July 1990 (and later released in the UK in 1992), while the Fall EP was incorporated into the CD version of their first album, Nowhere, released in October 1990. The band were often labelled as part of the "shoegazing" scene, but the band rejected this, Bell stating "my first reaction was like, this is another boring tag. These days...that's pretty much still my reaction". Gardener said of the band's influences "We liked the noisy bands of the time. When we were at art college we went to see My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Stone Roses and Sonic Youth. I think these all had a lot of influence on us in the early days as they were great gigs".

The band recorded two sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in 1990, and their popularity with the show's listeners saw them with three tracks in the Festive Fifty that year, with "Dreams Burn Down" and "Like a Daydream" at numbers 3 and 4 respectively, and "Taste" at number 25.

Nowhere was a critical and commercial success, reaching #11 in the UK, and the media dubbed Ride "The brightest hope" for 1991. Demand for new material was high, and the band recorded another EP, Today Forever, released in March 1991. The EP marked a change in direction for the group away from the noisier early style. Ride made their first international tour to Japan, Australia and France later on that year. Tickets for the performances in Japan sold out within minutes.

In February 1992 the band broke into the UK top 10 with "Leave Them All Behind", and the following month saw the release of the band's second album Going Blank Again. The strain within the band was already apparent, Bell stating "By the time the second album came out we were touring too much. We were tired. We then took time off, but it was too much time off".

1994-96 Change in musical direction

Ride were able to see out 1993 riding on the success of Going Blank Again and a third LP was keenly anticipated, demonstrated by regular music press features which provided some allusion to influences like Neil Young. A double weekend of gigs with The Charlatans that year ('Daytripper') kept them in the public eye amid wider disinterest with the shoegazing scene. Their third LP, Carnival of Light, was released in 1994, at a time when Britpop was the focus of the music press. Produced by Black Crowes producer George Drakoulias, and featuring a guest appearance on keyboards from Jon Lord of Deep Purple, the album was split between songwriters Gardener and Bell, with the former's songs on side one and the latter's on side two. Opening with the riff-heavy "Moonlight Medicine", tracks also include "From Time to Time", "Birdman" and a cover of The Creation's "How Does It Feel to Feel", which was released as a single. The album was not well-received by critics, Bell explaining "These were good times but the music took second place. When we recorded the Carnival Of Light album we got indulgent".

1996 The break up

1995 saw the dissolution of the band while recording Tarantula.Gardener and Bell had led the band away from their shoegazing roots to become more contemporary, hoping to change their style with the times. Queralt has remarked that the band had two future directions open to them, and they chose the wrong option. Gardener had become interested in dance music, and wanted Ride to incorporate that into their style, while Bell disagreed. The track listing of Carnival of Light gives an indication of the tension that was mounting between the two guitarists, with the first half of the album being songs written by Mark Gardener and the last half of the album being songs written by Andy Bell - Andy Bell had refused to let his songs be interspersed with pieces written by Gardener. Years later Andy Bell explained "Imagine an argument where the way you win, is by saying 'I don't want my songs on the same side of the album as yours' and it ACTUALLY HAPPENS. We were allowed by the people around us to behave like total babies."

By the time Tarantula appeared, the band was beginning to self destruct. Bell penned most of the songs while Gardener provided only one - the tension within the band leading to an inability to write meaningful musical pieces. Castle on the Hill, written by Bell, was a lament for the band's situation and contains references to Gardener's self imposed exile from the group. Gardener walked out during the album's mixing sessions, and the band announced their break-up shortly before its release in March 1996. The album was released and remained on sale for one week before being withdrawn. Critics and fans alike had panned the album (although the first single off the album, "Black Nite Crash", was awarded "single of the week" by weekly music magazine Melody Maker). The album was described by Allmusic as "an abomination of '70s/Lenny Kravitz clichés, full of third- and fourth-rate tunes and, ultimately, bad blood", going on to say "the words are just plain awful throughout, not even worth printing". Rolling Stone were more complimentary, stating "the album is saved from maudlin self-obsession because it's rawer and rocks harder than anything else Ride have recorded".

Since the break-up, both Bell and Gardener have been more reflective about the group's disintegration, with Bell especially admitting his own part in the process.

1997-2001 Post break-up years

After the split, Andy Bell formed a new band called "Hurricane #1" but this project was permanently dissolved when he was asked to play bass for Oasis after having turned down the opportunity to join Gay Dad. Mark Gardener and Laurence Colbert joined with Sam Williams to form The Animalhouse. As BMG signings, they were successful in Japan. The band was, however, short lived and split in 2002. Gardener has also toured as a solo artist, while Colbert once played for a Bob Dylan tribute band called The Zimmermen. Queralt appears to have retired from professional music. He spent the years following the break-up working in Oxford, playing 5-a-side football, and raising a family. He is now living in Hammersmith, London, where he works for Italian furniture retailing company Natuzzi. He is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

2001+ Channel Four and beyond

On 16 October 2001, all four members of Ride agreed to be filmed by Channel 4. The footage was used for the show Pioneers, a documentary on Sonic Youth, and featured a twenty minute improvised jam. The recording of this song, plus two short sound checks, were released in 2002 as Coming up for Air. The interest in this limited release CD caused the band to consider future releases. In late 2002, Ride released a 3CD box set which is made up of OX_4 The Best of Ride, Firing Blanks (Unreleased tracks) and Live_Reading Festival 1992. In 2003 they released Waves, a collection of tracks from five radio sessions recorded for the BBC.

Mark Gardener is also now pursuing a solo career. From 2003 to 2005, Mark toured extensively, sometimes with the help of Oxford friends Goldrush, in order to personally fund a full length studio album. During the tour, a three-track EP with Goldrush (Falling Out Into the Night) and a live album (the acoustic solo Live @ the Knitting Factory, New York City) were released. He also spent part of 2005 working with the French duo rinôçérôse. In late 2005, Mark's album These Beautiful Ghosts was released in North America on United For Opportunity.

Any thoughts of permanently re-forming the band, however, have been explicitly denied by Bell, with the reasoning that it would not live up to expectations. However, the members, Bell included, have stated that they would not mind working with each other again. Since, Bell and Colbert made an appearance at one of Gardener's early shows; Bell later shared two nights of acoustic sets with Gardener in November 2003 when Gardener made a tour stop in Bell's current home of Stockholm.

Colbert has also started playing in a band again - as guitarist and vocalist. He also plays drums in different projects, most notably with the reformed Jesus and Mary Chain, Supergrass (filling in for Danny Goffey), International Jetsetters with fellow Jesus and Mary Chain bandmate Mark Crozer, and Damo Suzuki (Can). In 2005, Gardener was stuck in France and unable to play the Truck Festival; Colbert's band filled the gap in the bill. Colbert studied on the 1 Year Diploma in Drum Performance at London's Drumtech after the split of Ride.

Discography

Studio albums

Album Release Date Chart Info Certifications
Nowhere 15 October 1990 11 (UK) Silver (UK)
Going Blank Again 9 March 1992 5 (UK) Gold (UK)
Carnival of Light 20 June 1994 5 (UK)
Tarantula 20 March 1996 21(UK)


Compilations and live albums

  • Smile (1990) Sire/Creation
  • Kaleidoscope (1991) Sire (promotional only)
  • Grasshopper (1992) Sire/Warner Bros.
  • Cosmic Carnival (1994) Sire
  • Live Light (1995) Mutiny/Elektra
  • Ride (Box Set) (2001) Ignition
  • OX4 The Best of Ride (2001) Ignition
  • Firing Blanks Unreleased Ride Recordings 1988–95 (2001)
  • Live Reading Festival 1992 (2001)
  • Waves (2003)


Singles

Year Title Chart positions Album
UK Singles Chart U.S. Modern Rock
1990 Ride EP 71
Play EP 32
Fall EP 34
1991 "Taste" 24 Nowhere
"Vapour Trail"
Today Forever EP 14
1992 "Leave Them All Behind" 9 20 Going Blank Again
"Twisterella" 36 12
1993 "Union City Blue"
1994 "Birdman" 38 Carnival of Light
"How Does It Feel to Feel?" 58
"I Don't Know Where It Comes From" 46
Live EP
1996 "Black Nite Crash" 67 Tarantula
2002 Coming Up For Air EP


Video

  • Going Blank Again - Live At Brixton Academy (1992)


References

  1. Taylor, Steve (2006) The A to X of Alternative Music, Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 9780826482174
  2. Strong, Martin C. (2003) "Ride", in The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1 84195 335 0
  3. Larkin, Colin (1992) The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and New Wave Music, Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  4. Ride at the BBC's Keeping It Peel site
  5. " The Ride Story: part two", BBC, September 2001
  6. Robbins, Ira " Ride", Trouser Press
  7. Kellman, Andy " Carnival of Light Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
  8. Kellman, Andy " Tarantula Review", Allmusic, Macrovision Corporation
  9. Derogatis, Jim (1996) " Tarantula review", Rolling Stone, issue 732, April 18, 1996
  10. Heaton, Dave (2003) " IN A DIFFERENT PLACE: Interviews with Andy Bell and Mark Gardener of Ride", PopMatters, 8 April 2003
  11. " Ride Back Where They Started", NME, October 14, 2001
  12. " Ride at the Beeb!", NME, June 24, 2003
  13. Kuipers, Dean (2005) " Beautiful Ghosts", Los Angeles CityBeat, 15 December 2005
  14. " Ride deny reformation rumours", NME, May 11, 2007


External links




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