A few weeks ago an ancient parchment mysteriously came into my possession, written by an aspiring blogger (not that this term had been invented) named Leif Bodnarchuk. It was written in the long hot summer of 1995, documenting Ash's summer touring in the latter half of August of that year, just after they had cracked the top 20 with girl from mars. I'll post more over the coming weeks, but here is the first installment. Thank you to those who made it possible; you know who you are. And Leif, old buddy; thanks for the memories.
From LIMBO to top 20 hell; 16 days on the trot with Ash.
Hultsfred festival, Sweden
"Let the debauchery commence!" First words spoken on Swedish ground, bright eyed and ever so lucid. The line up is the biggest I've seen so far. Tim, Rick,Mark, Leif, Rampton, Allastair, Tav, Anna, Lu, Karen. 10 adopted siblings on a mission; get to Sweden, do our jobs, get to Birmingham; in one collective piece, we hope.
It was a beautiful day in a beautiful country. The sun was as hot as my ass at a punk rock disco, and we were all getting progressively more pissed as the sun got higher. As the sun started togo down, so too did our delusions that we were there for fun only. We had to look after our three loved onesso they could entertain the heaving Swedish mass known as the "kids."
The gig itself was good, but not spectacular; for me anyway. I've seen them before and it was old hat. The greatest part of the night was the dressing room. 120 marlboro, 60 bottles of beer, a litre of vodka, crisps of every denomination and enough sandwiches to sinl H.M.S. Ash.
The aftershow party was mainly about one thing; beer. Our tiny supply of 60 had run out and we were thirsty natives. Eventually Steve, Ash's booking agentsorted us out with more. The high point of the evening was Mark standing on a plastic chair, weilding a chair of the same model, and duelling with Rick, who was standing on the ground defending himself with a clapped out version of the same. Needless to say security were not happy about the flying shards ofwhite plastic raining around the other guests, who were obviously not in the same ballpark as ourselves. Oh well, back to the bus and hotel with Menswear, our travelling companions for the evening.
As if chair smashing wasn't enough, the hotel lobby was as preposterous, twofold. I can't remember much of it but as the misty haze of perhaps-i-don't-want-to remember-it memory subsides I can see Mark standing on top of a marble table beside a VERY expensive mirror saying, "I'm gonna break it!" Rampton does not share the same enthusiasm and a large bellow of. "MARK!" silences the foyer of frivolous brew haha. I realise I've had all I can take of the frivolities when the newly arrived Shaun Ryder says to me in a puzzled fashion, "You were mad for it earlier," and put my weary ass to bed. My quiet slumber was broken like a hammer to my left eye as Mark crashes into the (shared) room with " mumble, spit, gargle, 'Bez!', hackle, fall, bump, 'Fire extinguisher!' "
Sweden was cool.