The multi-talented Daniel Ash, formally of and in order, Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Love And Rockets while now producing some of the most innovated music of his career. He was born in Northampton, England and at 15 he learned the guitar and all he could play were three chords.
By the way, throughout the article I’m including paintings that Daniel Ash has done.
At a young age Ash attended art school for industrial design and had met David J. and Kevin Haskins; while year’s earlier he was a school chum with Peter Murphy who was working in a printing factory approximately 10 miles away. Ash spoke of the terrible gloom of living in England during those times between the lack of employment and the gruesome weather. His love for music is what shaped his entire persona.
Daniel’s art background at this time consisted in graphic design but deep down he felt spiritually unfilled so he decided he wanted to do music and start a band. Daniel had said that art school is where chums would meet and create their brand of music. Bands like The Kinks, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton made their collaborations through the auspices of art school.
These bands were his musical nirvana while growing up; however his younger brother was fixated with the Rolling Stones and other Classic rock bands.
He mentioned one song that would always titillate him as a young boy and that was The Dave Clark Five’s, “Bits and Pieces”; and he would press his face right up against the
T.V. screen… My father once told me doing that lowers your sperm count!
Ash added that being in a rock band would be a good place to meet girls.
Together they started the band Bauhaus in 1978 which became the most important band of the Goth music movement. The name Bauhaus is named after a German architect whom in 1919 created interesting architecture and minimalist furniture; “art for function”. This was after the First World War and Germany was in dire need of an art movement that would represent the country’s intrinsic social redevelopment.
Ash and David J were completely taken by David Bowie and Marc Bolan and it provided the vision for their band.
Daniel Ash said, “We were not the band that people wanted us to be. Yes, we wore black and makeup but that was merely the sign of the times. During these depressing years I was into motorcycles and black is just the color I wore. The real goth bands like Alien Sex Fiend and 45 Grave all sucked; we just happened to be lucky and write the song Bela Lugosi’s Dead.
Bauhaus decided to call it quits in 1983 and Daniel Ash created his next palate of music; Tones on Tail.
From the ashes of Bauhaus had arisen a British trio that turned into one of the most impressive and macabre dance bands around. Ash was quoted, “We were a motley crew of individuals who essentially wanted to sound like a band from Venus or Mars!” There biggest track was “Go”
The band did one record and toured England and the U.S. and disbanded in 1984. While performing they would sport around wearing just white on stage.
The track “An American Dream” revealed the bands desire for world peace. I’ve included one of Ash’s paintings that reflect his continued alienation of American Politics and his inner Zen of harmony. The painting is named, “Freedom Ain’t Cheap” which from left to right goes from a modern style to an impressionist motif. You’ll notice on the right side Ash adroitly draws a spaceship which internalizes his alienation of the American way of life.
After living in America for over 20 years he really doesn’t speak of politics openly I sense that he is cognizant of the world’s current events and has his opinions.
During this time they had done a record under the pseudonym of The Bubblemen which they created as a lark and show that they really had a sense of humor. What started as a “doodle” soon became the alter ego of Love and Rockets.
In 1989 Love and Rockets released their self-titled album, which presented a more AOR sound. The second single from the album was the T. Rex-inspired song “So Alive”, which became a hit, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard’s Hot 100; a feat no Bauhaus-related band or artist has achieved before or since.
Daniel Ash has this love affair for motorcycles and he is currently sporting in a bike designed by another “Brit”, Russell Mitchell and his company is called Exile. Every piece is hand crafted and can run into the amount of $50,000! My favorite Exile bike unquestionably is the “Fat Bloke”.
Ash has stated in interviews that guitar solos do not interest him much since they rely on a musician’s ego, though his mastering of the guitar was always apparent. He cares much more for the craft of songwriting and the overall production of a song rather than a focus on guitar or any other single instrument. I understand Ash’s point but his guitar playing is always so dynamic and sonically present that it’s commanding in practically every song; his songs never have a “cold ending”.
In 1991 he releases the single “Walk this Way” which was inspired by Latin percussionist Tito Puente and used his samples to create a perfect meringue song which had every earmark of being a hit record. It was a brilliant new direction for Ash. The song contains such a compelling rhythm that with Ash’s combined guitar work it makes the song a mystical journey from Argentina. Despite its Latin rhythm his lyrical vantage still contained Daniel Ash’s archetype words. The record company insisted in making a video of this track that was to be filmed at the beach with cheerleaders. Ash would have none of that!
The video is absolutely perfect; it’s sexy and sultry.
In July of 2009 with the help of D.J. extraordinaire, Christopher the Minister they created a masterful tribute album of Love and Rockets titled, “New Tales to Tell”.
Dubfire does a stellar version of “I Feel Speed” which evokes the inner emotion of Marlon Brando’s film,
“The Wild Ones”. It’s a like a free wind with an attitude full of insulin and uses a terrific EDM sonic base.
Another track that blows me away is Blaqke Audio covering “No New Tell to Tell” whose intention captures mid-period of Industrial Depeche Mode. Its pounding beat is contagious while being respectful of the original.
Daniel’s and Christopher the Minister’s duet track is unequivocally his “Sickest” and is the most alluring… “That’s What She Said” (Where’s my leather cat suit) Listen and you will put this song in your hot stack. Just an amazing dance song with a high level of sarcasms and humor! It’s available on iTunes for downloads.
To listen just click the link:
art work and musical insight; and Christopher the Minister for his effort in putting together our interview.
Daniel Ash’s art can be seen at a brilliant Rock n’ Roll hotel in Ojai,CA.. The Capri Hotel… Here’s the link to check it out.