It seems perverse timing - especially given that in their last ever interview the band are described as "the most important band in Britain, and potentially the most thrilling group of the '90s" - but then The Verve's career has always been characterized by choices made out of conviction rather than commercially. Ashcroft himself seems unwilling to explain his reasoning other than to say "it no longer felt right."
The Verve have recently been perceived as being on the verge of breaking through to real chart success. The second album, A Northern Soul, has sold more copies in one month than its predecessor, "A Storm in Heaven", has in two years. The group also had three and a half months of touring lined up for the Autumn, including both the British and American Oasis supports, plus their own European, Japanese and US tours.
It is known that Richard had returned from their recent sell-out tour of North America feeling strangely underwhelmed by the rapturous reception the band had received, and it is also believed that the famously fever-pitch recording of "A Northern Soul" (with Oasis producer Owen Morris) had taken its toll.
What this now means is that the group's forthcoming single, the appropriately titled "History", will become their swansong. Already scheduled for September 18th release when the split was announced - and already named "the song of the Summer" by The Face magazine - the single will go ahead as planned, swathed in its strangely prophetic artwork.
Available on two CD formats, one sleeve features the group standing in front of a Times Square cinema bearing the legend "All Farewells Should Be Sudden," while a second NYC movie house states "Life Is Not A Rehearsal." Together these two slogans seem weirdly appropriate under the circumstances.
The formats of "History" will be:
- History (Radio Edit); Back On My Feet Again; On Your Own (Acoustic Version); Monkey Magic (Brainstorm Mix).
- History (Full Version); Grey Skies; Life's Not A Rehearsal.
"Grey Skies" and "Back On My Feet Again" are both brand new songs otherwise unavailable. There will also be a cassette featuring "History" (Radio Edit) and "Back On My Feet Again."
There are no known plans for the immediate future for any of the band members.