22 April 2008

Four new songs for US premier

Some of the very best music to come out of the British invasion's 1990s second wave was by the alt-rock act the Verve - the poster boys for the saying "Watch what you wish for." A sketch of their history would read: School chums who struggled making music for a decade ultimately attain huge international fame and fortune only to be ruined by their own success.

The answer to "What happened?" comes easily to Verve bassist Simon Jones, who has reunited the original group with singer Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe and drummer Pete Salisbury.

"We always wanted to be a massive band. We finally did it with [the album] 'Urban Hymns' and [the song] 'Bittersweet Symphony.' We worked hard, but by the time we got what we wanted, we'd burned ourselves out." With the confidence of a guy who's learned a hard lesson he says, "We thought we were ready for that kind of success, but we weren't. "We didn't even have the strength for a two-year tour to support [the album]." Jones says simply, "We had to call it a day."

With the bad old days gone, the Verve is taking another strike at getting massive. They're making music in New York again with a two-show engagement at Madison Square Garden's Theater next Monday and Tuesday.

"It'll be different this time," Jones says. "We've learned from our mistakes; we'd be idiots if we didn't. Last time our biggest mistake was not trusting ourselves and paying too much attention to what management said." This tour, which also includes a headlining appearance at the Coachella rock festival, is only going to last 11 days. Jones says he and his chums have "found the enthusiasm again."

That fire in the belly is partly due to making new music. Currently, the Verve is in the studio recording. "This is going to be the best record we ever made" he boasts.

"The new songs are new life for us." Although the set list for the New York shows will include four of the new songs they've been working on, Jones says the band will lean heavily on its older tunes such as "The Drugs Don't Work," "Bittersweet Symphony," and "Lucky Man." Jones clearly has his favorite - a new one. " 'Sit and Wonder' is really quite amazing," he says. "I think that's the one that's going to blow everyone's sock off at the Garden."

Article: New York Post, Dan Aquilante