Among the most popular pop groups in the United Kingdom during the 1990s, Ireland’s Ash scored hits with the singles “Oh Yeah,” “Girl from Mars,” and “Kung Fu.” Bass guitarist Mark Hamilton, drummer Rick McMurray, and guitarist/lead vocalist Tim Wheeler differed college plans to pursue the success the young group experienced after the release of their debut album, 1977, in 1996. An edgier version of the bubble-gum pop of American musical contemporaries Hanson, Ash took “cherry-syrup melodies and summer-lovin’ couplets of adolescent pop and dunked them in a tart coating of punkish clangor” on the album, according to Jeff Gordinier of Fortune magazine. The group continued their success with the release of Nu-Clear Sounds in 1998 and Free All Angels in 2001.
Twelve-year-olds Wheeler and Hamilton formed the metal act Vietnam in 1989 after receiving guitars as gifts for Christmas. The duo quickly changed its sound, however, after seeing a neighborhood punk band cover The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” In June of 1992, schoolmate Rick McMurray joined the band as a drummer. With the addition of McMurray, the group soon produced their first demo tape at Cosmic Rayz Studio. The following September, Ash recorded its first single, “Jack Names the Planets,” which was released on the indie label La La Land Records in February of 1994. New Musical Express (NME) praised the “teen punkers from Belfast with swell, bitty lead breaks like The Undertones and odd American accents like they’ve been hanging out with Evan Dando (formerly of the Lemonheads) and Pavement.” To promote the single, Ash headed to England to perform a series of shows during their Easter high school break. The tour led to a deal with Infectious Records, which released the group’s Trailer EP the following November. Ash’s popularity grew, and in January of 1995 the band was nominated for Best New Band in NME’s Brat Awards.
To keep its success growing, Ash released the single “Kung Fu” in March of 1995. It reached number 57 on the singles charts, the first chart placement for the group. Deciding to make a career of music, the trio dropped out of high school in August of 1995. Two days after leaving school, Ash played the prestigious Glas-tonbury Festival. Several singles followed, including “Girl from Mars,” which hit number eleven on the charts, “Angel Interceptor,” which moved into the number 14 spot in October of 1995, a cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Get Ready” in 1995, and “Goldfinger,” a number five hit in April of 1996. Fame at an early age took its toll on Ash. Wheeler endured a drug-induced nervous breakdown, and Hamilton suffered from several bouts of alcohol poisoning.
In May of 1996, Ash released its debut full-length album, 1977, which topped the United Kingdom charts. Of the group and the album, NME said that “Ash’s heads have been turned far more by an American alternative tradition than British indie of late.” The English music magazine predicted that the band would overcome “the brief shelf-life and potential stigma of being an ooh-aren’t-they-so-young teen phenomenon.” Unlike Ash’s previous releases, 1977— named for Wheeler and Hamilton’s birth year and the year in which their favorite movie, Star Wars, was released—touched on the trio’s debaucherous ways. Drug and alcohol abuse did not hinder Ash’s success, however. The album reached number one on the United Kingdom album charts and spawned five hit singles including “Oh Yeah,” “Girl from Mars,” and “Kung Fu.”
Instead of returning to the studio, Ash released the live record Live at the Wireless in March of 1997 on its own Death Star Records. According to Ash’s official website, the band needed a woman’s touch and hired second guitarist Charlotte Hatherley. Following Hather-ley’s addition to the group, Ash scored the number ten hit “A Life Less Ordinary” from the Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz film of the same name. Comparing Ash to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Bono, the lead singer of fellow Irish rockers U2, invited the band to perform as part of a free peace rally in Belfast in May of 1998. More than 2,000 Catholic and Protestant school children attended the event designed to endorse a “Yes” vote for the Belfast Peace Agreement.
In October of 1998, Ash sent its second studio album, Nu-Clear Sounds, to stores. The album peaked at number seven on the charts. Despite the album’s popular success, NME panned the single “Numbskull”: “This is the sound of teeth-grinding, gray-misted premenstrual
Members include Mark Hamilton (born on March 21, 1977), bass; Charlotte Hatherley (born on June 20, 1977; joined group, 1997), guitars, vocals; Rick McMurray (born on July 11, 1975), drums; Tim Wheeler (born on January 4, 1977), guitars, vocals.
Formed group in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, 1992; signed with La La Land Records, 1994; released single “Jack Names the Planets,” 1994; signed with Infectious Records, released Trailer EP, 1994; released 1977, 1996; released Live at the Wireless on own Death Star Records, 1997; released Nu-Clear Sounds, 1998; released Free All Angels, 2001.
Addresses: Record company —Infectious Records, London, England, website: http://www.mushroomuk.com/maininfectious.htm. Website —Ash Official Website: http://www.ash-official.com.
tension.” The video, however, fueled the single’s success. The controversial piece featured group sex, drug abuse, self-mutilation, and a naked Wheeler. Hatherley explained to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) online that Wheeler chose to do the video in part to contradict his image. “I think it goes against Tim’s usual image in the press—getting away from that babyface indie kid,” Hatherley said. “It starts off pretty tame and then it escalates, but I think they’ll be able to show some clips somewhere.”
In 1999, Ash shied away from the stage for the most part. Though the group wasn’t playing regular shows, Ash stayed in the press. Hatherley and Wheeler were hired as models for designer Calvin Klein’s Spring 2000 advertising campaign. Star Wars fans, Ash was thrilled when actor McGregor asked the group to entertain during a premiere party for Episode One: The Phantom Menace. To further promote its 2001 album, Free All Angels, Ash headlined the NME Brat Awards. In an interview with the music magazine, McMurray stated that Hatherley had written songs for the album, but he wasn’t sure of the record’s direction and seemed jaded by the commercial disappointment of Nu-Clear Sounds. “We’re almost not mainstream anymore, rather strangely,” McMurray said.
For Wheeler, the process of recording Free All Angels was much more “natural” than Nu-Clear Sounds, he told the BBC. “I think the last album, we were reacting to what people expected of us, so we did somethin completely different. With this album, we just didn’t care and just wrote whatever came out. It was a much more natural process.”
Reclaiming its penchant for controversy, Ash purchased 300 copies of a single by pop group Westlife and burned them in a city park during an autograph session in Leeds, England. “We were doing an in-store appearance and the manager gave them to us. Westlife epitomize everything that’s mind-numbing and contrived about the music industry,” Hatherley told Teletext about the incident.
Upon its release, Free All Angels debuted at number one. “Never underestimate the power of a great record. It got us back on the radio and seemed to be used as a backing track for a few sporting events. That certainly helped relaunch us as a band,” Wheeler told the Glasgow Evening Times.
Trailer (EP; includes “Jack Names the Planets”), Infectious, 1994.
1977 (includes “Oh Yeah,” “Kung Fu,” “Girl from Mars”), Infectious, 1996.
Live at the Wireless, Death Star, 1997.
Nu-Clear Sounds (includes “Numbskull”), Infectious, 1998; DreamWorks (U.S.), 1999.
Free All Angels, Infectious, 2001.
Birmingham Post (England), May 12, 2001.
Fortune, October 11, 1999.
Glasgow Evening Times (Scotland), May 21, 2001.
The People (London, England), April 18, 2001.
“Ash,” New Musical Express, http://www.nme.com/NME/External/Artists/Artist_Biog/0,1231,art4111,00.html (July 25, 2001).
“Ash Get Their Kit Off,” BBC Online, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/artist_area/ash/122.shtml (September 22, 2001).
“Ash: Still Shining,” BBC Online, http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/arts/highlights/010212_ash.shtml (September 23, 2001).
“People Vs Ash,” BBC Online, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/alt/alt_features/feature_people_vs_ash.shtml (September 23, 2001).
Teletext, http://www.geocities.com/altemator_team/tel07apr01.html (July 25, 2001).
ASH , family which during the 18th and 19th centuries produced a number of distinguished rabbis, both in Poland and in Germany. These included:
(1) abraham ash (18th century), rabbi and author who was born in Posen and became rabbi at Celle. He wrote Torah Kullah (Berlin, 1796), which comprises (a) Yoreh De'ah, a compendium of ethical essays based on the natural sciences; (b) Yavin Shemu'ah, statements from the Talmud and halakhic authorities opposing early burials; and (c) Ḥerev la-Shem – against Solomon *Pappenheim and in favor of delaying the interment of the dead. He proposed that "the very earliest rabbinic regulations" be reintroduced, that sepulchral chambers be built in every cemetery, where the deceased be placed and left for three days so that there can be no doubt of death.
(2) Abraham Joseph *Ash (1813–1888), rabbi and halakhic authority. Born at Siemiaticze, in the district of Grodno, he immigrated to New York in 1852 and was among the early founders of what came to be known as the Bet ha-Midrash ha-Gadol, where he was rabbi from 1860 until his death (except for intervals when he tried unsuccessfully to engage in business). He was regarded as an authority and rabbis in Europe paid special attention to him in religious matters. Ash was responsible for several new features relating to a get ("bill of divorce"): its text, the procedure of mailing it, its distinguishing marks, and the accepted spelling of American personal and place names. He was involved in halakhic controversies with Jacob *Ettlinger of Altona (Binyan Ẓiyyon, no. 63, dated 1858) and Isaac Elhanan *Spektor of Kovno. He wrote a protest against attempts of Reform rabbis to deliver sermons in Orthodox synagogues (1886).
(3) abraham ben joseph ash (late 18th–early 19th century), rabbi and author. Born in Posen, he was rabbi at Zell, near Wuerzburg, in the bet midrash of Isaac Rans. He wroteMareh Esh ("The Appearance of Fire," "Esh" being a play on his surname), containing novellae on various talmudic themes and glosses on all the tractates of the Talmud (Berlin, 1803). The author's introduction includes his ethical will addressed to his son Moses Jacob who published his book.
(4) joel ben meir joseph ash (1745–1811), rabbi and author. Born in Stargard, he studied in Berlin and Frankfurt on the Oder, and was appointed rabbi of Schoenlanke in 1779. He was the author of pilpulistic homilies on the Torah entitled Yitedot Ohalim (1788). His son Judah "he-Ḥasid" was rabbi at Samter (1814–1831).
(1) ash, abraham and (3) ash, abraham b. joseph: Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 666, no. 4184 (note), additions 87; Zedner, Cat, 56; Zeitlin, Bibliotheca, 6–7. (2) ash, abraham joseph: J.D. Eisenstein, in: ajhsp, 9 (1901), 64–71; 12 (1904), 145–6; I. Goldstein, A Century of Judaism in New York (1930), 145; P. Wiernik, History of the Jews in America (19312), 189–91; H.B. Grinstein, Rise of the Jewish Community of New York (1945), 93, 253, 486, 488, n. 12. (4) ash, joel b. meir b. joseph: S. Wiener, Kohelet Moshe, 5 (1904), 629, no. 5134 A; M.L. Bamberger, Geschichte der Juden in Schoenlanke (1912), 16–17; A. Berliner, Zur Familiengeschichte Asch (1913), 7–13.
ash1 / ash/ • n. the powdery residue left after the burning of a substance: cigarette ash. ∎ (ashes) the remains of something destroyed; ruins: democracies taking root in the ashes of the Soviet empire. ∎ (ashes) the remains of the human body after cremation or burning. ∎ powdery material thrown out by a volcano: the plains have been showered by volcanic ash. ∎ the mineral component of an organic substance, as assessed from the residue left after burning: coal contains higher levels of ash than premium fuels. PHRASES: rise (or emerge) from the ashes be renewed after destruction: Atlanta has risen from the ashes. ash2 • n. 1. (also ash tree) a tree (genus Fraxinus) of the olive family, with silver-gray bark and compound leaves, widely distributed throughout north temperate regions. Its many species include the North American white ash (F. americana) and the European ash (F. excelsior). ∎ the hard pale wood of this tree. 2. an Old English runic letter (so named from the word of which it was the first letter). ∎ the symbol æ or Æ, used in the Roman alphabet in place of the runic letter, and as a phonetic symbol. See also Æ.
ASH (Asch ; Heb. א״ש), abbreviation of various Hebrew words and transcriptions, later used as a name in its own right in Central and Eastern Europe. (1) Ash was the traditional Hebrew abbreviation of the city name *Eisenstadt. Meir b. Isaac *Eisenstadt is also known as "Maharam Ash"; "Ash" appears on a number of old Eisenstadt tombstones. Meir *Eisenstadter (Asch) made a pun from the Hebrew meaning of the word (אש, "fire") in the title of his work Imrei Esh (1852) and so did Abraham b. Joseph *Ash. (2) "Ash" is also used as an abbreviation for Alt-schul, the "old school" (synagogue) quarter of Prague, by Moses b. Ḥanokh *Altschul in the late 15th century; it was later found on tombstones of 1582 to 1727 in the old cemetery of Prague. (3) The Ash family of rabbis (descended from Moses b. Joseph of Mezhirech in Poland, who moved to Stargard in Pomerania), believing that their name literally signified "ash" (Asche in German), "retranslated" it into Hebrew as Efer (Mishpaḥat Efer), "ash" in Hebrew.
H. Flesch, in: Juedische Familien-Forschung, 2, no. 4 (1926), 188; A. Berliner, Zur Familiengeschichte Asch (1913), 15; S. Hock, Die Familien Prags (1892), 16–19; B. Wachstein, Die Grabinschriften des alten Judenfriedhofs in Eisenstadt (1922), 660.