Caged Angels

Chart-toppers in the UK, Ash is happy on the American club circuit. But how long will it stay there?

The lyrics and the sweeping pop hooks seem perfectly synched with that segment of "alternative" radio that isn't playing seventh-generation Korn knockoffs. While excited about the possibility, Wheeler remains cautious about having a stateside smash on his hands. The idea of this tour is to establish enough of a base in the States to see to it that the band will be able to come back the next time around. (The band is planning to go back into the studio in September.)

Having acquired an American booking agent will no doubt help in that endeavor, since even the Coldplay opening slot came about through a personal rather than professional connection. When Ash first arrived as a teenage rock band, the folks who would later comprise Coldplay were out in the audience, digging what they heard. "That's one of the best things about having been at this for ten years now," Wheeler laughs. "Your fans start getting into actual positions!"

Wheeler recognizes the important and sometimes capricious role that timing plays in the whole process of breaking as a band. The band doesn't concern itself with things it can't control; instead, it works on what it can: writing great songs and working hard on the road. To this end, a number of new songs are being aired on this tour, getting a final shakedown before Ash heads back into the studio. "Maybe this one will take it to a whole new level," Wheeler quips, as if realizing full well that "maybe it won't" is also a very real possibility.

Waiting for America: Success can be slow in coming, but it sure tastes good once it arrives.
Waiting for America: Success can be slow in coming, but it sure tastes good once it arrives.

But if it does, this just might be one of those shows everyone says they were at ten years from now.

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