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Welcome to The Verve World

 Welcome to The Verve World. If you don't know The Verve very well, here are who they are (l-r) Nick McCabe[Lead Guitar], Peter Salisbury[Drums], Richard Ashcroft[Vox, occasional Acoustic Guitar], Simon Jones[Bass] and Simon Tong[Guitar, Keyboards]. Simon Tong is 'the new one'. Originally, he was to replace Nick McCabe, but they had to keep Nick cos he was so good! After Nick decided he wouldn't go on tour with them, due to friendship problems with Richard and occasionally Simon Jones, they replaced him with BJ Cole.
 Their new album, Urban Hymns, has gotten top ratings and a lot sold. I think it is their best album so far. Here's a list of the tracks and a bit about them:
* Bitter Sweet Symphony - first big N American hit from the album. The string bit is taken from the Rolling Stones 'The Last Time'
* Sonnet - this one also has a music video, but wasn't such a big hit. Perhaps everyone already had the album!
* Rolling People - this one was written by the whole band, not just Richard. A very upbeat tune.
* The Drugs Don't Work - hit single in the UK, one of the first one's of the album.
* Catching The Butterfly - not much to say. It's a wonderful song.
* Neon Wilderness - written by The Verve/ Nick McCabe. Makes you think... the lyrics were pretty much last minute.
* Space and Time - top tune, rather soft. I think it has Simon Jones on backing vocals... I'm not sure. The clapping is a few of the band members and their friends!
* Weeping Willow - another top tune, kinda spooky, in my opinion.
* Lucky Man - big hit everywhere. I've already seen 2 versions of the music video. A lot of Urban sounds in this, as well as track one
* One Day - slow, soft song. Nothing much to say, but very nice.
* This Time - very upbeat. I think it features Richard on the piano.
* Velvet Morning - no-one talks about this much...
* Come On -  very VERY energetic and upbeat. The last words are "This is a big **** you", and it sounds like their live and in concert. Could be!
* Deep Freeze - hidden track that no-one knows about, except me! and of course, the producer, band, etc. Quite interesting. Worth the wait!

 I highly reccomend this album to anybody that likes English/indie/soft rock/rock or just plain good music. Five Stars! Something for everyone!

Some More Info on The 'Lucky Men'

 Hailing from small town, Wigan, in working-class Lancashire, England, their success has certainly paid off. Each with over 1 million pounds, their look is still quite distinguished. They all wear their hair long, greasy and messy (except Pete, who hasn't got much of that at all!!) and their clothes are jeans, a t-shirt and a black jacket, and Adidas trainers. 
 The lead singer, Richard, lives with his wife, Kate Radley (of Spiritualized) in Gloucestershire, whilst the rest live in London.
 Here is some information I got at 'my":
Singer/ lyricist Richard Ashcroft is a man of charismatic intensity. His tall, lanky, pissed-off stroll, scruffy mop-head and intense eyes let you know that whatever the time, whatever the state, his brain is always in motion. 
Ashcroft's band the Verve hails from Wigan, England (which nestles close to Manchester in the forgotten British industrial North-West), where prosperity and socialism have been displaced by permanent disrepair, graffiti and garbage. "I 'appened to meet these two guys from Eaton once [home of a prestigious educational establishment for the filthy-rich]," he remembers, "and I realized that they had a 90-meters headstart in the race of life by simple virtue of geography as well as birthright. And I know that where I come from, if you don't struggle and really put yer head to it, you ain't gonna achieve your dream." 
It's not a pretty thought, but then again, Ashcroft has never been scared by something that isn't easy. "It isn't always, is it? But that's part of the search we're all on," he explains, "and that's what's most important, to keep on going and lookin'. I'm not in this for praise and I'm not in this for criticism. I'm my own worst critic, but I also know how good we are." 
If that sounds arrogant, consider the fact that right now Great Britain thoroughly agrees with him. Since their formation in 1990, the Verve have released 1993's A Storm In Heaven, 1995's much-underrated A Northern Soul and this year's Urban Hymns. They broke up for a spell after Soul, but now with Hymns they're enjoying a lush period of success that has seen the first two singles from the album, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and "The Drugs Don't Work," hit the U.K. charts at number's one and two, respectively. "I think we have a more eclectic kind of audience," says Ashcroft of his band's ability to cross over. "The vast amount of people who bought 'Drugs Don't Work' and 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' probably haven't bought that many records. We know that DJ Shadow, before we met him, was playing 'History' [from A Northern Soul] after his hip-hop sessions because they got something out of it. It might be totally different music, but then again it isn't, 'cos it's for everyone." 
Attempts to find a suitable label to describe the Verve's music--which ranges from deep psychedelic jams to soulfully crafted melodies--have proven unsuccessful, because no one tag would ever be accurate. And don't even contemplate mentioning the term "Britpop." 
"There's a bit more going on here than to let us be bothered by what a few journalists stuck in London offices say we are, y'know?" retorts Ashcroft. "That's what makes me laugh about this whole business. People really do assume all sorts of things about you without ever really knowing. Our music's for everyone; I don't agree with this 'judging people.' Me, I come from a different background. I come from a comprehensive school in Wigan, I have friends in all walks of life and I don't judge any of them. Whereas a lot of American bands are sayin' stuff like, 'We were the kids smoking dope in the corner, we were the guys playing nerd rock,' I think we, coming from England, have a better way of dealing with loads of new people getting on our wagon." 
That 'wagon' nearly broke permanently in the Fall of 1995, when Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe became embroiled in artistic disputes. Bassist Simon Jones was the even-tempered onlooker. "We've known each other for such a long time, that when Richard said he had to [break up the band], instead of everyone saying, 'Oh no, don't do it' and whatever, we accepted it," recalls Jones. "Because we knew we'd lost something, we'd gone too far with what we were doing. You push yourself so far doing a record, and I don't think we were enjoying the music anymore. It's so intense anyway with everyday life, and then this music is fucking intense too. It just got to the point where there was almost a sigh of relief." 
"It was like four, five, six people all going through a lost weekend at the same time," furthers Ashcroft, "and I don't think you should leave that stuff dormant. At some point in life you embrace it and deal with it. And at that point when we split up, it was because we were damaging what we had and what we stood for. We needed to be away from each other for a while to figure it out, and for me it was a tremendous learning process." 
Jones, Ashcroft, drummer Pete Salisbury and keyboardist/ guitarist Simon Tong got together, started writing and became wholly aware that a crucial element was missing. Luckily, McCabe was happy to return. "His spirit on these records has been so important," says Ashcroft earnestly, "and to be jamming with him again was vital." 
"Life is a balancing act," continues Jones, "and maybe with A Northern Soul the balance was tipped to damaging effect within the band. But there is beauty in life, there are good things in our lives and all the badness of A Northern Soul has led to the goodness of knowing we'll never abuse what we've got like that again. We're getting to a point that when we record our music, it's all about capturing that perfect fucking moment and getting that perfect bit of music, and when you're building up for that four days of the week and hitting it on the last two, it's fucking great." 
Preserving that independent spirit could get tougher as the Verve become more and more popular. However, anyone trying to make the group play the bullshit PR game is in for a nasty shock. 
"We'll not be doing too much press when we're actually on tour," asserts Ashcroft, "because we're there for the gig. In the past, there have been times when I've been fucking dead before I got onstage, purely because I was trying to 'work the band.' For us, this business is a battle because everybody we're working with has to basically relearn how to do it with the Verve. The other day we were doing a photo session, and the geezer said I couldn't have a beer or a cigarette in the studio! Imagine telling Bob Dylan or John Lennon he couldn't have a beer?" 
Part hooligan, part poet, you don't ever have to worry about Richard Ashcroft and the Verve making records simply to maintain their current level of success. "That would be compromise, and compromise would dent it and tarnish it and there wouldn't be another album. You can see with 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' where the imagination's going, and if people fall off the bus in the meanwhile, they're the people who shouldn't have been on it in the first place. When we come back to America, people will be aware that we are not part of that 'corporate-beefburger-here's-another-album' cycle. People are in it on a very good level, and it's very exciting." 

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