Neon Lights Festival: Music

A furious Ride to fame

British band Ride members (from left) Laurence "Loz" Colbert, Andy Bell, Mark Gardener and Steve Queralt.
British band Ride members (from left) Laurence "Loz" Colbert, Andy Bell, Mark Gardener and Steve Queralt.PHOTO: NEON LIGHTS

Ride, a British band that were among the pioneers of an alternative sub-genre called shoegaze, fell prey to two rock music break-up cliches: They split bitterly in 1996 after just four albums over musical differences and because they were hot-headed young men.

But their relationship has never been better since they got together again late last year. Guitarist and co-founder Andy Bell says time and maturity have done wonders in healing their formerly fractious ties.

"The mood's great, really, really positive," he says in a telephone interview from Nottingham.

"We are enjoying every moment. Because we are older, our friendship has lasted over the years, it's actually stronger than ever right now.

"We have an appreciation for each other that is more than it was back in time when we were 20 years old. I think our egos have calmed down a little bit."

The band, which also comprise co-founder, singer and guitarist Mark Gardener, drummer Laurence "Loz" Colbert, and bassist Steve Queralt, will play their first Singapore show on the second day of two-day arts and music festival Neon Lights at Fort Canning on Nov 29.

On the strength of their first two albums alone, they were hailed by fans and critics as one of the most important bands from the British indie music scene in the early 1990s. Their albums Nowhere (1990) and Going Blank Again (1992) set the template for many acts that followed them.

Typified by lush melodies, layered, noisy guitars, vocal harmonies and danceable beats, their music became synonymous with the sub-genre termed shoegaze because fans often got lost in the music and had their heads down.

Bell says that he is blown away that indie bands today, such as American outfit DIIV, cite them as major influences.

"I never dreamt about that," says the 45-year-old, who is now a father of four.

"If you think about 1990, if you go back 25 years and try to think of an album that was still being heard that was made in 1965, I guess you're talking about stuff like the Beatles and the Stones - real legendary bands.

"To think of it in those terms is something that would have been unthinkable for me."

After Ride broke up, Bell formed another band, Hurricane #1, and eventually joined Oasis, one of the most successful British bands in recent years, from 1999 to 2009. When Oasis split, he joined another band, Beady Eye, with Oasis' singer, Liam Gallagher.

Bell says that he is in touch and remains friends with his former Oasis and Beady Eye bandmates, but adds that, unlike Ride, he has not heard of any plans to revive either groups.

"We'll just have to see what the future holds, I guess."

Eddino Abdul Hadi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline 'A furious Ride to fame'. Print Edition | Subscribe