Ash have been a musical mainstay of the festival scene since their first major hit Girl from Mars aired in the mid-90s.

Since then the band have managed to stand the test of time, reinventing themselves for every decade and attracting younger fans along the way.

As Ash get ready to hit Reading Festival on August 27, with a stop off at Wembley Arena on October 28, drummer Rick McMurray reveals their hope for a statue in their honour and their need to please the crowds with nostalgic hits – even if they are tired of performing them.

Which song are you most proud of?

I think the song that has done us a world of good is Girl from Mars. I don’t think it’s ever been out of the set list since 1994. It was our first big hit that led to so much. We have had higher placed songs in the charts but it’s where we started from really.

When you mention Girl from Mars do you find that people have a memory of it?

Yes, and it means a lot to people who at the time were so young. Most of our fan base were around the same age as us and were going through the same experiences. So we have people who have met 20 years ago and bonded over that song. It’s often their big wedding song, and you often get those fans at the front with their kids as well. And the kids are singing every word which is really touching.

Are thee any songs you’re bored of playing?

You get certain bands, like Radiohead for example, who say they’re not playing Creep for five years or whatever. But if we’re going to be bored of a song then it’ll probably be Girl from Mars.

It’s more of a case of the songs growing with us, it feels like such a part of us. The energy we get off that crowd is special it’s a real moment.

Do you find, as a rule, that your fans are getting younger?

Yes, we do. It’ll be crazy at Reading Festival this year. Probably half the audience at Reading will be younger than that song. With every album release you can pinpoint if it’s a first gig or if they have been going for years.

How do you think your early work compares to now?

It’s almost come full circle, I think. I think there is one thing we have kept as a constant is that energy and melody with everything we have done.

What do you have planned for Reading Festival?

Well it’s going to be our tenth appearance and if the promises we had in 2010 stand then hopefully we should be unveiling a statue. On the eight appearance we had a drink with our agent and the promoters and they said they couldn’t remember a band who has played Reading Festival this many times.

And they were like: “oh, well on your tenth appearance we’re going to get you a statue”.

The promoter has changed but I think every once in a while it’s worth mentioning it in the press!

Reading, even from the first appearance, has been very close to our hearts. The first time was just a few weeks after ‘Girl from Mars’ came out and we were on the teatime slot on the second stage, the NME stage and it was just bonkers. People trying to get in, people climbing up the central poles. And since then it doesn’t matter which festivals we get to, Reading is always a highlight at the end of the festival season. We’re really looking forward to getting back.

Have you met your hero?

Yes, we met Dave Grohl, that was a highlight. I think it was one of their first headline slots at Reading and we ended up supporting them. So I remember hanging out with them there.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently with your careers?

I think we’re pretty happy with where we’re at. We go back to 95 when Britpop was on the rise and we survived that. It’s weird as some of our peers have split and reformed. I don’t know, maybe that’s the smart thing to do. I have never felt like quitting and doing a comeback or anything.

It seems like you’ve moved with the times, you’ve had hits and stayed a part of the scene.

Yes, and even with festivals we get people come up and say “it was you guys that did that song”. We know what to do when it comes to festivals!

What’s next for Ash?

I’m heading off on my travels to go to a studio in New York for a bit of recording. If you had asked us six months ago when the album is going to be out we’d have said it would be out by now.

But we think it may be early next year for the new record. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had two albums’ worth next year.

It will be one next year and one the following year.

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