Daniel Ash

The Developing Arts And Music Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

In 1987, Daniel Ash formed the nucleus of what would eventually become Bauhaus, with David J, and drummer Kevin Haskins, who would continue to work with Ash for almost three decades, in Tones On Tail, and later, Love And Rockets. Although each project enjoyed some cult success, and even spawned a few hits along the way, the legacy of Bauhaus loomed constantly overhead, until a reunion tour finally took place sixteen years after that group’s break-up. In a recent phone conversation, Daniel Ash expressed some quiet relief that the spirit of his former group had been exorcised once and for all.

“Yeah, that’s finished now”, he chuckled, “It was supposed to be one or two gigs in L.A., and it turned into 45 gigs. It was a lot of fun, but it’s time to move on and do something different, for sure.”

Nine years since his last solo release, Ash has just released his fourth album, signifying a fresh new start, and a clean break from his previous achievements – embarking on a new direction as well, reflecting Ash’s long-running infatuation with dance music. The album is eponomously titled, Daniel Ash, suggesting that this may actually be only the beginning.

Ash voiced some apprehension about being mistaken for a Chemical Brothers bandwagon act. “I’m curious – I don’t know where it’s gonna fit in, because I’m aware that it’s not strictly dance music, as such, but it is influenced by that.” He also expressed a concern over the popular perception of his role as merely a guitar player, rather than a conceptual artist.

“I’ve been working with the bass line being the inspiration, rather than the guitar”, he quipped, but adds, in regard to the current album, “I found that they do give it a little energy boost, so I sort of worked a little guitar in it at the last moment, on a lot of the tracks.” One listen to the dizzying flurry of guitar on tracks like “Mastermind”, or “Trouble”, should assuage any fears of alienating long-time fans of Ash’s trademark blend of romantic surrealism and sheer abrasive assault.

A notable contributing factor to the new sound is hyper-breakbeat-trance artist DJ Keoki, whom Ash met while collaborating on the title track for Keoki’s 2001 album, “Jealousy”. When Keoki moved to L.A., a kindred connection was established, which resulted in half of the new album being recorded in his studio there. The remainder of the album was recorded in Ash’s own studio, less than six months old. Breaking away from familiar faces this time out, his touring band will feature Patina Creme – who also worked on the album – on bass, John DeSalvo (who has previously toured with KMFDM and ChemLab) on drums, and, in Ash’s words, “an entity called Rachel on keyboards.”

Reflecting on some of the personal changes he has gone through in the past decade, Ash mused, “I’d like to think I’m not so uptight – not so precious about things.” Unhindered by any pressure from his label to stamp out hit singles, Ash has also released an EP, featuring various techno mixes of the ’60’s pop hit, “Spooky”, as well as contributing one of his older songs to an ad for Starbursts TV ad.

“I heard somebody couldn’t believe when they saw it on the TV, some tacky advert selling candy, and they felt they had been violated”, he laughs, in responses to charges of artists “selling out” to commercial advertising. “Twenty years ago, I probably would have had a big problem with it. But that’s just called growing up.”

Daniel Ash will perform at
First Avenue
Friday, March 15th, 2002

© J.Free / D.A.M.F.; 2002; 2022

To read the pre-edited interview GO HERE