Ride were a British shoegazing band. The band formed in 1988 in Oxford, England, and officially broke up in 1996. During that time they received much critical acclaim, and although this never translated into the chart and financial success that they aimed for, for a short while it seemed that the band could prove themselves as defying the fate that befell lesser 'shoegazer' bands. Since then, the band members have gone on to other projects, most notably Andy Bell who became the bass player for Oasis. Since 2001, the band have been semi-active and have released a number of compilation and live recordings, as well as a limited pressing EP with new material.
Nowhere was hailed as a critical success and the media dubbed Ride "The brightest hope" for 1991. Many fans regard this as their favourite album, with songs like "Vapour Trail", and "Dreams Burn Down" becoming shoegazing classics. It was during this period that the band usually closed their live set with "Seagull", a mass of feedback and rhythm guitar that remains one of the band's classic pieces.
Demand for new material was high, and the band recorded another EP, Today Forever, released in March 1991. The EP marked a change in direction for the group away from the noisier early style. Ride made their first international tour to Japan, Australia and France later on that year.
March 1992 saw the band release another fan favourite, the album Going Blank Again. Opening with the anthemic 8 minute 17 second single "Leave Them All Behind", the album showcased the band's creative work and skill in working with the Wall of Sound style that typifies shoegazing bands. To some extent, the album represented the apogee of shoegazing proper, as opposed to the oft-cited Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, a landmark record from outside the milieu. The twin rhythm guitars of Bell and Gardener, both distorted, both using Wah-wah pedals and both feeding back on each other was the highlight of the album's critical and chart success. Other tracks on the album showcased the band's innovative blend of melody and discord, not to mention one or two borrowed riffs (and a sample from Withnail and I). It needs to be pointed out, also, that the band had listened to and had been influenced by the album Nevermind by Nirvana as they recorded their second LP. This link, between Shoegazing and Grunge, has never been fully explored. Ride's early influences include Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, both of which influenced the style of Ride's music and the songs found on Going Blank Again.
It appears that the band split due to creative and personal tensions between Gardener and Bell. Both had led the band away from their Shoegazing roots to become more contemporary, hoping to change their style with the times. It has been remarked by Queralt that the band had two future directions open to them, and they chose the wrong option. The track listing of Carnival of Light gives an indication of the tension that was mounting between the two guitarists, with the first half of the album being songs written by Mark Gardener and the last half of the album being songs written by Andy Bell - Andy Bell had refused to let their songs be interspersed with pieces written by Mark. Years later Andy Bell explained "Imagine an argument where the way you win, is by saying 'I don't want my songs on the same side of the album as yours' and it ACTUALLY HAPPENS. We were allowed by the people around us to behave like total babies."
Other musical changes, such as the use of a Cathedral boy's choir for one song and Hammond organs for a number of others, were not as innovative or creative as had been hoped.
By the time Tarantula appeared, the band was beginning to self destruct. Bell penned most of the songs while Gardener provided only one - the tension within the band leading to an inability to write meaningful musical pieces. Castle on the Hill, written by Bell, was a lament for the band's situation and contains references to Gardener's self imposed exile from the group. Against all common sense from the record company, the album was released and remained on sale for one week before being withdrawn. Critics and fans alike had panned the album (although the first single off the album, "Black Nite Crash", was awarded "single of the week" by weekly music magazine Melody Maker), and it was no surprise that the band had split before the record had even been released.
Since the break-up, both Bell and Gardener have been more reflective about the group's disintegration, with Bell especially admitting his own part in the process. It appears that they were too young and too stubborn and had no real idea of where the band was heading when they changed their style.
Mark Gardener is also now pursuing a solo career. From 2003 to 2005, Mark toured extensively, sometimes with the help of Oxford friends Goldrush, in order to personally fund a full length studio album. During the tour, a three-track EP with Goldrush (Falling Out Into the Night) and a live album (the acoustic solo Live @ the Knitting Factory, New York City) were released. He also spent part of 2005 working with the French duo rinôçérôse. In late 2005, Mark's album These Beautiful Ghosts was released in North America on United For Opportunity. Release of the album in other regions is expected in early 2006.
The fact that the band appears to be releasing new material and even being interviewed together suggested that the tension between Gardener and Bell, which was one of the main causes of the band's demise, has been mended.
Any thoughts of permanently re-forming the band, however, have been explicitly denied by Bell, with the reasoning that it would not live up to expectations. However, the members, Bell included, have stated that they would not mind working with each other again. Since, Bell and Colbert made an appearance at one of Gardener's early shows; Bell later shared two nights of acoustic sets with Gardener in November 2003 when Gardener made a tour stop in Bell's current home of Stockholm.
Loz Colbert has also started playing in a band again - as guitarist and vocalist. He also plays drums in different projects, most notably with the reformed Jesus and Mary Chain, Supergrass (filling in for Danny Goffey), International Jetsetters with fellow Jesus and Mary Chain bandmate Mark Crozer, and Damo Suzuki (Can). In 2005, Gardener was stuck in France and unable to play the Truck Festival; Colbert's band filled the gap in the bill. Loz studied on the 1 Year Diploma in Drum Performance at London's Drumtech after the split of Ride.
|Album||Release Date||Chart Info|
|Nowhere||15 October 1990||#11 (UK)|
|Going Blank Again||9 March 1992||#5 (UK)|
|Carnival of Light||20 June 1994||#5 (UK)|
|Tarantula||20 March 1996||#21(UK)|
|US Modern Rock|
|1992||"Twisterella"||#12||Going Blank Again|
|1992||"Leave Them All Behind"||#20||Going Blank Again|