I first heard Ride whilst visiting my friend, Paul Morris. He was always first to pick up on the new bands back in the 80’s and 90’s. He got me into The Pale Fountains during the Pacific Street era and Aztec Camera, pre Oblivious! Paul had got hold of Ride’s first EP, released 15th January 1990, from a small independent record store situated in Inches Yard, Newbury (the store has since burned down, happening soon after the arrival of some intense competition with the arrival of Our Price Records!).
The EP opened with Chelsea Girl, a fast and furious song splashed with psychedelia and plenty of screaming Wah Wah. Funnily enough on first listening I had a problem with the vocals, the harmonies and the melodies were good, but to me, the combination of Mark Gardner and Andy Bell’s vocals were reminiscent to pirates singing some kind of sea shanty!! This is particularly so on the opening track of Nowhere, ‘Seagull’!! I got used to the sound pretty quickly but it still brings a smile to my face when I listen to them!!
After hearing the Ride EP I visited the soon to be burnt down record shop and purchased my own copy closely followed by their second EP, Play. Both EP’s can now be found packaged together on a CD entitled ‘Shine’. Again, an appearance on Snub TV also helped me build a relationship with this band, they looked right and sounded right, the full package. Looking back at pictures of me at the time I can quite possibly say that I was very much influenced by them!!
When Nowhere came out I wasn’t overly keen on it. I’d fallen in love with songs like Drive Blind, Close My Eyes and Perfect Time, all quite basic with the Ride 1990’s wall of sound. Nowhere was clearer, more structure with some well thought out layers. The only song which sounded anything like the two first EPs was Seagull. This was the opening track on the album, a comfortable familiar song which welcomed me to the record. As that song finish the sound of Ride I was accustomed to ended. I was disappointed at first but the album is a grower, after 5 or so listens Seagull sounded dated compared with the rest of the record.
Classic tracks on the album include Kaleidoscope, Dreams Burn Down, Vapour Trail and of course Nowhere.
Over the years I’ve seen Ride a number of times, Reading Festival, headlining the greatly missed Slough Festival (Revolver, Thousand Yard Stare) and supporting Pixies at Crystal Palace bowl, (this was memorable as this is where I first met Lion Man!).
One of the best shows was the homecoming performance at Oxford Apollo Theatre. This is where I bought my Leave Them All Behind T-Shirt which unfortunately no longer fits, but I’m working on getting back into it!!!
Another memorable performance was at the Brighton Centre, December 1994. A friend had got me a ticket to the Oasis fanclub concert, at this point I’d like to say that I hate Oasis but it was a night out!! Supporting Oasis that night was The La’s, Lee Mavers less John Power. When they had finished I went to get the beers in. I was carrying 4 pints of beer over to where my mates were waiting, then suddenly the sound of the synth part from Leave Them All Behind drifted in from the auditorium, my mates legged it and I was left there carrying 4 pints!! Realising is was a long introduction I managed to sink two pints before joining them.
The last time I saw Ride was as a fanclub performance at The Garage, Highbury .Ride were making the video for ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’, £5 in advance. It was a good night, they played along to the backing track of the new single 4 or 5 times and then treated us to about an hour of hits and favourites.
By this time the direction they’d chosen to take was heading away from where I was going, sad but have some great memories of a great band.
Chelsea Girl – Brixton 1992