Andy Bell talks about the Ride reunion

From Drowned In Sound:

Whisper it quietly but Andy Bell is fast approaching his twenty-fifth year as a recording artist. Having formed Ride in 1988 with childhood friend from school Mark Gardener, plus Steve Querelt and Loz Colbert who they met on an art foundation course at college, Bell and colleagues were responsible for creating arguably some of the most groundbreaking records from that era.

Their first four EPs and debut long player Nowhere still stand proud as flawless artefacts, while 1992’s follow-up Going Blank Again (recently reissued to commemorate its twentieth anniversary and awarded a princely 9/10 here on Drowned In Sound) highlighted the band’s development from being part of the then-lambasted shoegaze scene into genuine innovators of some repute. Sadly, as with all good things, it wasn’t long before Ride fell apart and just two albums and four years later, it was all over.

After Ride’s demise, Bell formed Hurricane #1 in 1997 at the height of Britpop, releasing a handful of relatively successful singles along with two albums. Nevertheless, critical acclaim proved hard to come by, mainly because of their similarity to Oasis, so it was perhaps no surprise that Bell’s next musical venture would be to join the Gallaghers as bassist, following the departure of Paul McGuigan in 1999. He continued to play with Oasis right up until the brothers’ acrimonious split a decade later, contributing to the band’s final three albums.

Now, having formed Beady Eye with fellow former Oasis members Gem Archer, Chris Sharrock and of course, Liam Gallagher, Bell finds himself in the studio once more, demoing material for his current outfit’s projected second record, the as-yet untitled follow-up to last year’s Different Gear, Still Speeding. DiS caught up with him during an extended break where the discussion switched from the making of both Nowhere and Going Blank Again, to his disillusionment with music after disbanding Hurricane #1, to working with the Gallaghers and the questions everyone keeps asking; will Ride and Oasis ever reform and take to the stage one more time.

DiS: What are you up to at present and how are the new songs shaping up?

Andy Bell: We’re still at the writing stage and then recording a few demos from what we have. We’ve been making demos for pretty much the whole of this year. It’s always good to have far too much music before going into the studio and beginning the actual recording process.

DiS: Are you heavily involved in the writing process with Beady Eye?

Andy Bell: Me, Liam (Gallagher) and Gem (Archer) are all equal partners when we’re writing, which means we all get to make sure none of us has a song that sounds too much like “me” – in the collective sense of the word. It’s a good way of working because it means none of us have our individual stamp on anything we do. It’s all about what’s best for Beady Eye.

DiS: You’ve recently started incorporating Oasis songs into your live set with Beady Eye. Is this something you intend to do on a regular basis for the foreseeable future?

Andy Bell: I’d say it’s something we’ll definitely do again, yes. The reason we didn’t play Oasis material from the outset was because we wanted Beady Eye to create its own identity. So when we started touring around the world we wanted to get everyone that came to our shows used to the idea that we are a new band, and not just a continuation of the old one, even though when you come and see Beady Eye we look pretty much like Oasis on stage. Except Noel’s (Gallagher) not there.

DiS: Bearing in mind the obvious impact of Ride’s music today, I guess the final question has to be do you ever see the four of you getting back together and playing one more time?

Andy Bell: Well, never say never. We’re good friends now. We get together once a year and just have a few pints and whatever. We’re all pretty busy with what we’re doing, but personally, it would be a shame if we never got to play those songs one more time.

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