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This is the twelfth of twenty-six exclusive reviews of the A-Z Series by Northern Irish band Ash. Type “Ash” or “A to Z series” into our search engine to find our other articles on this topic.

You know that track that symbolizes the change of weather? When the dreary and cold mood that winter brings is lofted by constant rays of sun and a growing, procrastinating attitude? “Dionysian Urge” is the track that you’ll not only fall in love with but also become one of the tracks you’ll listen to constantly as the guitar intro seamlessly stops time around you. Note of advice: this a track best listened to outside on a drive or during a walk in the park.


Our guests for this single’s coverage are a couple who are the biggest Ash fans you can possibly come across. They are

Michael Laverick

Michael Laverick


Laura Hammal

Laura Hammal

from Sunderland, England. The couple gives us a look into their thoughts of the band’s latest single, the experience of seeing them live, and simply what makes them love Ash the way they do.

Randomville: What does Single L (“Dionysian Urge”) mean to you? Would you agree that the track is comparable to “Walking Barefoot”?

Michael Laverick: Structurally it’s like “Walking Barefoot.” It’s got that reoccurring riff at the beginning, after each chorus and again at the end. The riff makes the song. It feels like a summer song, like “Walking Barefoot.” Tim really knows his guitar equipment and has used it to give each track off The A-Z Series a different sound. On “Dionysian Urge” the guitar effects on the riff blast through your speakers like a rocket bound for Mars. Lyrically, I think it is meant in the Nietzschean way, or as he called it a “Dionysian Impulse.” To me it reads like an erotic dream. I could be way off! I guess it’s about giving in to your natural urges. The lyrics on the A-Z Series have been very strong as we’ve come to expect and this is another example of that.

Overall, I love the song but it won’t kick “The Dead Disciples and “Arcadia” off my top spot. Such are the high standards The A-Z Series has provided me with though.

Laura Hammal: It definitely conjures up images of summer. It’ll make an excellent BBQ song! To me it means I’ll be dancing like a fool when/if they play it on the tour! I’d go as far to say that it’s possibly my fave from A-Z so far.

Michael with Steve Timmis (Ashofficial Webmaster) and his girlfriend Nikola

Michael with Steve Timmis (Ashofficial Webmaster) and his girlfriend Nikola

Randomville: What’s your favorite Ash track and why?

Michael Laverick: Oh God, there’s a question! It depends on my mood. It’s usually between “Folk Song”, “Lose Control”, “Lost In You”, “The Dead Disciples” and “Twilight of the Innocents”. Today I’m going for “Twilight of the Innocents!” It’s got everything: soaring melodies, loud bass, great lyrics, all topped off by epic drumming from Rick.

Laura Hammal: I will always have a soft spot for “Walking Barefoot” but I think it would have to be “A Life Less Ordinary”, recorded and live. It possibly would make a great wedding song!

Randomville: How would you describe the experience of seeing the band live?

Laura Hammal: I think it is an experience that every mofo should have before they die! I get a lot of stick from my colleagues for seeing them so often but if they would just come to one gig I think they’d change their minds! Personally, it’s something that never gets boring. No matter how many times I see them live I’ll always want more. The atmosphere is (almost) always electric and they’re the only band I try to get in the pit for. I ALWAYS get excited in the lead up to a gig as it’s not always just about the gig, it’s about meeting up with some awesome people for a class day out.

Michael Laverick: Sweaty. Ha. No, seriously, this might sound odd but if I only had one word, to sum it all up it’d be “fun.” The band have so much energy in their songs and in their performance that you can’t help but enjoy yourself! At the end of their gigs when the crowds are filtering out you can see friends hugging each other, couples kissing and the rest all talking about how great it was. Ash have songs to please everyone, slow tunes, pop tunes and heavier stuff. I love the heavier stuff when I see them live because it usually gives Tim a chance to show off with his amazing guitar solos.

Mark Hamilton @ Kendal Calling (Photo by Laura Hammal)

Mark Hamilton @ Kendal Calling (Photo by Laura Hammal)

Randomville: If you could choose one act to support Ash on tour, whom would it be and why?

Laura Hammal: Duke Special!, No! Regina Spektor!, No!Amanda Palmer!, No! The Postal Service!, No wait…I could go on! Mike will most definitely say The Joy Formidable, do I get a point for that?

Michael Laverick: If I could have anyone support them it would be The Divine Comedy! Neil Hannon is such a legend. It would put everyone in great spirits ahead of Ash coming on stage. Neil once sang “Oh Yeah” with Ash and I’d definitely love to see him join them on stage again. Realistically though, The Joy Formidable would make a suitable support act. They have a youthful energy about them and, like Ash, pack each chorus with killer melodies. I’m going to see them in a few days and can’t wait.

Randomville: How did you two meet? Were you Ash fans when you met?

Michael Laverick: I think I tried to woo her by showing her my Ash collection!

Laura Hammal: Yes we were both big fans! We were both on the bands message board already but we also happened to be at the same Uni and living a stone’s throw away from each other. The two things collided (thanks to a certain Mr. Matt Hurst) and here we are nearly seven years later, nuptials pending!

Rick McMurray goofing around backstage in Darlington.

Rick McMurray goofing around backstage in Darlington.

Randomville: Will Ash be played during your wedding?

Laura Hammal: Most definitely yes! The only problem is deciding which songs to play and when. We don’t want to overdo it! Our first dance has to be an Ash song! I think people will be disappointed otherwise 😀

Michael Laverick: My only job in planning the wedding is sorting out the music. For the first dance I’m torn between a few Ash songs but the front runner is probably “Nocturne”. The outside contender is Easyworld’s “Til I die.” At some point on the night “Girl From Mars” will be played and we’ll get a mosh pit going!

Randomville: What’s the Ash track you two love to hear when you’re together?

Michael Laverick: I wouldn’t say we’re one of those couples that have a song. When we’re on a night out we always ask the DJ to play Ash and dance like idiots. It’s always Ash or Morrissey. If it wasn’t for Ash we may have never met so when we hear their music in a club or in a pub it’s always a special moment!

Laura Hammal: We’d probably end up having an argument if we had to narrow it down to one song! Rather than one song can we have a one band instead? If we’re out somewhere and an Ash tune comes on we’ll always be straight onto the dance floor anyway!

Michael and Niall of Panama Kings dance their asses off!

Michael and Niall of Panama Kings dance their asses off!

Randomville: How was the A-Z tour? From my understanding you went to various gigs?

Michael Laverick: It was the most fun I’ve ever had despite numerous setbacks. We only made it in time for the encore of the East Grange gig due to a landslide on the train tracks. However, the party after the gig was probably the best part of the tour for me! There was a tiny bar with a dance-floor and Laura was the DJ using her mp3 player. Everyone was dancing away to Idlewild and Weezer. We were swinging from the rafters but I wasn’t tall enough to reach them so Mark put his height to good use and gave me a lift! I was picking splinters out of my hand for weeks. We did four gigs in a row and partied hard every night. Panama Kings were great fun to hang out with as well. The band received a really warm welcome everywhere they went. The smaller towns were overjoyed to have such an established act. You can actually read more on what I had to say about it here.

Randomville: How do you guys feel about Russell Lissack of Bloc Party and Pin Me Down joining the band’s line up for the UK tour?

Michael Laverick: Great news. The three-piece sound is fine for smaller venues but for larger ones and festivals it doesn’t quite cut it. Most Ash songs are recorded with two main guitar parts or guitar and synth/piano, so I’m sure having Russell on board will make for a fuller sound.

Laura Hammal: I think it’s pretty cool that they’ve decided to bring someone in; I’ve not really kept track of Bloc Party for a long time but I don’t suppose that matters. I just hope Russell does the songs justice and I’m sure he will 😉

Tim and Rick in a serious stance of survival backstage @ Bloomsbury Ballroom

Tim and Rick in a serious stance of survival backstage @ Bloomsbury Ballroom

Randomville: Which tracks do you hope to hear live now that there’s an extra guitarist?

Laura Hammal: “PROJECTS!” I don’t think I’m alone in this.

Michael Laverick: “Projects” is a must. “A Life Less Ordinary” always sounds better with two guitars. I’m praying they play “The Dead Disciples” as it could be a mosh pit classic.

Randomville: Overall would you say you’re enjoying the A-Z Series?

Michael Laverick: I’m very much enjoying it. I get a new single every two weeks, and I could barely ask for more. I’m a fan of vinyl so I love getting my hands on a new release so often storing them in the A-Z collector’s box. The variety of music has been the best thing about it. Having their own studio has allowed them to adopt an ‘anything goes’ attitude and it keeps things refreshing. There’s never a dull moment being an Ash fan.

Laura Hammal: Definitely, especially as Mike has paid for all of the music! I’ll be sad when it’s over for sure. I think it’s a brilliant idea and something that other bands will almost definitely cotton on to.

Laura and Tim Wheeler

Laura and Tim Wheeler

Randomville: And lastly, which gigs can our fans expect to see you two at for the band’s upcoming tour?

Michael Laverick: Newcastle and Manchester. I’d love to do every single gig but I don’t think my liver would survive!

Laura Hammal: We’ve had to rein things in a bit due to the pesky wedding!


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