We join the band as their comeback begins in 2015...

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THE tours continued; but what was once an exciting and refreshing experience in new countries had, Steve Queralt considers, lost its allure by the band’s second US tour. “It felt like we were going over the same ground,” he confesses. “The shows were the same size as the previous tour. The first time we went to Japan we were met at the airport. The second time, there was one person and their dog there. I don’t think anyone said it out loud, but there was a feeling maybe we’d reached a pinnacle.”

Dave Newton has another take on events, which suggests Ride were essentially overtaken by a change in fashions. “Halfway through the US tour for Going Blank Again,” he says, “it almost felt like grunge hit overnight. We started our way across the South and then on our way back to New York, the rep from the US label who was handling all our press suddenly wasn’t on the road with us anymore. It felt like it hadn’t quite exploded enough.”

“We’d toured the first album and the second in two consecutive years, having done world tours,” adds Andy Bell. “At that point, we realised we were a little burned out. Around then, in Japan, Mark said, ‘I’ve had enough. I’m over it, I’m done with it.’ He had to be persuaded to go onstage. All of us realised we had to take a break.”

Bell reckons they took “two months off” before reconvening to begin work on ’94’s Carnival Of Light. By then, their working practices had changed. Instead of developing ideas organically in jams, Gardener and Bell were bringing in more polished pieces that required less complimentary work from their bandmates. “Things got more defined,” confirms Gardener. “Me and Andy were writing more. Some of the magic from the jams was gone.”

“It was all getting very ’60s,” continues Bell. “We were heading up a blind alley. It felt like it was broadening our horizons. But it’s weird how you head down a road single-mindedly without thinking of any other options. There were almost no contemporary influences from then onwards.”

“You can’t kid yourself, you’re only going to kid your audience,” believes Gardener. “We played the Albert Hall around Carnival Of Light, and there were a few things going wrong. I looked at some people in the audience and thought, ‘Even they can feel something is up.’ Actually, Carnival Of Light was still quite an exciting time.”

Loz Colbert, for his part, considers the reasons why Ride fell apart; a process that all members agree began in the period between Carnival Of Light and their final studio album, Tarantula. “We were so good at working together,
we forget you’ve got to work together,” the drummer insists. “The band was over by Tarantula. But we had to make a record. On the bus down, even before we did Tarantula, I was sketching together, ‘How am I going to tell them I’m going to leave, that I don’t think this is for me any more?’
I never got around to finishing it. I thought, ‘Let’s just give it one last shot.’ And that last shot was Tarantula.”

“Nobody wanted to rock the boat,” adds Queralt. “We could all see the end on the horizon, but no-one dared speak about it. There was a lot of paranoia. If I say I’m not happy, what’s to stop the other two saying, ‘Leave and we’ll get a new bassist who’ll be happy.’ I was still a musician, I didn’t ant to stop being in the business. I didn’t want to stop being in Ride. You clung to whatever Ride was at the time.”

“I knew things were difficult, but in a weird way I wasn’t taking it seriously,” remembers Bell. “I wouldn’t ever have thought it would have been enough to make Mark go, ‘I want to leave.’ So when he did, it was pretty shocking. We were round at Dave’s house. We were supposed to sign a contract and Mark had obviously been sitting on this for
a bit and said, ‘I can’t sign it. The truth is, I’m leaving. I’m moving to New York.’ He came out with it all at once. ‘I’ve got a deal and I’ve got a manager. Bye.’ And off he went.”

“Maybe a punch-up would’ve been good!” laughs Gardener today. “Sometimes that can be good to clear the air. Once the thing burst and we’d had time to reflect, it was a matter of months before Andy came round to buy my amp. Even then, there was a feeling – which I still feel – that it stopped at the right time. Maybe I was the one in the end who said, ‘I’m out,’ but we were all feeling it.”

  1. 1. Introduction
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