Some 33 years after they first formed – and fresh from this past weekend’s Hard Rock Hell – renascent Northern Ireland melodic rockers No Hot Ashes (pictured right) are to release their debut album, via Frontiers Music, in the spring of 2016.
The band traces its story back to the Belfast of the early 1980s, the rock scene was a welcome alternative to the violence that was happening on the streets, bringing together people from both sides of the community in their mutual love of music. ‘The Ashes’ became local favourites, releasing one single, ‘She Drives Me Crazy’ independently before signing to GWR Records in 1988, with a line-up featuring original members Davey Irvine on guitar and Paul Boyd on bass, joined by new singer Tommy Quinn on vocals, Tommy Dickson on keyboards and Steve Strange on drums.
Moving to London and supporting the likes of Mama’s Boys and Magnum, it seemed their star was rising, but problems with getting their debut album released brought dissolution and one-by-one band members returned to Northern Ireland. By the end of 1990, ‘The Ashes’ fire went out and they called it a day.
Fast forward through the years to September 2013 and No Hot Ashes are given two reasons to reform. One was to play a tribute gig for Belfast’s famous Rosetta Bar, the centre for Northern Ireland’s rock and metal scene from the early 80’s, which had recently closed. ‘The Rosie’, as it was affectionately known, was a venue very dear to The Ashes hearts as their club night ‘Cinders’ was started by their old manager Stephen Magee, a mad PR genius who passed way before his time. The other was to remember old rock friends who were no longer with them.
They enjoyed playing again so much… they couldn’t stop and since the beginning of 2014 they’ve supported Aerosmith, Foreigner, FM and UFO, playing both HRH AOR and Hard Rock Hell, Download, London Calling, Ramblin’ Man, Steelhouse and Rockingham.
“There’s less hair but more rock,” said Davey Irvine (pictured left performing at Rockingham).
“And it’s great to get back with the guys after all these years. I’m really enjoying writing the new material and I think we’ve all aged well musically.”
And, as original singer Eamon Nancarrow points out: “With No Hot Ashes, I have always felt that we had some unfinished business. What I want from this reunion, and the up and coming gigs is to prove we could have made it given the breaks. Oh yeah – and to show my kids that their Dad rocks!”
With old crowd favorites such as ‘I’m Back’ and ‘Summer Rain’ in the set, the Ashes have also been writing new material, such ‘Boulders’ and ‘Glow’, which will be released as a double A-sided single early in the new year.
For drummer Steve Strange, the only member to have carved a successful career in the music industry (he is one of the top booking agents in the business), it is the songs that make this adventure worthwhile: “These tunes have stayed in my head since we split up and I’ve always felt they needed to be heard by a wider audience. When the band clicked at first rehearsal it made sense to see how far we could take this.”
To find out more about the No Hot Ashes story, listen to our interview with Eamon Nancarrow, recorded earlier this year.