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Q&A: Mark Hamilton of ASH on semi-naked dancing with Snow Patrol and his advice for the next generation


Northern Irish rock band ASH

Northern Irish rock band ASH

Northern Irish rock band ASH

Downpatrick trio ASH have enjoyed much success in their 26-year long career with highlights including The Concert for Yes and sell-out shows in London.

We caught up with bassist Mark Hamilton ahead of the band's gig at The Limelight 1 on Thursday, 20 December.

How excited are you to be on the Ward Park 3 line-up?

We are all over the moon to have been asked to play Ward Park 3. We are close friends with the Snow Patrol guys and watching their success over the years has been amazing. Getting to be part of their special home festival is a real treat and we had a great time doing the first one.

We had a big night out with Johnny and Nathan in Boston a few months ago and lots of semi-naked dancing on their tour bus in anticipation. We always have a wild time when we get together so Ward Park 3 should be no exception.

What are you most looking forward to about the Bangor gig?

Semi-naked dancing with Snow Patrol men! Lmao.

What's your favourite thing about performing in Belfast?

Belfast always has our oldest friends and family there so we always have an extra wee bit of pressure to do good and not let the side down. I think Tim swears less on stage when his mum is there so she doesn’t make him wash his mouth out with soap afterwards.

Where in Belfast would you recommend to a friend?

Maggie Mays for hangover recovery breakfast is kind of a staple. Everyone’s in there nursing their heads and eating obnoxiously good fry ups.

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How did you get into music?

Tim and I met when we were 11. He had a WASP back-patch on his denim jacket and I had an Iron Maiden one. It was a match made in metal heaven.

What's the most underrated song of all time?

Confessions In The Pool by ASH. Should’ve been number one for 20 weeks.

Which of your gigs has been the most memorable and why?

We’ve had incredible shows at Reading Festival. We hold the record now for 10 appearances, and many really memorable sell out gigs in London (Camden Roundhouse, Brixton Academy, Kentish Town Forum, Shepherds Bush Empire, KOKO, Hammersmith Apollo and over 20 sell-outs at The Astoria before it was bulldozed), but probably the most memorable was The Waterfront for the Good Friday Agreement.

That day felt like we were participating in history and will probably always be the single most important show we’ll have played.

Saying that, we played an incredible show in Paris with We Are Scientists a few weeks after the Bataclan massacre which felt like all those in attendance had a very real release of emotion. People were still very paranoid and anxious about going to shows but we made it a real celebration of normalcy and there were people crying tears of joy by the end of the night that in the aftermath of such horror, life could resume.

But The Limelight in Belfast is where we earned many of our stripes and going back to play there is always a great feeling. Thursday night will be mega!

What is your guilty pleasure song?

Currently it’s the theme tune to The Greasy Strangler. Really twisted.

What words of wisdom would you bestow on the next generation?

If you fail and are becoming the laughing stock of your town/class/ family/workplace at whatever it is you do, use it as motivation to succeed.

ASH, in our earliest incarnation, Vietnam, were disasters and the joke band of our town. We used that humiliation to want to prove ourselves and 26 years later we’re still living the dream, releasing new albums, touring and selling out shows all over the planet. Dreams do come true, just gotta believe in yourself and work your ass off.

ASH will play at the Limelight 1 on Thursday, December 20. Tickets on sale now from limelightbelfast.com, ticketmaster.ie, Katy's Bar ant Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

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